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56.Transforming HR in the Digital Age: Insights from Mukta Anya, Chief HR Officer at Societe

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Podcast with Murkta Part 1



Are you ready to uncover the secrets of successful digitaltransformation in HR? In Part 1 of this captivating podcast, join Andrew Liew as he sits down with Mukta Anya, a seasoned HR leader with over 24 years of experience. Discover Mukta's inspiring career journey and her expertise in
driving digital change in the dynamic Asia Pacific region. Get ready to delve into the world of digitalization, learn about the challenges and opportunities it brings, and gain valuable insights into creating an innovative mindset within your organization. If you're curious about the power of digital
transformation and how it can revolutionize HR practices, this episode is a must-listen. Tune in now and embark on a transformative journey with Mukta Anya.

The conversation then focuses on the opportunities for HRleaders in the realm of digital transformation. Mukta highlights the necessity of digitalization in HR processes to increase efficiency and agility. She discusses Societe Generale's journey towards digital transformation, where 60% of their HR processes have been digitized. Mukta emphasizes the importance of
proper documentation, training, and keeping an open mind to market initiatives.

The discussion shifts towards instilling an innovation mindsetwithin HR leaders and their teams. Mukta advises leading by example and supporting employees' experimentation and failure. She also mentions the importance of creating an environment where employees feel safe to try new
things. Andrew agrees with the significance of walking the talk and creating a safe space for innovation.

When asked about challenges in kickstarting digitaltransformation, Mukta emphasizes the need for a solid business case and management buy-in. Feasibility analysis, clear understanding of goals,
long-term commitment, and having the right set of skilled individuals are vital
factors in successful digital transformation.

Overall, this episode provides insights into Mukta Anya's careerjourney, the importance of digital transformation in HR, and practical tips for instilling innovation and driving successful transformation initiatives.

[00:00:00] Andrew Liew: I think let's begin. First of allthanks for coming to the show, Mukta. Let me introduce you to my audience out there, who's gonna listen. So let me talk about you your story. So Mukta Anya is the Managing Director, the Chief Human Resource Officer. at Societe Generale which is a French investment bank, and she's a human resource professional with
24 plus years of experience in multiple industries and location in the Asia Pacific region.

[00:00:35] Andrew Liew: Starting her career with ISAGroup in Mumbai in the year after completing her Masters in Management Studies. She worked in Tata TD Waterhouse Securities and Tata TW Asset Management before joining Ogilvy and Mater as the talent head for Mumbai Advertising. In 2006, she joined Societe Generale in Mumbai as Head of HR for India and has been with them for the last 16 plus years.

[00:01:06] Andrew Liew: She worked in Hong Kong as theRegional Head of Talent Development and Inclusion since 2010 and as Head of HR for Southeast Asia for Societe Generale. In Singapore for four years before being appointed as the CHRO for Societe Generale Asia Pacific, which is now
based in Hong Kong. So she is a certified coach, accredited by the International Coaching Federation.

[00:01:32] Andrew Liew: She's also a Global Fellow inTalent Management by Walton University, and a Global Talent Management Leader
with Certification in Diversity and Inclusion, MBTI, FIRO, B, experiential
learning, H. R. audit, competency mapping, and leadership development. But not
only that, what else interesting is that she's a published author with four books
till now, which is Walton Tautz.

[00:01:58] Andrew Liew: Music Hong Kong whimsical times and crisscross a medley of thoughts.

[00:02:10] Murkta Anya: Thank you, Andrew. It's apleasure to be here.

[00:02:13] Andrew Liew: Yes. So perhaps even though as Ishare with the audience about your profile, It will be very interesting to hear
from Your own voice in terms of please tell us about your career journey yeah.

[00:02:30] Murkta Anya: My, my career in HR actuallystarted not by choice. What I was always wanted to be was to be a doctor. So I.
I did my bachelor's in life sciences and then I also started my master's in
biotechnology. But then somewhere along the line I felt that the solitary life
in a laboratory maybe is not for me.

[00:02:53] Murkta Anya: So I got admission into master'sof management studies, which is equivalent to MBA. I wanted to take [00:03:00] marketing actually, but then I came acrossorganizational psychology in one of our subjects during masters of management
studies. Then it made me really interested in human resources as a field.

[00:03:11] Murkta Anya: And then I specialized in what itwas called at that time, personal management. So I shifted gears completely and
then started my career in human resources, as you mentioned in SR group. And I
still love the field so much that I'm here after Almost 25 years now. So this
is how I shifted gears from science to actually human resources.

[00:03:33] Andrew Liew: Wow that means we have somethingin common. I also wanted to become a doctor when I was young I think the
interesting circumstances was my dad was bankrupt and I had to take on the
shoulder of family and thereafter I actually transit through from a biological
degree to going out to get a job.

