Transforming Time Reporting with Technology
Change can be a difficult pill for organisations to swallow, as employees are often entrenched in their existing ways of doing things and prefer to maintain the status quo.
However, when planned and executed carefully, transformation initiatives can achieve wonders for organisations, as Focal Investigation and Security Agency discovered recently.
Despite two decades of success in providing best-in-class security to corporations, concert organizers, and major sporting events in the ASEAN region (we've been awarded multiple contracts for the Asian Youth Games, Southeast Asian Games, and Para Games), an internal audit discovered we'd been slow to update redundant administration processes to take advantage of capabilities provided by modern technology.
Our attendance reporting procedure was a prime candidate for change, as it still relied on security officers at more than 40 locations in Singapore completing timesheets manually - a straightforward system that served us well a decade ago but was proving cumbersome as the workforce expanded to more than 200 full-time and 400 part-time officers.
Inaccurate time attendance reporting would even delay payment of salaries to employees, as missing or inaccurate information required investigation and corroboration.
After extensive research we adopted a digital platform called HokuApps which offered a range of timekeeping and mobile tracking solutions that could easily be adapted to our needs.
Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer prize-winning reporter for The New York Times and bestselling author of The Power of Habits: Why We Do What We Do In Life, argues important new keystone habits must be adopted for transformational change to succeed.
Implementing a new mobile time attendance system at Focal Investigation and Security Agency required the adoption of three important habits for successful digital innovation:
Planning, consultation, and buy-in – It was important for me as a leader of the organization to make the case for the change from manual to digital. I had to explain to the rank and file the purpose and rationale for the change and the work that lies ahead to get this done. I sensed that the whole company (leadership and staff included) understood and internalized the need for change. We did quite a bit of initial consultation with them.
Training and adoption – After the planning, HokuApps showed options and provided mockups of potential solutions until we settled on the path to follow. HokuApps was quite innovative and responsive to our needs especially the need for assisting the company to train staff on the use of this innovation so that they can be comfortable in adopting it on a consistent basis. We did quite a bit of communication, training, and demonstration with our staff.
Communication and reinforcement – After the training, it is never sufficient to just let people use the innovation and hope for the best. It is important to communicate and reinforce new habits and skills for people to succeed in adopting the innovation. When we have an issue, a bug or a technical glitch, I was glad that HokuApps responded in a fast and timely manner and assisted us to make sure that users of the technology feel supported in this new endeavor.
Based on our experience of digital transformation to date, the concept of empowerment - in the sense of achieving buy-in through planning and consultation, training and providing employees with plenty of opportunity to master new technologies, can be added to this list.
About Wong Chih Meng
Wong Chih Meng is the managing director of Focal Investigation and Security Agency, a Singapore-based provider of premium security services in four service areas: protecting and guarding, event security services, executive protection services, and investigation services. The company's clients include major banks, financial institutions, data centers, commercial installations, and government departments in the ASEAN region.