The Glass Hammer: Noelle Ramirez
Noelle Ramirez speaks with The Glass Hammer about creating a culture of belonging, expanding the diversity of recruitment, and the DEI work underway at PGIM.
As the world starts to think about life after COVID-19, many are wondering what role travel will play in the workplace going forward. PGIM’s Global Head of Human Resources, Pamela Sinclair, joined FundFire to discuss how the pandemic has changed work-related travel, the potential impact on employees’ mental health, the safety measures PGIM is taking as employees begin traveling again, and much more.
>> Hi, I'm Dervedia Thomas, Associate Editor for FundFire. Today I'm here with Pamela Sinclair, PGIM's Global Head of Human Resources. As the pandemic appends the way asset managers have traditionally done their work, you know, can things like not being able to travel, if you're a salesperson, be a source of anxiety and perhaps contribute or deteriorate your mental health?
>> So initially we thought that was going to be a big concern for our sales, most particularly our field sales force. We thought they would struggle with not being able to going out to see clients. Because by definition a client business is very relationship-driven. I have to say actually that's the one group who I think have enjoyed the work, because rather than being in their car all day or on a plane all day, only seeing a handful of clients, they can now see 10, 12 clients every day and maintain connectivity. So that group I think have been, have actually reveled in the work from home. The teams I think where we have seen stress arise from not being able to travel are more about origination teams, [inaudible] client servicing teams but some of our asset management teams who are used to being out on the road three or four days a week, you know, two or three weeks a month, and have been stuck at home now for 31 weeks is really beginning to be difficult for them. However universally everybody has said to me that they are enjoying not having to commute. So you know, it depends on what you mean by travel. If you're going to and from work every day, the fact that they're not doing that has I think, has really contributed to people's productivity and also their mental health.
>> How is PGIM thinking about the return to work and perhaps sales travel?
>> Yeah, so as a global company, we're often being guided by the World Health Organization guidelines, by local government guidelines, by local state guidelines, and we're really taking our lead from the public health and the federal resources. Having said that, we are very conservative. We want to put our employees' health, that is our number one priority. Without a healthy workforce we don't actually have a business. So making sure that we attend to that is very important. And we're beginning where we think it's appropriate to allow some limited sales travel. Some limited interaction with client, very thoughtful, very mindful, and we're watching the situation as it changes across the world to ensure that we are being mindful of the different stages of the pandemic as it sweeps across the world.
>> When you talk about travel and doing it more thoughtfully, what kinds of things do you think about as people get requests to do travel, whether it's for sales meetings or any other kind of meetings?
>> Yeah, the first thing I think is rather obvious, but I think it means spacing. Yes we do get the request due to just how critical that meeting is. Is there another way in which that could be done. So if it's a board meeting, so look at one of our [inaudible] companies, can you do that in person or can you do that virtually? Historically you may have done every single board meeting in person, but now can you do some of them virtually? The opposite of that would be if you need to go look at an asset. So we have a lot of real estate assets that we own. That's very hard to do virtually. You might be able to get a drone to fly around the building, but you actually need to go in and take a look at it. And so we're kind of balancing the pros and the cons. Is it [inaudible], is it business-specific, is there another way you can do this? Is there somebody else closer to that asset or that client that can go instead of you, so you don't have to get on an airplane? And all that different, and if you are going, how to make sure that you'll be stay safe and well. So we have introduced some pros and cons in terms of people having to, you know, register with us, let us know how they're doing, confirm if they've picked up any COVID symptoms after visits. If they're coming into the office they have to, they have to declare that they're fit and healthy, because we want to protect them, their families, and the total workforce.
>> Great, thank you very much.
>> You're welcome, nice to talk to you.