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How Tencent leverages digital technology to strengthen HR management and enterprise agility

Tencent’s approach is to implement a “strategy digitisation”and“service productization” strategy in HR management.

The COVID-19 pandemic imposed tremendous challenges on global businesses, including supply chain disruption, the maintenance of normal business operations, as well as employee management under remote working scenarios.

As the pandemic gradually eases in 2022, more and more companies around the world are starting to embrace digital transformation. On the one hand, digital technologies have been proven to increase enterprise agility and prepare companies for the next black swan event. On the other hand, enterprises empowered by digital technology are believed to be in a better position to capture emerging industry opportunities. What Tencent has done may shed light on how companies can utilise digital technology to strengthen their human resource management and boost enterprise agility.

Living in the digital age, it is imperative for company management to be able to quickly understand changes and make swift strategic transformation decisions. It is also necessary to ensure that employees have the ability to adapt to development shifts in the digital age and follow management decisions to rapidly promote business-level transformation.

This requires enterprises to establish a scientific and efficient digital system to meet the new human resource management challenges brought about by the digital age, which can be translated into the adoption of “strategy digitisation” and “service productization.” By doing so, enterprises can embed data-based thinking into their strategic decision-making and subsequent implementations while efficiently aligning action plans between senior executives and regular employees.

In addition, the productisation of HR services can also improve the timeliness and coverage of internal strategy communications and help to dynamically maintain a healthy talent structure at an organisational level, such as by designing specific training to enhance employees’ skillsets and putting talented people in more suitable positions.

A comprehensive HR strategy

Based on research conducted by a team from Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, and researchers in Tencent Social Research Center and Tencent HR Technology Center, Tencent’s approach was to build a comprehensive data and analysis system, and implement a “service productization” strategy in HR management, so that senior executives can have access to better data to assist them with strategy and HR management decision making, and also ensure the accuracy and efficiency of strategy formulation and execution. At the same time, taking employees as users and transforming different modules of HR services into digital products can help employees increase their efficiency in the workplace, and gain necessary work skills that they don’t already have.

Tencent built a human resource data management system internally and, on its basis, further built out a data-based strategic decision-making mechanism. The company set up a management committee to oversee HR data governance. By centralising talent with data management and at the same time matching business demands with employees’ strengths through a talent indicator program, internal operational efficiency and cross-team collaboration were greatly enhanced. Through this centralised data governance mechanism, supplemented by the identification of talent deficiencies, digital tools equip employees with action guides and targeted training that better match senior level strategies, which are then transformed into efficient and agile strategy execution.

Tencent’s goal management system was a great example of implementing the strategy of “service productization.” In the early “customer engagement” process, Tencent noticed that employees attached great importance to the timing of different action goals. However, many employees also had difficulties aligning their own goals with organisational ones. After a revamp and upgrade, the new goal management system allows employees to communicate and update their action goals from time to time through an automatic QA system, which also allows members of one team access to each other’s plans. The resulting instant and personalised feedback can greatly improve employees’ sense of participation and enthusiasm. At the same time, the optimisation system makes individual goals visible among employees in one team, so that they can better align their goals with the broader team and, furthermore, with the whole company.

Additionally, in order to refresh the process of internal knowledge sharing, Tencent established an “expert” platform for employees to exchange and learn. The platform recruits experienced employees who are willing to share knowledge and provide knowledge sharing to colleagues in need, which improves the efficiency of knowledge input in learning and sharing. Teams and personnel can share open and productive conversations internally, facilitating the personal growth of employees as well as the development of the entire organisation.

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