Way’ Toward Efficient People Management

Human Capital spoke to Sumit Sabharwal, Head of HR, Fujitsu Consulting India, the IT services consulting arm of Fujitsu Group who elaborated us on the “Fujitsu Way”, an initiative that is focused towards better people management and greater organisational synergy among all the Fujitsu offices across the globe.

 

What is “Fujitsu Way” and what does it mean to Fujitsu as a brand? How does it bind the organisation together?

 

The Fujitsu Way embodies the philosophy of the Fujitsu Group, our reason for existence, our values, and, the principles that we follow in our daily activities. Based on a thorough understanding of its elements, we fully embrace the Fujitsu Way so that our conduct naturally reflects its spirit and intent. We use the Fujitsu Way to guide our actions especially when confronted with difficult decisions. We believe that by conducting our activities in accordance with the Fujitsu Way, we maximise the value of the Fujitsu Group, and promote a unified direction, better serve our customers and business partners, and, enhance our contribution to the communities in which we operate and to the society as a whole. As a brand, through our constant pursuit of innovation, we aim to contribute to the creation of a networked society that is rewarding and secure, bringing about a prosperous future that fulfils the dreams of people across the globe.

 

What does Fujitsu Way mean to the external stakeholders? What is the learning that is imparted to them?

 

Fujitsu Way becomes a key component of being an active member of the society to the external stakeholders. We comply with all the laws, conform to social norms- considered to be fair, and, remain conscious of the basic manners and courtesies appropriate to each location. In addition, we are responsive to and act in accordance with the needs of the society. It is in our consciousness that we are representatives of the Fujitsu Group and act appropriately.

 

We see our business partners as invaluable contributors, enabling us to add value to the products and services we provide to our customers. We seek to build close relationships with our partners, working to create mutual benefit and learning from each other for the long term. We also aim to continuously increase corporate value and meet the expectations of shareholders and investors by achieving long range sustainable growth and profit, and, by pursuing strategic business expansion and focused management, while maintaining a sound financial standing. We enhance our management transparency by appropriate and timely disclosure of our business activities and financial information. This ensures that investors and shareholders understand how we are performing in enhancing our corporate value.

 

As good business partners, we wish to enhance each other’s capabilities, aimed at the common goals of sustained growth and prosperity. We work with our business partners to ensure that our entire supply chain maintains the highest standards for human rights, fair trade, environmental protection, regulatory compliance, workplace health and safety, product quality and safety, information security, and, all the other requirements in fulfilling our social, environmental, ethical and legal obligations. In meeting our business objectives, it is important that we follow each step of the “plan, do, check, and act” cycle. Each step of that cycle, however, is premised on going directly onsite to the source of the problem, listening to them in the actual environment, and evaluating the situation. At each step of the cycle, we continually check the actual situation, confirm it with our own eyes whether any issues have emerged, determine how to resolve them, and, use this understanding to plan the next actions. We believe that no matter how sophisticated the knowledge, or, brilliant the theory we may have, its usefulness depends on how well it is applied on the basis of our first-hand understanding of the situation.

 

In Quotes “Fujitsu Way becomes a key component of being an active member of the society to the external stakeholders. We comply with all the laws, conform to social norms- considered to be fair, and, remain conscious of the basic manners and courtesies…”

 

As an HR leader, how important is a company’s philosophy and structure in day-to-day activities?

 

As an HR leader, a company’s philosophy and structure in day –to –day activities are necessary to integrate and provide a common vision and goal to all the employees. A corporate culture that places great value on the pursuit of newer possibilities hitherto unimagined, and, brings them to fruition has been the foundation of the Fujitsu Group’s success since its inception. In an increasingly competitive world, in which the pace of change continues to accelerate, the Fujitsu Group strives for continuous innovation. Each employee rises to the challenge of creating a new value amid changes in the management environment, technology, society, and the marketplace.

 

With a spirit of challenge, we are committed to the continuous creation of new value. We endeavour to utilise our abilities and that of the organisation to achieve targets that seemed unattainable. While there are risks and difficulties in aiming for the highest goals, we persevere and strive for excellence without compromise. The accumulated wisdom earned through our efforts helps us overcome obstacles and acts as a driving force for our growth. Keeping in mind the value of time, we act quickly to achieve our goals. In our everyday work, while following correct procedures, we seek optimal processes to ensure efficiency. We are prepared to accept change and react with swiftness and flexibility. Having a “spirit of challenge” means setting goals that stretch our capabilities and encourage us to maximise our efforts.

