How digital transformation is evolving leadership

Organisations like Inchcape have embraced digital transformation in their daily processes, including within leadership.
By: | May 14, 2024

With more organisations having to adopt an agile and responsive mindset to adapt to an ever-changing global market, even organisations that have had long and successful legacies must learn to move towards a future that revolves around new trends, including digital transformation.

For an organisation like Inchcape, a global automotive distributor operating in more than 40 markets and partnering with over 40 automotive brands, the organisation is looking to shape a successful and sustainable future for the industry, and that means having to embrace technology, including their leaders.

“For Inchcape, digital transformation is a fundamental part of our Growth Strategy. By embracing digital technologies, we aim to enhance operational efficiencies, customer experiences, and unlock new sources of competitive advantage,” Wendy Foong, Chief Human Resource Officer and Regional People Director, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Inchcape, told HRM Asia.

She also shared why 2024 will be a transformative year for the organisation, as Inchcape seeks to focus on digital transformation for its employees. It is a part of their global strategy that builds on their previous year’s objective, which focused on rejuvenating recruitment, the onboarding process, employee performance and talent management. To connect all employees across a global network, Inchcape has introduced better service in payroll, timesheet, and attendance systems. In the APAC region alone, Foong shared, Inchcape is providing better service for close to 5,000 colleagues across 11 regions and markets.

Part of the move towards digital transformation includes creating and developing digital people transformation and talent retention programmes, which seek to address the increasingly changing workforce environment for 2024 and beyond across global markets so that they can reach out to all employees via technological methods. This also helps increase flexibility for how people work, and like many forward-thinking organisations, Inchcape is supporting hybrid and remote flexible work arrangements (FWAs).

“By embracing digital technologies, we aim to enhance operational efficiencies, customer experiences, and unlock new sources of competitive advantage.” – Wendy Foong, Chief Human Resource Officer and Regional People Director, APAC, Inchcape.

To Foong, it is a way to emphasise unity within the organisation to become ‘One Inchcape,’ via analytics and with the new elements the organisation is seeking to introduce. It hopes to enhance services, engagement, and support for employees, fostering productivity and an improved workplace environment, while encouraging a culture of continuous learning, collaboration, and innovation. 

This cannot be done without the help of good leadership that is supportive of digital transformation within the organisation, and ensuring a good talent pipeline that will help develop more leaders that can help to grow and sustain digital transformation within the organisation. “Inchcape understands that the digital era is disrupting industries, making it crucial to hire and train leaders who are both competent and supportive of transformation,” shared Foong.

To do this, Inchcape has used its Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and its commitment to keep delivering excellence in a tech-driven environment. The organisation has been able to attract and retain proficient leaders who embrace digital transformation through the help of exciting projects and growth opportunities.

“Since 2021, we have invested in omnichannel digital experience (DXP) solutions, digital analytics programmes (DAP), and Digital Parts Platform (DPP),” Foong explained. “These technologies have played a significant role in driving our distribution excellence and transforming the way we work,” The investment in implementing and installing these tools within Inchcape has been beneficial to the organisation: Inchcape has been able to increase their revenue, enhance relationships with their Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and customers, and all in all, drive up overall success.

It also helps to increase their organisation’s understanding of how digital transformation technology works hand in hand with employees to drive success, and leadership and mentorship, in turn, push the mentality across their proteges.

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This is emphasised in the range of training and development programmes which seek to enhance leadership skills that are focused on developing digital leadership at Inchcape, to create a stronger calibre of leaders ready to meet the expectations of the workforce of the future. Programmes on offer at Inchcape include the People Academy, Digital Academy, Women into Leadership, and ‘Empowering People Leaders Series’, as Foong espouses, and seeks to create a leadership that embraces technology and an agile mindset for a better tomorrow.

“As part of our ‘One Inchcape’ values and behaviours, we encourage and reward our employees to consistently improve through fresh thinking and embracing new ways of working so that they can stay ahead of the curve as the business landscape changes,” Foong concluded.