HR professionals in Singapore who want to step out of the admin rut and take on a more valuable role in the business can now tap on a new programme that funds the redesign of their work.
The HR Tech Transformation Programme, launched last week by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), will fund up to 80 percent of job redesign consultancy costs for enterprises that want to make their HR function more efficient by implementing HR technology. Enterprises registered or incorporated and operating in Singapore, with at least three local employees, will be eligible for the funding, and they can utilise the S$10,000 SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit as well.
This new programme is a sorely needed boost for the HR function in smaller companies, which is frequently given lower priority and relegated to a low-value, back end role.
“HR in SMEs tend to focus more on handling administrative processes such as processing of payrolls,” explained Gillian Woo, Director, Creative & Professional Services Division at WSG. “Their HR is sometimes staffed by a non-HR professional who also has to juggle other non-HR priorities. They may also be perceived as a cost centre.”
However, she said, the HR function can be upgraded with technology to become a source of competitive advantage for the business – much in the same way that other parts of the business might have undergone digital transformation.
“With strengthened HR processes and redesigned HR roles, HR professionals could spend more time addressing strategic HR issues to meet organisation’s business objectives."
"Using the right HR technology can also enhance employees’ experience and connectivity through online delivery of HR services,” Woo told People Matters.
Challenges and opportunities
In a pilot last year, participating enterprises experimented with implementing HR technology such as mobile learning, digitised employee data collection, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). They subsequently reported higher productivity, time and cost savings, and their HR professionals – including older workers – were able to use the saved time to take on higher-value job roles such as analytics, designing employee experience strategies, and improving their L&D and other existing strategies.
They did run into several common challenges, though. For instance, participating firm LS2 Services reported that because their workforce was not very IT savvy, they faced difficulties getting started.
“Companies are usually unsure how tech adoption and job redesign can benefit them or how to go about identifying the pain points,” said WSG's Woo. Hence, she explained, the HRTTP is set up to help companies identify those priority areas, and also to provide strategies for overcoming common adoption challenges, right down to one-on-one advisory for redesigning HR processes and job roles.
“For example, HR professionals will learn communication strategies to ease employees’ fears of adapting to new processes and tools. They can get advice on building a business case to convince their business leaders on the required investment as well as potential benefits to be reaped.”
For this programme, WSG and SNEF target to reach around 50 enterprises and up to 250 local HR professionals from both SMEs and larger companies.