COVID-19 upends HR
Despite having her MBA and 20+ years in HR, Felix-Hughey was stretched with the onslaught of COVID-19, along with the rest of the world. Seemingly overnight, the pandemic put the spotlight on the role of HR. Felix-Hughey’s response has been both that of listening to employees’ needs and pivoting as needed.
But the pandemic presented a few silver linings as well.
“[COVID] forced us to pivot very quickly, from both a technology perspective and an innovation perspective,” said Felix-Hughey. “We had to address questions like ‘How can we get the work done while being effective and efficient?’, ‘Is it necessary to keep doing something one way just because we’ve been doing it this way for 20 years?’, and Do we still need to do it this way’? It has forced companies to work smarter.”
COVID also brought mental health and wellness front and center. Under Felix-Hughey’s leadership, and in collaboration with Chairman and CEO, Jon Platt and Towalame Austin, EVP of Philanthropy and Social Impact, Sony Music Publishing partnered with ‘Silence the Shame’ for monthly mental health programming for its employees.
And for someone who is normally the go-to expert when the company is facing tough questions, Felix-Hughey says the pandemic “created a level humility.”
“We have to admit we do not know all the answers. We often find ourselves communicating to our leaders and staff that we are trying to figure it out. And we are asking for grace because we don’t have all of the answers,” said Felix-Hughey.
Advice for HR professionals
Reflecting on navigating COVID for Sony and her career in HR, Felix-Hughey says experience is helpful, but an MBA makes all the difference.
She suggests first reflecting on your end goal and what you want to achieve in your career.
“People pursue their MBAs for different reasons. For someone in HR, the MBA is advantageous in a change-management capacity and also for those looking to excel to executive leadership within a corporation. An MBA education provides a different perspective that you may not acquire from work experience, it also adds breadth and depth to your knowledge of business in general.”