In conversation with Phan Yoke Fei, director of HR and corporate administration, Gardens by the Bay, see how revamping its intranet benefits the company externally, especially in terms of employee engagement. 

Gardens by the Bay is a relatively small company with 360 employees and a revenue size of approximately $80 million a year. Only five years since its foundation, Gardens has already began taking its first steps into leveraging technology for HR practices. Gardens has embarked on rebuilding their intranet which contains much information such as announcements, department phone directories and HR handbook.

However the trouble was that the intranet was not accessible from mobile platforms. Every operational department only has desktop terminals for employees to access the company intranet, making it very inconvenient for most employees in the field. This resulted in many employees not being kept up-to-date of the company’s latest development.

To combat this, the company began revamping the intranet. “This was certainly the first step in the company's digital strategy for the future”, shared Phan Yoke Fei, director of HR and corporate administration.

The recruitment portal was also enhanced with customised capabilities from the initial candidate acquisition experience up to the point of hire, with the building of an on demand data bank, not only providing ease of workflow but also data analytics, all in one place.

This is a major upgrade from the previously no-frills platform for merely for posting of vacancies with simple push functions for CV submission, without any data analytics and tracking capabilities.

“On a more general basis, we are also in the process of implementing a cloud based procurement platform to provide an immediate relief to employees in terms of the procurement process in the company which had been very much manual in the past,” Phan added.

It is also an end to end solution with user interface from the point of request for quotation (on the part of vendors) right up to the end of the approval process for procurement of goods or services.

The main challenge Gardens faced was reassuring its HR team that utilising technology for HR processes was worth the effort.

Phan said: “Some in the HR team initially felt sceptical on the amount of effort required in such a short period without sight of guaranteed success upon implementation. However, the exposure from the evaluation process for the various platforms, open everyone's minds to the potential benefits such technology can bring forth in terms of improving processes and developing a people friendly workplace in the end.”

Furthermore, employee satisfaction also improved significantly, without costing the company significantly from a financial perspective, proving to Gardens’ team that plenty of benefits can be reaped from HR technology.

In fact, the business motivation behind the implementation of HR technology was to improve employee satisfaction by directly making their jobs easier from available technology out there.

“It was very apparent that the macro environment in terms of manpower supply and economic indicators were getting more depressing,” said Phan.

Thus, through such initiatives, Phan hopes to prolong employee longevity with the organisation in a very competitive macro environment.

“It will also bring us closer to being in the forefront from taking full advantage of the latest technological advances available in the marketplace, which can be short lived and disruptive,” he concluded.

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