Gemma Lee, Chief People Officer , Konica Minolta UK – The HR Director Magazine

We’re ambitious!  We have lots we want to do!
I’m Gemma Lee, and I’m the Chief People Officer for Konica Minolta UK. As a technology organisation, Konica Minolta’s innovations help businesses to shape the future, today, changing the way people conduct business and use technology to work smarter, faster, and better. Leading the People and Culture business area, my focus to ensure the people strategy is designed to enable growth and success for the future, whilst keeping the employee experience at the heart of everything we set out to achieve. My passion is to empower every individual within Konica Minolta to thrive, continuingly driving towards Konica Minolta’s aim of being the employer and partner of choice.
For me, a top employer is one that has the interests of its people at the heart of everything they do. Of course we need the right processes and practices in place, but I see them as the pillars that hold up the best employee experience possible. It is also about being a company with purpose, that grows and changes alongside the needs of its customers- this in turn provides an interesting and challenging place to work where everyone can feel a sense of belonging and thrive. Lastly it is an organisation that truly listens to its employees, and understands what they need and want from their employer and acts on this information.
I’m proud of many of the initiatives we have introduced over the last 12-18 months. It has been an incredibly challenging and difficult time, with curveballs being thrown at every corner. As we came out of the pandemic and started to adopt a new, more agile, way of working, we needed to ensure the connection we had as an organisation wasn’t lost. We introduced a weekly, all-company call, where every individual could come together, and connect with senior leaders. We cover business updates, welcome new starters, celebrate service milestones, recognise key business wins and have a fully open Q&A session. Feedback has been really positive.  Another initiative that I am proud of, is the on-going growth and development of our Employee Representative Groups (ERGs). Feeling a sense of belonging is incredibly important in the workplace. This coupled with a growing demand from employees to work in a fully inclusive workplace, gives us the evidence for the need for thriving ERGs and the ability for them to have true influence and impact. Vibrant – our LGBTQ+ network has gone from strength to strength, and is now a European-wide group, driving true change in our business and providing a safe space to learn, grow, and develop key allyship from both within and outside the community. From the Vibrant team, we’ve seen global events organised, bringing together key leaders from across our international business, as well as a steady stream of relevant and educational resources being shared – increasing awareness in a number of key LGBTQ+ topics. Our Balance ERG – our gender equality network, is already having huge impact influencing key policies and practices such as family leave, menopause and choice-based working, and finally our Breathe Wellbeing Network works to create a space where every individual in our organisation is educated and empowered to look after and own their own wellbeing.
We’re ambitious! We have lots we want to do! If you want to be and continue to be an employer of choice- the work is never done. We are constantly driving towards improved communication and connection, a more diverse workforce to bring new thinking and ideas, experimenting with new ways of working ensuring agility and choice, identification of current and future skills with a new early careers programme too. Data and Technology will play a huge part in the next stage of our employee experience evolution. How do we use the data points we have to really drive true change in our organisation. Understanding our key metrics, and how to turn that into action is something we are looking at right now, and will play a key part in aligning this to our wider business plans. Whether it is understanding skills gaps, performance management, recruitment trends, diversity and inclusion metrics, engagement levels etc. data will help us measure today, so we can change for tomorrow.
 
One of the biggest challenges for today as well as being fit for the future of our organisation is understanding the skills and capabilities, and therefore the gaps, in our business. Moving forward, we want to provide more innovation and idea shaping programmes to vary input into business decision and problem solving this year, so a focus on skills development and career growth remains key in 2022 – we want to equip our people to thrive. Providing projects that stretch our employee’s talents and internal mobility are critical for growth and we continue to focus on how we can enable our employees to find purpose at work. The first step to all of this, and potentially the most challenging, is understanding the skills we have and don’t have within our employee base. And then layering that with the skills we need to have for the future. If we want our people to innovate, what skills will they need?
We’ve all changed a lot since the pandemic. Over recent years we’ve seen a shift in what employees are looking for in their workplace. For example, we’ve seen a decline in the desire for heavily kitted-out workspaces, and offices with lots of attractive features, and instead seen more importance placed on workplace policies and benefits, connection, culture, and engagement on a day-to-day basis. This is something we continue to shape further as we are still learning about how people want to work moving forward and how we can respond to those needs, whilst always providing choice. The challenge we have is really understanding how people want to live and work post-pandemic. We know people want more choice and flexibility – how do  we provide that whilst balancing structure and security for those who prefer that. We know people enjoy working remotely – but how do we ensure we have suitable office space for those who want/need it, whilst juggling expensive real estate bills. The last two years have undoubtably accelerated future ways of working for us, and many organisations. But what comes with that is now the need to play catch up, and understand what the future actually looks like, and making sure it’s fit for all of our people, and their varying needs.
This interviewee was kindly introduced to us by ‘Top Employers Institute’ – the global authority on certifying excellence in employee conditions.’ Their organisation is certified as a Top Employer.
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