 

In Quotes “While there are risks and difficulties in aiming for the highest goals, we persevere and strive for excellence without compromise. The accumulated wisdom earned through our efforts helps us overcome obstacles and acts as a driving force for our growth.”

 

How does Fujitsu Way fall into place from a global perspective?

 

Advancements in Information Technology (IT) have turned people’s dreams into reality. These unceasing advancements have given rise to a global networked society, bringing major changes to the business world, our personal lives, and society. Without IT, the modern world would cease to function. In providing IT infrastructure solutions to underpin our modern world, the Fujitsu Group seeks to create an environment where everyone can have an equal share of the benefits of a networked society that is rewarding and secure. Through the constant pursuit of new possibilities enabled by IT, the Fujitsu Group aims to continuously create new value, bringing about a prosperous future that fulfils the dreams of people throughout the world.

 

Our aim is to accelerate business execution throughout the organisation. Timely business execution further enhances customer satisfaction, and is a force to create new business opportunities, and strengthen the competitiveness of the Fujitsu Group. Teamwork is not limited to collaborating with other team members in our own division. It extends to collaborating with other divisions within the Fujitsu Group, and, it is here that team leaders play a particularly important role in promoting effective teamwork across organisational boundaries. By effective communication and cooperation with other divisions, and, by going beyond just considering the benefit to our own divisions, we promote the best interests of the Fujitsu Group.

 

How does Fujitsu Way impact employee engagement?

 

In the Fujitsu Way, the term “employee” refers to everyone working within the Fujitsu Group. We respect diversity and support individual growth. The Fujitsu Way embarks us on a path that cherishes our employees. We believe that employees are our most valuable asset. By combining the talents of employees; each with their own unique qualities and way of thinking, our corporate value increases.

 

We, therefore, respect the diversity of our employees. We also support our employees in their efforts to enhance their capabilities and develop skills through their work, so they can achieve individual growth. We believe in enhancing the existing skills of our employees by providing multiple trainings, and, focus on bilingual training by teaching them Japanese, so that they can have a broader outlook and opportunities in Japan, and develop a closer bond with their Japanese counterparts. We are committed to being an organisation wherein all employees are strongly motivated, have ample opportunities for advancement, and, work with utmost pride and confidence.

 

How does the unique work culture at Fujitsu help the teams across their global offices?

 

The unique work culture at Fujitsu is very helpful to teams across our global offices since communication is a key component. This implies having empathy for others, listening to their opinions, and, respecting their feelings, besides sharing information and knowledge, so to strengthen mutual trust. Through active engagement in the society and improved communication, we seek to be valuable members of our communities across the globe. We continuously innovate and transform our business processes through Field Innovation, thereby developing added value for ourselves and our customers, and, contributing to their business innovation.

 

We make use of the methodology of Field Innovation for improving business processes by allowing the key elements to be visible, and, ensuring interaction between people, processes and IT, allowing us to identify opportunities for innovation using our talents and know-how. In order to successfully support a rewarding and a secure networked society, we will relentlessly pursue quality improvements to ensure continued trust of our customers and society. We need to be cooperative, and, on a global basis, closely share knowledge and expertise within each of our organisations. An illustration of such cooperation is the common platform initiative to provide standardised services to customers globally. This includes the industrialisation of services and standardisation of delivery. These initiatives allow us to provide integrated services in a consistent manner from any service organisation. 

 

How important is the role of the HR in instilling corporate values and ethics in a cross-cultural work environment? How is it being managed in a multi‑cultural organisation like Fujitsu?

 

Values and ethics are the foundation of an organisation and at Fujitsu it is in our DNA. In a multicultural organisation like Fujitsu, we live up to our values and ethics in that we focus more on patiently listening to the views of people of other nationalities that we interact with, and, ‘respect’, our fundamental way of working, is the driving force for the same. The value that we demonstrate to manage a multi-cultural organisation and environment is driven through respecting the views of others. In a cross-cultural work environment, we also need to be appreciative and encouraging towards various views and ideas of people and understand that we do have people coming with different values and principles.

