You’d be surprised how many organisations still run their HR processes through paper documents. This HR professional talks about how his company changed that, while avoiding unnecessary complications.
It’s likely that when you think of Linfox Armaguard Group, you picture big security trucks parked on the street. You might imagine our frontline staff shepherding suitcases of cash from a store into the safety of the van. But when I think of Armaguard, I think of the huge internal transformation we’ve undergone over the last six years.
Linfox Armaguard Group spans Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, and we now have about 3,500 team members across 60-plus locations. The company was launched in 1938 and, while we’ve continued to grow and develop, until recently it felt like a lot of our HR processes were struggling to keep pace with the changes. Most of our systems were paper-based, everything was segmented and we were weighed down by manual processes.
To give you more of a sense of what I mean, consider this: we used to have to fill out 17 paper forms when we wanted to recruit someone. That’s 17 documents that had to be processed by a human, 17 risk points and 17 chances to get it wrong. Our administration was becoming a barrier to the thing we were trying to achieve – hiring really good people.
A strategic focus on improving operational efficiency was our burning platform, and it was something that required a massive overhaul to fix. We’ve done away with those 17 pieces of paper and moved things completely online. Here are a few of the ways we got there.
Simple, simple, simple
We never tried to do anything with too many bells and whistles. The purpose of this transformation wasn’t to have a perfect-looking end product, but to make tasks easier for our people.
We had to avoid the “Do you want fries with that?” mindset, which is really easy to fall into. It’s where you go into a tech pitch looking to invest in a new recruitment platform and you end up being sold a extra products that you didn’t really need. Suddenly you’ve got an onboarding platform, a performance management system and a new way to track staff leave. Sure, you might need some of these things down the track, but it’s important to take a step back and assess what it is that you need in the here and now. Start with the basics and then add layers to the experience.
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We had been surviving on a manual process – but we wanted to be thriving. It can be hard to convince people that digital solutions are worth implementing; we don’t yet trust machines in the same way we do people.
It was imperative that we got our leaders on board first. We put a proposal together to show our executives what the future could look like, and I’m glad we had (and still have) future-thinking leaders who were willing to take a step into the unknown.
Next, we had to convince our people. A crucial part of this was promptly responding to feedback, even for the really small things. The payoff for doing this is huge. There’s one experience I had with an employee that I refer to as the ‘Belinda Button’ moment. She told us that on one online system, the button at the bottom of the page said ‘save’ and she suggested it should say ‘save and exit’, as you were exiting the page. I had no strong opinions about this, but by making that change for her – and letting other staff know that we had – we gave her ownership of a small part of the system. She subsequently became a huge advocate for it.
We have learnt many lessons through our technology transformation, the main one being to understand that technology-based transformations have no end date. This is not just a change project, it’s a continuous evolution. This is the job of HR, and our people should expect nothing less from us.
By Jonathan McConachie, group manager of organisational development, Linfox