Clariant’s new digital approach to HR management helps to make hiring, training and advancing people both more efficient and personal.
It had been a while since Lynn Ong was in the market for a new job. »I was with my previous employer for about 16 years«, she says. Then, in 2016, big changes at the microprocessor company where she worked in Singapore made her customer service job redundant. She had the choice to either move to another location or to leave. She chose the latter, took the severance package and looked for a new challenge. »I was a bit nervous of course«, she says. »A lot has changed in the job market.« Back in 2001, when she last applied for a job, there was no LinkedIn and no smartphone and Google was still the »new big thing« on the internet. »Searching and applying for a job back then was probably not so different than it had been a decade or two earlier«, Lynn Ong says, adding: »I found my job in the newspaper listings.«
So far, Clariant has received and processed around 32 000 job applications via its new digital platform.
So in 2017 Lynn brushed up her online presence on career networks like LinkedIn and made use of their resources. »I searched for openings that fit my profile«, she remembers. She has extensive experience working in customer service for a tech company. »So when I found the job posting by Clariant Global Business Services for a position in their Customer Service Team Lead, I felt that I was a great fit.« Clariant agreed, and after a short e-mail exchange, she was invited for an interview at the Singapore office. What she didn’t realize then was that she had already entered Clariant’s new digital HR management. »We have established a complete system where every step of finding and hiring new employees as well as bringing them onboard is part of a so-called digital journey«, says Suzanne Soh, Clariant’s Head of HR Asia. That journey starts with Clariant’s presence online. »We’ve consistently enlarged our digital footprint in recent years, both in social media and professional networks«, says Suzanne. The company uses platforms like LinkedIn or glassdoor.com to actively engage current and potential employees. »It is essential that we do this in a coordinated and consistent way«, Suzanne explains. »So what is posted and how it reflects our company and our values bolsters Clariant’s reputation as a preferred employer.«
Reputation matters. Especially to potential applicants like Lynn Ong who had not heard much about Clariant beforehand. Websites like glassdoor.com, for example, let employees and applicants rate companies based on their personal experiences – anything from job interviews to salaries, benefits, and the overall work environment. These peer reviews give job seekers a good idea of what to expect. »Online resources are commonly referred to these days«, says Cecilia Soh, another recent hire for Clariant in Singapore. Cecilia entered the company around the same time as Lynn and works in customer service for the Functional Minerals Business Unit. Although she is around the same age as Lynn, she has changed jobs in recent years and has therefore stayed more attuned to trends in the online job market. Using apps on her smartphone to check for job openings is nothing new to her. She had heard of Clariant before, but did some research online too. What she found was apparently convincing. Cecilia joined the sales team in May 2017. »It’s great«, she says of her first few months with the company.
Achieving a smooth transition into the new job is part of Clariant’s digital journey too. While Cecilia joined Clariant without much of a gap from her previous job, Lynn had a few weeks off before her first day. She took the time to complete several courses. »They were part of my severance package, so I took the opportunity to brush up on some skills and learn a few new ones«, she says. During this time Clariant already provided her with further information about her new company and her new job. They also got some paperwork out of the way. »It’s not like we are giving them big chunks of homework«, says Suzanne. »But they can familiarize themselves with our Code of Conduct, for example. We also try to get necessary signatures and agreements out of the way beforehand. This way, on day one, they can hit the ground running.«
In the new cloud-based HR portal employees have completed 1 300 self-service workflows.
Once Lynn Ong and Cecilia Soh started their jobs, they encountered what Clariant calls »MySuccess – Solutions for People«. It’s a cloud-based HR portal introduced in 2014. It has since been extended and has completely changed how the company conducts most of its HR management. One of its advantages is transparency. »Our aim is to provide transparency on data and processes to employees and managers and thus simplify the daily collaboration«, says Suzanne. For example, the platform lets employees manage their personal information themselves. »It’s what we’re all used to with other online services anyway«, says Suzanne Soh. It’s not just millennials that see it that way. »It just makes sense that I don’t have to apply to some central organization whenever my address, phone number or bank details change«, says Lynn. »Plus, I get a better idea of what the company actually knows about me.«
BENEFITS »MYSUCCESS« OFFERS
more transparency and individual responsibility, easier access to personal data and relevant HR topics, and greater working flexibility.
Taking matters into your own hands is helpful in other ways too. »MySuccess« has been adding more and more features that allow employees to build their knowledge and their career with Clariant. »MyOnboarding«, for example, guides new hires through their first weeks with the company. It gives them all the necessary information but also lets them find their own way around. »MyRecruitment« lets managers initiate recruitments directly – from defining a job profile to posting an opening either internally or on the web. That’s how the job offers Lynn and Cecilia responded to ended up online. »MyLearning« lets employees – not just new ones – choose and manage which online courses and training programs they take. Managers can even assign courses directly to their employees whenever needed. »MyPerformance« helps employees and their managers set and track goals in a collaborative way. All the necessary administrative steps for each module and HR task are streamlined and transparent. So whenever a request or decision gets stuck, everyone involved knows what’s going on.
»There are more modules in the works«, says Klementina Pejic. As Head of Group HR, she is busy promoting and explaining the new digital approach in HR management to people inside as well as outside the company. One of the questions she’s been asked is whether Clariant is making their HR department redundant. »Not at all«, she says. »With the new HR online services, we are reducing manual steps, which frees up valuable time for our HR staff. This allows us to focus more on actual consulting and counseling, an integral part of our role as a trusted partner of the business. Personal dialog is still the core of our operations. In addition, well-established digital HR solutions aim to provide full transparency of available services and programs to all our employees and to support line managers in their daily leadership.« After all, HR should be about people. And if done right, digital transformation puts people back in charge.
»Our aim is to provide transparency on data and processes to employees and managers and thus simplify the daily collaboration.«Suzanne Soh Head of Region HR Asia