HR managers are today challenged by the rising demands of employees in terms of workplace experience and access to latest technology. Staff are accustomed to instant mobile communications and cutting-edge apps in their personal lives, and they now expect a similar tech-enabled experience at work, says Yazad Dalal, head, human capital management, cloud applications, Oracle Asia Pacific, in an interaction with Sudhir Chowdhary. Excerpts:
What are the major HR challenges that firms in Asia Pacific region face?
Asia Pacific (Apac) continues to face one of the world’s toughest talent gaps, with nearly half of all Apac employers reporting talent shortages. Businesses that do manage to find the right talent are eager to keep them on board—however Oracle’s own research shows that new hires often feel the least empowered and the least valued. Of employees who have been with an organisation for less than one year:
*33% intend to leave within 12 months
*Nearly 1 in 5 don’t see a long term future with their organisation
*Less than half feel they are part of a team
*14% say they aren’t rewarded based on performance
*Only 1 in 3 say their last performance review was fair.
The all-digital world is changing how we live, how we work and how business is conducted. Employees are digital consumers first; especially in Apac, where mobile penetration rates exceed 200% in markets like Hong Kong. The workplace is no longer just a physical space, and employers must offer the right solutions to support employees who increasingly prefer to intertwine their professional and personal lives.
Is turnover a major concern for the enterprises?
Definitely. I know of one organisation with 12,000 employees and every year, 4,000 were leaving. That’s a 30-40% turnover rate, every single year, and a major pain point for this company and others like it. The talent gap is also affecting a number of Apac businesses, 48% of whom are reporting talent shortages. Another challenge is meeting employee demands in a digital-first world. Staff are accustomed to instant mobile communications and cutting-edge apps, and they now expect a similarly tech-enabled experience at work.
From collaborating with colleagues to completing administrative tasks, today’s employees want the ability to do it at any time, from any place, on any device. Oracle’s HCM cloud solutions are designed around employee experience. They help offices recruit stronger talent and retain the great talent already on board, through technology that improves and modernises workplace processes—from initial onboarding to collaborating with colleagues to long-term skills development.
What are the main differences between the way businesses operate in Apac versus other regions?
Amongst employees in Apac, we have found that engagement tends to peak when people have been with their current company for five to 10 years. New hires in their first two years are the least likely to feel like part of a team, feel that they are being fairly rewarded, or see a future with the organisation. In terms of company culture, traditionally, businesses in Asia are cautious and conservative; whereas their Western counterparts are more willing to take a risk and hope it pays off big. With technology, for example, forward-thinking Apac businesses are jumping straight into cloud enterprise solutions. Whereas Western businesses must switch from a legacy, hardware-driven system, Asian companies can skip that step and adopt the most cutting-edge cloud technology straight away—giving Apac an edge over other regions.
Which areas of HR will technology (and specifically cloud solutions) change by the end of this decade?
I expect big advances in the recruiting process. Cloud solutions can give HR managers more data, and therefore more insight into what kind of candidates they should look at recruiting. Then, HR staff can capitalise on the cloud again to make an offer to new recruits and get them on board quickly. At Oracle, we are saving approximately 16 years of work every year with our automated recruiting process. Candidates receive an electronic offer, accept with one click, and start the onboarding process immediately.
With that time saved, HR staff can support the business’s bottom line by focusing on strategic functions, rather than paperwork. Oracle’s recruiting tools mean new hires don’t waste their first day or weeks in the office learning the ropes. Instead, new talent feel empowered and productive sooner; setting them up for a highly satisfying, intuitive and digitally-enabled tenure with the company. Besides recruiting, another area of HR that I expect to change as a result of cloud technology is employee experience.
Are there any major trends you expect in this area in Apac this year?
I expect more companies to focus on employee experience, and to invest in the technologies that support this. These technologies will be built on cloud computing, as HCM cloud solutions are the most powerful, efficient and cost-effective on the market today. As Apac is the world’s leading gaming market, I am interested to see how HCM solutions that enable a better employee experience can be linked to gaming. For example, Oracle has created applications that help a company gamify wellness, responsibility and CSR initiatives. More start-ups will turn to cloud to grow their HR capabilities. HCM cloud solutions mean that enterprise technology is no longer reserved for big companies with big capital to spend.