Lenovo India has integrated new HR technologies in the system for a more strategic business partner role. The company has also fostered an environment of innovation within the organisation.
“The integration of HR technology has significantly reshaped the role of HR within Lenovo, elevating it to that of a strategic business partner. As technology handles repetitive tasks and processes, HR professionals are freed from routine administrative work and empowered to add value to the organisation’s core objectives,” points out Bhavya Misra, director and head-HR, Lenovo.
The company has ensured that the same technology is available to the employees as to the customers. By leveraging technology to automate tasks that can be efficiently handled by bots or tools, the HR team can now redirect their efforts towards solving genuine business problems. Their increased availability allows them to collaborate closely with the business, identify critical issues and provide people-centered solutions. Consequently, HR becomes an essential strategic partner in driving the organisation forward.
“The integration of HR technology has significantly reshaped the role of HR within Lenovo, elevating it to that of a strategic business partner. As technology handles repetitive tasks and processes, HR professionals are freed from routine administrative work and empowered to add value to the organisation’s core objectives.”
Bhavya Misra, director and head-HR, Lenovo
The company uses all this information (feedback data) to engage with employees as HR partners, proactively addressing any underlying issues or concerns. By leveraging the technology-enabled insights, Lenovo’s HR team can have meaningful conversations with employees, delve deeper into their issues, and work towards resolving them effectively.
Another tool used by the company is an HR chatbot. It enables employees to seek HR-related information and support at any time, regardless of their location or working hours. The chatbot also maintains an extensive online HR knowledge portal accessible from anywhere.
Additionally, the company has a comprehensive HR knowledge portal that serves as a valuable resource, offering a vast repository of information accessible online from any location.
“We leverage technology effectively in the HR analytics function, analysing workplace trends and employee data,” asserts Misra.
Integrating such advanced tools into the company system also brings a lot of challenges. At times, it can be seen as quite complicated to comprehend as employees may not be familiar with the processes. This ultimately results in delaying tasks. However, Lenovo has successfully overcome such challenges, making it (technology use) quite convenient for the employees.
The company utilises various HR analytics platforms, as well as a learning portal called ‘Grow at Lenovo’. This platform offers a wide range of courses from different fields, allowing employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. Additionally, Lenovo is undergoing a services-led transformation, requiring employees to build capabilities in selling and delivering solutions. To support this, Lenovo developed the Accelerated Solutions Adoption Programme (ASAP), an automated learning platform that suggests relevant courses based on employees’ roles and segments. These examples showcase how HR tools are integrated into Lenovo’s business strategy to complement and enhance the HR function.
Speaking on the challenges faced during integration, Misra opines, “We recognise that behavioural change is crucial. Initially, it requires significant effort to ensure that employees understand the benefits of using these tools and platforms. However, once people find value in some of these tools and experiences, they themselves get hooked to them and move forward.”
By offering training, handholding and quick reference guides, Lenovo supports employees in adopting and utilising these tools effectively.
Another important aspect before integrating such complex technologies, is to make decisions regarding its selection and implementation. It not only takes time to get acquainted within the workforce, but a lot more to overtake the traditional processes of doing things.
“The primary consideration is always identifying the need and understanding how it will enhance specific processes or aspects,” believes Misra. This initial step is crucial and requires thorough evaluation.
The second consideration is to ensure whether the tool is right to solve the purpose. “While there are numerous tools available in the market, including the option to develop custom tools internally, it is essential to ensure that the chosen tool aligns with the intended purpose,” points out Misra. It should effectively solve the identified problem and may require some level of customisation or differentiation.
Another vital factor is the usability of the tool. While complexity may hinder adoption, a tool that is intuitive and user friendly tends to be more widely embraced.
Lenovo has long embraced flexibility within its HR policies and practices, predating the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has always prioritised understanding the needs of its employees and fostering a people-first approach, and this yet another instance where technology has helped.
Lenove utilises collaboration tools that facilitate seamless communication and collaboration between employees working from different locations, be it home or office. They have undoubtedly contributed to enhancing productivity within the organisation.
“These HR tools were not solely introduced due to the hybrid workforce model at Lenovo. Being a technology-oriented organisation, the company has been using technology tools for a considerable period. Therefore, the usage of these tools is not entirely new for the firm,” enunciates Misra. The hybrid work model has only amplified the significance and utilisation of these tools, leading to a substantial increase in their usage within the organisation.
Coming to the training and development part, Lenovo has implemented several effective learning programmes that can be broadly categorised into two main areas.
- Functional learning: This focuses on enhancing employees’ skills and expertise within their specific roles. For instance, if someone is part of the sales team, Lenovo offers programmes designed to improve their sales abilities and make them more effective in their roles.
One notable example is the Accelerated Services Adoption Programme or ASAP, which aligns with Lenovo’s strategic transformation journey. As Lenovo aims to evolve from being solely a devices or PC organisation to a services and solutions provider, the ASAP programme plays a crucial role in building the capabilities of teams in the domain of services and solutions.
Additionally, the company offers multiple training programs that cater to various aspects of employee development, such as cross-business segment training, core job training, and training on new product launches, among others.
- Managerial or leadership development: This is aimed at nurturing leadership skills across the organisation. For leadership development, the company offers global and local leadership programmes tailored to individuals at different stages of their careers. These programmes cater to newly-appointed managers, experienced managers leading large teams or managers of managers, as well as senior leaders responsible for leading functions or business segments.
Moreover, Lenovo continues to introduce innovative programmes such as MD Tryouts. “This one-day shadow programme allows participants to spend time with the managing director (MD) of the company, gaining insights into their daily activities and providing feedback. This programme promotes mutual learning and knowledge exchange between the MD and participants,” points out Misra.
Additionally, the company used the data derived from these tools to employ various initiatives, ensuring effective employee-engagement and people management.
One of the primary methods is through employee surveys, such as the annual Lenovo Listen survey, which serves as a comprehensive employee engagement survey. Additionally, Lenovo utilises real-time feedback through a platform called Amber, enabling employees to provide ongoing feedback.
Lenovo also leverages 360-degree feedback processes, although these are selectively implemented for specific individuals based on their developmental needs at various stages. However, it’s not solely reliant on surveys and feedback mechanisms. “Lenovo actively fosters a culture of open communication and engagement through roundtable discussions and one-on-one interactions. Leaders, HR teams and managers frequently engage with employees to gather feedback beyond formal surveys,” points out Misra.
Lenovo has implemented several successful programmes and practices to enhance employee engagement. For instance, the ‘Work for Humankind’ initiative stands out as a programme that excites employees and candidates alike. This programme involves employee volunteers working on significant causes, such as raising awareness and promoting sustainable cultivation of millets. The initiative collaborates with local teams, colleges and farmers to create a positive impact, integrating technology into farming practices.
Other unique engagement initiatives include the ‘People of Lenovo’ series, which features employees’ talents and stories unrelated to work. These initiatives foster a sense of pride and connection amongst the employees.
“By actively seeking employee input, fostering a supportive culture and implementing diverse engagement programmes, we strive to continuously enhance employee engagement and satisfaction,” concludes Misra.