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Jorge Osorio, head of human resources, Citi Singapore on immediate priorities, achieving work-life balance and HR being the “enablers of change”.
With 20 years of experience in HR, what drew you in the first place?
It was purely by chance that I stumbled upon HR! It all started 20 years ago when I enrolled for an internship with Citi’s HR department in Peru. Since then, I never looked back and have been in HR all these years, moving across six geographies from the US to the Philippines and experiencing a variety of cultures. I never imagined that a career in HR could be so enriching and am thankful for the learning opportunities that I encounter every day.
What are some of your work priorities for 2017?
A large part of an organisation’s success lies in its people strategy. In a highly volatile market environment, talent development continues to be a business imperative for any organisation looking to stay competitive and achieve economic success.
Citi is commonly known as the University of Banking and we continue to build bankers of the future who are adaptable and equipped to serve our clients’ evolving needs. As the largest foreign banking employer in Singapore touching more than 9,000 people, talent development has always been a top HR priority for Citi. We have a comprehensive range of learning and development programmes offered to employees at every stage of their career.
Last year, we launched a holistic career development resource site named My Career where employees are provided with tools and information to take charge of their career at Citi. These initiatives are regularly reviewed and enhanced to keep up with the trends of the industry and equip our employees with new skills that will enable them to become more adaptable to the challenges of the future economy.
In addition, we are in regular conversations with local government agencies, industry partners and educational institutions, to identify industry skills gaps and support the development of the Singapore Core.
We are also focused on enhancing our interactions with tertiary students and recognise the growing need to engage future leaders at the early onset of their education and career cycle.
Employee engagement remains important in 2017 as we believe that an informed and connected workforce achieves greater productivity. Through activities organised by CitiClub (an employee-managed committee that promotes greater employee engagement and wellness), we hope that our employees are encouraged to maintain a more healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.
What would you say is the biggest challenge of your role?
One of the biggest challenges is finding the right balance between addressing immediate needs of the business and planning for the future of the organisation. As a partner to the business, HR needs to be able to have candid conversations with leadership teams and collaboratively develop short and long-term people strategies that are aligned to business growth priorities.
Citi has a strong collaborative work culture that enables such discussions to take place. By having direct access to the business and being able to work across different teams within the organisation, we are able to deliver a more cohesive and holistic plan with a shared vision.
What were some of your proudest HR campaigns?
There were two campaigns that I was particularly proud of last year. One was the rollout of My Career in Singapore where we were able to empower employees to drive their own progress at Citi. We saw how the online tools and resources enabled them to articulate their aspirations and assess their development, and continuously learning through 3Es – education, experience and exposure.
The second campaign is Citi Singapore’s annual internal career fair organised for our employees named In the Big Citi. The purpose of the career fair is to educate and inform our employees on the opportunities available within Citi and for them to gain a deeper understanding of the various departments and roles within the organisation. Networking and panel discussions were also arranged where different levels of employees got to meet with Citi seniors and hear more about their career stories, and gain tips on how to grow their careers.
For 2016, I was particularly proud that we were able to deliver In the Big Citi in a digitally engaging manner for the first time. An interactive mobile application was used to enhance the experience and allowed our employees to participate in quizzes to test their knowledge following each session.
How do you think HR can evolve?
One of the key differences between a progressive and a traditional organisation is the mindset of its people. As HR professionals, we must always be open to new ideas and innovation that enables greater operational efficiency so that we are able to better focus our resources on playing a more strategic role to the business.
The role of HR has transformed over the years and I believe that it must continue to evolve in order to stay closely aligned to the fast-changing needs of our clients and business.
How do you personally adopt work-life balance for you and your team?
We believe in work-life integration. We aim to enable our employees to gain deep satisfaction in both their professional and personal lives through tailored work-life solutions and cultivating an inclusive and engaged work culture. Activities and programmes that we have put in place throughout the year enable our employees to feel engaged, empowered and connected.
With the help of technology, I am able to stay connected all the time and enjoy greater efficiencies even while on the move. At the same time, I always make time to participate in the many events organised by CitiClub where I can meet and engage with colleagues from all levels, across different businesses and functions. Some of the most memorable events in 2016 for me were Citi Appreciation Week, Citi’s got Talent and In the Big Citi.
Describe HR in less than three words.
Enablers of change – HR enables transformation and progress to take place through our talent strategy or by fostering a cultural change across the organisation.
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