CHRO Lens: New Way of Working after COVID-19

Special Interview PMAT x Workday

Mr. Suppawat Wadhanapatee

Senior Executive Vice President - Head of Human Resources and Corporate Governance Group

The special interview through CHRO Lens: New Way of Working after COVID-19 has come to an end with the final episode. Today, we take you to visit Krung Thai Bank Public Company Limited or KTB and listen to the view of Mr. Suppawat Wadhanapatee, Senior Executive Vice President - Head of Human Resources and Corporate Governance Group about human resource management in the period that KTB has been affected by the Covid-19, and employee preparation for the new work style in a world of uncertainty.


Rigorous Planning to Cope with the COVID-19

KTB set up a war room to monitor the Covid-19 situation and had a daily meeting chaired by the CEO at 8.00 am via online meeting on how to manage impacts from the Covid-19. Due to continuous planning for the Covid-19, KTB has responded well to the third round of the pandemic. In brief, KTB has planned to deal with the Covid-19 in the four following phases:

1. First phase stresses employee safety by providing online healthcare, formulating measures to separate employees who are at risk in close contact with the infected people and letting them work from home for 14 days. More importantly, policies must be clearly determined and communicated during this period.


2. After employees are well taken care of, the necessary process is to enable the business to continue without interruption by adhering to the BCP, a manual to cope with problems and obstacles.


3. Focusing on productivity based on the principle that WFH must not reduce productivity. First, the executives of all KTB branches were questioned about WFH problems and obstacles. Then, these problems should be solved. After obtaining data, problems were prioritized, e.g., VPN solutions to connect between bank networks. The first priority involves WFH employees who must be provided with help desks to deliver them IT advice and develop applications for communication and joint operations.


4. Adaptation to organizational development to respond digital transformation by managing buildings, e.g., decreasing its use based on the hot seat concept and providing space sharing to encourage the New Way of Working


People Development Based on “Give a Man a Fish and Teach a Man to Fish”

When Khun Suppawat talked about the new way of working, PMAT team asked him about human resource development plan for competency skills and passions to deal with the VUCA World according to the KTB standard.


Khun Suppawat stated, “Teach a man to fish is better than give a man a fish” may not be practical in the current and challenging crisis because the teaching period to provide people with ability and skills sufficient for their own operations is shorter. The principle applied by KTB is “to give a man to a fish” and “teach a man to fish” at the same time.


“Giving fish” refers to employees’ learning through training courses for quick wins and upskilling or reskilling to be applied rapidly. “Teaching a man to fish” refers to competency development, which takes time to accumulate knowledge and experience for working in a rapidly changing world. There are also many negative impacts on organizations. KTB competencies are classified into three types: 1) core competencies for all employees, 2) functional competencies for specific operations, and 3) managerial competencies/leader competencies for developing leaders and executives. Due to the world context’s change, competencies are reviewed to be consistent with current conditions based on the principle of participation building of all business units as various departments understand their jobs better than the HR department.


Not only competency but also passion is developed by focusing on engagement between supervisors and subordinates. A forum is also opened to the participation of all bank employees. “Local forum” via the ONE KTB: “The Future of Banking” is provided to let staff in the same department assist to solve problems together and improve their units. Local forum is an internal explosion, while “external or big forum” organized by the head office is to allow each department to suggest how to develop organizations through the hackathon process, and to apply a simple way to increase employees’ passion and let them appreciate each other. This may sound easy, but it is effective. It is found that some lost their passion because they have never been appreciated but only instructed This led to cultural changes in communication from supervisors who have never appreciated to those using caring words with more encouragement.


ONE Krungthai Intranet Application, a Tool to Digital Banking

In addition to customers’ behavioral adjustment to be familiar with digital banking services, employees’ behavioral changes are more vital. To provide services to customers in the digital world, mindset and digital experience are required. KTB has developed ONE Krungthai Intranet Application, which greatly contributes to effective internal communication during the WFH period. One Krungthai application will keep employees updating information daily, provide them with facilities and HRIS, and organize an activity using the social media “supervisors’ hearts given to their subordinates/colleagues. Those receiving most hearts will be ranked in the top 100.


Culture Transformation Journey to Future Banking

KTB has adjusted work and internal culture many times to match future banking by dividing culture transformation into two dimensions.


