Millennials and digital transformation: The HR question
By Gabey Goh June 29, 2015
- Millennials want accelerated paths to leadership, greater purpose and flexibility
- For HR teams, this has necessitated a change in existing people practices
WHEN Malaysian telecommunications company Maxis Communications embarked on its transformation journey at the end of 2013, major changes needed to be made internally – with Human Resources (HR) being one of those key areas.
“HR needed to change as well, in order to stay relevant to the business and support it efficiently,” says Chin Mee Lin, head of HR Services at Maxis.
“At the time, we had a 10-year-old on-premises system which was struggling to keep up with changes from business and evolving needs,” she adds, speaking recently at the Singapore leg of a 22-market roadshow organised by California-headquartered on-demand financial management and human capital management software vendor Workday.
A company with 13.26 million subscribers and a market capitalisation of RM48 billion (US$12.7 billion), Maxis also has more than 3,000 employees, a significant portion of whom are millennials. [corrected]
“They [millennials] will decide for themselves if any apps we deploy will be adopted,” Chin notes.
According to a study conduct by Deloitte, millennials now make up 50% of the global workforce. In the Asia Pacific region specifically, it is estimated that millennials make up approximately 30% of the workforce. Their expectations are vastly different from those of previous generations.
“With global transparency in the job market, it is easy to find jobs in other countries – and competition is high for the best talent,” says Mark Maclean (pic), HR transformation practice leader at Deloitte South-East Asia.
“Companies need to focus on how quick and efficient their recruitment process is – if not, candidates will jump to the next offer,” he adds.
In its Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report, Deloitte noted that millennials expect accelerated responsibility and paths to leadership, and seek greater purpose in their work – with greater flexibility in how that work is done.
For HR teams, this has necessitated a change in existing people practices, with increasing demands to measure and monitor the larger organisational culture, simplify the work environment, and redesign work to help people adapt.
It is not just the recruitment process that needs to move with the times. When it comes to internal applications or processes deployed by companies for things such as leave management, getting millennial employees to play ball means catering to their expectations.
Recent research by Deloitte shows that only 30% of business leaders believe that HR has a reputation for sound business decisions, and only 28% feel that HR is highly efficient.
In addition, only 22% believe that HR is adapting to the changing needs of their workforce; and only 20% feel that HR can adequately plan for the company’s future talent needs.
That being said, HR’s lag is taking place amid a steady increase in HR investment, with senior management recognising that such investments are critical.
Deloitte reports that the market for relevant solutions has grown by 50% into a US$10 billion industry in the last five years.
HR spending grew by 4% in 2014 over 2013, with much of this growth dedicated to technology. Further, according to this year’s research, nearly six in 10 companies are planning to increase HR spending in the next 12–18 months.
Working with Workday
At Maxis, after a nine-month evaluation process, a vendor was chosen and implementation work began on its new HR system in September 2014, a process that involved configuring more than 60 business processes.
Phase 1 went live in April 2015, with the company adopting new HR management and expenses modules, with plans to add recruitment and talent management modules by the end of the year.
The vendor Maxis eventually settled on was Workday. Chin (pic) was unable to share how much of a monetary investment the company made into its transformation process.
“There were many similarities in language when it came to what Workday was focused on, and what we wanted to achieve on in terms of outcomes in renewing the way we worked, strengthening the basics, along with enabling and empowering the workforce.
“We liked what we saw and believe that they could deliver on the core principles. The evaluation period was long because we had to be sure about what we were getting into, but after that, the deployment period was relatively quick.
“No training sessions were needed for the new modules due to the intuitive design, and employees were able to explore the system via keywords and self-service.
“We are also working with an improved data structure and need to get the basics right. It’s an area where we are still learning,” she adds.
Next: Workday’s ‘five-cloud’ outlook, its plans for Asia
SEA's ‘GenMobile’ less attached to devices, more attracted to flexi-work
APAC firms most affected by millennials in future workforce
Technology disruptions at work in Asean
Greater workforce investment leads to better financial results: SAP study
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