Photo - Gery Messer, President Asia Pacific/Japan and Middle East of HR services provider NorthgateArinso (NGA)
There has been a widespread corporate belt-tightening this year in light of the tough economic times, particularly in the Eurozone. Multinational companies are increasingly looking towards emerging economies with strong business environments and a skilled pool of human capital, such as Singapore, Malaysia, China and Japan.
For the HR industry in Malaysia, the multinationals are looking to grow offices in emerging economies as well as to consolidate their other business under one payroll and HR system. Juggling different local requirements, compliance rules, and legislation is incredibly challenging and time intensive, especially without a central, global system.
Over the past few years, multi-country payroll models have matured with both the integrated and aggregator models demonstrating a high quality, high efficiency service delivery level. At NGA, we have both these services via euHReka and agoHRa and we expect demand to continue to increase.
In 2013, mobile will continue to be the future for business in ASEAN and Malaysia. In order to support a more mobile workforce, HR must embrace employee self-service. 'Self-service' take up is now becoming so widespread that inevitably all HR transactions will be done this way. Every HR project NGA has delivered included a significant self-service component.
However, the move to self-service and mobile poses some major challenges. With increasing numbers of employees using smartphone and tablet devices, the blurring of personal and professional device access will require significant business change. We need to address how mobile can be fully integrated into an organisation without compromising uniform access and security. The choice of OS/platform support (Android vs. iOS vs. Windows 8) is another consideration.
Growth opportunities in local HR services
There are still growth opportunities for Malaysia's ICT industry. Self-service is reducing the need for generalists across the industry and we will likely see the progressive eradication of the middle man in HR. Pure HR transactions will be increasingly automated, and self-service will make it easier to enforce HR policies through technology.
On the other hand, HR specialists who provide expertise within areas such as talent management, leadership development or analytics will grow their roles, providing serious business value. We see a vision where a service centre and processing engine will handle HR transactions, and an HR expert group will assist line managers with bespoke programs, such as union negotiations, recruitment, analytics and leadership training.
Companies will need to focus on employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention in times of economic downturn. Understanding and optimising the talents and skills of each employee and providing the necessary environment to encourage the growth and success of these employees will lead to greater overall achievements for the businesses. More importantly, businesses will need to take advantage of technology to streamline their HR processes.