How Digital Companies Work – HR Innovation

1. HR, Facing Digital Transformation[1]

As many companies do, HR has been putting a lot effort for endless changes to respond to the era. As the era of the 4th industrialization emerged, however, HR is required to have new changes and innovation unlike the past. This can be defined with ‘digital HR’.

In fact, digitalization in HR has been established for a long time. HR started as a simple record of employees’ information and is now a systematic management by using systems. Various services for employees have been provided based on systems. Also, individual systems have been established and improved from HR management system for supporting projects to different functions of HR including hiring, training and compensation.

Now, HR is encountering a new trend called digital transformation. If you call what we’ve improved is 'Do Digital', we are required to transformed into 'Be Digital'. This means digital HR with fundamental changes in ways of working while taking the utilization of latest technologies (e.g. AI, blockchain) for granted and having our processes in the context of digital age.

The recent impact that COVID-19 pandemic brings forces changes to all organizations. A lot of companies implemented ‘working at home’ while enhancing productivity and efficiency of remote working. This suggests that the industry is accelerating the introduction of new technologies while thinking outside the box and adopting new ways.

Such a trend is at a critical juncture where we can turn HR into digital HR. In this article, three areas where HR needs to change to realize digital transformation will be defined with use cases in detail.

2. Change Direction Towards Digital HR

To implement the goal ‘digital transformation, we propose to define three area where HR needs to change:

2.1 Introduction and utilization of Recent Technologies

First, the active introduction of new technologies can enhance the productivity of HR work. It requires to improve employees’ satisfaction by strengthening the existing HR services and developing new services. This shouldn’t be done by simply adopting technologies: HR should be applied in the ‘total service’ perspective: from entering a company to retiring, employees should be able to experience the ‘employee experience journey’.[2]

2.2 Ways of working

Second, HR can be changed by combining HR with analytics to carry out data-based work. This is the process of collecting scattered data and utilizing statistical analysis to visualize and put data into numbers. Then, analytics will help draw what to improve from the existing work and optimize HR services. This is how the field of HR should change its ways of working, which helps HR make scientific decisions in all areas. [3]

2.3 Mindset

Last, we need changes in mindset, which get the HR personnel to think and act based on digital age. To that end, it requires to continuously promote digital transformation by HR work and draw natural demands of why changes need and what effects changes can bring. If each and every HR member concerns about how he/she can change their work while experiencing a little achievement, this can lay the foundation of a corporate culture that constantly seeks changes.

The following image is called ‘Employee Experience Journey Map’ to display possible tasks based on the mentioned three directions for changes. This is a mere list of examples: it is difficult to realize some items in terms of technology and not necessary to realize as some of the tasks do not realistically have effectiveness. In the case of actual application, it requires to jointly review and materialize the items within the relevant departments under HR.

  • Announcement for joining the company by AI operator
  • AI hiring (analyzing facial expression and text)
  • Automating candidates by utilizaing RPA
Working environment
  • Providing digital workplace
  • Providing environment home/remote working
  • Inspecting health/environment issues by utilizing chatbot
Joining the company
  • Announcement for corporate culture/system by AI operator
  • Performance analysis for entrance training
  • Recommending the most suitable department
Strengthening communications
  • Collecting opinios and making it up for feedback via Pulse Survey
  • Enhancing announcement in HR system by utilizing chatbot
  • Recommending career development
  • Recommending curriculum
  • Performance analysis for curriculum
Performance management
  • Analyzing evaluation feedback
  • Analyzing the utilization of high performers
Work relocation
  • Analyzing work satisfaction
  • Recommending job opening
  • Managing/Notifying pregant workers' work hours
  • Informing welfare service by chatbot (e.g. Announcement of kindergarten fee/gift for children to become G1)
  • Managing/Recommending successor
  • Analyzing leadership
  • Supporting mentoring and coaching
Well-being program
  • Managing stress via absence analysis
  • Managing individual dietary plan in connection with health check-up
  • Predicting the potential retirees and retention
  • Predicting and managing burn-out risks
Employee Experience Journey Map (Source: Samsung SDS)

3. Application Case

As mentioned, the HR of Samsung SDS has been implementing digital transformation by going through a lot of trials and errors. In this chapter, let us share a few applications among the tasks that were finally carried out:

① Questionnaire Chatbot to Respond to COVID-19

This activity was to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It becomes one of the most important work to find out the status of employees’ health. If considering the pace of the COVID-19 infection, in particular, it plays the crucial role to quickly find out whether employees have suspicious symptoms and they visited some areas with possible large-scale infection.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 emergence, the company used to send the self-questionnaire details through MMS (mobile text message) to help employees do self-inspection before coming to work. In the case of infection during the weekdays, the relevant team distributed the MS Excel template so that staff can have full examination and collect the examination results.

