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Quick 5 interview with Schneider Electric’s Charise LE

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Quick 5 interview with Schneider Electric’s Charise LE

April 16
09:15 2023

Being an HR professional was an early calling in Charise LE’s career. Before joining Schneider Electric, she gained experience at various international companies which were maturing their operations in China. In this exclusive interview with ETHRWorld International, Charise shared her views about the importance of building a strong employer brand, Schneider Electric’s hiring/people strategy in Southeast Asia and her personal goals as a CHRO of the future.

Quick 5 interview with Schneider Electric’s Charise LEAfter spending 15 years in a number of HR roles across Schneider Electric, in April 2020, Charise LE was appointed as the Chief Human Resources Officer. For her, it was truly humbling to be entrusted with the lead role of a function as progressive and engaging.

Being an HR professional was an early calling in her career. Before joining Schneider Electric, she gained experience at various international companies which were maturing their operations in China. In Schneider Electric, she found a company that embraces the spirit of being ‘the most local of global companies’. This is one of the attributes of their success, with a diverse workforce operating in over 100 countries with strategically placed geographic hubs, closer to their customers and employees.

In this exclusive interview with ETHRWorld International, Charise shared her views about the importance of building a strong employer brand, Schneider Electric’s hiring/people strategy in Southeast Asia and her personal goals as a CHRO of the future.

When discussing employee recruitment and retention, it is important to differentiate between employer and company branding. In your experience, what are the indicators of a good employer brand?

Firstly, I think it’s important to recognise the rising importance of employer branding. In an increasingly competitive job market, it is more critical than ever for us to attract, retain and position ourselves with talent. A great employer brand offers a clear and consistent story around the company’s values and mission, and gives both internal and external talent a strong understanding of what it means to work there. By actively showing how a company culture aligns with the needs and priorities of jobseekers, it also helps to engage and attract talent.
However, I strongly believe in the importance of backing up those words with action. We have so much data now that helps shape the direction and decision making of the content we share, but a company’s employees are its strongest ambassadors. By involving employees, by having them demonstrate what it’s truly like to work there, it makes the whole process authentic and can differentiate a company from its competitors.

The hiring and people strategy across industries have taken a 360-degree change. What is Schneider Electric’s hiring/people strategy in SEA? What is the picture for DEI hiring?

We have a global hiring strategy that allows for local empowerment to fit the needs of the local market and candidates. Our overall ambition is to create a fast, intelligent, and personalized experience – what we call ‘high tech, high touch, high speed’. It means continuing to digitise our recruitment process, leveraging data and analytics to better understand our brand-to-hire process, and deploying personalised campaigns focused on key talent segments.

Furthermore, throughout both the global and local approach, we are constantly assessing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). This includes upskilling our recruitment teams on impartiality and inclusiveness, as well as integrating inclusive practices into our recruitment flow and digital platforms to tackle bias and increase diversity.
In Southeast Asia (SEA), we have been invested in the region since the 1970s and are deepening that commitment. To capitalise on SEA’s young, educated workforce, for example, we are expanding our Graduate Program. We have also started to shift our hiring strategy to areas like Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence to support our ongoing business transformation. We have further established clear targets on gender diversity to push for a fairer representation of female hires and leaders in SEA moving forward.

With the recent cut back in budgets across the industry, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has taken a backseat. Is it true? What advice would you give HRs to keep pushing for DEI?

DEI is not simply a nice thing to do, it provides a critical competitive advantage. I am not sure if it has taken a back seat, at least not within Schneider Electric. Why? Because when you face a skills and talent shortage in some areas, you have to diversify your sources, and be creative in the profiles you need.

My advice is to always keep reminding people of the wider business imperative underlying DEI, which extends far beyond simply meeting HR targets. DEI enables companies to reflect the communities in which they operate. This, in turn, produces better performance, improves engagement from teams, increases creativity and boosts innovation. I would say to look at your data. What are the leading indicators? What type of data is missing? And let the data provide insights on where the roots of your challenges may lie.

