Jenny Pong is Group Director, Human Resources of JTH Group. She is responsible for the supervision and direction of the Group’s human resource programmes across JTH Group in various markets including mainland China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. In addition to talent acquisition, talent management and employee relations, Jenny ensures optimal design of organisational structures to meet overall business objectives as well as to strengthen team collaboration and employee engagement.
How HR Powered JOS’s Business Transformation Journey
Historically seen as ‘paper-pushers’ handling administration and payrolls, human resources (HR) has had a huge makeover in the last decade as the way we do business has evolved. Today, enterprises all over the world are looking to their HR departments to drive the business transformation key to building the organisation of the future.
Over the years, the group faced a gamut of complex challenges including a lack of investment in marketing, branding and people. With a modern approach that had innovation at its core, HR was a key driver in enacting the organisational change needed to support JOS’s successful initiative to transform its business and ensure its success in the long run.
In order to tackle the problem head on we first had to listen and learn. The first step in our transformation journey was facilitating about 30 focus groups with our employees across the region to hear how they felt about working at JOS. What we discovered was that employee satisfaction was at an all-time low, with staff stating lack of support and training as key issues. A reactive company culture also meant that staff felt they were not equipped with the skillsets and exposure in new technology needed to stay ahead of the game.
These learnings gave our team the insight required to revitalise the business and gave us an exciting opportunity to be the organisation’s change agents – supporting the transformation of the business by allowing us to identify areas for enhancing employee experience, improving our work processes and fostering talent to support our 2,000+ employees in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China.
We also focused on building positive employer branding, memorable workplace experiences, and created an out-of-the-box HR transformation model that could expand our people-centric initiatives to even more areas of the organisation. Meaning we could embed this change business-wide in order to drive commercial success, enhance employee belongings and loyalty, enable productivity, collaboration, engagement, revenue efficiency and employee wellness.
The integration of HR as a key driver in business transformation will only increase as organisations begin to recognise its value and potential for becoming a profit enabling centre rather than a cost centre. However, any successful campaign requires full collaboration from all parts of the business and in the case of JOS, the support of the leadership team was essential – and the bravery of our executives in experimenting with bold new initiatives was crucial to the success of our transformation.
Another key factor for success was how we equip our people – we expanded our team with over ten key senior hires, all IT subject matter experts in the cutting edge technology our customers were hungry for, including AI, Big Data and IoT. We also hired a more digitally focused sales team to make sure that the new JOS and its offering were communicated clearly to all our customers and this talent led strategy drove remarkable business outcomes.
We recognised the importance of developing a more creative culture and made this a key recruitment prerequisite, while embedding it into career development and coaching. We made sure this mindset was reflected in our physical environment with an office renovation that introduced more open common space, band rooms, and fun break out areas to encourage employees to collaborate and have fun. We gave the way we communicate at work a creative makeover by introducing new internal social media platforms where staff be posted on latest company updates, activities and more.
One of our key focuses was also tackling the employee satisfaction issues we identified in the focus groups. We introduced a new “balanced scorecard” system to allow us to tailor performance reviews based on the business expansion force and the personal achievement of employees. This system evaluates not only business performance, but also looks into employee performance, clients’ satisfaction and turnover rate for an all-rounded assessment – keeping employees engaged and giving them an opportunity to carve out a career at JOS based on their strengths and interests.
The results of our business transformation truly speak for themselves. The transformation of our business enabled us to achieve some stellar business outcomes, including:
- Staff turnover improved by 42% in the past 3 years
- A 10+ fold increase in customers in the past 18 months
- New solution business has doubled in past 3 years, with a whopping 400% growth in our big data business from 2016 to 2017
- Take up from customers across various industries from government to retail, finance, and manufacturing
We experienced first-hand the impact our department has on employee experience and the future of work and this is set to evolve even further as HR becomes a more dynamic function of the business responsible for talent, creating experiences, and being the champions of challenging the status quo.