Bankbazaar.com has been a force to reckon with in the Fintech space. They describe themselves as the Amazon of bank products. It allows people to have their salary account in one bank and yet shop around for a credit card or insurance or mutual fund from another provider. To do this they work with every major and mid-sized bank. Someone working, say, in Dubai could shop for a home loan to build a home in Kochi. It is harder for self-employed and small business owners to get loans. The bankbazaar.com portal claims to have more than 23,000,000 customers who are delighted with a paperless process and a choice of more than 80 banks to shop from.
For this organisation which aims at providing its users a hassle–free experience of managing all financial needs, the HR Tech journey had to be unique. And interestingly, their story satisfied my curiosity of what brings employees to HR systems and makes them stay too.
HR-Tech needs flexibility
When Bankbazaar decided to replace various HR systems (a different login for attendance, performance management, learning etc) with one HR system, what was the design philosophy they adopted?
Why did they not opt for an ERP system? Shriram, the CHRO of Bankbazaar said, “An ERP system is inflexible. A system that supports the employee life cycle must be flexible in a world where changes are constantly happening. ERP systems are slow to respond to these changes once a system has been implemented.” This assumption was thoroughly tested during this partnership.
Transformation is a continuous journey
Bankbazaar opted for PeopleStrong’s HR Technology and partnered with the team to steer through this transformation journey. Ayan Das, who has led customer success in this journey shares that it was the constant connect and commitment between the teams which made this transition seamless. It was a journey of a high-growth start-up scaling up to be an enterprise.
When the system went live in January 2017, Bankbazaar had 900+ employees and covered the basics modules of HR:
- Exit and
In this phase the intent was to leverage mobile, web and other auxiliary technologies (Biometrics) in an integrated manner to provide a single view of truth. Both these objectives were achieved within the first phase and they set a strong base for the second phase of transformation. Where the workforce count of Bank Bazaar grew by more than 100% with in a year and the number of modules increased to cover the entire employee life cycle from hire to retire.
The best thing is that both the teams agree that digitization is not a destination but a constant journey and they both claim this approach to be the reason why this relationship succeeded.
Adoption – not just implementation
Most organizations aim to get the implementation right. That takes up the customers mindshare. What is often missed is the employees’ adoption. What can the company do to get the employee to log in? Some employers hold training sessions to get users comfortable with the new software. I would argue, when Google launched its search engine, they did not hold training programs for users. Apple did away with the “Help” menu. Design must be intuitive.
There is another reason that drives adoption by the employees. The flaw I believe lies in the assumption that underlies the design. Most HR systems get designed keeping the employer’s needs in mind. The employee is never the kept at the center.
Who is the system designed for?
The HR system once implemented must still be allowed to evolve. The design must account for the changing requirements of the existing employee. When the profile of the talent pool changes, the HR system must evolve too. Systems must stay responsive. The HR team must have resources who work with the design team of the HR System provider. The HR System must be designed for the employee – not HR.
In case of Bankbazaar, more 97% users log in every day. The CHRO ascribes that high adoption to the ease of usage. He says that it should be possible for the transactions to be completed on the go. For a sales person who is on the move every day, user friendliness, accessibility, speed in which the system works, matters. The User Interface must be intuitive too – it should not be a notice board. That happens when the client is keen on making the provider successful. It is a partnership.
Bankbazaar wanted a system that was off the shelf , cost effective , ready to be configured and could integrate with all their existing systems. Did they succeed in their mission in looking for a next gen HR system? The CHRO believes that is a question the 2000 employees of Bankbazaar must answer. They must want to log in to the system. The information and insights must enrich them with every interaction. With that yardstick, Bankbazaar’s implementation certainly is a success.
When I ask Ayan who led the PeopleStrong team, he says, “Bankbazaar and PeopleStrong view the relationship as a journey to be traveled together. The view of the road ahead changes over time as the business models evolve. While as a product company you constantly design new features and functionalities to keep us with the pace of change, the impact is visible if the customer (buyer) is also ready to accept this change. Taking a long term view, helps build a relationship that creates value and this is what makes BankBazaar a truly future-ready customer for us.”
This article was published in Abhijit Bhadhuri