NUS transforms HR with tech to empower employees

Anna Ng, HR Tech Lead at the National University of Singapore, transformed the university’s HR landscape with a modern cloud-based HR system.
By: | June 18, 2024

In the bustling corridors of the National University of Singapore (NUS), change was stirring. Amid the age-old traditions and esteemed academic pursuits, Anna Ng, HR Tech Lead at NUS HR Department, spearheaded a transformative journey set to redefine the university’s HR technology landscape.

Reflecting on the challenges of the old HR system, Ng vividly remembered the cumbersome processes that once defined NUS’ HR operations. Thousands of transactions were handled manually each year, significantly impacting efficiency and leaving room for error. The reliance on physical files and documents posed security risks and hindered service delivery.

“The traditional approach was no longer sustainable, and we knew we needed a change,” she told HRM Magazine Asia.

With a clear vision in mind, Ng set out to build a modern HR ecosystem that would empower both employees and HR professionals alike. The cornerstone of this transformation lies in a Cloud-based Human Resource System (CHRS) from SAP SuccessFactors that would revolutionise the way NUS approached HR management.

She explained, “CHRS provides a comprehensive suite of modules that support and automate all aspects of the employee lifecycle. Mobile-enabled ESS [Employee Self-Service] and MSS [Manager Self-Service] functions bring greater convenience and efficiency. We use SAP BTP [Business Technology Platform] to custom build new applications specifically tailored for NUS’ business needs, with full integration to CHRS.”

“To support our employees’ physical health and mental wellbeing needs, leading wellbeing applications like Intellect, BenefitsYou and Darwin are adopted and connected to CHRS.”

And extending CHRS further, the team strategically expanded CHRS’ capabilities by integrating third-party solutions like DocuSign for e-signatures, OpenText for document management, Cherwell for HR service request tracking, and AI-powered platforms like Impress.ai and JobTech were adopted for intelligent talent sourcing and skill gap identification.

As the new HR ecosystem took shape, Ng witnessed the transformative impact it had on NUS’ workforce. Empowered by self-service capabilities and mobile-enabled functionalities, employees gained greater control over their HR needs, and managers had a better purview of their team data to enable resource allocation, targeted coaching, and staff development.

She elaborated, “CHRS eliminates the need for HR involvement in everyday data entry tasks. Employees can now update their personal data and contact details, report newborns, update their marital status, request leave online, and submit claims for expenses or medical bills – all through a secure and user-friendly system. Building upon this foundation of efficiency, the CHRS mobile app empowers employees with even greater flexibility. They can access the system and manage HR matters from anywhere, anytime, including watching an eLearning video on the go.”

The impact has been undeniable. Streamlined processes have boosted productivity, reduced workload for HR and employees, and eliminated maintenance costs associated with outdated systems. But for Ng, the journey was far from over.

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In a moment of triumph. NUS was honoured with the Best Use of Technology award at HR Fest Awards 2024, recognising the university’s efforts in leveraging technology to transform HR practices.

She said, “Through this HR transformation, we prioritise empowering employees with greater control over their HR and career needs. This shift has fostered a stronger employee-HR partnership across the organisation, resulted in more effective employee management and development, better alignment with university goals, and a more positive work environment for all.”

“The recognition we received at HR Fest Awards 2024 for Best Use of Technology is a testament to our ongoing application of innovations, adoption of new technologies, and commitment to creating a superior HR experience for our valued employees.”

With her sights set on the future, Ng remains committed to leveraging technology to enhance HR operations further. From robotic process automation (RPA) to AI integration, she envisions a future where data-driven decision-making would drive organisational success and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

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