How sleep specialist Duroflex steers HR transformation with Darwinbox
For over five decades, Duroflex has emerged as one of India’s leading sleep solutions companies. For a business that delivers top-of-the-line mattresses, pillows, protectors and other sleep technology options, caring for people is innately written in their DNA.
From customers to employees, people are at the heart of the Duroflex mission. Because, as people move the business forward, they remain the inspiration behind the development of high-quality sleep-focused products.
“Our vision is to create awareness of sleep; design the best products with the customer in mind; and leverage technology in whatever we do,” said Ritu Bhardwaj Moitra, Chief Human Resources Officer, Duroflex.
This same philosophy translates into the company’s employee culture.
Just as Duroflex reached out to a new generation of customers, they also expanded their employee base into a truly diversified and empowered workforce. There was a growing need to reflect a global outlook – not only across products and services – but more importantly in its culture.
“With the rise of social media, you need to walk the talk and become a transparent organisation,” Ritu said, because while products and technology can be copied, what “truly differentiates” a company are their people.
“HR has a critical role to play in helping attract the right people to the organisation,” she said.
But along with embracing a people-centric culture, Duroflex also leaned into their mission of providing technology-backed solutions. As the company engaged with customers and employees, there was a need for tools that empowered all employees.
Duroflex was well on the way towards enabling workers through digital technology. But then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Rather than falling behind, Duroflex viewed the crisis as an accelerator of digital transformation. Lockdowns, curfews and other restrictions may have changed the business landscape and stifled operations for a time, yet the challenges served as a catalyst towards a digital future.
“COVID was the push to become technology-enabled because you couldn’t sell in retail, and employees were working out of different locations,” Ritu said.
Indeed, Duroflex’s transformation journey was unfolding.
Choosing the right HR technology
After engaging with different stakeholders and consultants, Duroflex knew they needed a technology platform that would be welcomed by all groups of employees.
One of the principal considerations for the company was the appeal and user-friendliness of the product to a diverse and dynamic workforce. The technology had to be easy to use for employees on the shop floor; for sales representatives in the field; and for employees working out of the corporate office. The user interface and experience (UI/UX) served as a critical factor.
With these people-first values, Duroflex selected Darwinbox to support their HR function.
“Darwinbox’s impressive pitch and market research – and the fact that a number of leading brands were already using the technology – were all critical in shaping the final decision on the choice of technology,” said Pooja Sumbad, Senior Executive - HR at Duroflex. She is credited with spearheading the company’s HR transformation.
To Pooja’s insights, Ritu added: “The SaaS [software-as-a-service] model which enabled a ‘plug and play’ integration was also a key factor.”
Implementation and change management
Communication before and during the launch helped spread the word and drive adoption. A conversation with top leaders meant Duroflex was serious about integrating the platform.
“When you have the message from the top, there will be widespread adoption,” Ritu said.
As the company moved from a paper-based document management system to a digital platform, the impact of using solutions from Darwinbox was almost immediate.
One game-changer for Duroflex was the mobile application, part of the Darwinbox technology suite.
“While earlier, the organisation relied on managers for data pertaining to attendance, the mobile application made the process much simpler and faster. Since sales representatives, for example, mark their attendance on the application itself, it is visible to the manager and the leadership above them,” Pooja said.
With Darwinbox, there was also improved visibility in the organisational structure.
“Many times, employees might be reporting to different people,” Ritu said, “and it leads to confusion in terms of who they’re reporting to. But the technology platform brought clarity in terms of who will be primarily responsible for the role.”
This allowed the leadership to have conversations about role alignment and helped employees clarify their own jobs and responsibilities.
An integrated view of tech solutions also helped Duroflex tackle data consistencies across work locations and across functions such as HR and finance. When, previously, there would be discrepancies, inconsistencies are now resolved through the use of a single technology platform.
Reflecting on their journey, Pooja noted that it’s crucial to ensure data hygiene before embarking on the digital transformation process.
HR as a business partner
“It is important for organisations to approach HR technology transformation as a business mandate that can accelerate the organisation as a whole – and not as a last priority,” Pooja said.
Implementing HR tech platforms should therefore be accorded the same importance as an enterprise resource planning solution. This means partnering with HR and actively involving the leadership throughout the journey.