[00:03:55] Andrew Liew: Yeah. Very interesting. Yeah. Andso tell us based on your [00:04:00] current andrecent experience what are the biggest opportunities for HR leaders in the area
of digital transformation?

[00:04:10] Murkta Anya: For me, digital transformation isnow a necessity in human resources. We cannot rely on manual processes. There is
so much operational risk which are related to that. And also, to be agile, you
do need digital transformation. We started in Sok Chen in 2010 in Asia Pacific,
where we decided to look at for example, looking at offshoring, but also
looking at digitalizing some of our HR processes.

[00:04:40] Murkta Anya: The journey started then withsystems which were, some of them were global, some of them were regional. And I
can say that after 12 years we have managed to do at least 60% of our HR
processes are digital. We still have a lot to do so the process and the journey
is still continuing. But most of the things related to [00:05:00]onboarding, related to how we manage our compensation review, for example, the
succession planning, the training learning management system.

[00:05:09] Murkta Anya: All those things were put inplace from 2010 onwards. And as I said, we still have a lot to do, but 60%, I
would say, has happened in terms of digitalization of the various manual

[00:05:22] Andrew Liew: Like I said 60% is actually a lotfor a very big organization like Societe Generale, right? And we also have to
bear in mind that it was the COVID 19 period for the last two years, especially
when you're in Hong Kong.

[00:05:37] Andrew Liew: There's so many things going on.So I salute you, first of all. I think along the way, I'm also interested to
know, like in the course of doing that digital transformation, that 60%, what
would Things that you personally learn as a person or as a HR leader that you
would have wished you would have [00:06:00]known earlier Plenty of things we all learn from our experiences.

[00:06:03] Murkta Anya: For us also, it was trial anderror. We made mistakes. One of the things that I learned was that there is no
substitute for or there is no, there are no shortcuts in life, huh? If you want
to do digital transformation, you have to spend time in making sure that you
first document what you have clearly.

[00:06:21] Murkta Anya: And what is it that you want as arelay, then you need to have people who are committed to doing that as well as
are proficient in it. So training and development for HR staff, whenever we are
making any changes, I think is extremely important. And this is one thing which
I learned that before we actually go on to any big change that we are doing or
implementing a new thing, you need to really train the staff who are involved
in implementing it.

[00:06:50] Murkta Anya: They have to understand whythey're doing certain things. What is the indication if little things go
haywire? It can have a very big impact. So for me, I think that is the most
important [00:07:00] thing that you have toreally prepare. Preparation is key, and after that you can make sure that the
things are going in the right direction.

[00:07:07] Murkta Anya: So that I think, for me, is oneof the most important thing. The other thing is really looking at what's going
on in the market. Keeping an open mind as a HR leader on what are the various.
Initiatives which other companies are doing, or what is coming out in the
market, is this something that suits us, doesn't suit us.

[00:07:25] Murkta Anya: So that a suitability assessmentis quite important and I don't think we can delegate it that much. As a HR
leader. We do need to be involved whenever we are looking at some major
initiatives that has to be done. It requires a lot of efforts in terms of
investing time and energy in meeting.

[00:07:44] Murkta Anya: new people, understanding what isgoing on in the market, trying to see whether it will work or not. So for me,
it's like a, it's like a innovative mindset that we need to have as HR leaders.
If you want to really transform the way we work not only digital [00:08:00] transformation, but also It's a mindsettransformation for me.

[00:08:03] Andrew Liew: Like you said having the mindsettransformation, can you advise us, like, how can HR leaders instill the
innovative or innovation mindset for its people?

[00:08:17] Murkta Anya: For me, this is leading byexample if I am a HR leader and I do want to Have my team think of innovative

[00:08:27] Murkta Anya: I have to walk the talk. So thatmeans I have to attend meetings, try to see if things work or not. Try to bring
them, use it myself. For example, if it's a new technology for learning, for
example. Use it myself, give my feedback. If I'm not doing it, why will other
people be inspired in the team?

[00:08:44] Murkta Anya: So I think that's first thing,which is walking the talk and really adopting the thing myself first before it
goes down to people. The second is really supporting people, giving them some
time to experiment and [00:09:00] supportingfailures. If something doesn't work. It's okay. We can always try.

[00:09:04] Murkta Anya: I think trial is necessary. Sothat kind of psychological safety is very important for the team to know that
they try something. Even if it fails, it is fine. There is somebody to back me
up. And I think that is very important. And if that kind of security is there,
that kind of conducive environment is there, employees would look at things.

[00:09:25] Murkta Anya: The other thing is sometimes youhave to also guide people into doing these things. So attending seminars
attending demos, trying to look at new things, doing a pilot for new things,
all this. Has to be done so that it becomes a way of life. And you can't, of
course, force people to become innovative.

