Taking Employee Engagement Work to the Next Level
The following is an excerpt from The 50: HR Leaders Reimagining the Filipino Organization. Authored by Monica Padillo, this chapter is titled, “Taking Employee engagement Work to the Next Level,” In it, Em Doria, the Human Resources Head at LG Electronics Philippines, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in balancing compassion and reason to their employees.
It’s not often that employees are called by their previous employers to go back and work for them, but such was the case of Em Doria, the current Head of Human Resources for LG Electronics Philippines. And it’s no wonder she was asked to return to the electronics company as she had more than two decades of experience in the human resources industry; top management felt she had more to contribute after her first tenure from 2009 to 2013.
Now ten months into her second term as of this writing, Doria now focuses on various aspects of the HR role, especially organizational development, which she was able to successfully improve and maintain since her return.
“When I first joined the company, LG Electronics Philippines became the top LG Electronics subsidiary in terms of HR development programs, particularly in maintaining good employee engagement and retention. We were lauded by the headquarters for our efforts on those aspects,” Doria said.
One of the ways Doria was able to activate employee engagement efforts in LG Electronics Philippines was by encouraging employees to act as the company’s own brand ambassadors. In the past, employees were only encouraged to share LG product advertisements and commercials on social media. But now they were motivated to showcase the products themselves to their friends and family through their own video content and blogs.
“Employees now have their own LG products and share those to their friends and families through their own blog or YouTube videos, which is also where we can generate marketing mileage and brand visibility,” Doria said.
She emphasized that LG Electronics Philippines employees were not forced to endorse the products on their own; the workers themselves were excited for being given the opportunity to be the company’s brand ambassadors as they got to showcase their talent in blog or content creation as well. In the bigger scheme of things, letting employees work on product promotion creates a sense of belongingness.
“There are actually more LG employees who are committed and engaged now. For them, it's not all about the usual work in the company, but also having a sense of belonging,” Doria said. “You're not here just to work for accounting, for example, but you’re also here to be part of a culture of what the brand really is.”
Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most turbulent events in the internet era, LG Electronics Philippines was able to retain its employee engagement efforts by creating a standard of how employees should promote products on their own platforms. Through a set of mechanics, LG employees were able to post their content with clarity and uniformity.
According to Doria, LG Electronics Philippines encouraged employees to treat the promotional efforts as a fun learning activity that they could do with their families at home. They allowed their employees to post and share content that involved their families so that it would not feel like additional work for them. If they worked for four to six hours, they can use the remaining two hours of their shift working on their blogs and content.
It’s quite rare for HR to be involved in something that the marketing or communications department usually led, but these engagement efforts were in line with what the company’s managing director, Inkwun Heo, wanted to see from Doria’s leadership. Since being called back to work for LG Electronics Philippines, Doria was able to successfully create a working relationship with the leaders in terms of culture and attitude, helping improve employee engagement efforts in the company.
“He’s not only talking to me about employee welfare, but also advice on what product they can launch in the market, which I actually appreciate because I think very few of HR leaders are involved in the product development process,” Doria said.
Doria added that LG was the most distinct among her past employers as now, she is tested more on trust and patience when it comes to constantly communicating ideas to the company leaders. For her part, she conducts research to ensure that HR is informed and aligned with what the rest of the company is doing.
When establishing a good relationship with company leaders, Doria recommended other HR leaders to be transparent in what they feel and think is right for both the company and the employee.
“First, somebody has to be transparent. HR leaders should have the guts to express themselves to come up with good decisions because the management also heavily relies on our department,” she said, adding that HR plays a big role in managing what the business is facing or might face.
Her second word of advice is to balance compassion and reason―show empathy to employees while using reason to decide on what’s right, just, and fair to the entire organization. For Doria, having those two traits together made up what HR really is.
“It’s very important nowadays that HR leaders are strong enough to make decisions. At the end of the day, it’s not all about the business but the people. That’s the reason why HR exists in the company―to create balance,” she said.
To get more insights from other HR leaders like Em Doria, please check out the full book, available for purchase here.
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