How companies can lead the change to reinvent the HR experience

SAP SuccessFactors' HR Connect SEA 2021 highlighted how the role of HR is evolving as a hybrid workforce continues to emerge.
By: | August 30, 2021

At the onset of the pandemic, many organisations found the safety of their employees emerging as a top priority as they looked to manage a wave of disruption and uncertainty.

That was certainly the case for Kuok Singapore, where the safety of their people drove the focus on everything that relates to employee safety and wellness. Melissa Kee, Chief Human Resources Officer, Kuok Singapore, explained, “We needed to first make sure that employees are taken care of, whether frontline workers feel safe at work for and for those working from home, whether they are able to focus on work.”

Kee was speaking at the recently concluded SAP SuccessFactors’ HR Connect SEA 2021 virtual event, which examined how the HR experience is being reinvented.

With employee safety assured, Kuok Singapore could then focus on strengthening the workforce resilience required to manage a prolonged crisis. “We needed everyone to have the energy and the agility to manage the changing rules and restrictions imposed by governments in response to the pandemic,” said Kee.

For Thai Beverage, which employs some 40,000 employees, of which only a quarter can realistically work from home, making employees feel safe and secured was critical for business continuity, revealed Dr Agapol Na Songkhla, Chief People Officer, Thai Beverage.

He added, “Besides providing insurance and regular testing, the new requirement for human capital is to be able to do precision management when it comes to the well-being of our employees. Information can no longer be one-way, and we need to better understand employee feedback.”

As 2020 stretched into 2021, Kuok Singapore realised that they needed to remain focused on helping their workforce get better at managing themselves, as well as business operations on an ongoing basis. This included rethinking how business is conducted, including if work can be done virtually or remotely, and how digital solutions can act as an enabler.

Kee said, “One big enabler of this disruption was the acceleration and adoption of technology in the workplace. The next opportunity for many organisations is to take advantage of the crisis and accelerate the workforce into the future of work.”

The emergence of the hybrid workforce

As more people become fully vaccinated across Asia, many organisations are having to decide the number of employees they wish to see return to the office. While advocating for a “work from anywhere” concept, Thai Beverage believes that employees will benefit from physical interaction with their colleagues.

Dr Agapol highlighted, “As a philosophy, we encourage our employees to be physically present at the office but it’s now a concept of work from anywhere. For instance, you can come to the office but do not have to be physically in the meeting room – we are constantly innovating to improve the online experience for our employees.”

Thai Beverage has also ensured that they provide as much information as possible to employees to access virtually, including vaccination and COVID-19 test details. A diverse workforce has also meant work had to be categorised, with assessments made on how safe employees are from various workstations.

An employee platform supported by SAP SuccessFactors not only makes this information readily available to employees, but also allows Thai Beverage to interact with employees on a daily basis.

For Kuok Singapore, while certain roles still require employees to be at the frontline, a hybrid workforce is the preference, bringing with it several considerations, including understanding the different requirements for each business segment and the function they perform.

Kee continued, “We also need to consider how we manage company culture and measure performance as we enable a hybrid workforce arrangement. We need to ensure that people can continue to do their best work while having the flexibility to do so wherever they want to be.”

Supported by SAP SuccessFactors, Kuok is also actively tracking the vaccination rate of employees around the world. “We were able to get employees to provide their vaccination status and that helps us to make sure the workplace is safe for everybody. If employees are not fully vaccinated, they are not allowed to come back to the office.”

Creating a safe workplace

To help organisations better manage their transition through the pandemic, SAP SuccessFactors has been offering several key solutions, including vaccine and health status tracking.  Via the innovative SAP SuccessFactors mobile application, employees can update their vaccination status, and information on any recent travel, how they perform their work, their ability to work from home, or if they are required to travel to any workstation.

Through the Vaccine Gateway service, a fully automated verification and updating system powered by the SAP Business Technology Platform, employees can also upload their COVID-19 vaccinations certificates by attachment via a QR code.

Click here to find out more and watch exclusive content from HR Connect 2021.