Digitising the workspace


By JOY LEE
  • News
  • Monday, 28 Dec 2015

Having a workforce that is more in tune with the digital culture makes it easier for employees to innovate, says Bhatti.

As companies transition into the digital age, it’s important that the digital mindset is not limited to products and services but also applies the internal workspace. JOY LEE reports on DIGI.Com’s new HR practice.

MANY companies emphasise the importance of innovating products and services to ensure growth, but few look into innovating their workforce.

According to DiGi.Com Bhd chief human resource officer Haroon Bhatti, there is also a need to bring the digital age into the employee space as the digital economy continues to evolve.

“We started looking at our workforce and realised that our employees are very digitally savvy consumers,” says Bhatti.

“They do all their transactions online. But when you walk into the office, it’s like walking into the 90s. Consumers are starting to get digitised. But in the workplace, that change isn’t happening fast enough. So that was what we started looking at,” he explains.

Haroon points out that DiGi aspires to change from a purely mobile player into a digital company, and as such, it was important that this change was also reflected in its internal processes.

“The change requires us to evolve and adapt faster,” he adds.

About a year ago, the company’s human resource (HR) department started developing several applications to simplify some administrative processes such as claims submission.

For example, instead of filling out a claims form and submitting paper receipts, DiGi has made it possible for employees to send in photos of receipts with short details of his or her claims via the company’s internal app.

HR has already launched six to seven applications and is looking at other processes which can be digitised.

“These interactions are allowing us to get digitised entirely. Then employees can concentrate on what they need to do instead of spend so much time on administrative processes,” says Bhatti.

Having a workforce that is more in tune with the digital culture will also make it easier for employees to innovate and create value products and services for its consumers.

But the change didn’t come easy, notes Bhatti, as it also required a shift in competence for the HR department, which needed to deal with technology in a more direct way.

There is also the issue of data security and privacy now that everything is done online.

“But the real challenge is to believe that this is possible. You need to be passionate to drive and see these changes through, and also some amount of madness to keep going. But it’s been worth it, and the responses from the employees have been overwhelming,” says Bhatti.

He hopes to showcase what DiGi has managed to achieve so far as there is a lot of “catching up” that organisations have to do in this space. He believes not many other companies have applied such a holistic strategy to modernise and digitise its workforce.

Bhatti is keen to work with other HR practitioners to share DiGi’s experiences to elevate HR practices in the local industry.

“The more we can scale this, the better it would be for other HR practitioners and employees. The name of the game these days is collaboration. While we are fierce competitors where we need to compete, there are other areas where we do not need to compete.

“And if that means sharing what we have and know about making HR practices better, then why not?

“If we can work together, then at some stage, we lift Malaysia up and compete at a global level. It is no longer just a local focus. We need to up our game,” concludes Bhatti.

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