Technology has become the great enabler. HR processes that were once time-consuming and riddled with red tape are now readily accessible. The employee experience has improved too. In a recent virtual CHRO roundtable, presented by Human Resources Online and Workday, leaders across Hong Kong shared how they have fared – and triumphed – during the pandemic. Report by Robert Blain


The employee experience
Technology fatigue. Zoom fatigue. Self-service fatigue. There is always resistance to a new system and the challenges are aplenty. Chief among these concerns is when companies are trying to put in place a system without actually having processes – especially as companies try to corporatise their business and steam-line efficiency.

A pitfall with a tech-first approach is that companies can tend to try to shoehorn it into the company culture and this can be a failure. It’s better to map the DNA of the company and then get the tech to match it.

Companies can be at three stages of the business transformation process. There are pre-transformation companies, implementing and implemented.

The discussion mainly focused on the pre-implementation phase. One of the first challenges of embracing tech is to change the working attitude, the mentality, of the employees by empowering them and trusting them to embrace the digital challenge. Covid has actually made many employees more autonomous as they take charge of their own decision-making process during the pandemic.

HR challenges of tech implementation
It’s essential to humanise the digitalisation of business function because every business – at its heart – is run by humans. So it’s important to get your foundation right with a digital process that’s right for your people and your business.

Often employees aren’t ready to embrace the tech challenges of business transformation. Not everyone needs to be tech savvy, but employees definitely need to be ready mentally for changes to the organisation’s business processes. But it can be a mistake to rush. It can take time to lobby employees and become more confident about accepting the technology.

Pivoting towards HR 3.0
HR 3.0 is about the digitalisation of HR – bringing together a fusion of human and technology. It’s a journey to harmonise that experience with three key imperatives around people enablement. In summary, these are:

  1. Talent agility – skills are the new currency to represent the capabilities of the workforce.
  2. Employee experience & engagement – in a multi-generational workforce, the way we engage and communicate with employees are also changing.
  3. Data driven insights – AI plays a critical role to help comb through millions of data, connect the dots and identify the patterns and surface critical information to focus on.

Big data has a big role to play, especially in recruitment. The discussion explored how it can be analogous to the first contact with a doctor for a check-up. The first contact can be – drawing exclusively on the patient’s salient data. In much this way, the recruitment process can be greatly speeded up by using prospective candidates’ data as the first point of contact and to weed out unsuitable hires. 

A good data hub with a good HR system is essential for such practices to be implemented effectively. Ultimately, data can help people managers make the right decisions. That said, decisions based on data-driven insight coupled with human experience are the key to making the right decisions.

Introducing the digitisation process to the whole organisation remains a challenge – and it can take a number of years to get it right and implement it successfully. With regard to HR operations, a lot of the focus is on the admin process. But it’s also essential to get the tech side right to enhance the employee experience and ultimately productivity.

So that the benefits don’t just go to HR, but also to the users – taking a holistic approach so that ultimately the entire organisation benefits. The discussing concluded by noting that digitalisation of HR is an organisation-wide HR transformation initiative that benefits the people – the heartbeat of the company.


The virtual roundtable, held on 20 April, was moderated by Aalok Gupta, Senior Partner at LSF Global and supported by Daniel Cham, GM for Workday Greater China, Pei Woan Wang, Head of Solutions for Asia, Workday and Joo Wen Tang, Senior Solution Consultant at Workday.

The following HR leaders participated in the roundtable:

  • Jose Enrique Alvarez, HRIT Director, AIA
  • Rory Buchanan, Group Human Resources Director, Caravel Group
  • Margaret Mak, CFO, Fairwood
  • Edmund Lam, Vice President of Human Resources, Fubon Bank
  • Sherman Chat, Group HR Director, HKET
  • Judy Chu, Head of Human Resources, Jebsen Beverage Co. Ltd
  • Shirley Fong, Head of Global Human Resources, Li & Fung Trading
  • Seria Lam, Director of Human Resources, Maxim’s Group
  • Ricky Cheung, Corporate Director, Talent & Culture (Global Talent Acquisition), Rosewood Hotel Group
  • Mary Suen, Senior Director of Corporate Culture & Talent Development, Stan Group
  • Greta Kwong, Director of Human Resources, Stan Group
  • Percy Chan, VP Asia Human Resources, Techtronic Industries