From The 50: Cheryll Ruth Lat-Agsaoay of SM Supermalls

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What could be the secret to the success of Agsaoay’s career, you may ask?

“I’ve always believed that HR has to be anchored on the business,” she explained. “HR has to be seen as a strategic partner for the growth of the business, not only an administrative support.”

When she arrived for her first day at SM Supermalls, Agsaoay wasted no time demonstrating what this meant. She devoted her first two weeks making her rounds, engaging heads in meaningful conversations to determine what HR should prioritize. Adopting her internal customers’ lens, she synthesized the interviews with a simple framework: what should HR start, stop, and continue doing.  

“I wanted to make it clear immediately that HR partnering meant understanding business and operations as well as challenging the status quo,” she said. To help this along, she took care to be transparent about the progress she made within the first 90 days on the job.

One thing she did was to come up with a three-year transformation roadmap for the HR function based on what she dubbed the “3 buckets” of innovating employee experience: Brilliance with Basics, Breakthroughs, and Best-in-Class. 

“Brilliance with Basics” is about getting the HR fundamentals right. This would be the time period where the nagging points in HR would be scrutinized and then fine-tuned to be as efficient as possible, whether that’s ironing out salary structures, clarifying roles, and more. 

“Breakthroughs” refers to making sure that long-standing issues and concerns related to HR service delivery are resolved and targets are stretched every time new milestones are achieved. Finally, “Best-in-Class” is about ensuring the quality of HR programs and services are at par with industry and market standards. This includes gaining local and international recognition for HR areas that have shown the best growth. 

According to Agsaoay, these initiatives helped build HR’s credibility as an asset to business growth. 

You can read the rest of the feature by pre-ordering The 50 here:

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