PMAT x Workday CHRO Interview

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

CHRO Lens: New Way of Working after COVID 19

Mr.Yotin Permpool

Executive Vice President-HR

Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives

We are facing challenge in human resource and organization management under the same pandemic situation, however; the different context make us have different point of view, same as what we have learnt from different executives from various organizations.

Having been the professional organization in human resource management with the key role to support knowledge management-PMAT is collaborating with Workday to develop a special interview series with CHRO, a key dynamic partner to drive workforce and organization. Featuring “CHRO Lens: New Way of Working after COVID 19”, there are 5 CHROs from leading organizations sharing their insight which we can apply those knowledge and practice in our organization.

Mr.Yotin Permpool, Executive Vice President-HR from Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives or BAAC is the guest of the day.

The traditional as well as large organization size are the key challenge for BAAC to change due to Digital Disruption while we need to keep the mission of being national bank for agriculturist in mind.

We are hearing from BAAC how BAAC drives the change to reduce the risk as well as increase business opportunity through human resource management.

COVID 19 One key point of change to Digital Platform Development

BAAC has mission to take care more than 4 million agriculturists who are BAAC client. Most of them live in rural area and 60% are over retirement age and they are not familiar with Digital Platform service when compare to the client from other banks that they are in the city, working generation and entrepreneur.

Even there is technology to facilitate driving banking business in Digital Disruption duration, BAAC still not be able to go to 100% digital. BAAC still operates the business under “High Touch Beyond High Tech” policy which emphasize on good customer relationship.

However, Covid-19 pandemic is the key force for BAAC to change since organization is unable to do any group activities, we need to keep distance instead of being close to each other. BAAC has bring in Digital Technology to facilitate business operation as well as client service. This ignites the agriculturist client to start using Mobile Banking and proceed the transaction through Digital Platform.

There is opportunity inside COVID 19 pandemic, there is the report of new client to BAAC. This causes from the unemployment workers from industrial sectors have moved back to their home town and turn to do farming.

The challenge under opportunity is

How does BAAC manage to meet the new client under Covid-19 pandemic

The 1st covid-19 pandemic caused employee worry since they have to deal with the situation that never happen before – changing from face to face client service to technology service. In the past, there was the plastic partition between client and staff, however; later on it was moved out due to client close service policy.

However, BAAC needs to bring this plastic partition back when there is COVID 19 pandemic including limited number of customer in service area. Before the pandemic, the banking area was utilized 20:80, 20% for staff 80% for service area. When social distancing is applied during the pandemic, the number of client in service area is reduced from 50 to 10 and this causes decreasing in product and service introduction as well as opportunity to find new clients.

When this new normal was first introduced, BAAC client did not understand since they trust in traditional banking transaction that involves face to face contact and present the document to bank directly. One different thing for BAAC client when compare to other bank is client go to bank as a group for example people in the same village come to the bank together.

One thing that BAAC concerns when there is the limited number of client in service is client waiting area. BAAC has allocated budget to purchase any facilities eg. tent, fan, mask, alcohol, temperature scan. Even this creates an increasing cost but when concern on the safety side for staff and client, it is worth to invest. This proves that BAAC can adjust and well handle for the spread of COVID 19 and so far there is no BAAC staff get infection from COVID 19.

In conclusion, BAAC understands why changing is needed. Since the change in situation and environment cause the change in consumer behavior plus the need to increase number of client, BAAC has bring in technology to service client as well as facilitate new client meeting. It is also support in the revision of product and service to match to client requirement.

At the first step, HR had involved in changing new way of work and client service safety, the committee was appointed later on to be able to handle the situation more effectively and emphasize on client service and employee concern.

Effective Work From Home and reduce BURNOUT SYNDROME in BAAC style

BAAC has applied 30% WFH policy for the 1st wave of pandemic and 50% WFH for the 3rd wave or if any functions can perform 100% WFH, those functions can be locked down and perform work at home. The experience in the 1st wave enable BAAC to design WFH format so when there was the 2nd wave of pandemic, staff can quickly apply the contingency plan without panic.

We cannot apply WFH format to every function. We need to consider Process Redesign. We have split the job for the back office and assign to employee to perform the task at home. For front office, we have shift rotation for working from home and working in the office.

BAAC has added activity to support effective WFH, every morning there is Good Morning campaign, employee need to do online log in for greeting and discussion. This is like Check in and in the evening staff will do Good Bye for check out.

