From Paper to eTicket.... Technology, Culture, and Learning.

By Almon Prem, Regional HR Business Partner (AMEA), ABB [SIX: ABBN]

Almon Prem, Regional HR Business Partner (AMEA), ABB [SIX: ABBN]

A few days ago, an employee walked up to me with a question on childcare leave. Although the policy is very clear on our employee portal, often employees would like some personal interaction with HR to validate policy elements. As an HR partner, although my initial reaction required me to address the issue face to face, I resisted theimpulse and instead directed him to raise an HR ticket.Not very happy, he reluctantly raised the issue with “AskHR” (name of our internal HR ticket system). However, the response was quick from our GBS Center, and the employee walked away satisfied. I am confident that in the future, he will direct his queries to “AskHR.” On my part, I was glad that I had managed to inculcate the required behavioral change.

"Our offshore Global Business services centers handle both transactional and center of expertise activities for all businesses supporting HR partners in delivering people strategy"

Technology is not a hurdle but a mindset. In my role as an HR partner, one of the challenges is to incorporate technological changes into our business, to optimize results. To this end, our main focus should be to overcome ourmindset and embrace technological advancements with a positive approach. Cultural barriers pose a great threat in achieving this goal. So, the pertinent question would be to consider what factors influence our culture to embrace technology with open arms and what efforts and investments are required to facilitate this change.

As an engineering company, technology isthe bedrock of our structure. Despite this, we have had our share of struggles in striking a balance between age-old manufacturing mindset versus heavy investment in providing upcoming factories with fully automated robotic systems. While this automation would result in contributing 4.0 industrial revolution, we still have our set off challenges to implement the same internally.

From a structural viewpoint, we have moved away from a traditional three-pillar HR structure to HR front and back office services. Our offshore Global Business services centers handle both transactional and center of expertise activities for all businesses supporting HR partners in delivering people strategy. Our HR system, which has evolved several folds over laid the foundation for this concept. We have a ticketing system for employees and line managers on all HR related activities. This is also spread across information systems and other support functions.

The platform can enable live chatbot support, provide a real-time user-friendly response, SLA (service level agreement) based query management covering all facets of HR functions. As we journey in this direction, efforts are on, to invest in an AI-based system to improve user interaction for query management. Very similar to how our customer queries are managed while navigating complex automation and electrical systems issues on real-time bases.

Emphasizing my point on culture, Business and HR leaders must work towards building the digital capability within the cultural fabric while developing the required employee behavior, through various means. For example: running digital weeks, organizing bite-sized learning workshops on simple coding, providing knowledge on software architecture, idea generation,and exposure to AI interventions, etc.Although these avenues may not providein-depth knowledge, they are certain to bring much-needed awareness about the topic and disengage inhibitions, if any.

Investing in such initiatives will makethe organization agile and productive, resulting in most needed behavioral development. Furthermore, this will bring innovation as a culture to produce diverse ideas translating into great products and services. Ultimately, it should be the aim for any organization to bridge 300 feet gap between leadership expectations versus employee capabilities.

To conclude, “the success of technological evolution lies beneath our mindset and culture.”

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