 

While we drive a common value of listening to the opinions of each other, we also need to respect the values and principles that the other person is bringing to the table. E.g. A and B, two employees of my organisation may have two contrasting viewpoints. ‘A’ may carry the feeling that a dress code is vital to ensure discipline and respect in an organisation, while ‘B’ may be feeling that allowing a casual attire at work would generate a feeling of independence and empowerment in the employees’ minds. Here, both the viewpoints are important for us. In such a case, we listen to both, and, ultimately, we do what works best for Fujitsu as an organisation. However, the fact that every person’s views are taken into consideration makes them feel valued and important. 

 

Has there been an impact on the learning programmes after the Fujitsu Way has been in practice within the organisation?

 

Fujitsu Way puts utmost priority on employees and their overall development via learning programmes and training sessions. Fujitsu Way has given a boost to these priorities as we believe that our employees should grow with the organisation while we stand witness their growth. Employees’ learning and implementing what they have learnt adds thrust to the organisations’ goal. Yes, there has been a significant impact on our learning programmes due to the Fujitsu Way. However, our definition of impact is through the awareness and behaviour demonstrated by employees. We are witnessing enhanced employee participation in employee forums, thus improving the inclusion and belongingness within the organisation. Today, we have more than 90% participation in an employee satisfaction survey which implies that the impact given in Fujitsu translates to satisfaction.

 

Change is the only catalyst for organisational transformation. How do you weigh this statement from a HR perspective and how has change impacted in Fujitsu?

 

From my perspective, change is one of the key parameters and not a mere catalyst. Again, it is one of the key contributions towards shaping an organisation. Today, nine out of ten CHROs or CEOs say that there should be an organisational change once every two years. And, in order to manage this, it is important that HR acts as a champion more than a catalyst. HR must act as a champion to manage and address that change, and, should assume the driver’s seat in the organisation. At Fujitsu, it is our endeavour to focus on one of the strong values of the organisation, which is continuous improvement, and, it is directly associated with change. Our very objective is how we bring about this change in a smooth manner, so that it does not disturb the equilibrium and ecosystem of the organisation, and over time, we have made sure that it becomes a part and parcel of our working style. Secondly, change can be associated in Fujitsu with our ability to work in an agile environment - that is why we are focused on how to make our workforce agile, and, how to make them ready to work on multiple projects and situations simultaneously. Change for us is directly connected to agility and it is reflected through our value system.

 

In the wake of gig economy and temp workforce increasing their footprint, how does HR function as the custodian of corporate values, vision and mission? Please illustrate with citations from Fujitsu?

 

Gig Economy is the reinvention of a practice that has been accomplished for centuries and its integration with technology has tremendously transformed the scenario of the job market worldwide. Looking at the current market scenario, I believe it is undergoing a paradigm shift, especially in the way it functions and offers well-paying secured jobs. Along with well‑paying jobs, flexible work is slowly becoming a preferred option for employees. An increasing number of people are looking for varied, freelance work opportunities, and technology is providing a platform to such gig workers who are seeking a job that aligns with their skills, timetables, and financial requirements.

 

Besides flexibility, mobility, and digitalisation, other factors of requirements from both workers and employers are contributing to the rise of the gig economy. In many cases, employees are looking for greater diversity and flexibility within their roles, while in others, organisations wish to fill in the talent gaps and desire to opt an expert just for a particular period. It has been observed that many people are making the shift into freelance/contract work after getting inspired by companies like Uber and Airbnb. These companies have altered debates around how people can earn money and, more importantly, how they can grow by being their own boss.

 

In today’s vibrant business environment, powered by globalisation and technological innovation, it is becoming easier to work on projects or contracts across an extensive range of sectors like servicing, hospitality, ecommerce. Flexibility and expertise are the necessities of an on-demand job role for the employees in these sectors. With emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and automation, freelancers will be hired in applications and infrastructure industries. In order to cope with gig and traditional economy, Human Resources teams need to firm up their recruitment process. There is a constant need for them to be agile, in order to reduce complexity and adapt to the ever‑evolving business needs. In the end, every company’s aim is to achieve their targets by making their internal and/or external team work at their best.

 

At Fujitsu, we are open to the gig economy as long as the individual’s work and growth stays aligned to the company’s vision. We believe every individual brings a large variety of knowledge and experience to the table, which is unique and can be beneficial for the organisation. Technology is the prime element that has attributed to the success of gig economy, it has digitised a majority of the tools and has changed the way we work daily. In the days ahead, gig economy will not replace traditional models of work; instead, companies will leverage both models to maximise output from workers on their payroll, be it a full-time employee or an independent contractor.

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