Ariff Mansor is the Assistant Director of Agency Organizational Development at Prudential. With over 12 years of working experience in the corporate world, Mansor currently focuses on organizational management of leadership, sales, and technical aspects of the company. He is also involved in a transformation project concerning the learning and development department, and their requirements necessary to support the agency. In an exclusive interview with Organizational Development 2023, Ariff Mansor shared his valuable insights on organizational developments in HR.
What are the pain points that your clients come to you with and what do most clients find challenging with it comes to organization development today?
When it comes to organizational development, handling change internally and externally simultaneously is the main challenge. Any change made with the perspective of the client is considered as external change. As the external changes take place, the organisation will face challenges such as gaps in communication between senior management and the team.
“The most important component in organizational development is to understand the direction a company should take. Individuals in this industry should understand the existing capabilities of current organizations and they should know how to map a tactical and strategic approach to achieving that change.”
Another challenge, from a leadership perspective, is to be honest about the bold decisions made in the organization. In my current employment, we employ these coping mechanisms for similar complications. To improve internal communications, we organise periodic catch-ups with the staff such that everyone is aware of the milestones and the direction of the organisation. On the leadership front, we are honest about the decisions we take; we have a transparent leadership model on our management team. We communicate the expectations, and we give room for thoughts, suggestions, and feedback, from both the employers and the employees.
According to you, what would you say are some of the technologies that help you streamline your organization development strategies?
When it comes to managing change within an organization, for example, uplifting or elevating the capability of people was challenging during the pandemic. It was difficult to send people to individual classes- but technology enabled them to have access to learning and empowered them with the necessary knowledge and skill.
Blended learning was also helpful. Access to an e-learning platform really helped people because they could take charge of their learning and development. If their working hours are from eight to six o’clock, they can have access to e-learning and learn on their own time. Through e-learning, they can engage with topics they want to focus on. We invest in that part of e-learning.
Another factor we improved with technology was communication. To boost communication, we have a one-stop platform through which we can chat with people, and that is easier for communication. It helps to mirror the real environment and the ambience that we had before the pandemic. Technology really helps with that.
Is there any advice you would like to share with budding industry leaders to address the challenges that might come their way?
The most important component in organizational development is to understand the direction a company should take. Individuals in this industry should understand the existing capabilities of current organizations and should know how to map a tactical and strategic approach to achieving that change. One should know how to eliminate the agency problem and motivate people to work. For example, one thing we want to focus on is having a blended learning approach, which means we can leverage technology to help us capitalise on the learning and development of our agency. Although people prefer the personal touch, we can have virtual progress.
There might be a paradigm shift and people might say they prefer a face-to-face session, but when it comes down to it, everyone has to use e-platforms to interact with each other, and it can be done well.
My suggestion is to understand the direction of the company, its capabilities, and see how we can close the gap by utilising a tactical and strategic approach. At the same time, we also have to see the costs- whether it is a one-time investment or a long-term investment. Those are the aspects to consider.