People Skill for VUCA world and Next Normal

Human Resource Development Plan to prepare employee skill for VUCA World

VUCA World does not directly affect to BAAC client but the challenge is the increasing of new client from working generation

Since the majority of BAAC client is agriculturist so the change of VUCA World does not affect to client directly. The key challenge for agriculturist is natural disaster. Currently, there is positive factor for agriculture business eg. the need of rubber in international market, fruit – durian still have the demand in China which is the key export market.

The significant change for BAAC is client generation, the existing customer is in retirement age which accounting for 60%, another group is new agriculturist generation who is in working generation which bring in different production process to become more “Smart Farmer”. This generation has different behavior and need. They are willing to do transaction through Digital Platform and having more expectation for convenient and faster service.

When new generation come up with new concept and idea, how to have all employees stay well and get along

There is generation shift in BAAC. Previously, BAAC employee are baby boomer, they have been growing together with old client group, saying that they had worked together since they were young and pass the generation to become the parent. The new group of employee are GEN Y, GEN Z and account for 40%. The current status of BAAC employee compose of 60% baby boomers, 30% Gen X, and 10% Gen Y.

There is the difference in employee behavior and working style. Without training, Gen Y and Gen X can apply technology to reduce work load and increase value added to the job while baby boomer group pertains the skill related to High Touch Beyond High Tech. They are willing to perform customer service but unable to use technology to facilitate client.

BAAC human resource development road map has put the use of technology skill of staff into concern so BAAC has divided employee into 3 groups

Group 1 Technician

This group is related directly in IT role. In 2019 BAAC encouraged IT team to develop BAAC software program for using in BAAC business rather than buying software from service provider or hiring third party. The exercise also includes IT maintenance system.

Group 2 User

This group use technology for product design. BAAC has conducted Gap analysis for IT capability and the development in Hard Skill and Soft Skill.

Group 3 End User

This group is the largest group and performs customer service job. BAAC has started development and capability analysis in 2021. The challenge is this group scatter in every region and difficult to conduct in class training. HR has developed e-learning program. Nowadays, there are many e-learning programs that featuring not only individual learning but the trainee can have knowledge sharing to their colleagues. The training budget is allocated from BAAC at city level and center with 3,000 Baht/employee. The center will set and advise mandatory course eg. digital development skill, service, marketing. The other courses that deem fit to each employee can be selected by each department.

For the soft skill, BAAC emphasizes in mindset adaptation especially service skill. Even technology can help in providing better service but customer still need the service touch from staff that underlying in BAAC culture and image “Close to client and provide service as they are relative”. This culture may be overlooked by Gen Y and Gen Z so we need to escalate them to understand BAAC culture and the way of work in providing advice and support to client in agriculture who live in the rural area.


There are 140 HR staff in BAAC performing HR service, employee development. They has served 20,000 BAAC staff which mean each HR staff account for 1:1,400 BAAC staff so BAAC has introduced digital technology to facilitate employee self-service. The technology can support in reducing the work load and HR can turn its role to become more Business Partner.

The HR routine work eg. employee attendance tracking, staff welfare reimbursement, performance appraisal. These jobs are replaced by IT including some approvals that can be done through automation system.

Building Employee Digital Mindset for Digital Platform Service

To be able to serve client in the social distancing context during Covid-19 pandemic, BAAC has developed Electronics Loan Agreement to support government policy in releasing the loan offer 10,000 Baht to agriculturists who have received the effect from Covid-19. The borrower can do online registration to BAAC Family web page and BAAC will consider the loan approval from credit bureau record. If it passes the criteria, BAAC will approve for the loan request and proceed with online agreement before transfer money to borrower.

The change of traditional client service practice due to Covid-19 pandemic is the beginning of employee development for digital mindset and adapt in service behavior. BAAC has reprocesses the work module which part to be digital touch, and which part to be people touch, this can facilitate working process and make it faster.

Normally, financial institution always face with big data especially BAAC that mostly deal with client in agriculture sector. The pain point is there is not data analytic so we need to develop the data science which is responsible by Business Intelligent (BI) department.

When compare BAAC to other banks, the later have developed application to get customer behavior data and then after analyze the data they can develop product, improve service to gain good customer experience which help them to be able to response to client requirement.

The data gathering process at BAAC has not reached to that level yet. However, this is BAAC mission to make this process concreate and HR needs to develop and support back office team to be able to generate more data science.

If we look back to the past 3 years, technology has supported in several human resource management and development aspects especially manpower and welfare management.