CHRO Jo Mason explains DXC Technology’s agile approach to attracting and retaining talent.
By Debbie Bolla
As a global player in the technology services business, no one understands the speed of change better than DXC Technology. Jo Mason, the company’s executive vice president and CHRO, has led a dynamic and comprehensive approach to human capital management that helps DXC guide its 6,000 clients across 70 countries on their digital transformation journeys, even while the company transforms itself.
DXC’s own transformation began when it was formed in the spring of 2017 through the merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services Business of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. With 130,000 employees worldwide today, Mason says the organization thrives on change during their journey of transformation. “The pace of change over the last few years continues to get faster, especially in a digital world,” she says. “We are on the leading-edge of innovation with so much opportunity for our people, clients, and company.”
Here, Mason shares how DXC focuses on client interests with workforce management; attracts talent in the uber-competitive digital landscape; reskills its employees to create opportunity while filling skills gaps; and navigates the complexity of mergers and acquisitions.
HRO Today: What are the keys to DXC’s talent strategy?
Jo Mason: For me, whatever I approach in workforce management or HR is based on business strategy. And an element that is critical to this is understanding the talent we already have and the talent we need.
DXC’s mission is to design and deploy new digital solutions -at scale -that integrate with a client’s mainstream IT to produce better business outcomes. So we need to manage our talent in two ways: internally through reskilling and externally by ensuring we have the right processes in place to acquire the right talent and skills. Our employees are motivated by the fact that they are able to work on innovative projects and can develop and grow within the organization.
The digital landscape creates challenges; competing organizations are fighting for the same skills. As we look at our digital offerings, we are asking ourselves:
- What skills do we have internally?
- What skills do we need to acquire?
- What reskilling needs to take place?
Right now, some of our clients are exploring automation technologies, and that creates an opportunity to reskill our talent. DXC is making sure we have the right training and reskilling engines to be able to succeed in new technologies. For example, we are able to reskill through our university partnerships. DXC’s strong relationships within our university and college networks are so proactive that we have input in shaping their curriculum and developing the skills taxonomy. We work with these partners to train and certify our employee base. DXC University has a large breadth of learning that helps grow and reskill our workforce. We’ve also created a series of lab environments and digital transformation centers.
HROT: How does DXC leverage technology in its approach to talent?
Mason: We have the “DXC Dynamic Talent Cloud” to support what we like to call the “unincorporated workforce.” It supports a population of people who don’t want to be traditionally employed. The “DXC Dynamic Talent Cloud” is a community of talent that bids on short- or long-term projects. Organizations need to create an environment that suits the needs of talent. This approach also allows us to attract the best candidates for our clients.
It’s also critical that we have good analytics. Analytics are really important when you are looking at the workforce, at the areas where you may need to invest or put more assets. Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a big role. The ability to allocate and deploy your global workforce, especially at the size and complexity of DXC, is critical to understanding the skills you’ve got and the ones you need to acquire.
More traditional recruitment practices aren’t necessarily relevant anymore. Looking at the traditional way of hiring, the responsibility was really on the hiring manager to create a position, review profiles, and move forward with what they needed. It was also often personality-driven recruitment. This produced a much slower cycle. What we are seeing now is technology driving an analytical approach to hiring. Organizations can leverage certified recruiters and that creates speed and agility. This helps make the process faster with a better quality result. An agile recruitment approach allows organizations to scale in a much more successful way to bring talent into the organization.
HROT: How does DXC develop and retain employees?
Mason: We encourage our employees to thrive on change and invest in themselves. It’s the responsibility of DXC to create career paths and for individual employees to invest in themselves.
DXC University offers the opportunity to learn and grow. We encourage employees to take time from their daily responsibilities through our “Take 10” program. Employees take 10 minutes during their day to think about their own learning and development needs.
Collaboration and knowledge is powerful. DXC Workplace is a tool that allows teams from all over the globe to talk to each other and share. It creates an opportunity for open forums, discussion, learning opportunities, and dialogues.
Across the globe, a common theme I see among younger workers is that they want a career path and a community. They want a network of peers and expert professionals that can help them. And they also want to work globally, and DXC offers that through its global ecosystem.
HROT: How do mergers and acquisitions (M&A) impact DXC’s business strategy?
Mason: We have a very targeted M&A approach. We look at acquisitions as a way to acquire skills or enhance the offerings in our portfolio. We heavily reinvest in this organization.
The more you go through acquisitions, the better you understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to integration. For example, the company acquired UXC in 2016, and its ecosystem of recruiting was very different from a large-scale services organization. So, you must find that hybrid approach and then enable and empower employees to allow them to realize their full potential. There is a delicate balance. It’s key to understand the asset and how it contributes to DXC so you can provide support in areas that need it and successfully grow and scale the organization.
HROT: What role does HR play during the acquisition process?
Mason: We have a disciplined approach that starts with an M&A committee looking at business targets. HR is present on that committee. Every acquisition we make must align to our strategy. For example, an acquisition may bring in IT technology, expertise, or niche talent. We look at an integration model to see if there’s alignment with the asset. We are in step in shaping how the acquisition would integrate. This helps both sides understand the benefits, the people, the culture, the practices, and the design of the integration model.
It’s important when you bring organizations together that there’s a robust culture and an environment of performance and opportunity at all levels. You don’t want to stay stagnant -you can’t afford to.
HROT: How does DXC embrace transparency?
Mason: DXC is very agile and open, and we embrace authentic communication -real, open, honest communication. There’s not a week that goes by that I’m not having a conversation with an employee who has some ideas of what we could do better.
HR needs to embrace the knowledge of the entire organization. We listen to our people. We embark on town halls because they are unstructured and unscripted. As leaders, we have to be able to listen and answer questions and not be afraid. What I love about DXC is our employees are not afraid. But that is powerful: You can’t transform a company from the top -it comes from within.
HROT: What is currently on your agenda?
Mason: Diversity and inclusion (D&I). I love the diversity of our workforce. We have a very open and inclusive culture. We’ve seen D&I really become the heart of the talent agenda. I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve over the years. Our non-hierarchical, inclusive environment allows our diversity to shine through in the organization. We invest in our D&I through different efforts. For example, our “Dandelion Program” works to hire people on the autism spectrum and provides the right work environment and support. And this is a benefit to DXC because we find fantastic talent.
DXC has recently launched a strategic leadership program focused on cultivating high impact women leadership across the company. I co-designed the program to be authentic in both its challenges and results.
We focus on talent of all types in our recruiting practices. We have efforts to work and support people with disabilities, veterans, the LGBTQ community, and female leaders in technology. The richness of a global organization like DXC touches different cultures, faith, people, and personalities. It’s so important to embrace that. If you create an open culture, are willing to listen, and support a rich diverse workforce that is empowered and enabled, that makes coming to work interesting and motivating.