PHILIPPINES companies and businesses need to focus on scaling up their efforts towards digital transformation and ensuring that workforce training matches the acceleration of technology as this can advance growth economy and development of the country, experts said.

Speaking at the two-day BusinessWorld Economic Forum titled “Revolutions 2022: Navigating the Changed World,” Alfredo Pascual, President of the Management Association of the Philippines, discussed ways to “re-engineer” HR strategies for the realities of the post-Covid-19 workplace.

Pascual was nominated Wednesday by President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to serve as Commerce Secretary.

He noted that businesses that depend on technology and knowledge have been greatly affected by the closures and health emergencies due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which have caused changes in the way businesses in all sectors and regions do business. This, while consumers have radically turned to online channels, and companies and industries have reacted in turn.

Even before the pandemic, technology had become an increasingly important part of the workforce across all industries. Businesses also saw technology as a way to engage customers, allowing flexibility in the workplace, and as a way to introduce automation and faster processes. The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated these adoptions and forced businesses to seek creative digital solutions so organizations can continue to operate remotely and continue to serve their customer base, Pascual said.

Global challenges, he pointed out, have helped drive a digital transformation that has impacted businesses across all sectors. Pascual, however, pointed out that while the digital transformation of Filipino businesses has accelerated due to the pandemic, the training of the workforce has not matched the acceleration of technology.

To stay competitive in this new way of doing business and in this economic environment requires new strategies and practices, he said.

“The response from companies is to be aware of the future of the workplace and they need to elevate the role of HR managers. Companies need to create a culture aligned with the changing environment and improve the means of human resources to improve their operations,” Pascual said.

He also highlighted how the pandemic has pushed businesses to adopt a “people first” mindset amid the growing role of technology in transactions across all sectors. This strategy, Pascual said, should be the top priority for Filipino businesses to ensure their workforce is not limited in skills and talent.

“We’ve seen expats (expats) being brought in to fill the gaps that can’t be filled by local talent. It’s a practice,” Pascual said.

Importance of communication, leadership

Additionally, he said businesses need to invest in upskilling their staff and training more business leaders who will help drive local economic growth. “One of the important skills of an effective leader is communication. They must be able to communicate the vision and purpose they are committed to. But that is just the beginning of communication. have a demonstration, an action,” Pascual explained.

He further spoke on the importance of capitalizing on leadership skills for growth and development in the business sector.

“Leadership requires us to look back, sideways and forward. We have lived and continue to live through difficult times. We have all the opportunities. We must foster closer ties between companies and stakeholders. No one isn’t safe until everyone is safe,” Pascual said.

During the forum, Martha Sazon, President and CEO of Mynt – Globe Fintech Innovations Inc., also shared some qualities that a leader should have in running a business or a business, either “being resilient, open and forward-looking”. “

Additionally, because the pandemic has changed the way the workforce operates given adjustments to their work environment, she said companies need to build a culture of transparency while being “more sensitive to others”.