HR Excellence Awards 2023 Singapore
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Case study: How Jewel Paymentech helped employees prioritise what's urgent and outcomes that matter

Using a goal tracking platform, see how Evanna Chuah, HR Director, Jewel Paymentech Malaysia, enabled the team to plan, align and track goals better than ever before. Conversation with Aditi Sharma Kalra.

As a start-up, one of the common challenges that financial risk technology company Jewel Paymentech faced was juggling too many priorities and keeping team members focused on what was really important and prioritising what was urgent, to deliver outcomes that really mattered.

This was the backdrop for the team to implement goal-tracking software that enables the team to plan, align and track goals; provide guided support on one-on-one conversations; automate calendar invites; track and record conversation points; as well as a platform for employees to seek and receive feedback from multiple parties and track career progress, thus helping the company to build a succession plan.

“It’s the second year since implementation and the journey has been full of learnings,” says Evanna Chuah, HR Director for Jewel Paymentech Malaysia.

For those who are not familiar with the concept of OKRs (objectives and key results), she explains: “It’s difficult for one to comprehend what those OKRs are in your role, and how it connects with the wider network of OKRs of members around you.”

As such, in the first year of setting OKRs, the team learnt some hard lessons – the first of which was being overly ambitious with its goals and setting too much up to achieve.

Second, while it started off with baby steps by getting familiar with OKRs, it quickly realised that some of the OKRs were dependent on other parties to complete their part on time before handing them over, and when these slip, so does their OKRs. “Looking deeper into the problem, we realised that the priorities amongst different teams on the same objective were not aligned,” she explains.

The final challenge was in realising the need to “reset” the objectives quickly, as and when needed.

“In 2018, we set our goals once, at the beginning of the year and thought that we were set for the rest of the year. We were so wrong,” she admits. “Things changed fast and we did not build a process robust enough to enable us to reset our objectives.”

When something ad hoc hits us, we question ourselves – does this urgent task fall under any of our overarching objectives, if they are not, why has it become so important?
Is the team doing better this year? Certainly so, as it was more realistic about what can really be delivered. “When something ad hoc hits us, we consciously question ourselves – does this urgent task fall under any of our overarching objectives, if they are not, why has it become so urgent and important?”

She adds: “In fact, we started collaborating with other teams to align our OKRs and made them co-own our OKRs.” Furthermore, the team put in time in the middle of the year to re-look at its OKRs, and invest time to reset objectives if need be.

One thing that was for certain was the use of this technology did not reduce the human element in Jewel Paymentech’s objective setting process. “In fact, it has brought us closer together, and focused us on the right things and producing the right outcomes to help us get there.”

She cites the one-on-one feature for having increased the quality and frequency of conversations between manager and employee, and more importantly, employees now ask for more one-on-one conversations as this helps them know (with crystal clarity) what and how they are contributing to the company, which keeps them excited and engaged at work.

Moving forward, she clarifies: “In my opinion, in terms of fully adopting the approach of setting stretched objectives, tracking and attaining them, we’re not 100% there yet, but as we constantly review and innovate our approach for what works for the company, we have certainly done better compared to 2018.”

Photo / Provided

This case study was published in Human Resources’ Q3 2019 edition of the Malaysia magazine. Read the full story here: “Is technology the dark knight for HR?”

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