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2016: A year for digitising HR, tackling Pokémon Go, and banning jargon



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It’s almost time to welcome the new year. Time to make resolutions that we promise to keep. Time to learn new skills that we hope to excel in. And, time to look back and reflect on what went well, in a year fraught with interesting developments across the globe.

Here in the offices of Human Resources, we have had the pleasure of producing a number of successful conferences, awards, magazines, and online newsletters, spearheaded by a talented and passionate team.

What keeps us so engaged is the sheer variety of content we deal with daily – interviewing HR directors, sifting through whitepapers, and penning down the monthly feature.

So for this last column of 2016, I decided to pin down lessons from some of the most-read stories on our website this year: www.humanresourcesonline.net.

Lesson one: HR directors are itching to give up jargon in favour of pragmatic conversations

Dr Peter Allen, VP of people and organisation development at Agoda.com, called for his peers to encourage both managers and employees to actually own HR policies, rather than just implement them.

“Too often, HR sees itself as a policing function – one that makes sure everyone behaves and follows the rules,”  “Unless something is actually illegal, that’s not the best way to go.”

Instead, he recommended asking: “What’s your goal here? Let me see if I can share some ideas/information/new approaches.”

Getting on the same side of the issue as your client will give you far greater influence, explained Allen, adding that this will create a far more productive environment than just trying to compel everyone to follow the rules.

Read the full story.

Lesson two: The state of play of HR’s digital and analytics capabilities will remain in focus in 2017.

Deloitte research has found that only 8% of HR professionals globally have strong analytics capabilities. Similarly, just over two in three (67%) HR leaders admitted they lack data and analytics capabilities for a big-picture of the company’s talent, in research by SilkRoad.

At our conferences, we’ve heard HR teams voicing the trouble they face with fragmented HR systems that fail to provide up a comprehensive, seamless experience for both HR and their stakeholders.

Haroon Bhatti, CHRO at Digi Telecommunications, took this as an opportunity, to lead a sizeable transformation around digitising employees’ and potential employees’ experiences end-to-end.

“It is not about converting everything into apps as automation could have been done 10 years ago. Digital HR is about looking holistically at the experience that employees go through, and making sure it’s a fantastic experience in line with our brand,” he explained in an interview.

As part of this transformation, Digi has created applications to boost productivity (such as for travel authorisations and expense claims, shaving precious minutes off salespersons’ time); digitising the goods and services employees consume (such as replacing physical vouchers with electronic promotion codes, enabling a much bigger inventory for employees to choose from), among many more.

This success story is just one of many, and clearly, this will continue to be a priority for HR teams in the coming year.

Read the full story.

Lesson three: Pokémon Go, lunchtime distraction or a HR headache?

Location-based reality game Pokémon Go became wildly popular within a day of its release, causing unexpected outcomes at the workplace – distracted employees running to the pantry to catch Pikachu, taking longer lunch breaks for a quick Pokéstop, and what not.

In response, employers such as Volkswagen and Boeing resorted to banning staff from playing the game at work. Malaysia had reports of 1 in every 50 employers having dismissed workers for playing the game during work hours, in a survey by Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

There was even the case of a Hong Kong based start-up, Sunshine Interactive, that actually gave staff an afternoon off just to play Pokémon Go, knowing they will be distracted by it anyway.

The learning from all this? Seemingly unrelated external developments can have a huge impact on employees’ productivity, and managers are typically going to ask their HR business partners to intervene when faced with a case that isn’t covered by any existing office policy.

Come 2017, we look forward to more adventures in HR as well as bringing you the best of the region’s news relevant for employers. Have a happy 2017!

Photo / 123RF



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Aditi Sharma Kalra

Human Resources Magazine Singapore
When not spending her time eating or watching dog videos, Aditi loves to read, write, and tweet about HR. She is managing print, digital and social content for Human Resources, across Singapore and Malaysia.

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