Weekend survey
  • HQ(TF) -> (Sending the questionnair as MMS) ->Executive
Weekdays survey
  1. HQ(TF)
  2. Business Department
  3. Staff
  4. Executive
1. HQ(TF) to Executive : distribute the questionnair template (MS Excel), survey 2. Executive to HQ(TF) : collecting result
Text-based questionnaire process in earlier stages of COVID-19 (Source: Samsung SDS)

These current ways implied a lot of problems: some employees didn’t carefully read the details of self-questionnaire if it was sent through MMS. And the Emergency Response TF to COVID-19 of Samsung SDS had to be passive by waiting for the results of the text until they voluntarily contact the company. Until then, the company was not able to find out the risks.

During the weekday, it used to take a lot of time to distribute and collect the MS Excel template for the full survey based on areas with group infection. There used to be a lot of workforce required with possibilities of human error in the course of survey.

Brity Assistant is applied to resolve these issues: it managed to draw 75% of answers from the entire employees within 10 minutes. This enables the company to figure out the status and timely respond to the pandemic matter. It was also a great chance to resolve employees’ inconvenience as they used to respond to emails or phone calls frequently.

Brity Assistant
  1. HQ(TF) to Executive : Send the result to internal messenger
  2. Executive to HQ(TF) : Respond on the messenger(PC/Mobile)
  3. Notifying(e.g. issues) to Head of Dept., HR manager
  4. Executive to Head of dept., HR manager: Confirm and take actions for situaton
  5. HQ(TF) to Head of Dept., HR manager : Sharing situations + guideline
Operation process of questionnaire chatbot (Source: Samsung SDS)

Once the questionnaire details are sent through the internal messenger, employees can check out the details and accordingly respond on their side of the messenger (PC/mobile). Depending on their answers, employees are supposed to receive some guideline messages. In the case of critical issues in the responses (e.g. suspicious symptoms, visiting areas with group infection occurred), it is now possible to realize a quick response by immediately informing such information to the head of the department and HR managers. Also, the results of questionnaire answers will be stored and managed on database, which eliminates possibilities of human error. If needed, the HR department can use the information for the management of the current status by converting the information into an MS Excel file.

Samsung SDS’ Brity Assistant is a solution to establish the AI chatbot. Through learning about professional expertise and understanding of natural language, Brity Assistant provides the best answers to users’ questions and implements the given tasks.

② Chatbot to Guide the Company Life for the Information of HR Systems

There are many cases when employees want to check out their company’s HR systems amid various circumstances that they experience, which includes the standard of using vacation days, supporting some family events (e.g. wedding, funeral) and the guideline of business trip. That is why a system was provided so that employees can check various HR systems anytime they want based on their needs. However, that was not the complete solution for employees’ inconvenience.

There were numerous schemes on the system, which resulted in inconvenience for employees when they looked for answers for their questions from various contents list and details. They felt it burdensome to contact the HR managers via phone calls or chats on the internal messenger every time they want to find answers.

On the HR managers’ side, it is the same that they find it difficult: the existing system nicely presents the relevant information on the system, although they need to repeatedly explain details to employees who constantly bring up questions. It resulted in deterioration of work efficiency and needs for improvement.

  • Executive
    • Checking the system easily and fast by utilizing internal messenger
    • Asking questions easily without any burden
  • Executive inquiry to Brity Assistant and get response
  • HR manager
    • improving fatigue from getting simple & repeated questions
    • Improving work concentration
  • Birity Assistant request to improve to HR manager and get update
Operation process of chatbot to guide the company life (Source: Samsung SDS)

Therefore, Brity Assistant was introduced to solve the problems that both employees and HR managers found: the platform has about 750 contents sorted by frequently asked questions about HR by employees. And about 8,000 related questions were learned by Brity Assistant. In addition, there’s a chatbot character that helps employees to feel more comfortable with the system.

Now, employees can search what they want to know regarding HR in easy and fast manners while getting easily access to the relevant services anywhere any time whether they are connected on PC or mobile. In the meantime, HR managers were also able to improve their work by significantly reducing simple and repeated Q&A sessions while improving the level of concentration on work.

