At HCL Technologies, innovation begins from the ground up.
This global technology company, which has had a presence in Singapore and the nearby region for over four decades, prides itself on its next-generation digital solutions for enterprises. Its projects have helped the Singapore Town Council implement customer relationship management and finance systems and integrate its processes across the island; HCL Technologies was also involved in SMRT Corporation’s first SAP implementation (systems, applications and products).
The company is also an avid supporter and sponsor of local community initiatives such as the SGX Bull Charge Charity Run, the POSB PAssion Run for Kids, as well as the recent Breast Cancer Foundation (Singapore) digital campaign last October.
What underpins and drives HCL Technologies the business to greater heights is its people-centric culture and a concept it refers to as “ideapreneurship”. The company’s employees are all seen as “ideapreneurs”, who are automatically given the licence to contribute and test drive ideas, with the aim to streamline processes, forge internal and external relationships, and enhance their work.
As of last month, there have been 489 unique ideas generated by HCL’s Singapore and Malaysia’s offices. Over three-quarters have been implemented, accounting for a total of $73.8 million in value delivered since 2007.
Encouraging grassroots innovation has led HCL Technologies to be recognised as a Top Employer by the prestigious Top Employers Institute. This year, the company was certified as a Top Employer in 17 countries and this is the second year it has won the award in Singapore.
Mr Tan Boon Hien, Senior Vice President, Regional Head ASEAN and North Asia at HCL Technologies, says: “The recognition for Top Employer FY22 Singapore and Malaysia is a testament of our continued focus on employee growth, well-being and diversity. It is also a result of HCL’s ideapreneurship culture and belief that happy employees lead to happy customers. This empowered environment will continue to promote creativity and innovation that are being embedded into our expanded sustainability programme.”
Mr David Plink, Chief Executive Officer, Top Employers Institute, adds: “Reflecting on the demanding year that has, like the year before it, impacted organisations across the world, HCL has continued to show that it prioritises maintaining excellent people practices in its workplace. In the past year it has they continued to meet the challenges of the wider world of work, while working determinedly to positively impact the lives of its workforce.”
Finger on the pulse
Ideas are just one component of HCL Technologies’ ideapreneurship culture.
Employees are also given leeway to augment their role within the company. They have access to all the available job openings, including those in global offices, and enjoy the flexibility and support from the management team to shape their career as desired. This creates trust and transparency between employee and employer.
For many in the company, this means having opportunities beyond the role they applied for. They can take charge of their learning and access a platform to define their career aspiration roadmap. This means employees have the mobility to transition to another role in the future, instead of being restricted to their designated “box”.
In addition, HCL Technologies human resources team has its finger on the pulse, through conducting frequent pulse surveys. These aim to find out staff sentiment about people practices or processes, whether they have suggestions to improve employee benefits, or any other proposals that can help the organisation excel as an employer of choice.
Regular small group coffee sessions and town halls are also conducted with staff and the leadership team, which increases the opportunities for management and working level discussions within HCL Technologies’ already flat organisational structure.
A great help during the pandemic
Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, never once did HCL Technologies lose sight of the wellbeing of its people.
In addition to communicating the latest developments, organising health talks and procuring enough health supplies to go around, HCL went above and beyond to ensure that its staff and their family members had access to urgent overseas travel and the necessary entry approvals to each country, ambulance facilities and even priority hospitalisation if needed.
To facilitate the move to work-from-home (WFH), it also saw to the needs of employees who lacked broadband connectivity or who didn’t have a suitable WFH facility.
Staff stranded overseas due to the pandemic were empowered to make new choices about where they wanted to live, with new expectations shaped in consultation with their managers on flexible working hours, remote work conditions and work-life balance. This helped many employees ease worries around job security and in fact helped them achieve an even higher level of productivity than pre-Covid times.
The company launched an Employee Assistance Program that gave employees access to professionally trained counsellors on mental wellness.
Always striving for improvement
As part of the Top Employers certification, companies are is benchmarked against other top employers globally and regionally. However, the audit does not end at validation – it includes feedback reports that help each organisation achieve greater HR excellence in future.
After receiving its first year of certification as a Top Employer in Singapore in 2021, HCL continued to act on small but critical feedback from employees in their first three to five days on the job. Some of this feedback addressed the initial support that new joiners received and the onboarding process itself.
One of the things that HCL acted quickly on was to introduce a HCL Buddy programme to help new employees with the initial orientation process and to avoid them feeling “lost” in the organisation.
In addition, the empowerment that HCL gives to its employees help to define and drive their careers – a key differentiator that helps the company stand out as a Top Employer.
HCL Technologies Senior Vice President, Mr Tan, says the company aspires to be the number one Top Employer in Singapore. “To achieve this, we have a continuous improvement plan for our HR policies against the backdrop of the dynamic changes in the IT environment. We want to continue to be a socially responsible corporate citizen, and sustainability is our core focus as we continue to support Singapore’s Green Plan 2030 and Smart Nation initiatives. In collaboration with the government, we also plan to develop an innovation hub in Singapore.”