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Digital disruptions in HR to present vast opportunities; technology plays a role in every aspect of our lives

Interview with Mr Yazad Dalal — Senior Director, HCM Strategy and Transformation at Oracle

Profile

Mr. Yazad Dalal is the senior director of HCM Strategy and Transformation at Oracle Corporation where he is responsible for developing thought leadership and identifying trends in all areas of human capital management. Yazad Dalal works with HR leaders to deliver technology solutions that enable them to transform their organizations and modernize their workforce tools. In an interview, Dalal shared his views about HR practices. Following are details of his talk:

PAGE: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF DIGITAL AND TECHNOLOGY IN HR?

YAZAD DALAL: Technology plays a role in every aspect of our lives; it is the tool that we use to learn, to communicate, to entertain us and to share information. The same applies to HR, employees want to learn, communicate and share information, not only for personal career progression but to also contribute to the growth of the company. Companies can get the best out of their employees by investing in platforms that keep up with the pace at which consumer technology is developing.

Historically, employers have not done that. Today, people come to work with the latest smartphones only to take a step back in time once they begin to utilize their company’s technology. Our customers are able to utilize this type of technology not only with our HCM software, but also through a variety of technologies that we carry within our portfolio. We strongly believe, that along with the foundation of modern business practices, the employee experience is the most critical to get right.

PAGE: HOW HAVE INROADS IN DIGITAL IMPACTED TALENT MANAGEMENT?

YAZAD DALAL: We have two audiences that we are supporting: one is the employer, and the other is the employee. We want to make sure that the employers, particularly the HR department, can reduce the amount of administrative work they have to do to allow them to focus on more strategic work.

By finding, on-boarding and training a well sourced candidate through modern HR departments/technologies, the more productive that employee will be. On the other hand, if they are kept busy with transactional, manual tasks, the strategic work will suffer. Our goal is to help make HR professionals’ lives easier by ensuring the way employees interact with HR is more positive and intuitive.

PAGE: IS PART OF THE OBJECTIVE TO FREE HR DEPARTMENTS FROM REGULAR DAY-TO-DAY HR WORK TO FOCUS ON REVENUE GENERATING FUNCTIONS/BUSINESSES OF THE COMPANY?

YAZAD DALAL: Yes, of course. Businesses globally recognize that talent is their number one asset. We see three points that focus on the importance of the HR leader. First is understanding that in larger organizations, the HR resources are referred to as, Business Partners. They work with the leadership team to gain deep insights and comprehensive knowledge about the specific requirements of the broader business. The HR Business Partners can then provide specific and informed HR advice and guidance to the leaders of the business. Second is bringing people from other leadership roles within the business into human resources. For instance, for a company who has productivity as its number one priority, it can deploy one of its more successful general managers to lead the HR operation. Third, is knowing the biggest proof point that demonstrates why strong HR leadership is important to the business: the induction of top-tier business school graduates into HR roles.

PAGE: DO YOU THINK THE PAKISTANI MARKET IS READY FOR RAPID TRANSFORMATION IN HR AND THE DIGITIZATION?

YAZAD DALAL: In Pakistan, the adoption rate went from virtually zero mobile phone users to the majority owning and using smartphones in a few years. Pakistan, like some other Asian countries, ‘skipped a big step’ as we have adopted tried and tested habits and there were no legacy systems and practices holding us back.

With regards to HCM Cloud adoption, we have a huge opportunity to ‘skip a step’ because most organizations here do not have decades old legacy HR systems, thus resistance to change may not be an issue.

PAGE: WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT LEADERSHIP FACES DUE TO THE RAPID TRANSFORMATION OF HR?

YAZAD DALAL: Digital disruption in HR presents opportunities. The challenge is only in the way of thinking. It is only the most successful organizations who know best to manage this disruption and recognize that future success of their businesses will depend on the way they treat and empower their employees.

The organizations that provide the most modern and innovative tools to their employees to interact with, and meet the needs of the business.

PAGE: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST OFFERINGS OF DIGITIZATION?

YAZAD DALAL: Two of the biggest offerings of digitization are: enhanced productivity and cost savings. For example, in a large organization, data and digitization will help to measure how productive they are and how efficiency can further be increased.

For instance, if an employee is generating $100 of revenue per hour, our data can be used to determine that a simple task such as applying for leave, can take up to five hours a year. If there are 1,000 employees who apply for leave, revenue of half a million dollars can potentially be lost.

PAGE: GLOBALLY, WHERE IS PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL HEADED AND HOW DO YOU CATER TO A DIVERSIFIED PORTFOLIO OF CUSTOMERS ACROSS THE GLOBE?

YAZAD DALAL: We cater for 15 million employees from over 7,000 organizations every day. As such we need to make sure that every possible type of performance management style, process and technique is available to them.

We have partnered with several research organizations to determine the different configurations of performance management and appraisals that we want to include in our software offerings.

No one should be expected to write a long annual performance appraisal anymore. We are moving to real-time performance appraisals which will lead to a process by which everything will be sharable in real-time.

PAGE: IT SEEMS THAT REAL-TIME PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL IS DRIVEN BY THE YOUNGER GENERATION WHO WANTS FAST FEEDBACK. IS THIS THE CASE?

YAZAD DALAL: Yes, a major driver behind this change is through the younger generation within the workforce. We talk a lot about Millennials wanting to be promoted faster, to consistently wanting to know how they are doing and to feel empowered. Video games are the perfect allegory for that.

The feedback is in real-time and immediate. They approach their next career choice or advancement with the same mindset. The career of the younger employees in the company is shorter, so they may require a larger number of incremental advancements.

Waiting five to seven years for a promotion does not work in an environment where very few stay for more than three. The question is: How do I retain talent if I am not going to give them an opportunity to advance in the three years that I know they will be spending in my business? Even if employees claim they plan to stay longer, market trends and research indicate that this is not the case. That is why we must change the way we do things.

PAGE: WOULD YOU LIKE TO ADD ANYTHING MORE ON THE SUBJECT?

YAZAD DALAL: The key to success is realizing the best talent, providing the best possible experience and ensure your employee experience is intuitive, simple, and mobile – this will help greatly to keep employees happy. If we can keep our employees happy, then they will – in turn — keep our customers happy. And we all know what that means – ongoing success, and business prosperity.

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