“COVID-19 has made us realize that technology gives us opportunities to work in different ways, and will probably have a real and profound impact on the way we organize ourselves – even after the pandemic ends globally, says Fernando Vallina, Chairman at ExxonMobil China and speaker at the upcoming 21st Annual HR Conference.

The location of work – whether remote or in the office – the composition of teams, and official working processes are all areas that Vallina says have seen change as direct result of COVID-19.

But he also stresses some of the key areas that have come to the fore, despite a challenging environment. “We have also learnt many things about our people’s resilience and capability to adapt,” he says, “And we have learned a lot about emergency response, and how important solidarity with the communities in which we operate and live is for all of us.”

One of the key challenges for HR departments is how to define and measure key indicators such as typical strengths and weaknesses, despite the uncertainty that exists in these challenging times. “Empowerment and decentralization are critical in times of crisis. Crises are best managed as ‘close to the ground’ as possible. In a large, global corporation like ours, sending a clear message that local teams will get all the resources and support they request from the headquarters, but that the local organization is in charge to decide and act as they think necessary is the key to success.”

Vallina also emphasizes elements that become more critical at times like these compared with a more usual situation. “In an emergency, speed is of the essence, and the local knowledge is even more critical,” he says. “When you are in ‘business as usual’ mode, there is more time for analysis and optimization.”

Vallina is Chairman of ExxonMobil Chairman, having joined the company back in 1987. He has held a wide range of management positions in sales, marketing, technology, planning and supply chain and lived in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He will appear as part of the Conference’s Panel I: C-Suite Dialogue | Learning about ourselves to set the right direction: The truths about our organizations in managing and innovating at challenging times

Join us on October 16 at the YiCheng Fortune Center at Beijing Etown tech park, where Fernando Vallina will join a star line-up of speakers for AmCham China’s 21st Annual HR Conference, “An HR Conversation for All of Us: Learn to Become Resilient Together”.