Speaker’s Corner: Featuring Ricardo Troiano, Global Head Change & Organisational Development CoE at Syngenta

Tell me about your company – it’s work and projects…

Syngenta Group is an agriculture firm with 49,000 people across more than 100 countries that strive every day to transform agriculture through tailor-made solutions for the benefit of farmers, society and our planet – making us the world’s most local agricultural technology and innovation partner.

Our offering enables farmers large and small to address a wide range of challenges, including crop productivity and health, climate change and the pressure to achieve greater sustainability and biodiversity. Syngenta Group’s seeds, crop protection and nutrition products, agronomic solutions and digital services help farmers provide the world with healthy food, feed, fiber and fuel, while conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.

The HR industry is vast and often has its challenges, what are the challenges that most affect your business? Are you engaging in any kind of problem solving? 

As has been the case for a while now, the challenge in HR is all about Talent. Attracting, engaging and maintaining. As the complexity facing businesses increase, organisations and leaders are not always able to keep pace with the demands they are facing.  We are engaging in increasing “employee listening” in every part of the lifecycle including onboarding, exit, etc…this is helping us having a clearer value proposition for our employees and as importantly, prospective employees.

 The COVID-19 and the pandemic has mandated change in the way we go about business and operations. How has this time influenced you? What are the trends you see within the sector?

Many managers have inherited the assumptions from the generations before them; that to be productive, you need to be in the office and tightly managed to produce great outcomes. This pandemic has shown them that it is possible to achieve business outcomes in different ways, and the loosening of these beliefs and assumptions will change the way we work.  The trends of remote work will continue, and I believe will stabilize on hybrid models. The “one size fits all” never really worked for clothing, and it won’t in organisations either!

 What is your biggest objective as a speaker?

 To help people engage with the stories and perspectives I’m sharing and leave them with an emotional connection and curiosity that makes them continue the discussion. I believe we can only expand the impact of what we do through others, and spreading the stories that signal what is important and what we have yet to solve together can help foster this ongoing collaborative energy that we will need to tackle the biggest problems we face.

Could you share with us the points of discussion (the input that you provided) during the panel(s) at the Hacking HR 2022?

  • Defining  ‘culture’
  • Demystifying ‘resilience’ and ‘vulnerability’.
  • Leadership dynamics in culture
  • Employee Listening 

As a leader, what are the factors both professional and personal that drive you? What keeps you going?

Professionally and personally, I am driven supporting others in their growth.  In organizations, by helping others increase their self-awareness, engage more effectively with others and improve their performance individually and collectively.

What keeps me going is seeing the impact of the work.  It has been especially rewarding in the last decade seeing the growth and inclusion of what I’ve focused much of my career on, bringing a more human agenda into the way we work.

In your opinion, do digital events give you a similar level of feedback/result vis-à-vis the live versions? What would you say were the biggest pros and cons of both formats? Which do you prefer?

While the increasing number of platforms and technologies we have leveraged in the last two years have been impressive, the live events offer many aspects of human connections that struggle to be replicated digitally.  The major pro of digital events is the ease of connecting an increasing diversity of speakers to a geographically disperse audiences. However, the deeper connections and relationships that we often build in live events have diminished greatly, in spite of some cool digital solutions for increasing the social aspects.

 What is your take on in-person events? Do you prefer in-person events as compared to hybrid or virtual? How soon do you think in-person events would return?

As a speaker, the biggest loss for me is the real human connection with a live audience. While I love sharing the stories that I experience with others, staring at a screen without seeing and interacting with a live audience is by far the hardest aspect of digital delivery.  I think we are ready to be back in person with our colleagues face to face!
Having said that, I do believe that there is a place for both formats. The cost and planet impact of travelling around for conferences is not always the way to go.  Just like hybrid working, we need to continue to leverage both formats.

 In your opinion, what are the top 3 challenges to returning to ‘In-Person’ events? How could we mitigate risks?

  • Diversity of speakers that are willing to travel to these events (perhaps leverage the digital tools we’ve been using to bring somebody remote into the conference, and then use the live audience to further the discussion)
  • Cost: the comparative cost of the live events, vs joining with one click (offer more incentives to the “face to face only” value-adds…like the social and relationship/network aspects)
  • Relevancy: with so many events popping up, finding ones that are relevant and have helpful content and speaker becomes increasingly more difficult. (focus more strongly on a few key themes, vs filling a multi-day agenda with lots and lots of different topics)

Eventible.com is a review platform specially catering to B2B events. Given how review-driven our lives have become today, do you think reviews will bring in a level of transparency to the events industry? Would you rely on event reviews from other speakers if you had to make a speaking decision?

Absolutely would welcome this…I get approached often by multiple conferences, and it’s very difficult to understand the impact and relevancy of any of these without outside 3rd party opinions and reviews, which are not always available.

About Ricardo: Ricardo Troiano is the Head of Change and Organisational Development at Syngenta Group, a company he joined almost 5 years ago after almost 20 years in management consulting and 5 years as a mechanical engineer in a global manufacturing company. Prior to his current role he was an Associate Partner at IBM’s Talent & Change practice and a Senior Managing Consultant at PwC.  He has led work across 4 continents in dozens of clients internationally.  His primary areas of expertise include driving large scale Transformation and Change across multiple industries, organizational development, culture and exec leadership development.   

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