For years, Relaxo Footwears has been one of India’s fastest growing companies. With the demand of footwear rising along with the country’s population growth, the company’s compound annual growth rate has averaged 22 percent or more. Such growth has spurred a significant expansion in Relaxo’s workforce, from 1,600 in 2014 to more than 2,000 in 2017.
When our manual HR processes began became bottleneck that threatened to impact talent development, we realised that we needed to take action and move towards automation.
Everything was paper-based in HR, from Talent Acquisition to Talent Management, Learning & Development (L&D), etc. The only thing automated was payroll. After an extensive study, we decided to prioritise the HR processes that we needed to automate, instead of implementing all modules in one exercise. Hence in phase one, we decided to automate Recruitment, Performance Management, and L&D so as to effectively support the growing workforce. Beginning in 2014, Relaxo’s HR organization began to adopt a cloud-based integrated talent management suite of modules.
While it is difficult and too soon to calculate return on investment (ROI), there is ample evidence that the system has produced benefits. With the automation of recruitment process, each step of the process, from manpower requisition generation to resume sharing by HR to Interview and the final offer, can be effectively recorded, measured and hence, can be improved.
This leads to improved quality of hired and reduced TAT. The open position approval process, for example, has been reduced to a single day, from the previous three to four.
Automation of the performance management practices have also given us verifiable results. There was no method to effectively know whether the employees, spread across India, had been given proper feedback. Also, paper-based processes involved a tedious task of referring to the papers in case we needed to know about an employee’s past performance. The information was not readily available, putting HR department under a lot of pressure to produce data, making a meaningful HR Partnering dialogue with the business a distant possibility. Now, automated performance management supports bi-annual employee assessments, with growth goals and the ability to review progress from a smartphone, the employees now have structured goals and get proper feedback from managers.
Of equal importance is an online learning library of competency training that employees can access directly from the performance management app to address areas for improvement.
In Phase Two, in 2016-17, after the success of Phase One, we decided to go ahead with automation of Compensation management, On Boarding, Off Boarding, and Employee Central database. Earlier, calculating compensation increases, as part of Annual Salary Review, required the use of a massive spreadsheet and manually entered formulas. The paper-based letters were checked to ensure data accuracy, these letters were then needed to be signed by the Head HR, for each of the 2,000 employees. With the implementation of compensation module, Relaxo has cut 15 to 20 days off the compensation management process, and letters are generated automatically, including the Head HR signature.
By automating its HR processes, Relaxo also provided managers and employees with direct access to them for communication. We especially needed software that could be used by each employee—something as easy as Facebook. With increasing usage of smartphones than computers, it was imperative that the talent management functionality will be available via mobile devices.
All this has lead to massive gains in terms of TAT, data accuracy, and record maintenance, enabling HR to partner with business rather than being a data provider.