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Business Unusual: Jasmin Pillay on how organisations can better manage emerging cultural transitions alongside spontaneous digital disruption

Written by Staff Writer

November 16, 2020

HR Director of Microsoft South Africa, Jasmin Pillay, is a strong advocate for taking a programmatic approach to cultivating organisations that are seeking out and amplifying the potential of their individual employees. She believes that “the HOW is important”, as South Africa now faces massive transformation and workplace culture shifts, propelling the HR function to greater heights. Her broad portfolio over the years has provided her with direct experience, across a variety of international destinations and multi-nationals, including experience with people management and matrixed business environments.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media sits down with Jasmin Pillay to discuss a host of HR-related topics, from the importance of embracing diversity of thought in organisations to long term investment in upskilling and supporting employees. Jasmin shares insight and valuable lessons that she’s obtained throughout her career at one of the world’s best employers, Microsoft, and sheds light on how to maximise the development of any organisation during Covid-19.

Key takeaways to listen out for in this podcast:

  • Organisations need to zoom in on circumstantial (individual) impact rather than generalise when restructuring their HR departments and practices.
  • We need to look into developing new tools and process for recruiting employees. It’s not about finding ‘the correct’ employee, but rather about nurturing a new employee’s potential.
  • Emphasis must be put on ‘culture add’, not ‘culture fit’ – we need to practice inclusive hiring.
  • It is essential to tap into new, unique perspectives – diversity of thought and perspective will ensure innovation, products and solutions.
  • It is vital, now more than ever, that organisations implement tools geared towards cultivating ‘inclusive capabilities’.
  • Coaching and mentorship is critical for both one’s career and personal life.
  • Manager communities are pivotal for role-modelling a ‘growth mind set culture’, and need to be invested in continuously to equip managers with the necessary tools and behaviours for providing extra support to employees.
  • Companies need to adjust their performance philosophies to safeguard their longevity – hybrid nature of the workplace must be taken into consideration now.
  • The explosion of technology – its impact on SA must be embraced for future development.
  • Education and information must be elevated – businesses can bridge the gap by investing in technology that’ll be in the best interest if the organisation in the long run.

Jasmin Pillay is currently the Director of Human Resources for Microsoft South Africa, located in Johannesburg. She joined from PETRONAS Lubricants International (PLI) where she held various concurrent portfolios including being a member of the Regional Management Leadership team as Head of HR for the PLI Africa & Middle East cluster; member of the PLI Global HR Leadership team as Global HR Lead for HR Information Systems & Process Alignment, Regional Cluster HR Lead and Head of Global Change Management for Transformation; member of the PLI Global Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) Leadership team heading up global Change Management.  Jasmin was identified as a Global Influencer for the PETRONAS Downstream business for Organisational Design, Effectiveness in Performance and Culture Transformation supporting Business Transformation. Her time with PETRONAS included a secondment to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she spent time serving Group and Divisional businesses.

Jasmin’s experience also extends to start-up business where she lead People initiatives in the pivotal set-up of the global Division of Aspen Global Incorporated located in Mauritius and subsequent set-up in Dubai including support of other global destinations across Europe, Latam and Africa – at the same time fulfilling roles as Group Recruitment Manager and HR Manager for the holding company. Jasmin also started and managed her own HR Consultancy practice specialising in financial and executive talent management covering a global client base through a direct and indirect model of partner networks. Her contributions in the field of human capital and consulting was further cemented during her time as Regional Manager for the Appointments division of PricewaterhouseCoopers and as Branch Manager for Kelly Human capital in her earlier days.

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