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Three tips for implementing HR tech solutions



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Ong Chin Yin, Head of People at Grab, speaks to Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP) on the importance of HR tech and what to take note of when implementing a new system.

Q Do you think transformation through the adoption of HR tech is important? Why?

Overall, we believe technology is a critical enabler in delivering better experiences for our people while at the same time redefining the services our HR practitioners are able to provide. Here are four key reasons why.

First, today’s digitally savvy workforce are demanding new personalised experiences. They want similar experiences at their workplace as they do outside of it and they expect to be provided personalised information, tailored development programmes and flexibility in areas like benefits. Moreover, every service should be available from a mobile-first approach.

Second, automation can help free up our HR teams from mundane, repeatable or transactional tasks, allowing us to spend more time with our Grabbers to solve more strategic issues. For example, the self-service technologies we use – such as bots – help our Grabbers find answers in an instant, while significantly reducing email traffic.

Third, in the digital workplace, technology provides employees a greater share of voice in defining their own career journey. Today, knowledge sharing and learning are getting more democratised than ever before, as we provide applications that allow staff to share, connect and collaborate from their desk or mobile devices.

Fourth, every new technology provides some data that can be turned into useful insights through people analytics. At Grab, our people analytics team is on a journey towards becoming a customer-centric product development team, putting personalised dashboards and insights in the hands of our HR practitioners and business leaders so that we can constantly monitor organisational health and proactively evolve it.

Q How have you adopted or driven the adoption of HR tech in Grab?

When adopting technology, we ensure three key things – people are at the centre, process takes the back seat; our solutions are purpose-led, never technology-led; and we value progress and agility over perfection.

As a business, our customers are at the centre of everything we do. The same philosophy applies to our HR teams where our customers are our employees. Hence, we take an employee-centric approach when looking into new technology solutions for Grabbers, including HR tech.

While we embrace new technologies, it is seldom the starting point of solving problems or seizing new opportunities. We see technology as an enabler to serving our employees better. Hence, we determine the very best solution that is fit-for-purpose for our Grabbers and then carefully evaluate technology options through business case development and cost-benefit analysis.

Lastly, at Grab, we create an environment where learning, failing and risk taking is appreciated, and supported with continuous feedback loops. Using agile approaches and design thinking, as well as involving our Grabbers from the very start, allows us to prototype, iterate fast and provide more relevant solutions.

Q What are some of the tech solutions you are adopting now?

We are currently designing the next version of our performance management philosophy and culture. In line with that, we are developing supporting technology in-house with our engineering teams that is fit-for-purpose.

We have also revolutionised our on-boarding programme to offer new joiners a more engaging and enriching experience. This is supplemented with technology that will help them make better connections and guide them through their first six months. A key ingredient to the successful implementation of this are design thinking sessions and focus groups with new joiners and experienced Grabbers.

To support our extremely flexible benefits programme, which is a rave at Grab, we make use of a system from another Singapore-based start-up which takes away the load of validating and processing the many claims that come through.

Q What advice do you have for other HR leaders who are also implementing such tech solutions?

First, don’t underestimate the need for change management. Implementing a technology solution first and trying to drive adoption afterwards bears several risks such as low ROI or delayed benefit realisation, increased and repetitive user support or even user resistance.

Second, spending sufficient time with the end-user is key to success. Listening with an open heart and exhibiting empathy to understand and capture their needs, as well as bringing them along the journey through proper training and communication increases the likelihood for sustainable success.

Third, involve IT early to evaluate your technology options carefully. We all get excited about new tech and gadgets. Yet, it’s not just about the new features but a much broader spectrum of feasibility that requires an IT expert’s careful evaluation, especially around information security.

Technology vendors tend to focus on benefits for the user, while IT can shed light into the integration with your existing application landscape, infrastructure, expected CAPEX and OPEX. Apart from remaining in control of your technology spend, more importantly, you want to maintain your data integrity and data cleanliness, put the right security and controls in place, as well as offer efficient support and maintenance services.


Ong Chin Yin was recently conferred as an IHRP Master Professional, the pinnacle-level achievement that recognises HR leaders as role models of the HR community.

With her over 20 years of experience, Ong contributes actively to guiding the development of the national HR certification framework as a second term member of the IHRP Professional Practices committee.

Ong currently runs two teams – people operations (HR), and Grabber Technology Solutions (IT) – both with the aim to provide for Grabbers (staff) a more positive, personalised experience.

In her capacity as Head of People at Grab, Ong leads a combined team of about 300 members, supporting more than 6,000 employees across eight countries where they have operations and four remote R&D locations.


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