HR Digital Transformation

The Human Resources (HR) role is actively growing, it no longer simply implies hiring and managing employees and their performance. The role is undergoing a significant, and necessary transformation and organisations should be prepared to actively participate, if not lead this transformation. This is reflected in the Thai market, with the HR industry being actively involved in creating an innovative community which fosters change.

In Thailand, the support of this HR transformation can be seen through the Board of Investment’s (“BOI”) incentives towards HR development. Companies collaborating with institutions to train workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects (“STEM”) are eligible to benefit from corporate income tax exemptions (“CIT”).

The New HR Role

The digital age is fast paced and is transforming the way organisations are operating. Some important disruptive themes in the HR industry include:

1.   Digital mega-trends with the increased use of the cloud, cyber, data and social media and the correct use of these mechanisms.

2.   The multi-generational workforce including millennials and first-generation citizens, that may struggle to communicate or collaborate.

3.   The working from home environment and social media which has merged work and private life of employees and has become burdensome for some.

4.   A new type of skilled employee in the digital field is emerging, creating new jobs and new important skills needed for the future. HR representatives will be required to continue up-skilling employees.

5.   Business models are being challenged by digital disruption where restructuring might be needed to adapt to new technologies.

6.   The employee is perceived as being the first consumer of the employer’s brand. Engaging and retaining these employees is an important role of HR representatives. HR departments will need to make the workplace appealing to the right skilled worker at the right time and will also need to monitor and maintain the wellbeing of the employees once they are hired.

HR representatives need not only train themselves, and the employees of their respective business, but also must ensure that organisational leaders have the digital capability to engage in the digital transformation by deciding, designing and delivering a digital organisation. Historically, organisations that have successfully undergone digital transformations utilised key essential leadership skills including a comprehensive understanding of the digital market, financial acumen and management capacity to operate the digital team. Among the qualities required by organisational leaders, some of the most important will be to maintain flexibility in allowing others the freedom to innovate, expressing tolerance in encouraging experimentation, ensuring mobility in using digital tools and providing feedback in real-time.

The Digital Transformation

Thailand’s HR Digital Transformation process aims to change the operational HR processes to become automated and data driven. Its aim is to create a digital workforce, a digital workplace and of course, digital HR.

From the outset, companies need to establish a clear goal and ensure that the entire organisation is ready and willing to be involved in and assist the transformation process. The goal needs to focus on the employee as the ‘end-user’, and how the process of the transformation and the tools used will impact the business and the employees. Companies and their HR departments should start by first looking at the areas of HR that could be improved digitally. For example, pre-selection and recruitment processes as well as onboarding are areas which could quickly become digitally based. Prioritising ideas will be based on the impact the idea will have on the company and the effort the specific area requires, as well as the priorities of all stakeholders.

Company culture is an important part of this process, as the priorities of the organisation are derived from the mindset of its stakeholders, including its employees. In line with this, when considering the digitalisation of HR, it is important to consider the culture of the company and the culture in which the company is developing. This is particularly important for foreign businesses wishing to implement their business internationally that must also navigate cultural differences between foreign countries. Foreign investors, organisations or individuals wanting to expand their business into Thailand are likely to face this barrier. MPG provides cultural services for expats relocating to Thailand and intercultural training for local organisational leaders.

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