③ Pulse Survey Chatbot that Collects Employees’ Opinions on a Regular Basis

Pulse Survey is a type of survey with regular and shorter cycle. The name ‘pulse’ came from the function of heart (heartbeat). It is used when there are needs of fast confirmation of employees’ opinions on current issues in order to provide necessary measures in time. Pulse Survey can be utilized in improving corporate productivity by analyzing data as well as measuring the level of employees’ concentration on work and participation in the organization[4], which is widely used in various global companies such as Google and Adobe.

If a company is able to quickly share the opinions collected through Pulse Survey, the survey could become an important means to strengthening the communications with employees. This is why Brity Assistant has been applied.

One of the current issues found through Pulse Survey was the use of ‘Pro(fessional)’ among employees. In 2019, this title was introduced to call most employees as a part of the hierarchy restructuring, but there have been continuous opinions for the needs of improving titles among employees on the company’s bulletin board. Instead of maintaining campaigns in the context of corporate culture, the company hoped that Pulse Survey can create an ideal atmosphere to use proper titles to call each other within the company by figuring out the status of titles and sharing the results through Pulse Survey

Brity Assistant has been introduced to design the questions and response scenario to send to employees through the internal messenger. The platform also helps employees respond with simple clicks through PC/mobile. As survey question may sound boring, some emoticons were utilized for both questions and answers to enhance the acceptability on the respondents’ side. A set of questions were designed less than 10 by considering the fatigue derived from the survey. There are sets of scenarios to respond to the refusal of survey, which highlights voluntary participation of employees.

During the two-day survey, the response rate remarkably recorded 90%. Short-answer questions also helped collect a lot of opinions. This issue of the title ‘pro(fessional)’ was one of the topics that gains the employees’ attention the most, but the company witnessed the high response rate as this unprecedented way of the survey with a new approach was easy enough that employees could immediately answer on the internal messenger without any additional access to a survey system.

④ Automation of Developing Employment Candidates from Linked In

There’s no need to further explain about robotic process automation (RPA) as a lot of companies have already introduced and used (Robotic Process Automation). As HR requires a lot of simple and repeated work and preciseness at the same time, the RPA is now being widely used in various work. Now, let us present a few cases of utilizing the RPA.

HR managers use Linked In as a means of developing excellent talents in Korea and overseas. From Linked In, they collect the information to find the right candidates for each position. In the past, HR managers manually used the MS Excel sheet to sort out the information of the talents that they searched on Linked In under certain conditions such as academic background, career and expertise that they have.

Information sorting on the MS Excel itself requires a lot of time, and it was inevitable to witness data errors in the course of sorting. As there are constant updates of workforce information on Linked In in one day, HR managers had hard times to check whether some information is duplicated with previously sorted information or whether their information is up to date. Brity RPA helps easily sort out.

  1. log in to linked in
  2. Input keyword by job positoin
  3. Create candidate list
  4. Check out updates
  5. Send email to manager
Automated process of developing candidates for potential employment (Source: Samsung SDS)

Once the search conditions are saved on Brity RPA, those conditions were automatically input and help search some profiles after automatically logging in onto Linked In. After searching individual profiles of the searched candidates, any necessary information (e.g. name, career, academic background, expertise) will be copied onto each column of the MS Excel file in order to create a candidate list. After that, Brity RPA helps compare the list with the list from the day before. After extracting any additional or updated information of workforce, Brity RPA send an email to the HR manager with a short list. By applying Brity RPA, HR managers were able to focus more on other parts of the hiring process such as screening resume and managing candidates, which brings efficiency for HR work.

Samsung SDS’ Brity RPA is the most optimized RPA solution, which enables to realize easy and fast automation. Through the automation for simple, repeated and somehow less productive work, employees can focus more on core tasks that require more creativity.

⑤ Blockchain-based Management of Contract with Salary Information

Blockchain is a technology to prevent forge and falsification by saving transaction information and history of data modification so that it’s not easy to modify the information. This technology can be applied to some storage process relate to authentication within the company. Currently, employees physically sign on their contracts in paper and this signed paper is stored to replace as the contract of employees with salary information.

As the salary information is confidential, companies do not ask for outsourcing printing companies to print the information out. Instead, HR managers print themselves to deliver them to each head of the department. That resulted in waste of time for HR managers, paper and aging of equipment in simple preparation for contract in order to print out the salary contract for over 10,000 employees yearly.

