Donna Venable, speaker of the 4th International HRConference Barcelona 2017


Press interview with Donna Venable

Donna Venable was appointed Executive Vice President, Human Resources for Ricoh in the Americas in April 2015.  She is responsible for overseeing human resources activities for all Ricoh locations in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. This includes leadership development, employee relations, succession planning, total rewards, diversity and corporate social responsibility.

Donna was also named Corporate Associate Advisory Officer of Ricoh Company, Ltd., which expands Donna’s role to include Ricoh’s global HR initiatives as she works with leadership and HR teams in Japan. She is an accomplished professional who has been key to Ricoh’s transformation to a services-led organization and aligning Ricoh’s worldwide HR efforts.

Donna most recently served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Ricoh after holding the same role for IKON Office Solutions before its acquisition by Ricoh. She has more than 14 years of human resources experience with IKON, and 22 total years managing HR functions.

Donna is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is engaged in the HR community serving as a board member of the HR Executive Alliance and co-chair of the HR Executive Summit, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Chapters. She has presented at industry speaking engagements focused on leadership and employee development, and has been featured in Chief Learning Officer magazine.

More information:

1. What topic will you address in your paper?                                                                                                                               “Are you embracing workstyle innovation?” is the title of my presentation. I will highlight what workstyle innovation means and share key ways Ricoh is embracing innovative technology internally as well as helping our customers embrace this culture change in their organizations. In addition, I will highlight some positive impacts on Ricoh’s culture, as well as barriers we encountered and methods to positively overcome them.
I will also share HR’s vital role in driving change and shaping our Company’s culture, including attracting and retaining talent, and understanding the changing needs of today’s dynamic workforce.

2. How can a company benefit from embracing innovation into its workstyle? And a worker?
At Ricoh, we are focused on empowering digital workplaces and helping customers improve how they work. Ricoh is a global technology company and has been embracing innovation for more than 80 years.
What does this mean? A few benefits to embracing workstyle innovation:• Moving to new world of work office environments with open floor plans encourages a more engaging environment for employees, including impromptu meeting, helps attract and retain multi-generational talent, and blends cultures resulting from Ricoh’s acquisition growth, helping create a more unified culture• Using innovative tools and technology helps drive creative thinking, and provides ways to engage our growing mobile workforce; and• Identifying ways to evolve customers’ business needs positively impacts the bottom line – for example, our work with IBM Watson has transformed technology from being a meeting tool to an active ‘meeting participant.’

3. When integrating this innovation, what kind of barriers can companies and workers face?
Change can be intimidating. It’s human nature. At Ricoh, we encountered healthy skepticism and many questions when we moved offices to new world of work environments – particularly in the beginning. The new open floor plans coupled with unassigned seating and less personal space was different for employees. We found that the anticipation of change was the primary issue. To support and address employee concerns, we conducted focus groups, implemented surveys, and offered technology training. Once the change occurred and employees saw the bright, beautifully designed spaces and experienced the benefits, we suddenly had passionate ambassadors who shared their positive perspective with other offices as they were transitioning. Understanding the benefit is essential to help individuals embrace change, including this new innovation.

4. In terms of HR, what kind of innovations are being carried out at Ricoh?
As part of our transformation, we are changing how we go to market and engaging with customers. We are also changing where and how we work together internally. This includes a more mobile workforce and new collaborative technologies. We partner with cross functional teams to implement workstyle innovation tools and resources. The Ricoh HR continues to play a key role in driving and facilitating positive change.
We challenge ourselves and embrace technologies within HR as early adopters, and are pushing collaboration and intuitive technology within Ricoh. Our own HR team had to embrace workstyle innovation, going through many of the same change curve challenges. We had to embrace it ourselves to lead! We also engage our leaders and teams to use interactive approaches to work smarter and create a sense of community with our virtual workers.

5. What are your expectations about the Conference? What knowledge would you like to bring to the audience?                As HR professionals, we need to get out of our comfort zone, and embrace the dramatic and disruptive changes in the workforce, the workplace and technology. Now is the time to truly understand the changing requirements of the 2020 (five generational) workforce and beyond. If you are not embracing workstyle innovation and changing technology you will likely miss the opportunity to bring in new workers and/or lose good talent. Our leaders have been very positive on the impact they have seen, and how they can use workstyle innovation to compete for talent.

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