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Promoting an employee empowered environment

Adrian M. Reodique | Oct. 5, 2016
Francisco Castillo, CIO of Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad), talks about his leadership style, and shares words of wisdom to upcoming IT leaders.

Kiko also allots his Monday mornings to meet with his IT operations team to review all the tickets they received in the previous week and discuss the statuses.

Besides that, Kiko's team conducts a service improvement planning based on the PDCA cycle. The cycle includes 'Planning', which is the formulation of objectives and identification of areas for improvement; 'Doing', which involves the development and implementation of the test solution; 'Checking' which involves analysing the results of the solutions; and 'Acting' in which the solution is fully deployed in or throughout the organisation.

According to Kiko, the biggest challenge in an employee empowerment initiative is learning when to get involved in the process and when not to do so. "While CIOs have to empower [their team members], they also have to be around to assist and resolve an issue whenever the employee is unable to do so on their own."

By empowering employees, Kiko said his team is able to accomplish tasks in due time since some issues pertaining to the project are resolved at the lower level management, without being escalated to him.

Geralyn Ofiana, Project Manager in Maynilad. Photo by: Adrian M. Reodique 

More importantly, employee empowerment furthers staff's productivity and engagement. "Being empowered helps me be better at my job. It is easy to work, especially, when you know there's someone supporting you," commented Geralyn Ofiana, Project Manager in Maynilad, who works under Kiko.

Leading by example

Drawing from his experience, Kiko believes that a good IT leader is someone who leads by example and can walk the talk. "You have to mean what you say, you have to be frank, [and] you have to be honest."

He said IT leaders must be vocal in recognising the good work of their employees, and at the same time proactively give feedback to help them grow as professionals.

On the other hand, Kiko said the biggest challenge CIOs are facing today is the difficulty in attracting IT talents. He explained that even though the demand for tech professionals in the Philippines is booming, leaders must be able to compete with big industry players, especially from the business process outsourcing (BPO), to court such talents.

When asked about how CIOs can gain a competitive advantage in recruiting talents, Kiko said there is no secret formula. "You have to be competitive. Offering a competitive salary is a good start but [you have to offer] not only that."

IT leaders must also expect that employees will leave at one point or another, and thus not depend on a single talent. In this aspect, he advised IT leaders to develop a mechanism that could bridge the knowledge gap and help the new employees learn the job faster.


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