Mario Calero Leyva, General Manager BAT GBS ENA
- What are the trends related to technology that 2022 will bring or will continue in our industry?
In 2022 the digital transformation is undeniably becoming a fundamental pillar that will significantly improve customer and employee experience, and at the same time drive process efficiency and revenue growth through a faster and more effective route to market.
In BAT, we are on a journey to integrate systems and focus on user experience, moving away from silo operations and segmented functional experience. Request management is a good example of focusing on a single experience tower to adopt a single request management tool for all functions and go from having a system of record, to having a system of engagement.
Another big trend is Big Data Analytics. There has been significant improvement in data visualization technology, plug and play machine learning and growth of data science as an enabler for fast decision making. BAT is also in this trend where the biggest enabler will be our Enterprise Data Platform, better integrating more and more of our data in a secure GDPR compliant environment, where richer cross functional analysis can be done.
In short, RPA, Intelligent Automations through Machine Learning, Cloud-based solutions, Blockchain, integrated platforms, Data Management etc. are all bringing huge opportunities for the shared services companies that are now becoming true digital and transformation hubs.
- How will they impact us?
BAT Global Business Solutions has become a solid business partner for the BAT Group that is not only supplying labor arbitrage but also driving process transformation and generating value through technology solutions and capabilities. This ensures that our solutions are not only fit for purpose but also offer the benefits of simplified self-services, that are intuitive and user-friendly for our customers.
- What opportunities and challenges should we expect?
We are seeing a need for new capabilities offered by programmers, data scientists, and data engineers. We are in a time in which we need to unlearn things that no longer serve us and upskill existing workforce to really seize the potential of new tech.
In the Finance space, we are embracing technologies that are improving the service delivery, like eInvoicing, machine learning OCR, auto-posting, auto-cash application and at the same time bringing us closer to our stakeholders through efficient collaboration systems.
In HR solutions, our focus is to deliver faster and better employee administration and recruitment for the organization. One of our latest projects is deploying a cloud-based workforce management portal that will increase user experience in a more efficient manner. These are complemented by the newly implemented Performance Management analytical and solutions that are providing KPI insights using AI – facilitating faster and better decision making.
- How do you plan to use them in your favor and to be ahead of the others?
We need to ensure we are offering an experience that is seamless, personalized, and thoughtful. We need to move from creating reports to providing actionable insights, from inputting data for self-service to approving pre-defined entry fields, from signing and scanning papers, to digital images and digital signatures.
We are living in a digital environment and it is important that organizations and individuals become more tech savvy, user centric, embrace technological change, and become more agile in their ways of working.
- The way of working, recruiting, onboarding and so on were probably the most affected by the pandemic. What do you think is here to stay and what new trends will emerge in 2022 when it comes to work?
I expect 2022 to be similar when it comes to the challenges experienced in recruitment and selection in the past year. Since the pandemic started in 2020, we have experienced the highest market dynamic seen in the last years, so our approach in meeting candidates has been proactive and at the same time with a focus on great candidate experience.
A strong advantage that BAT has is that it is already well known in Romania as a Global Top Employer. I believe we have an excellent Employee Value Proposition comprised of great career opportunities (both local and international) within the company, great people & culture, good benefits package, focus on learning & development and flexible working. I’m counting 10 years already with BAT and still enjoying every minute of it!
When it comes to our recruitment strategy in the past years we have improved & digitalized our candidate journey even more, so it’s easier and more convenient for candidates, our hiring managers and our recruitment team. For example, candidates can now complete their job application in less than 5 minutes, they go through fun gamified online assessments and they can complete a self-directed screening interview in their own time.
We are also still focusing on encouraging our employees to refer like-minded candidates, attend industry-related meetups, conferences, and online events as a place to promote our EVP & our roles. For certain roles, when we are looking for a particular set of skills, we headhunt for candidates who might want to join our team.
In terms of our Employer Branding strategy, I strongly believe that what sets us apart is the good experience our current employees are having, because for us it is equally important to retain our key people, keep them motivated and increase their loyalty with us as employer as it is to attract new talent. For this we are using social media to show the real life within BAT and the benefits of working with us. So, if you are not following us yet on LinkedIn, this is an invitation to check us out there!
Working from home will stay. We need to keep the benefits of family life and flexibility of working from home, at the same time considering the benefits of the engagement of working from the office.
We need to ensure we can still create relationships and camaraderie in teams even when not seeing them daily.
- What challenges will companies face? Does your company plan to implement new strategies for recruiting and retaining people?
As flexibility of work has become more common, the existence of location agnostic roles or fully WFH teams can result in collaboration challenges, less team engagement and slower tools and culture adoption.
Recruitment is now digital, simplified, and gamified, enabling for faster better recruitment, but retention will always be a critical element of all companies. In BAT we pride ourselves of offering our top talent fast – track career and top development opportunities.
However new generations will move faster and faster, so organizations will need to develop strategies that better deal with turnover. There needs to be focus on accelerating our capacity to grow talent from within, which means that onboarding and upskilling of teams needs to improve to achieve the experience that a person would have developed in one year to six months.
- Do you intend to go back to the office? When? What changes should your employees expect to see there?
Our employee’s safety and wellbeing, together with respecting government regulations, has been at the heart of all the decisions we made in the past 2 years; as such we are currently encouraging all employees to work from home. However, as COVID restrictions are lifted, we will pursue a Hybrid work environment. This will ensure that most employees will be able to choose to work from home or in the office, wherever they feel most productive.
Adopting a successful hybrid working arrangement requires a collaborative approach between the employee and the employer. It must be a combination of what best suits the employee preferences and company’s needs, based on the activities associated to each role & function.
All our GBS employees are empowered to make use of flexibility, provided their role is assessed as suitable for hybrid working arrangements. Working from office will revolve around “moments that matter” that are defined as events with the purpose to boost team engagement, employee collaboration, new hire onboarding and facilitate complex work.
I strongly believe this flexible approach will be beneficial for our employees and will also be a point of attraction for new hires.
- Are there any trends in the customer experience area? Do you foresee any change in the way our industry delivers services? Is customer satisfaction affected by the pandemic? What opportunities do you see for this year? Did your company find any new solutions to improve the customers’ experience?
We are all customers, and currently trends are being set by companies like Apple, Google and Amazon. All mobile friendly – with just a couple of clicks in an app and your fingerprint you get things done. A lot more effort is put into making things simple: a remote control used to have about 30 buttons, now you need about 6 and voice activation. Developing and ensuring on-demand support is also important – well trained bots need to be able to offer support on processes.
Learning in the flow of work is critical, as people have many things on their minds. Intuitive processes are a must for customer satisfaction, adoption and loyalty.
For our organization, the customer is the beneficiary of our services and at the core of our business: a consumer, a distributor, an internal BAT business stakeholder or our own employees. Our transformation objectives are focused on how our services are meeting the customer demands and how we are impacting their end-to-end experience.
To accelerate the transformation, last year, BAT Global Business Services has joined forces with Information and Digital Technology function to deliver cutting-edge technology, data and process solutions for the whole organization. Now known as Digital Business Solutions, the new function will deliver scaled digital solutions for BAT and will have a vital role as BAT continues to become a stronger, simpler, faster multi-category consumer centric business.
We did not see a decline in Customer experience during pandemic, simply because there was no disruption of our services. We are constantly monitoring and ensuring that our services are addressing customer needs in a timely manner and the tools that we implement are easy to use and deliver a positive user experience. Customer experience is always at the core of why we do process transformation and digitization initiatives.