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How AMD’s CHRO is managing change with a concentrate on tradition and empathy


Robert Gama is not any stranger to vary.

He joined semiconductor firm AMD as company vice chairman of HR, moved into the chief expertise officer function two years later and in 2018 was named senior vice chairman and CHRO, with a concentrate on world transformation all through his tenure. One of many largest change-management initiatives concerned the HR pursuits of AMD’s acquisition of semiconductor maker Xilinx, a deal that closed final yr and is the biggest ever within the semiconductor trade—bringing greater than 5,000 individuals into the corporate. And, after all, there’s the whirlwind of change the corporate has skilled throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

By means of these shifts, Gama says, he has sought to align HR priorities with enterprise targets and guarantee empathy is embedded on the coronary heart of each. Gama not too long ago shared extra of his technique with HRE:

HRE: How completely different is the HR technique at AMD at the moment in comparison with once you joined virtually 10 years in the past, significantly given the shifts during the last three years?

AMD CHRO Robert Gama
Robert Gama

Gama: I’m proud to say that, whereas the work could look completely different as AMD has gone by way of numerous transformations, the technique stays the identical. Worker voice is important in rising the enterprise and constructing a profitable tradition. HR leaders should proceed to embrace a tradition of listening carefully and adapting.

After I joined the corporate 10 years in the past, we labored to align the HR technique with enterprise targets, pragmatically reworking HR and accelerating world development. We embedded our HR Enterprise Companions into the enterprise, permitting us to maintain our finger on the heartbeat of their desires and wishes. We use HR instruments and processes just like the annual worker survey and Organizational Human Assets Plan (OHRP) to make sure we frequently measure worker sentiment and keep succession and growth plans for our most impactful leaders.

I strongly consider that world-class HR packages do what the enterprise wants once they want it. If you happen to actively take heed to the enterprise, you’re prepared to reply somewhat than react to each inside and exterior fluctuations—whether or not that’s a world pandemic, financial shifts or speedy inside development; you’ve got the cultural tenets in place to be prepared for it.

HRE: How has your personal serious about the worth of the HR function developed for the reason that pandemic began?

Gama: Belief and transparency have solely gained momentum throughout the pandemic—individuals count on us to know and care in new methods. It requires a shift in the best way leaders present up and talk our values. The pandemic, together with the abrupt shift to distant work, triggered unprecedented challenges—each within the office and within the private lives of every of our workers. We actually relied on flexibility in our individuals managers and management community to assist our workforce throughout this time. It was and continues to be necessary that we work with managers to stay related to their group members. To assist managers, numerous coaching and studying initiatives had been rolled out on successfully main digital groups. Consequently, workers expressed emotions of being seen and heard in new working environments as evidenced by overwhelming favorable suggestions from our annual engagement survey.

HRE: What has been the worker response to “Recharge Days”? And the way does this initiative align with the group’s total strategy to worker wellness?

Gama: Throughout the pandemic, many workers selected to cancel or postpone their holidays. It was obvious that the traces between work and private life turned blurred and the chance of worker burnout was actual.

To encourage workers to step away from work, we created a brand new world profit, “Recharge Days”—a set of designated trip days throughout which the entire enterprise is inspired to collectively take day without work to make sure workers disconnect from work. Because the initiative, AMD has seen optimistic outcomes: Over 80% of all workers booked day without work throughout the first set of worldwide Recharge Days. Suggestions from the broader group has highlighted how a lot workers admire alternatives to recharge. As a result of optimistic suggestions, we’ve got continued this system. In 2022, we designated three Fridays as Recharge Days, permitting workers to collectively take pleasure in an extended weekend.

The pandemic has clearly proven how prioritizing worker wellbeing and psychological well being is important to growing a resilient office. Whether or not by way of healthcare initiatives or selling open traces of communication with leaders, when companies promote well being and wellbeing, it advantages workers of their work and private lives whereas additionally boosting total worker satisfaction.

HRE: Trying again in your involvement within the individuals facet of the acquisition of Xilinx, what had been among the largest bumps within the street in that undertaking?

Gama: Mergers and acquisitions are stuffed with alternatives and challenges—particularly from an organizational and worker perspective. With the Xilinx acquisition, we welcomed over 5,000 new workers throughout the globe.

Early on, we acknowledged that cultural alignment is without doubt one of the most necessary components for our mixed success. We carried out a joint Tradition Survey earlier than the acquisition closed and we noticed many frequent strengths between the 2 organizations: ardour for constructing nice merchandise, robust concentrate on prospects, innovation, execution excellence, dedication to the group and one another, and a excessive degree of collaboration with emphasis on the significance of inclusion. Quick-forward to 6 months after the deal closed, we rolled out an up to date tradition assertion based mostly on the mixed group: “We push the boundaries of innovation to resolve the world’s most necessary challenges. We attempt for execution excellence, whereas being direct, humble, collaborative and inclusive of numerous views.” In our worker survey simply accomplished in September, 96% of respondents agree or strongly agree that this rings true. The outcome offers us an incredible shared basis to construct from.

The opposite large focus space as we transfer into the following six months is on how the work will get finished. Whereas we’ve got alignment on how we deal with one another, the 2 organizations have completely different processes, and we’ve got a possibility to raised perceive and enhance our working programs and rules to deliver the perfect of each worlds collectively.

HRE: What retains you motivated outdoors of labor? 

Gama: Outdoors of labor, I spend as a lot time with my household as I can. My women are very energetic in sports activities so on any given weekend you’ll find me within the stands or on the sideline cheering and training my women. My household is my life’s best pleasure.




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