The first dimension is to adjust work culture in line with digital banking through project transformation called workforces transformation consisting of 1) skill transformation, development of employees’ skills for current and future operations, 2) OKRs application to KPIs by taking into consideration not only organizational goals but also employees’ personal goals, 3) leadership transformation that is very significant because leadership and leaders play a great role in organizational transformation.


The second dimension is to adjust mindset and attitudes to provide future banking services successfully and sustainably. The question starts “apart from performance, what factor enables KTB to provide digital banking services in the digital banking age in a sustainable manner through the eyes of customers.? The results reveal that such factor is public trust, which means build public trust to KTB. From this point, the Krungthai Sustainable Program has been initiated.


There are key challenges in culture transformation.

1) Encouraging employees to participate in practices in accordance with desired characteristics from the top-down approach to defining ethics or core value in the form of bottom-up approved through brainstorming ideas from employees of all levels for the question, “Under the current situation, if banks are required to provide sustainable and reliable digital banking services, what virtues must they possess?” The answer includes five values: creativity, success, harmony, honesty, and society

2. Linking ethics and productivity

KTB received advice from Khun Vichai Assarasakorn, “Moral does not refer to only goodness but also a duty that everyone has to do.” Therefore, when you have a duty, you have to do best. The connection moral to efficiency and productivity must be processed through the four following topics: 1) financial grow 2) stakeholder collaboration, 3) process improvement, and 4) employees satisfaction based on the three principles: Foster, Prevent and Change.


Customers change, organizations adapt. HR can no longer operate at the same pace.

Following the change in the dimension of world context, customers’ demand and organizational business operation approach, the PMAT team asked about KTB’s HR transformation, Khun Suppawat stated that the existing HR operating system and practices have been planned for the future, such as coaching, competencies and skill. However, the method used may vary according to situations, e.g., engagement types, skill development and competency adjustment must depend on situations, e.g., online training. Performance appraisal must include online monitoring through the development of tracking systems along with application of KPIs and OKRs.


Motivating Talents and Encouraging Employees in Preparation for Adaptation as an HR Unignorable Task

HR workload has been increasing in accordance with the context of global society and impacts on business. The PMAT team asked Khun Suppawat two major issue prioritized by him and formulated as strategies for HR management in the next two years. His answer relates to 1) talent management apart from remuneration adjusted to match the market price and to meet the satisfaction to work with KTB and place importance to work life balance. As talent groups want challenging jobs, KTB will assign them to carry out key projects and rotate them to work in different departments to enhance their skills. The secondment policy has also been applied to rotate talent groups to work in bank subsidiaries to learn a wide variety of knowledge. They are also opened to share their views to others and what talent groups have learned was recorded as organizational knowledge management, and 2) mindset for employees as a whole so that they are flexible, as well as ready for changes and learning all time.


Voice from CHRO to Executives and HR Professional Colleagues

Finally, after gaining knowledge and experience from Khun Suppawat, KTB’s CHRO, they will be shared to other organizations, which are facing similar situations. We would like to end with what CHRO would like to pass on to executives and HR colleagues.


Khun Suppawat expressed that the Covid-19 pandemic has led to experience and learning that in the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity. As clearly seen, in normal conditions we cannot push something easily, for example, work from home, space sharing or communication adjustment despite BCP plan to cope with situations. In practice, the BCP plan cannot be used in time because it must be adjusted to suit the situation. However, the BCP plan is necessary because it is a start point to respond to situations. Leaders are important as they communicate with organizational practices, and they should rely on information to be used for decision-making in the crisis.


As for HR colleagues, please be aware that knowledge and experience are less related to our jobs. What we learn today may be useless or outdated in two days. If we can create a learning process and seek news and information, we will be able to cope with changes that always occur. HR plays a major role of a change agent. In case of any change, there may be resistance or questions. What makes organizational people open to accept changes relies on an example. Thus, before changing anyone, HR must serve as a leader.


CHRO Lens: New Way of Working after COVID-19 in five episodes have guided you to have a site visit of five leading organizations in Thailand through letters. We do hope that our readers will gain techniques, guidelines and hints on human resource management in the challenging situation, including ideas to extend your knowledge about human resource and organizational development to prepare for the next normal. The PMAT team would like to express our sincere thanks for CHROs from all organizations and promise that we will continue presenting beneficial content to HR colleagues. Please stay tuned for any topic in the future special interview.
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