HR has come a long way from the days of paperwork, filing documents, and overflowing cabinets. However, can the function be considered truly digital? 

A new survey commissioned by Digi and conducted by Vase.AI, 36% of employees in the HR department who do not currently have any experience using an HR digitalised platform do not know if their company has plans to do so. The survey, titled 'Human Resource Digitalisation in Malaysia', also revealed that 28% said their companies do plan to move in that direction but did not have concrete plans as to when it will be rolled out.

The survey also revealed several challenges to the current HR processes, with employees saying that it is ineffective and unsystematic (32%), lacking security to ensure the safety of data (21%), and that it is difficult to track and measure performance through these traditional tools. 

While there are various issues with current processes, digitalisation isn't as simple as buying a new platform. It comes with its own set of challenges such as lack of education and experience as well as an unwillingness to change legacy systems.

The survey revealed that companies that adopted digitalised HR platforms and subsequently reverted to traditional processes cited the following barriers to HR digitalisation: 

  • High costs (44%)
  • Small company size (28%)
  • System inefficiency in consolidating all tasks (17%)
  • The worry that digitalisation would make their job redundant (15%)

Even after adopting the HR digitised platforms, the challenges continue. The survey found that employees who are currently using an HR digitised platform/application faced challenges including data which is inaccessible offline causing restrictions during power outages (29%), lack of support from the developers to use the platform/application (23%), and time needed to train employees to use the platform (23%).

Among the 268 respondents sampled, employees who currently use an HR digitised platform/application and in the government sector, said they mainly use the solutions for leave management (65%), while those in the private sector mainly use the solutions for payroll (69%).

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons in preparedness and efficiency. The past few months highlighted the role that digitalisation plays in ensuring productivity and business continuity to be future-ready, accelerating the adoption of digital tools.

In the survey, a whopping 88% of employees feel that working in a digital-led environment eases their workload very efficiently; whereas survey respondents who were not working in such an environment did see the value in digitalisation.

With this digital shift expected to continue as we return to a 'new normal', companies that do not digitalise risk losing relevance in an increasingly internet-heavy sphere. 

3Ws for evaluating the effectiveness of your digital DNA

On that note, the survey suggested that companies looking to begin on a digital transformation journey need to look into their digital DNA and evaluate its effectiveness through three Ws - Workplace, Workforce and Work.

1. Workplace – The Role of the Employer

Change needs to be applied throughout the company, beginning with the top. Employers themselves need to break from legacy systems and change their mindsets on what works and what no longer does. They should influence and affect change by taking the initiative to understand new technologies and apply them within the company.

2. Workforce – Empowering the Employees

Providing education and awareness on digital tools is important to ensure that those doing the day to day work are comfortable with the technology being used. Although learning new technologies and way of work may be challenging at first, its benefits far outweigh the effort put into learning how to utilise them well.

3. Work – Relooking everyday operations

It is important to first determine what needs to be digitalised and which processes can benefit from a digital touch. Employees do not need to worry about losing their jobs to these digital tools as using them will only free them from manual, labour-intensive work which enables them to work on higher-level tasks. In essence, these employees have the chance to upskill and increase their aptitude to contribute to the organisation, leading to greater productivity and profitability.

Digi’s Chief Digital Officer, Praveen Rajan said: "The future of work will mean that there is a constant need to examine emerging skills, employee experience and key work trends. Employee expectations will continue to evolve, and HR has to move with the times to meet them. Digitalising HR will help to streamline many processes that would normally take up much of an employee’s time and provide them with ease of work – in Digi we have seen the results of digitalisation in many areas and have created our own HR super app, altHR in our quest for a ‘perfect’ HR solution. Using altHR has transformed the way we manage our HR processes and engage with all our employees."

english infographic hr digitalisation in malaysia

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