Interview with Christina Thoma, Head of People and Place, Appway
Guiding Business Transformation at Institutions Worldwide. Appway empowers the service industries for digital transformation with its unique toolsets, community, methodology, and leadership. The leader in client on boarding for the financial services industry and recognized as a global player in the BPM space, Appway works with 4 of the top 5 wealth management institutions. Headquartered in Zurich with offices in Geneva, Ticino, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore, Appway and its award-winning technology serve over 165 service institutions and 420,000 individuals worldwide.
What means Human Resources for you in a tech company?
Working in a fast paced environment with flat hierarchies, distributed knowledge and smart colleagues who question and challenge old structures and management habits. Relying on collective intelligence – people are used to network and “hyper communicate”. Not being afraid to test and try out new things and forms of organization, continuous evolution! Once you jump on the Appway platform you start a journey, that’s valid also for our employees including the HR team.
One good example is around goal setting, we tried traditional MbO and it simply didn’t work for us, it was even counter productive since some teams got over-focused on their objectives and forgot to continuously adjust to changing reality or even the big picture. So, we moved back to one big vision and company wide goals, everyone knows what we want to achieve as a group. The target is very ambitious and everyone easily understands that it can only be achieved as a team, not by individual heroes. We strongly believe that this makes us more resilient to handle whatever the future will bring.
What do you think, what sort of skills and competencies do HR-departments need for the future?
With more people related data, predictive analytics and more automation in our field, HR must be closer to business and vice versa thus become more human again. In a world where talent is the key asset, the company culture and nurturing talent is a joined effort across the company, HR is the catalyst and facilitator. At the same time team structures are becoming much more fluid and project based, that has an impact on traditional organization design, people management and compensation models – HR will need more specialist knowledge or outsource parts they cannot deliver or where delivery doesn’t bring additional value back.
For the business this means strong leadership skills and clear leadership principles, which need to be grown in the organization with HR know how and support.
And a continuum will remain to find and to nurture the right talent, particularly the technical roles that are relatively new and rare on the market.
Will your HR-Budget increase or decrease in the future?
It’s not so much more or less money, it’s more about what’s really important to achieve our vision?
What sort of changes for the working with HR do you expect?
See also skills and competencies for the future.
Having and gaining more expert knowledge, being sparring partner and trusted peer at the strategic level of decision making.
Is industry 4.0 an important topic for your company?
Internally it means more customized tools that support our core business, communication and knowledge sharing.
For our clients it means we can help them to build work automation hidden behind a unique User Experience. We help businesses to on-board the digital future by building on top of their existing history and backend requirements – or in other words we help them to scale knowledge work big time – that’s a very rewarding mission to be on.
How do you measure the success of HR-departments?
Some classics like time to hire, turn over-rate, but also agility of our organization when it comes to transitions or growth ambitions. When evolving core values are loved and lived. How to stay cohesive and have impact and fun at work while being faced with diffusion of culture and values due to our expansion?
Christina Thoma, many thanks for this interesting interview !