Natasha Ganesan analyses the current capitalisation of technology through case examples from Celestica Electronics, Dell Malaysia, and Ademco (Far East).

In conversations with HR leaders on the digital era, most have agreed that technology is an important tool in enhancing employee engagement and allowing line managers to take up shared responsibilities previously perceived as HR-only duties, such as performance management and payroll transactions, removing mundane paper-based processes. Yet, they admit that while many practices have been simplified through automation, the true value of analytics has not been realised in HR as of now.

According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2017 report, while 88% of companies believe they need to redesign their organisation to succeed in the digital age, just over one in 10 (11%) are actually confident of redesigning their organisation for the future.

Clearly, there is room for improvement. In this feature, we analyse the current capitalisation of technology through case examples from respected companies across Malaysia and Singapore.

Innovation for a digital future: Celestica Electronics Malaysia

From medical devices to highly engineered aviation systems, Celestica delivers complex products to its customers in a world of rapid change. Likewise, it is essential for Celestica to stay on top in leveraging technology for HR processes.

As such, since early this year, Celestica has customised SAP’s SuccessFactors into its Employee Central module, alongside modules for performance management, succession planning, and compensation. “The implementation of Employee Central has had a great impact on everyone in the company as we are providing the tools to not only enable managers to manage their team more efficiently, but also empower employees to manage their development more effectively,” outlined Alvin Yeoh, regional human resources director for SEA at Celestica.

The biggest challenge for Celestica was changing the mindset of both the managers and employees, which the HR team overcame by focusing on four domains: leadership alignment, stakeholder involvement, communication, and training and performance support.

“Leadership alignment and internal commitment started from the top before working its way down. All leaders should be willing to seek out resistance and committed to leading the transformation by example,” Yeoh shared.

Similarly, stakeholder involvement meant engaging employees, managers, leaders and external stakeholders to ensure their opinions are heard so as to build increased sense of ownership. “It was just as important to navigate stakeholders through stages of change through formal and informal communication, as well as provide knowledge, tools and training to help employees operate successfully in the new environment.”

All leaders should be willing to seek out resistance and committed to leading the transformation by example.
- Alvin Yeoh, regional human resources director for SEA, Celestica
Challenges aside, Celestica has seen inspiring results despite being in the early stages of the implementation. “We now have a single global system which includes a set of procedures standardised across the entire organisation for employee transactions. We have also implemented a world class user interface that can engage and be accessed from anywhere at anytime, leading to greater adoption of new business processes,” explained Yeoh.

Yeoh added that employees have experienced faster access to information through self-service as well as less human intervention and less chance of data leakage for personal information.

Besides focusing its efforts on Malaysia, Celestica hopes to enable better global control and oversight for its Southeast Asia HR team. This would include elimination of paper-based activities, greater system adoption leading to fewer requests from the business for manual intervention, and finally, enabling HR focus from tactical to strategic through purpose built HR analytics engine.

Yeoh concluded: “2017 is set to be a transformative year for Celestica and we want to foster a high-performance environment through highly engaged employees demonstrating capabilities and behaviours required for success.”

Transforming technology beyond laptops: Dell Malaysia

For over 33 years, Dell has played a central role in transforming the technology industry worldwide, from workforce to security transformation. Thus, it is no surprise that the same approach is transcending their company, brand and people.

“As we embark on the journey of transforming Dell HR to set new standards for a great employee experience using technology solutions and operational excellence, we are driven by our shared purpose to intuitive experience for all our team members,” shared Dell’s regional human resources director for Malaysia, South East Asia countries and Asia Emerging Market Group, M. Muniandy.

In terms of challenges, Dell encountered difficulties in focusing on finding newer, innovative ways to deliver high quality HR services, and an exceptional employee experience – all this can be achieved through new tools, capability and an effective organisation structure.

“We wanted our HR business support needs to be delivered in a more efficient and cost effective manner, and for this a paradigm shift is required,” explained Muniandy.'

To overcome these obstacles, Dell established a new model on how team members and leaders can engage with HR, by implementing a new suite of industry-leading HR systems with the aim of providing flexibility to support an evolving business model.

