CGMA interview: empowering employees

We’re interviewing leading members of the CGMA community to gain their insights into future ways of working within organisations.

John Lo, CFO of Tencent, China’s largest internet services company, explains how his organisation will manage the performance of the open workforce and how decision-making structures may need to evolve to extract maximum value from it.

What is driving your move towards a more open workforce, in which talent and resources are spread across a complex mix of in-house teams and external partners?
In the internet industry everything moves really quickly and we have to react to changes nimbly because the first mover usually wins. This means we need access to a diverse mix of talent both locally and internationally.

How is the organisation opening up in order to work with external partners?
As an IT company we are very good at defining different levels of access rights and information sharing to help ensure effective working relationships with freelancers and subcontractors. We also have in-house employees responsible for supervising these relationships. 

How do you ensure that external partners meet quality requirements?
We incentivise our external partners. If they perform well, we might groom them into becoming a long-term partner, we might invest in them, or we might go on to employ an individual freelancer in-house. We also monitor day-to-day operating statistics so we can understand how a particular service is performing.

How important will it be to empower employees on the ground in an open workforce?
I think in the internet world we need to empower our employees to innovate because it helps to speed this process and keeps costs down. We’re in the process of trying to flatten our organisational hierarchy at the moment.

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