Beond Acceptance and Rejection: The HR Practitioner's Grand Influence

The following is an excerpt from The 50: HR Leaders Reimagining the Filipino Organization. Authored by Patricia Yap, this chapter is titled, “Beond Acceptance and Rejection: The HR Practitioner's Grand Influence.” In it, Jhayner Bufi, the Chief People Officer of LBC, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in tackling issues. 

In the rapidly evolving digital economy, the HR practitioner needs to be more assertive, strategic, and business-minded with their role—just like LBC Chief People Officer, Jhayner Bufi.

Prior to being part of the executive committee of LBC, Bufi said that he came from an organization where his role was only focused on fulfilling the conventional duties of an HR professional. Fortunately, after years of experience, Bufi realized there was room to go beyond the typical roles of HR. “HR is not always about hiring and firing,” he said.

His assertive but humble demeanor, business-minded focus, and strategic view helped him minimize organizational structural problems during the first year of his tenure. He established changes without minding company politics and justified his actions by being consistent with organizational goals and businesses directions.

A case in point is when he learned of a policy that guaranteed a fixed salary increase regardless of company performance. “I traced back how much growth the salaries were in already and compared that to the revenue growth. Eventually, I found that if this company continued this practice—and considering its historical and projected growth—it wouldn’t make a single profit by the third year. I had to do what was needed to do at that time— remove the guarantee and install a merit- and profit-based performance management system.”

According to Pam Paquet from the HR Reporter, assertiveness is a common quality present in solid-performing HR leaders. Those HR leaders who were more assertive, engaged, and involved were successful, said Paquet. And Bufi was one of those people. He had the confidence and courage to speak up when he felt the situation needed him to. Do not confuse this assertiveness with aggressiveness; according to Bufi, this did not mean he just outright says whatever is on his mind.

“Logic is your weapon. I do a lot of systems-thinking. I don’t just come in basically with a few or some certainties. If I’m unsure, it would translate to the initiatives I’m trying to set for the company. I only speak when I’m certain and have reviewed and done my research on how my thoughts will impact the company,” said Bufi.

Once Bufi has done his research, he then works on applying his learnings. “The balance between forces favorable to employee attraction and retention and business profits should not tilt so much in the former. Categorizing talent will help an HR leader design his total rewards system. More for the performers and calibrated down to the least performing talent,” Bufi continued.

This need to strike a balance is also applicable to LBC, especially since they have over 137 10,000 employees in over 20 countries. Bufi has found that despite the size of LBC’s workforce, employees are some of the most engaged he’s come across in his career.

Right now, what Bufi wants more than ever is to see young HR leaders gain the same calibrated assertiveness and confidence. Bufi has been almost everywhere in the Philippines and other countries, providing talks and sharing his philosophies and principles to other HR practitioners and business leaders. He attributes his knowledge and job experience to these opportunities.

Though Bufi’s impact is evident in LBC, he knows that any and all organizations will always face unexpected challenges. But Bufi is confident that HR leaders can tackle any issue that comes their way if they remain strategic, business-minded, assertive, engaged, and involved.

“A lot of HR leaders are young and idealistic. I’m challenging the way they think for themselves because they always have to think about the wider business, and not just themselves, their HR team, or just one facet of an organization,” said Bufi.

 

To get more insights from other HR leaders like Jhayner Bufi, please check out the full book, available for purchase here


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