[00:09:45] Murkta Anya: But what you can do is create anenvironment where people feel that it's safe to experiment and try new things.

[00:09:51] Andrew Liew: Yeah. I totally love the way thatyou mentioned about by walking the talk, trying out the new ideas or experimenting with the technology to takea leap. And the most important thing, like you said, it's to create an

[00:10:07] Andrew Liew: Where people feel safe toexperiment to intervene. Now, having said that, about this providing a psychological safety net for people to actually experiment. What are the Concrete tips or action step that you think that HR managers or HR leaders can
actually take. Because it's often easier said than done.

[00:10:31] Andrew Liew: Whereby I give you a goodexample. When I was in a very big corporate environment. The top management
always says that don't worry, it's just... Do any new ideas as long as within
the regulatory boundary, whether it's in a bank or it's an airline or whether
it's in a consulting firm. However, when I start doing some of these things and
start to show to the top guys, hey this idea I've tried it, it seems to get
some [00:11:00] traction in reducing cost orreducing reason, increasing revenue.

[00:11:03] Andrew Liew: Somehow or another. The feedbackis Andrew, why are you wasting time on this? Go back to your what they call it,
a business as usual, BAU activities, and just go and grind out with it. What's

[00:11:16] Murkta Anya: view on that? My view is that asdecision maker, if the leaders are decision makers, they should be open to new
things, whether you're doing it on a.

[00:11:25] Murkta Anya: small scale as a pilot, but atleast we should try and if one of my employee comes to me and tells me, Oh, I
have this new idea should we try to do it? I would be very willing, frankly, of
course, as you said, we have to see the feasibility and it meets some
requirements, et cetera. I will be. That one of my employees coming up with new
ideas and for implementation.

[00:11:47] Murkta Anya: I think leaders should be openminded about it. We have to come out of our ways of the way things are being
done here this too. How can we make it better? Or if there is something new,
can we [00:12:00] really? Do it. If we can't doit on a large scale, because there's a lot of things involved, money involved,
effort involved.

[00:12:06] Murkta Anya: Can we try it on a small sampleand see it will also encourage the employee and it will, and in this process,
we might also get something which is new. I am very much in favor of. trial and
error and of course on a, in the beginning on a smaller scale so that we can
try and we can see whether we can scale it up further.

[00:12:25] Murkta Anya: But for me, I would definitelyencourage the employees. And especially if people are coming on their own with ideas, that's it's like a dream come true, That's brilliant. Like I'm sure that after this podcast, a lot of people will start calling you out and say. I want
to join SOCGEM because I'm from that area, so coming back to the next
interesting question as you mentioned you were doing the course of digital
transformation share with us the the start what were the the challenges to
kickstart digital transformation like do you need to have management buy in?
What was the story to entice your people [00:13:00]to Or take risks or to jump in in a way.

[00:13:03] Murkta Anya: It has to be a business case,frankly. Any digital transformation is not just for the sake of it. It has to,
of course, show whether, how much manual time. We are going to be saving
because of that and it's short term, but not also longer term how much are we
going to save for the bank or for the company by digitalizing a certain

[00:13:25] Murkta Anya: So I think that is that is quiteimportant, the business case for me, because without that, of course, we need
to have the buy in from the top management for that, because digitalization
takes investment. Yep. And if it is not giving us the returns, there's no point
in doing it. So for me, yes, before any digital transformation, there has to be
full feasibility analysis in terms of whether it's going to, what return is it
going to give us?

[00:13:50] Murkta Anya: Yeah. What are we trying to save?Is it the turnaround time? Is it the cost? Is it something else? It has to be
very clear before we even get into [00:14:00]it. Because once you get into it, which is an invest costly proposition, there
could be teething troubles which are going to be there. And in the beginning
you might think in the first one or two years, Oh, my God, why did we do it?

[00:14:13] Murkta Anya: It's better that we were doing itin a manual way, which was much more efficient and this. But you see the
returns later on. So you have to be very clear that you do you have that kind
of a patience to see it going through and you see the results after. The gestation
period. It could be six months, nine months, 12 months or basically two years.

[00:14:34] Murkta Anya: So for me, long term commitmentis very important for any digital transformation, clear understanding of why we
are doing what we are doing, the investment that we are going to put into And
having the right set of people, even after digital transformation to make sure
that it is continuing well is extremely important because if you do not have
that right set of people with the right skills, it can fall flat so it's [00:15:00] not like you do it once and theneverything goes on automated.

[00:15:03] Murkta Anya: It doesn't work like that. Youstill need to have oversight. You still need to have people who can maintain
what it is, but it does work in majority of the cases, it does work.

[00:15:13] Andrew Liew: I'm so happy that you mentionedthat it, you, some of your, or most of your transformation works like you said.
It's also about having the same group of right people to keep going in it