Meenakshi Cornelius is the Head of Human Resources for the India Cluster at JLL and has over 23 years of experience in telecom, ITES, real estate, and professional services. She has worked across different facets of HR and has played critical roles in driving change management and leadership-building projects In India and the Middle East.
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Meenakshi shares with us the digital innovations pioneered at JLL and what it takes for global enterprises to lead HR transformation in a digitally-driven business landscape. Here are some key excerpts.
As technology becomes more and more central to HR transformation, how is JLL keeping up with the latest innovations and solutions? What are the priorities?
I believe that technology keeps us relevant as a function. Given that digital transformation is changing the ways of working and thinking across industries, HR must champion the case for digital adoption to remain agile.
Today, the strategic role of HR has risen; it has a seat at the table in most organisations and has strong partnerships at the CXO level to lead people strategy and decision-making.
At JLL, from an HR standpoint, we have invested in several digital solutions for Effective and efficient HR service delivery, Consistent employee and Manager experience, Enhanced insights for decision-making, Future AI (artificial intelligence) enhancements, and building more strategic HR focus.
Technology isn’t limited to our essential functions such as payroll & benefits automation but is also a part of more strategic endeavours such as talent acquisition, building capability, and well-being, and delivering People Analytics, HR Operation Reporting, and BI & Data Management. Building capabilities and competencies have been an important area of focus, leading us to collaborate with external partners. For example, on the Talent Acquisition front, we’ve not only innovated internal processes & technologies for efficient and timely screening of our talent pool but also partnered with other technology solutions for a comprehensive digitally-driven Talent acquisition process. We aim to embrace the opportunities of digital innovations in the most optimal ways to lead HR operations for the best possible employee experience to fuel business outcomes.
Given that JLL is investing in so many digital solutions, could you share with us a checklist that could benefit leaders before deciding and implementing any HR technologies?
Different ways of evaluating these digital investments depend on whether we need global, regional, or local solutions.
However, two primary questions must be pondered: How do we enhance employee experience? Secondly, which are the operational pain points and taxing processes that require manual intervention?
The employee lifecycle has several touchpoints that we can redesign to improve the employee experience. For instance, Managers leading global or regionally distributed teams need access to their team information; their first contact point is the HR department. Implementing digital dashboards that managers can easily access for relevant information makes it more efficient to access information and seek help from HR. In addition, we must use technology to make the processes that govern the employee cycle more accessible and error-free. Finally, when it comes to pain points and problem statements, the intention is always to re-image the organisational strategy and design to take our strategic priorities to the next level and become even more agile and future-ready. Aside from these two critical questions, ROI is always an important metric to evaluate, but it’s beyond the dollar value; it’s also about the enhancing experience for our employees, stakeholders and clients.
Coming back to employee experience, given that JLL is a multi-national enterprise, what is the role of technology in strengthening collaboration across teams, especially with flexible working models?
Collaboration has been an important area of focus since the world experienced the lockdowns due to the Pandemic. While we are now operating from offices, we have changed how we operate and are leveraging multiple digital platforms, bringing people together quickly and empowering them to integrate and collaborate well.
In addition, cloud-based HR platforms are available for resource management, workforce planning, and implementing one of our firmly held philosophies, Employee Self-Service.
We have inbuilt platforms that bring all the relevant information in one place for better accessibility across geographies. Employees now have a personal dashboard designed for easy access and better control over relevant critical metrics. They can address their queries efficiently to HR teams and manoeuvre through information to find answers, whether leave policy, benefits, rewards careers and more. Integrating AI and Cloud platforms will enhance employee experience by enabling autonomy and accessibility to critical data. This has changed how we collaborate within teams and even with external stakeholders.
Given your emphasis on tech-driven employee self-service models, are there any pain points leaders need to consider to accelerate digital adoption?
While discussing technology, we must acknowledge the presence of a digital adoption challenge when working with a multi-generational workforce. The GenZs tend to fare much better when adopting digital solutions. However, what I wish to highlight is that organisations of a scale such as ours need a robust change management strategy for adoption across all levels—as an example, raising a manual hiring request on a simple mail vs using a tech-driven workflow platform. This needs change in ways of working and adoption.
Change can be taxing at the start but can lead to better outcomes in the long term, and helps streamline the process of talent acquisition that addresses your skill needs aptly.
What we can do to accelerate digital adoption is to have a strong framework for change management which should be driven from the top. Leaders can be the best role models to lead and set the right examples.
What are some words of advice to our community of HR leaders on empowering a digitally ready workforce?
I often share an interesting quote by Steve Jobs with my teams: "Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have faith in people, that they're basically good and smart — and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.”
So the way I see it, technology is a vital enabler as we embrace and experiment with different solutions and working models. Technology plays a significant role in building an employer brand, supporting Talent acquisition models, and designing the best employee experience. Anytime learning is one of the greatest benefits, where employees can upskill themselves at their own time and pace. Businesses must also invest in analytics because it brings back critical trends that will impact how we formulate employee-centric policies and business strategies.
As the world changes rapidly, we must invest in digital solutions to keep pace and be relevant.