Article: How one bank overhauled HR services to better support business strategy

Strategic HR

How one bank overhauled HR services to better support business strategy

In a webinar built on the findings of the recent Darwinbox study, 'HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Empower and Evolve', we heard from Nerissa Berba, chief people officer of Security Bank, on how her company successfully transformed the HR function.
How one bank overhauled HR services to better support business strategy

Successful HR transformation is about moving beyond efficiency to focus on business impact, employee empowerment, and agility. Furthermore, the emerging trend in HR transformation reflects a shift from the traditional narrative centered around HR efficiency to a more dynamic and impactful approach aligned with the needs of the business. 

This was a key finding of the recent Darwinbox study, 'HR Evolution Perspectives 2023: Empower and Evolve'. Building on the study, Darwinbox and People Matters are hosting a series of conversations with HR leaders around the region to delve deeper into the implementation, opportunities, and challenges around HR transformation. In this webinar, Nerissa Berba, Chief People Officer of Security Bank, the largest bank in the Philippines, shares her organisation's HR transformation journey.

A testament to the organisation's commitment

“The transformation was initiated as a response to the need for restructuring and realigning HR services with the overall business strategy," said Nerissa. "The HR team assessed the organisation's readiness and introduced a new HR operating model, incorporating roles such as HR business partners and Centres of Excellence.”

To support this shift, significant efforts were made to bring in external talent, repurpose internal talent, and encourage internal mobility. “Simultaneously, investments were made in technology to enhance HR service delivery. This included adopting platforms for learning and development, employee feedback mechanisms, and wellness initiatives, especially crucial during the virtual work environment of 2021.

Flexibility is a core pillar

Security Bank embraced flexibility as a core pillar of its employee value proposition, allowing for a hybrid work model and flexible dress codes. The emphasis on digital learning, mentoring, coaching for leaders, and health, and wellness activities, showcased a holistic approach to employee care and development.

“Overall, the Security Bank HR transformation illustrates the integration of HR initiatives with the organisation's broader strategy, creating a cohesive and supportive environment for employees while driving business goals. The journey serves as a model for proactive HR organisations aiming to make a substantial business impact through employee-centric transformations,” added Nerissa.

Painstaking change management for tech

Nerissa highlighted the importance of effective communication and preparation leading up to the tech implementation. Six months prior, the organisation began communicating with employees, creating anticipation and excitement about the upcoming changes. “The emphasis was on transitioning to a user-friendly, and easily accessible, system aligning with the employees' needs,” she added.

To enhance the employee experience, Security Bank took steps to simplify processes and empower employees. For instance, they introduced a mobile phone set up in stores, allowing employees to input their employee numbers and access all relevant data instantly. “This not only streamlined the experience but also contributed to employee satisfaction and engagement,” explained Nerissa.

Moreover, the organisation leveraged the implementation as an opportunity to gather insights from users through experience labs. This collaborative approach involved seeking feedback on features and improvements directly from employees.

“Creating excitement around the implementation was evident in naming the new system "Hero" (HCM, Employee Resources Online) and introducing a mascot. This creative approach helped build a positive narrative around the technology, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement among employees,” said Nerissa.

She emphasised the importance of continuous assessment of technology adoption through surveys and post-implementation checks. Overall, Security Bank's experience highlights the need for a focus on communication, collaboration, employee involvement, and assessment to create a comprehensive and employee-focused approach to HR technology transformation.

Culture as the driving force to disseminate the technology

For Security Bank, the role of culture is pivotal in driving the organisation's ambition, said Nerissa. She emphasised the importance of clear communication regarding the organisational objectives. “The bank's ambition to be the most customer-centric organisation is translated into a reality by first focusing on internal improvements. The message conveyed to employees is that before declaring external achievements, it's crucial to 'fix the house' internally.”

By articulating the significance of the changes and demonstrating how they directly benefit employees, a better understanding is fostered among the workforce. “This clarity on objectives becomes a catalyst for shaping the organisational culture. When employees perceive that the changes are aimed at their well-being, including flexibility and skill development, a positive culture naturally evolves.”

Employees who feel well taken care of tend to deliver more, leading to improved customer experiences. The positive outcomes, such as enhanced processes and increased efficiency, contribute to the organisation's overall success.

Nerissa also pointed out that the execution of initiatives and the way they are communicated play a crucial role in shaping culture. As employees witness the organisation's commitment to their development and well-being, they are more likely to align with the organisational values and contribute positively to the culture.

The alignment of organisational goals with employee well-being fosters a culture where individuals are motivated to deliver their best, ultimately contributing to the bank's positive reputation and client satisfaction.

The expert's commentary

Vikrant Khanna, Global Head of Value Management Advisory Solutions at Darwinbox, shared some thoughts on what ultimately made Security Bank's transformation stand out. The success of technology implementations in improving employee experience, is intricately linked to a well-defined intent and flawless execution, he said, emphasising the importance of setting a clear ambition. In Security Bank's case, the intent was to consolidate processes onto one platform, making it simple, mobile-accessible, and aligned with the organisation's theme of "Better Banking" and the employee-centric mantra of "You Matter."

Vikrant further acknowledged the spotless execution at Security Bank, where the focus was not only on implementing technology but also on building a comprehensive HR transformation strategy. “The emphasis on change management and involving employees at every stage through Experience Labs created excitement and helped manage any anxiety associated with the changes. This employee-centric approach contributed to high adoption rates,” he said.

He highlighted several important aspects of the implementation:

Measuring and showcasing the value of the technology platform. “The success of technology implementations in enhancing employee experience hinges on strategic intent, meticulous execution, continuous communication, change management, and a focus on showcasing the realised value,” he said.

Making changes in phases rather than overwhelming employees with numerous modifications at once. “This agile mindset allows for the resolution of major pain points in the initial release, followed by subsequent releases addressing scalability, additional software capabilities, and performance. This phased approach ensures a smoother transition and adaptation for employees," was Vikrant's assessment.

Taking continuous feedback from employees. “Open communication channels allow employees to express concerns, share difficulties, and provide valuable input on improving the system. By actively listening to employee feedback, organisations can remain agile in their approach, addressing pain points and enhancing user experience iteratively,” said Vikrant.

"Go live" as "go begin." By creating a positive narrative from the start, the mindset shift associated with the transformation aligns with the organisation's commitment to continuous improvement and encourages employees to embrace change as a new beginning. "It sets a positive tone for the introduction of new modules and features,” Vikrant added.


Watch the full conversation here.

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Topics: Strategic HR, HR Technology, #HRCommunity, #HRTech

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