Winning Secrets: How Soho Global Health digitally transformed talent acquisition amidst the pandemic

Winning Secrets: How Soho Global Health digitally transformed talent acquisition amidst the pandemic

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Candidate searches can now be done using social media platforms, even as the company has maximised the use of job portals, virtual job fairs, and its 'Member Get Member' programme.

Soho Global Health led rapid and massive changes within the organisation to keep business as usual in the new norm. Winning the bronze award for Excellence in Talent Acquisition at HR Excellence Awards 2020, Indonesia, Yuliana Tjhai, Senior Executive Vice President LCIACS & HR, Soho Global Health shares how team’s initiatives and achievements in digital-led talent acquisition activities in this pandemic period.

Q How would you describe your overall HR strategy, and what are some key milestones you’ve accomplished thus far?

We are focused on building the foundations for sustainable success and defining the road ahead. This strategy is based on our core competencies, external trends that will impact our industry, and a concrete map on how to reach our ambition. To fulfill this, we are committed to:

  1. Develop a HR roadmap to bring the company to be an 'employer of choice in the near future.
  2. Improve HR capability and leadership to be the best in class.
  3. Maintain and retain high potential employee; while continuing to maintain the good relationship between the company and union leaders.
  4. Maximise the talent pool and social media to reach potential candidates; and keep hiring highly competent candidates that meet the company’s purpose, vision and core values, to create future leaders for strategic positions within the company.
  5. Optimise the capability and increase the competency of talent acquisition to best suit the organisation.

During the journey, we have reached achievements such as:

  1. Digitally transformed to sustain performance during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Supported the company’s initial public offering in September 2020;
  3. Initiated the 'Role Modelling Strategy' that encourages all business leaders to become a role model to the employees while the employees get to know their leaders closely;
  4. Created and maintained conducive industrial relations between employees, labour union and the Government;
  5. Increase employee satisfaction levels as shown in the results of the 2019 Employee Engagement Survey, which were higher compared to similar industries in Indonesia and in Asia Pacific; and met the global norm for innovation;
  6. Won the bronze award in Talent Acquisition, became the finalist for Excellence in Employee Engagement and Excellence in Workplace Wellbeing.

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Q What role has your leadership team played in supporting your HR priorities? How does your HR team collaborate closely with senior management to achieve business goals?

Our leader holds a strong commitment to building a team driven by strong performance culture to go the extra mile. The company believes that everyone in the group will go the extra mile, and is highly self-motivated to meet the company’s goal with minimum supervision.

In achieving business goals, we work very closely with senior management by:

  1. Leading the business continuity plan (BCP) in early 2020 to sustain the company’s performance, and ensure employees' health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Improving the HR services management;
  3. Putting the right person in the right job;
  4. Developing a succession plan that fits the organisation;
  5. Improving the dialogue and relationship between employee, labour union and the Government.

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Q The pandemic has caused many business plans to be upended. What was the greatest challenge you faced this year and how did you manage to pivot your HR model/ framework?

The greatest challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic is taking immediate action to ensure employees' health and safety while maintaining business continuity and continuously improving performance. We decided not to fall into the pandemic ‘nightmare’ but lead rapid and massive changes within the organisation to keep business as usual in the new norm.

We did an immediate digital transformation in HR working system by implementing new-norm activities such as:

  1. Switching all communications (internal and external) to virtual mode and maximising the use of technology;
  2. Adapting quickly to all government regulations to implement health protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  3. Issuing new internal guidance for travel, meeting, and remote working that comply with regulations;
  4. Creating internal flexibility in most HR areas and fully complying with government regulations;
  5. Implementing e-recruitment activities from candidates' search all the way to the employment onboarding system.

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Q What was your game plan for measuring ROI in talent acquisition? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

We recognise that there are external challenges in the form of talent wars, from direct competitors who are aggressively offering competitive remuneration packages. However, we continue to build employer branding year on year.

Employer branding is very important to attract and retain the best candidates. The best candidate will definitely choose the best company and of course the company also wants them. We also offer interesting compensation benefits to employees. These two things make it easier for us to recruit and search candidates who want to join SGH.

Talent acquisition ensures getting the right candidate according to the lead time, by using social media (LinkedIn), job portals, virtual job fairs, and the 'Member Get Member' programme. Instead of using headhunters, in 2020, we maximised the talent acquisition capability and minimised recruitment costs. We also work very closely with the management in setting up talent pools for critical positions.

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Q With WFH being the norm for the bigger part of the year, has your organisation recently adopted any new forms of technology to improve the talent acquisition processes/ overall work processes?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we improved talent acquisition processes by implementing new-norm initiatives:

  1. Candidate searches using social media platform (LinkedIn), maximising the use of job portals and virtual job fairs, and applying the 'Member Get Member' programme;
  2. Candidate interviews, offer process, employment agreement signing process are conducted virtually;
  3. Implemented the virtual new employee on-boarding programme, online induction training, and e-learning;
  4. Meetings, sharing, training are conducted virtually; and
  5. All new employee documentation is received in digital/soft copy formats. 

Photo / 123RF

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section! 

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