When considering the use of space and the management cost arisen from the storage of physical copies of contract, a lot of parts are inefficient. There are chances of losing physical contract due to the long-term storage, which requires improvement. The company, therefore, decided that the introduction of Nexledger can help improve a lot.

  • Paper contract
    1. print out contract
    2. physical sign
    3. storage
  • Blockchain paper contract
    1. get access to contract
    2. signature based on blockchain
    3. blockchain storage
Blockchain-based contract with salary information (Source: Samsung SDS)

The application of Nexledger is expected to eliminate the needs of physical printing thanks to the establishment of a contract system with salary information. The use of the blockchain-based e-authentication can replace the process of physical signing by individual employees. Once individual contracts are stored via blockchain, there’s no need to concern forge and falsification. At the same time, companies can reduce the waste of additional storage space while preventing risks of missing materials.

Samsung SDS’ Nexledger provides the standard service API by integrating a variety of blockchain distribution consensus technologies. Each company can pay attention to business value creation without any concerns of complicated distributed consensus algorithm and the operation principles of blockchain.

⑥ Survey Result Analysis in Combination of Analytics

The combination of HR and analytics is one of the core tasks to transform towards the digital HR as analytics helps find out data-base analysis and diagnosis and prediction for issues. To HR managers, the field of analytics seemed to be such a professional area. However, they are now able to try many new things by utilizing Brightics AI. Here, let us introduce the case to connect the analytics with evaluators’ training through the analysis of evaluation results.

The company goes through a survey by general employees to ask fairness of evaluation by their team leaders once in the 1st half and the other round in the 2nd half of the year. In the past, the survey was a mere collection of numbers: by these numbers from each questions, the company managed to figure out the fairness that general employees think when they think of their team leaders’ evaluation, capability of evaluators and the awareness level of the evaluation system before sharing the survey results with the sub-organizations of the company.

However, the introduction of Brightics AI helps confirm the correlations between the evaluation results and the survey scores: As expected, there’s a strong proportional relation between the two factors. It is obvious that those with higher evaluation scores have higher survey scores, while those with lower evaluation scores do lower survey scores.

  • Brightics AI gets Evaluation result, evaluation survey, diagnose corporate culture.
  • Brightics AI doing
    • correlations confirmed between evaluation results and survey scores. -> (Opposite cases) High evaluation/Low survey scores, low evaluatoin/high survey scores
    • correlations analysis of diagnosis between survey results and corporate culture -> Strong collections between roles and 'respect' of capability development
  • Brightics AI gets result : individual coaching of heads of dept, evaluator training
Intelligent survey analytics (Source: Samsung SDS)

Meanwhile, there were also some opposite cases of employees with higher evaluation scores having lower survey scores or those with lower evaluation scores having higher survey scores. This result can be reflected as an individual coaching point when the company provides training for evaluators.

Also, the correlation analysis between the annual employee evaluation and the diagnosis on corporate culture confirms a few things: first, the evaluated think that the evaluators are interested in capability building if the evaluators put their effort for better evaluation. Also, evaluators’ effort makes the evaluated feel respected by the evaluators. The idea was always there and presented as ‘right’ during the training for evaluators, but the result of the correlation analysis helps make the result more persuasive by suggesting figures.

Samsung’ SDS Brightics AI is an integrated AI platform that visualize information for better understanding by collecting and processing large volume of scattered information and quickly analyzing it with AI. It is now possible to easily analyze structured/unstructured data even though users are not data analyst by providing the integrated analysis environment within the company with modeling support and the integrated cooperation/management functions. It is now available to conduct the associated development for applications through API.

4. Conclusion

We’ve been discussing some digital transformation cases that are underway in the HR department. As the company is on the journey towards the goal of the improvement in employees’ experience, there is still room for improvement. However, these cases that are introduced can be hopefully helpful. We look forward to introducing more successful cases in the future.

# References
[1] Digital HR, Global Human Capital Trend 2017, Deloitte Consulting
[2] The employee experience, Global Human Capital Trend 2017, Deloitte Consulting
[3] 인사관리는 직관과 데이터의 조화필요 면담정보 등 서랍 속 보고서 공유하라, Dong-A Business Review, April 2019 Issue 2
[4] 4 Ways AI Can Help Redesign Employee Engagement, Puja Lalwani, HR TECHNOLOGIST, Mar 2019

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