At Schneider, we talk about ‘inclusion and care by design’. Because there is no sustainable performance without well-being, and because there is no well-being without inclusion, you need to hardwire inclusion and care into your processes and shape your expected behaviours around it. Ultimately, it’s about finding your own story around DEI so it resonates with the business and culture of your company.

What are your personal goals as a CHRO at Schneider Electric?

I have goals that I would like to impact both the HR function and Schneider overall. Firstly, we are on a journey to transform the HR function to be more strategic, more agile, and more consultative with the business. This also means simplifying the way we work and working smarter by focusing on where we, as HR professionals, can add the most value.

Secondly, it’s about continuing our journey to transform the overall culture and leadership of the company, with a focus on high performance and empowerment. A key part of this comes from trust – instilled both culturally and behaviorally. We must also continue to ‘hardwire’ soft concepts like inclusion and care into our processes, tools, policies and practices.

My final goal relates to how we attract, grow and engage future-ready talent. We want to be an Impact Company: the most innovative, inclusive, and caring company in the world for our employees, for our future colleagues and for our customers. And as the world gets more local, as more generations work together, and as technology and Artificial Intelligence continue to reshape how we work, we need to be progressive in everything we do, and proactively transform our culture and our skills.

Which strategic initiatives will help HR and business leaders devise a successful employer branding strategy in 2023? How can we make our employees our best advocates today?

In 2023, employer branding is a top priority for 86% of Universum’s World’s Most Attractive Employers. But it cannot be siloed as a narrow HR issue – to perform effectively, employer branding needs to align with an overarching corporate strategy. Doing this allows HR departments and business leaders to better measure, understand, and enhance the overall employee and candidate experience. This is especially important given the concrete connection between a company’s employee value proposition (EVP) and its recruitment and retention outcomes.

Employer branding is growing increasingly personalized, segmented, and differentiated as companies increasingly seek to attract specific talent to address particular roles. When it comes to retention, data from Glassdoor suggests that 69% of employees believe that it’s extremely important that their employer has a brand that they are proud to support. Employee advocacy tools for sharing content and ambassador programs are also critical in enabling the external market to hear authentic employee voices. Your employer brand is greatly influenced by current employees, referrals, word of mouth, and any existing relationships that your company has.

Quick 5 interview with Schneider Electric’s Charise LEAfter spending 15 years in a number of HR roles across Schneider Electric, in April 2020, Charise LE was appointed as the Chief Human Resources Officer. For her, it was truly humbling to be entrusted with the lead role of a function as progressive and engaging.

Being an HR professional was an early calling in her career. Before joining Schneider Electric, she gained experience at various international companies which were maturing their operations in China. In Schneider Electric, she found a company that embraces the spirit of being ‘the most local of global companies’. This is one of the attributes of their success, with a diverse workforce operating in over 100 countries with strategically placed geographic hubs, closer to their customers and employees.

In this exclusive interview with ETHRWorld International, Charise shared her views about the importance of building a strong employer brand, Schneider Electric’s hiring/people strategy in Southeast Asia and her personal goals as a CHRO of the future.

When discussing employee recruitment and retention, it is important to differentiate between employer and company branding. In your experience, what are the indicators of a good employer brand?

Firstly, I think it’s important to recognise the rising importance of employer branding. In an increasingly competitive job market, it is more critical than ever for us to attract, retain and position ourselves with talent. A great employer brand offers a clear and consistent story around the company’s values and mission, and gives both internal and external talent a strong understanding of what it means to work there. By actively showing how a company culture aligns with the needs and priorities of jobseekers, it also helps to engage and attract talent.
However, I strongly believe in the importance of backing up those words with action. We have so much data now that helps shape the direction and decision making of the content we share, but a company’s employees are its strongest ambassadors. By involving employees, by having them demonstrate what it’s truly like to work there, it makes the whole process authentic and can differentiate a company from its competitors.

The hiring and people strategy across industries have taken a 360-degree change. What is Schneider Electric’s hiring/people strategy in SEA? What is the picture for DEI hiring?

