Enabling workplace transformation with the right technology

A HR digital transformation has enabled Air Liquide APAC to successfully navigate the disruptive challenges of hybrid work.
By: | August 31, 2022

Air Liquide’s APAC digital transformation project was managed and implemented remotely from Air Liquide’s Singapore Office, in collaboration with Paris HQ, with members dispersed geographically. With COVID workplace restrictions having been gradually lifted, Air Liquide is now better-placed to meet the workforce challenges of the future.

As organisations look to build a future-ready workforce in a continuously evolving world of work, many challenges need to be successfully navigated.

Identifying talent retention as one of those challenges, Chong Yee Lin, Head, HR Digital Solutions CoE, APAC Hub, Air Liquide, said, “Multi-talented employees are more willing than ever to change jobs and people can now easily look for new employment opportunities beyond country borders.”

Speaking with HRM Magazine Asia, Chong also highlighted that in a hybrid world characterised by talent shortage and rapid global mobility, organisations need to develop work models that allow critical skills and competencies to be built, while offering employees greater flexibility to maximise productivity and efficiency.

The key to achieving these goals, Chong said, is having the digital dexterity to use skills, processes, and technology to not only spur innovative digitisation, but also to attract and retain the best talent.

Citing the example of how hiring during the pandemic involved hiring and onboarding people without meeting them in person, she added, “Creating a positive onboarding experience remains a challenge and this has become a priority for many HR departments.”

“With IT transformation projects being carried out remotely, creating a positive team spirit, encouraging team collaboration, and promoting engagement becomes a challenge with the limitations of virtual workspaces.”

For Air Liquide APAC, identifying efficient employee feedback models and putting action programmes and tools to work on the feedback became a priority, leading to a digital transformation drive to reinvent and streamline HR operations.

Powered by a new human resources information system (HRIS), a new automated and centralised HR operating model now unifies Air Liquide’s Business Shared Services Centre, six HR Centres of Excellence and HR Business Partners as foundational pillars.

Chong revealed, “With one common platform, we can provide consistent processes, convenience, and functionality to support line managers with decision-making on people matters. At the same time, the platform can provide enhanced HR services to employees and ensure better outreach to not only managers and executives, but also frontline and remote blue-collar workers across diverse businesses, geographies, languages, and cultures in APAC.”

Air Liquide APAC is also now better placed to add new automaton capabilities for recruitment, talent management, onboarding, performance management, as well as learning and development.

“With a central HRIS platform, we can leverage on real-time data and analytics to help businesses determine future workforce plans, predict turnover in critical roles, make hiring decisions, and connect metrics to goals,” she added.

Recognising how this HR transformation initiative has enabled Air Liquide APAC to successfully navigate the disruptive challenges of hybrid work and a rapidly evolving business environment, the company was awarded with the Best Use of Technology accolade at HR Fest Awards 2022, organised by HRM Asia as part of HR Tech Festival Asia 2022.

Expressing her pride in winning the award, Chong said, “It was a highly complex and ambitious automation project. Multiple tracks ran in parallel, there were high quality benchmark expectations, and collaboration with multiple stakeholders was required to deliver the project on schedule.”

With team members dispersed geographically as the APAC project was managed and implemented remotely from Air Liquide’s Singapore Office, in collaboration with Paris HQ, the project not only showcases team spirit and the ability to execute in challenging circumstances, but also demonstrated a scalable pilot technology platform that can be successfully implemented across Air Liquide offices globally, according to Chong.

She also paid tribute to Air Liquide’s leadership team for providing the compassion and flexibility needed to create a more empathetic, humane, and inclusive work environment during the pandemic, which was critical to the project’s success.

“The investment in cutting-edge technology innovations in a difficult business climate, and the decision not to scale down on initiatives that ultimately benefit the employee, has been exemplary,” Chong concluded.