This is the next in the series of interviews in which a selection of HR leaders across a variety of sectors share their thoughts on the impact of past and anticipated future changes on their world of work. 

This month Cathy Temple, Senior HR Director at Oracle talks to us about….

Cathy is a Senior HR Director at Oracle

Cathy is a Senior HR Director at Oracle


Since I joined Oracle in 2014, I am responsible for HR in the UK, IRE and Israel region at Oracle.


As I joined Oracle, the organisation was embarking on a transformation journey to becoming a cloud company, which has really touched everything we do, from the way we approach selling and servicing our customers, the way we organise ourselves internally, our tools and processes as well as the skills and development requirements for our teams, individuals contributors, managers and leaders. There was a clear realisation from the start that what had made us successful in the past needed to evolve to ensure that we would continue to grow and see success in the future.


As an IT organisation, technology is at the very center of what we do, naturally and we know the possibilities it offers and how critical it is to the evolution and success of an organisation.  We see it when we speak to our customers, and we experience it ourselves: the use of technology and its capabilities as an enabler for differentiation with regards to competitors, but also to become quicker, more efficient and more agile.  Having said that, no one should underestimate the importance of change management, leadership, and the importance of taking people on the journey, so they have a shared vision of success and understand clearly what is expected of them. Especially in times of change.


Be willing to try and learn new things constantly, be adaptable and seize opportunities, understand that soft skills such as influence and persuasion, navigating a network of stakeholders, are just as critical as technical skills.  Be prepared to de-learn and re–learn several times in your career.  Look early on for mentors and sponsors from whom to learn, and discuss how to overcome challenges.  Decide who is a good role model and understand the qualities they exhibit, and how you can develop those for yourself.  


Change is a constant at Oracle and we make constant investment in our people and managers to ensure that they stay up-to-date with their technical skills as well as soft skills. In addition to a very significant investment in R&D, acquiring organisations that bring key technologies or skill set to the company has also been a strategic approach by Oracle to ensure that the organisation has the right level of expertise, innovation and technology to remain a leader in our industry.


It’s a diversity challenge that needs to be well understood, managed and leveraged for the success of the organisation.  It requires flexibility, thoughtfulness and effort, but the rewards are undisputed in terms of employee engagement, innovation and competitive advantage. The key thing is to never assume the work is done, it is on-going.  As our society evolves, and industries develop, the requirements change. Revisiting regularly policies, benefits, communication, workplace environment, etc.. to name but a few are important to stay relevant to a changing workforce (and a changing customer base).


These are natural considerations of many organisations including ours, and this is also where technology can enable companies to consider various options on how to best organise their workforce.  Again, the key is to find the balance between maximising cost and efficiency, and ensuring that the working environment is adequate and appropriate for the work to be delivered and the service to be provided to the customers.


We are seeing some interesting developments in the UK around key topics such as gender pay, apprenticeship, and obviously key topics such as Brexit.  Partnership between organisations and government, as well as educational institutions, will be key to ensure that perspectives are taken into account and companies can adequately prepare and adapt to societal and market changes.  


The diversity of the workforce will continue to evolve in the future and it will require organisations to rethink how people engage with their employers, what organisations need to put in place to cater for varied needs as well as continue to attract and retain talent.


If you are a HRD and would like to share your own thoughts on the future of work in your industry, please do get in touch here