HR priorities are very much aligned to the Bank’s strategic priorities, and in service of becoming a purpose-led business.

Laura Cole, Head of HR Digital Service & Employee Experience, Standard Chartered Bank shares about the bank’s priority to transform and disrupt with digital, and how HR is transforming to deliver an ambitious people agenda. The team took home the gold at HR Excellence Awards 2020 Singapore in the Excellence in HR Innovation category.

Q What is your organisation’s winning HR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?

One of the key strategic priorities of our Bank is to transform and disrupt with digital, and we execute this based on a performance-oriented and innovative culture emphasising conduct and sustainability. Our people strategy aims to respond to the changing world we live in and what this means for the future of work, where HR is transforming to deliver an ambitious people agenda and deliver great colleague experience using employee experience to drive great customer experience.

We started on the journey to digitise and improve technology interfaces in HR with the objective of delivering best in class employee experience.

We continue to expand and embed our use of digital applications, reducing the number of hours an employee spends on HR processes by 150k annual hours via better employee journeys and simplification of HR standards and processes.

Q How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played in helping make this initiative a reality?

Our HR priorities are very much aligned to the Bank’s strategic priorities, and in service of becoming a purpose-led business. All of the HR initiatives are sponsored by a member of our HR leadership, and governed and managed according to the Bank’s project management standards, hence ensuring delivery of results.

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Q Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling this out, and how did you successfully get past them?

General problems were identified and resolved through risk and issue management with support of members of the governance bodies obtained as required. Regular retrospectives provided opportunities for continuous improvement and documentations of lessons learned.

One noteworthy problem the programme team and business responded to, was the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. One week prior to the global release, India implemented lockdowns in two key locations (Chennai and Bengaluru) where a large proportion of the project and business team worked. Rather than postpone the go-live indefinitely, the programme team and stakeholders agreed to proceed with the global release implementation, agreeing that the system and process changes will be of even more benefit to the organisation during this crisis.

During the week preceding the implementation, the team quickly changed the command centre and support approach to support complete virtual work. The response included:

  • Adopting more robust virtual collaboration tools
  • Provisioning laptops to colleagues in operational roles without them so that they can effectively work from home
  • Obtaining approvals for expensing upgrades to personal data plans
  • Quick upgrading of the global VPN network to improve connectivity.

Q As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. What was your gameplan for measuring ROI? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

Our myHR portal has shown strong usage within six months of our go-live:

  • 53,983 unique visitors to myHR (62.7% of our user base)
  • 29,164 live chats raised to AskHR
  • More than 180,000 knowledge article views

The performance on myHR continues to meet or exceed our initial goals:

  • Overall net promoter score to-date is +50
  • Colleagues rated HR service at 4.62 out of 5
  • 80% of chats answered in 30 seconds or less
  • Knowledge deflection rate of more than 70%

Q Given just how quickly the external business environment is adapting, how do you ensure that your HR team keeps pace in innovation and is constantly upskilled to manage newer scenarios?

The learning culture is key to building a best-in-class HR function – there is strong advocacy from our leadership for a learning culture in HR teams to invest in ourselves and to lead the way with learning agility to be the best HR professionals we can be.

We’ve also launched My HR Future, a digital learning portal packed full of HR-specific content – courses, video learning, articles – all delivered by respected HR industry leaders to ensure our HR colleagues continuously keep up to pace with the latest innovation and trends in HR.

Photo / Provided

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section! 


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