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Michelle Koh, BlackBerry

How BlackBerry migrated to an integrated HRIS system

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After spending hours collating employee data manually, Michelle Koh, HR business partner at BlackBerry Singapore, shares how accurate workforce analytics is now available at its fingertips.

Before our migration to an integrated HRIS system in October 2014, BlackBerry was using an external provider to store employee information. The updating of this information was a manual process done by a small team in HQ. As a result, information would sometimes be entered inaccurately or inconsistently.

Managers would always have difficulty getting information about their people since it was not readily available. The vendor made it cumbersome to track the mobility of our employees, and it was unable to track third party contractors.

HR would spend hours collating data from various sources to come up with headcount or talent reports for the managers.

Our other HR systems were not integrated as well. Data transfer between platforms would result in long freeze periods and it was costly to maintain and update.

HR would spend hours collating data from various sources to come up with headcount or talent reports for the managers.

The solution

In 2013, the vendor announced it was no longer maintaining the HRIS system that we were on.

At the same time, we were transforming our HR organisation into one that provided high-touch support, and also allowed the business to get information quickly and easily on its own.

This coupled with our need to be a more cost-efficient and nimble organisation drove us to explore an integrated HRIS solution to allow better workforce planning and provide accurate employee data.

Process of migration

As the APAC lead for the HRIS migration, I was tasked with providing the global project team advice on the regional nuances for each country, manage the data migration and lead the change management process in the region.

The different country legislations in APAC meant we had to take into account differences such as leave, overtime entitlements and employee information.

Once we carved out the design framework for each country, it was all hands on deck to test out each function and scenario to ensure the system worked the way we wanted it to.

We had set ourselves an ambitious target of fully migrating to the new HRIS system in 10 months, and we needed to ensure the processes worked just the way we wanted them to.

The different country legislations in APAC meant we had to take into account differences such as leave, overtime entitlements and employee information.

Change management

The last part of the migration was ensuring the organisation as a whole was ready to make the change.

To do that, we rolled out weekly articles on our BlackBerry home page offering sneak peaks of our new HR portal and showing the potential of what it could do for our employees. APAC training sessions were held to demonstrate how to use the system.

An HRIS support team was set up so employees could always go to it if they needed help and FAQs and training resources were available online so that information was easily available.

In APAC, HR was well trained on using the system so employees could also approach us with their questions.

The aftermath

It has been more than eight months since BlackBerry migrated to its HRIS system. While there have been teething issues, there have also been many improvements in the way we now use the HR data we have.

Where we once would have spent time collating data, HR and managers can now spend the time analysing the data to make strategic decisions.

Where it used to be a full-day effort to identify all our employees and contractors globally, we now have accurate information for our workforce planning.

In February and April, we successfully ran our performance management and annual compensation review using the integrated tool for the first time with all the information readily available in the same place so that managers could do their performance evaluations and compensation proposals with ease.

Where it used to be a full-day effort to identify all our employees and contractors globally, we now have accurate information for our workforce planning.

The future

Of course, this picture is far from complete. As our HRIS system matures, we are continuing to integrate more and more of our HR systems.

By June, we will have integrated our recruitment system allowing us to manage our people from a potential employee until they leave the organisation.

The possibilities of what we can do now that we have all this information at our fingertips are endless.

Image: Shutterstock



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