Reinventing HR for the Asian Employee Experience

New features and flexibility to help HR tackle OKRs and the gig economy. 

The Asia Pacific region is waking up to a new HR reality.

Once the manufacturing and agricultural base for global consumptions, today’s Asia Pacific companies are vying to become global leaders. It also means a lot of HR decisions and processes are now going to be made in Asia, with companies battling to attract top talent at all levels.

The problem is the gap between HR needs and HR solution capabilities. A lot of HR platforms were not designed with Asia Pacific companies in mind and navigating through the fragmented Asian HRTech landscape is a nightmare.

PeopleStrong saw an opportunity to close this gap by putting employee experience at the core. And today, it counts Singlife, Institute of Banking and Finance, EtonHouse, Livspace, True Corp, and TrueMoney as its customers.

Walking the Talk

Nearly every HR player claims to be focused on employee experience. Many are primarily cosmetic changes. But PeopleStrong believes it has brought employee experience to another level.

First, the company rightly saw that developing modern HR platforms is different than creating ones for finance or retail.

Kiran Kumar, founding member and chief sales officer at PeopleStrong, noted that the end customers and the buyers are different in HR. The former are employees, while the latter is the HR team.

“For us, it was important that we play a balancing act between both of them.”

PeopleStrong’s platform also has a single core codebase and is highly configurable. It means that HR teams do not have to worry about versions and end of life while eliminating worries about customization. 

“So, we do not do customizations. What we do is configuration. This allows us to create very elaborate solutions,” said Kumar.

Being on a single code base, these solutions are automatically made available to all customers.

"So, if I create an HR solution for a media company, it will be available to all other companies. This allows cross-pollination of ideas while ensuring that they are on the same version,” Kumar described.

The platform uses bots, featuring the company’s conversational user artificial intelligence interface Jinie. “If you want to clarify your policy, you used to go to the HR person. A bot can now answer these policy questions.”

The company has also invested in its own data lake and dynamic workflows to drive cross-departmental data sharing.

Made by Employees

At PeopleStrong, employee experience goes a step further with employee-driven innovation.

Its Alt Builder platform enables employees to create HR solutions for their companies. “For example, a company wanted a point solution around the stock options platform. So, they ran a hackathon to create one,” said Kumar. 

The Alt One platform provides HR a privacy-driven marketplace and community-building platform. 

“So, let’s say you want to create a retirement policy. There are not many point solution providers who do this. Now, you can develop the solution and share it with [other companies],” Kumar said.

“These are small things, but it fundamentally changes the employee experience at the core. A lot of people talk about employee experience, but we have gotten them into action.”

The OKR and Gig Future

Kumar noted that these capabilities will be crucial as HR becomes more OKR driven. Standing for Objective and Key Results, OKRs provide a framework for defining and tracking objectives and outcomes.

“Gone are the days where organizations were monolithic. Today, everything works like small startups. When you do that, you are not going to have the same org structures; you are going to have network-based structures,” said Kumar.

OKRs help to align the company's resources and employees' time. For example, reviews are done dynamically as teams are created with employees from different departments to focus on a specific task.  

“Once companies identify these OKRs, they also want to know who are the people that can succeed with them. So, they can create a group of people that can be the next level of leaders,” said Kumar, adding that you need a platform that grows with the company’s needs.

The gig economy is another area where PeopleStrong’s platform is making inroads. 

“If I have a particular skill, you can now roll me in for three months before I move onto the next gig,” said Kumar.

He predicted that there is going to be a lot of innovation that is going to happen in this space, especially with narrow profit margins and tight timelines pushing managers to work with external expertise.  

“You can no longer be hiring people like 10 years ago, involving job posts, interviews, and onboarding.”