Scoot took home the gold award for 'Excellence in HR Innovation' at the HR Excellence Awards 2021, Singapore.
In this interview, Theresa Tan, Head of HR, Scoot, tells us how HR has been quick to adapt to the dynamic changes brought on by the pandemic, by thinking about how to leverage technology to complement work processes and deepen engagements with the workforce.
Q What is your organisation’s winning HR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?
Putting employees at the centre of everything we do, Scoot HR's winning strategy is to invest in the right technologies, have the right skills to operate, and have the right mindsets to help the business thrive.
As the driving force for many initiatives, HR has been responsible for establishing and radiating purpose, to improve the employee experience and drive leadership and culture. HR places a strong emphasis on developing a growth mindset to foster an innovative and resilient culture that embraces change. Driven by our corporate values of of being different, open, and empowered, our colleagues feel empowered to think differently, come up with ideas, and collaborate to develop innovative solutions. By combining this mindset with new processes and technology tools, teams can better adapt to change and achieve our shared goal of elevating the employee experience.
As a result, HR has rolled out various initiatives to help automate and streamline processes, increase efficiency and productivity, and transform the way we engage with employees.
QHow has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played in helping make this initiative a reality?
To build the workplace of the future, HR takes the lead in role-modelling desired mindsets and behaviours linked to the purpose of identifying moments that truly matter.
Our HR leaders help to connect the business objectives to key projects and initiatives, so that HR members can feel a sense of meaning and purpose to their work.
To facilitate innovation and encourage cross-transfer of skills and knowledge within the department, the HR management set up a structure to support key interactions between teams through collaborations. Through HR cornerstone projects, HR members can be involved in cross-functional teams to partake in projects focused on improving employee touchpoints and enhancing work processes through innovation, aside from their business domain.
Bringing together HR members from various teams allows us to share diversified ideas, system expertise, business knowledge to create innovative work solutions to support the business for success.
Q Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling this out, and how did you successfully get past them?
The COVID-19 crisis has fundamentally shifted the way in which people work. With the introduction of new measures due to mounting organisational demands and regulatory changes, HR was inundated with employee-related queries on remote working and other employment matters.
But HR has been quick to adapt to these dynamic changes, thinking about innovative ways on how we can leverage technology to complement our work processes and deepen engagements with our highly distributed workforce.
To automate and streamline manual processes, we use an intelligent automation system with a low-code platform that enables us to build chatbots integrated with our internal platforms and provide real-time communications and support to employees. With this scalable solution, we were able to build chatbots for different purposes.
HR implemented novel ways of using chatbots to cope with operational demands of COVID-19 requirements and even drive vaccination sign-ups; customise and tailor communications for the right audiences at the right time; and to provide a platform for employees to make employee-related queries and perform their day-to-day transactions. These chatbots help to increase efficiency which frees up manpower and creates opportunity for more meaningful work.
Working remotely has also resulted in increased emotional strain due to the lack of face-to-face interactions at the office. To help the organisation navigate this unusual period, HR deployed creative ways to engage employees virtually to create a rejuvenated work environment in the new norm. Taking a holistic and different approach to wellbeing, we organised virtual wellness activities around mental, physical, social and financial aspects. To create a more interactive experience, we introduced gamification through a team challenge to build camaraderie and increase participation in our planned activities like fun online challenges, online fitness classes, and financial talks.
Q As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. What was your gameplan for measuring ROI? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?
Throughout the process of embarking on HR’s cornerstone projects, we have seen the HR team learn and grow, upskilling themselves with technical skills to be more self-sustainable in supporting the platforms and deliver impact.
HR employees are also able to see value in the initiatives they work on and find their work meaningful and challenging – which encourages them to keep innovating for new ideas to keep employees happy and engaged.
We have also received positive feedback from employees, and are encouraged to see the company responding well to our efforts through increased employee engagement levels. Our company-wide engagement score improved by 22% despite 2020 being a challenging year; which is also 29% higher than the Singapore norm! Our overall ‘innovation’ driver also increased by 25% where employees feel more empowered to develop new ways of doing things during the pandemic. Recognising the effectiveness of our programme roll-outs, we saw 541 employees (32%) participating in our self-organised wellness activities. In building a recognition culture that encourages open collaboration and innovation, our peer-to-peer recognition bot has solicited 4,388 rewards and appreciation messages to-date since its launch in January 2021.
Q We’re now seeing HR manage portfolios that were previously considered far from their job description. In your view, what are the top three skills and attributes of today’s successful CHRO?
Today’s CHROs have a massive impact on the organisation and its people, acting as strategic partners to everyone, from C-suite to managers and new hires.
- Cultural vision – CHROs need to work with the executive team and stakeholders across the business to establish the organisation’s unique purpose based on the evolving expectations of customers and organisational needs, and develop a strategic plan to align the organisation’s cultures with its values and goals.
- Business decision making – As strategic partners to the business, we need to have a holistic and deep understanding of the company’s bottom line. By combining business knowledge and HR’s understanding of the people that comprise an organisation, we can develop innovative solutions to business problems, and make effective decisions on how we recruit, retain and develop talent to meet the company’s short and long-term objectives.
- Emotional intelligence – Understanding what employees want helps us make decisions to address their most imminent needs. At the same time, recognising their strengths and weaknesses in their roles and seeking out diverse feedback and points of view helps to place information in context, and manage them best according to each situation.
Photo / Provided by Scoot
Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section!