Through this system, Dell instrumented five various platforms to accommodate its HR processes:

@My HR Portal This intranet portal served as the starting point for any HR inquiry and it will direct team members and leaders to the right answer, tool or person.

“This easy-to-use search tool enables instant support using advanced search algorithms, and also interfaces with other HR tools to complete the task. If questions are not resolved via My HR Portal, there is a dedicated and knowledgeable team - HR Team Member Services Desk- ready to resolve any HR inquiry,” Muniandy shared.

@My HR analytics As an online self-service portal, it allows the HR team at Dell to extract reports and analyse key metrics necessary for developing and maintaining workforce.

The portal provides quantitative reports that assist HR and team managers to balance resources, minimise staff turnover and improve employee performance.

@My Development and Performance tool This tool enables easy and calibration between managers and employees. Dell’s performance management cycle provides the ability to analyse changes in behaviors that align with the company’s vision and mission.

Employees are thus able to receive on-going feedback on their performance and managers feel a shared commitment to success, Muniandy pointed out.

We wanted our HR business support needs to be delivered in a more efficient and cost effective manner, and for this a paradigm shift is required. 
- M. Muniandy, regional human resources director for Malaysia, Dell
“We have another tool known as the Recognition Reward Tool. This tool encourages managers and employees to submit award nominations to recognise employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. It serves as a timely recognition reward tool showing Dell’s appreciation for employees who go an extra mile to perform their best,” he added.

@My Jobs This recruiting system allows managers to create and view requisitions, match candidates’ profiles and skilled sets, and configure selection workflow.

@My Learning This portal helps employees source for trainings most suitable for them. Employees have convenient and easy access to resources which will help them grow and develop.

“The portal also provides access to extensive online business, technical and professional courses in 17 different languages. This creates an interactive online learning experience for them wherever and whenever needed,” Muniandy concluded.

Securing a place in the digital future: Ademco Far East

Operating since 1977, Ademco Far East provides security solutions and services to businesses and governments across Asia. In doing so, it is important for Ademco to harness innovative technologies to optimise overall performance and sustainability.

Linda Ong, HR and administration director at Ademco (Far East) pointed out her company’s latest cloud based HR Information System (HRIS) which rolled in just two months ago. “Staff will be able to use the HRIS to track their own performance coaching updates and manage their skill competency level, thus taking own initiative to fill up the gaps to improve their skillsets so as to increase their productivity and value in the company,” said Ong.

"The HRIS is also a good platform for employees to manage their personal admin matters with on-demand access e.g. address update, academic achievement updates, etc," adds Ong.

Despite deploying a cloud solution used by many Fortune 500 companies, Ong and her team did face issues in customisation of its processes to suit Ademco’s requirements. Moreover, with the demands of day-to-day business, the team faced the challenge of sticking to an aggressive timeline and had to reschedule and lengthen the rollout period. Ong adds: “Another challenge was in engaging the various department heads to plan out an effective training roadmap for their team members. It needed tenacity and persistence.”

Having rolled out more than two months ago, Ademco is still seeing great resistance from employees especially those who are fearful of technology. “The HR team is overcoming these challenges by constantly reminding employees to log on to the system to experience its usefulness, at times by holding them their hands. We may even consider introducing ‘perks’ to further change the mindset of those ‘less technology savvy’ employees,” said Ong.

Another challenge was in engaging the various department heads to plan out an effective training roadmap for their team members.
- Linda Ong, HR and administration director at Ademco (Far East)
Despite the challenges, Ong is optimistic about the results: “The very first benefit we see is that our staff is excited about the engagement and upcoming improvements to our HR strategy. The fact that we are committed to investing close to a quarter million to engage a leading global HR consultant shows our focus on improvement.”

"Staff morale is high and is likely to increase when the company implements improvements progressively", she added.

Going forward, Ademco is looking into a claims system to integrate with its HRIS for staff to be able to track their yearly expenses on medical, dental and transport. Additionally, an online hard and soft skill learning portal may be implemented.

“We also want to expand the HRIS to include a real-time and open two-way communication framework and innovation platform for employees to give feedback to improve engagement and productivity as well as to invoke their career aspirations and entrepreneurial spirits,” Ong said.

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