SME Tech

Software that can spot if staff is quitting

Mr Fernandez, speaking at the recent Workday Elevate conference. Deep-analysis software can help employers gain better insight into their staff, he says.
Mr Fernandez, speaking at the recent Workday Elevate conference. Deep-analysis software can help employers gain better insight into their staff, he says.PHOTO: WORKDAY

Study finds Singaporean workers among least likely to resign despite unhappiness at work

Singaporean employees are the second least engaged among workers from seven Asia-Pacific economies, which include Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, China and India.

But they are also the second least likely to leave their company even though they are unhappy.

This finding came from a new IDC study commissioned by US-based human resource software firm Workday.

According to Mr Chano Fernandez, Workday's president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific and Japan, the finding highlights the need for employers to know what makes their staff tick.

It is also where technology can play a big part, to help companies suss out the tendencies and motivations of their employees that may not be apparent, he said.

"If companies don't understand their employees, they can't take action to engage them," said Mr Fernandez, who was speaking to The Straits Times during the Workday Elevate conference at the Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel two weeks ago.

The conference, which focused on tech innovations in finance and human resources, attracted about 200 attendees.

"But if I understand how well my employees' goals and objectives are aligned to the company strategy, and how well they are performing towards those, it gives me a competitive advantage," he added.

Headquartered in the United States, Workday provides cloud- based finance and human-resource software, which stores employee information such as salary and career progression in one platform.

Mr Fernandez pointed to deep- analysis software as a recent development in the human resource software realm that can help employers gain better insight into their staff.

His company came up with such a tool last April, which can predict when an employee is at risk of quitting even before he does so.

This predictive analysis feature is also quickly becoming part and parcel of most human resource management software, with firms that develop such tools, such as Infor and Cornerstone OnDemand, adding it to their software.

Workday's software taps past data to spot trends that have caused other employees to leave, and brings it to the manager's attention. The software looks for a range of factors, such as how long an employee has worked in the company or when his last promotion was.

By comparing the data with other employees in similar shoes based on historical data, the software can predict if this puts the employee at risk of quitting.

It can also trawl through job listings around the employee's area to see if there are potential job openings that fall into his scope which may be more attractive to him.

When the system notices something like this, Mr Fernandez explained, it will flag it to the manager and suggest ways to retain the employee, such as an internal transfer or a new job scope.

About 325 companies in Singapore use Workday. They range from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with hundreds of employees to multinational companies with staff sizes in the thousands.

Netflix, Groupon and TripAdvisor are also among those which use Workday's software. Singapore- based taxi-booking app company Grab is in the process of implementing Workday in their operations.

Ms Ong Chin Yin, who overseas human resources at Grab, said the company currently uses the data to track the transfers and compensations of its employees, and will make use of Workday's predictive analysis feature in the future.

She added: "Eventually, we want to make sure that we find a way to make use of predictive analytics. We want to know what the trends are and the reasons people may have for leaving. And we want to be able to help managers anticipate and take the right actions to be able to keep people and drive up the morale using predictive analytics."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'Software that can spot if staff is quitting'. Print Edition | Subscribe