We have a global hiring strategy that allows for local empowerment to fit the needs of the local market and candidates. Our overall ambition is to create a fast, intelligent, and personalized experience – what we call ‘high tech, high touch, high speed’. It means continuing to digitise our recruitment process, leveraging data and analytics to better understand our brand-to-hire process, and deploying personalised campaigns focused on key talent segments.

Furthermore, throughout both the global and local approach, we are constantly assessing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). This includes upskilling our recruitment teams on impartiality and inclusiveness, as well as integrating inclusive practices into our recruitment flow and digital platforms to tackle bias and increase diversity.
In Southeast Asia (SEA), we have been invested in the region since the 1970s and are deepening that commitment. To capitalise on SEA’s young, educated workforce, for example, we are expanding our Graduate Program. We have also started to shift our hiring strategy to areas like Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence to support our ongoing business transformation. We have further established clear targets on gender diversity to push for a fairer representation of female hires and leaders in SEA moving forward.

With the recent cut back in budgets across the industry, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has taken a backseat. Is it true? What advice would you give HRs to keep pushing for DEI?

DEI is not simply a nice thing to do, it provides a critical competitive advantage. I am not sure if it has taken a back seat, at least not within Schneider Electric. Why? Because when you face a skills and talent shortage in some areas, you have to diversify your sources, and be creative in the profiles you need.

My advice is to always keep reminding people of the wider business imperative underlying DEI, which extends far beyond simply meeting HR targets. DEI enables companies to reflect the communities in which they operate. This, in turn, produces better performance, improves engagement from teams, increases creativity and boosts innovation. I would say to look at your data. What are the leading indicators? What type of data is missing? And let the data provide insights on where the roots of your challenges may lie.

At Schneider, we talk about ‘inclusion and care by design’. Because there is no sustainable performance without well-being, and because there is no well-being without inclusion, you need to hardwire inclusion and care into your processes and shape your expected behaviours around it. Ultimately, it’s about finding your own story around DEI so it resonates with the business and culture of your company.

What are your personal goals as a CHRO at Schneider Electric?

I have goals that I would like to impact both the HR function and Schneider overall. Firstly, we are on a journey to transform the HR function to be more strategic, more agile, and more consultative with the business. This also means simplifying the way we work and working smarter by focusing on where we, as HR professionals, can add the most value.

Secondly, it’s about continuing our journey to transform the overall culture and leadership of the company, with a focus on high performance and empowerment. A key part of this comes from trust – instilled both culturally and behaviorally. We must also continue to ‘hardwire’ soft concepts like inclusion and care into our processes, tools, policies and practices.

My final goal relates to how we attract, grow and engage future-ready talent. We want to be an Impact Company: the most innovative, inclusive, and caring company in the world for our employees, for our future colleagues and for our customers. And as the world gets more local, as more generations work together, and as technology and Artificial Intelligence continue to reshape how we work, we need to be progressive in everything we do, and proactively transform our culture and our skills.

Which strategic initiatives will help HR and business leaders devise a successful employer branding strategy in 2023? How can we make our employees our best advocates today?

In 2023, employer branding is a top priority for 86% of Universum’s World’s Most Attractive Employers. But it cannot be siloed as a narrow HR issue – to perform effectively, employer branding needs to align with an overarching corporate strategy. Doing this allows HR departments and business leaders to better measure, understand, and enhance the overall employee and candidate experience. This is especially important given the concrete connection between a company’s employee value proposition (EVP) and its recruitment and retention outcomes.

Employer branding is growing increasingly personalized, segmented, and differentiated as companies increasingly seek to attract specific talent to address particular roles. When it comes to retention, data from Glassdoor suggests that 69% of employees believe that it’s extremely important that their employer has a brand that they are proud to support. Employee advocacy tools for sharing content and ambassador programs are also critical in enabling the external market to hear authentic employee voices. Your employer brand is greatly influenced by current employees, referrals, word of mouth, and any existing relationships that your company has.

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