Article: Max Bupa's HR digitalization journey to becoming a great place to work

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Max Bupa's HR digitalization journey to becoming a great place to work

In this exclusive case study we explore how Max Bupa, India’s leading health insurance company, digitally transformed HR, to enable and empower their employees and managers, and set them on the path to greater ownership with Darwinbox HRMS. Tarun Katyal, CHRO, Max Bupa shares his insights on how a simple outlook, the right technology, and user-centric strategy accelerated
Max Bupa's HR digitalization journey to becoming a great place to work

The rapidly changing business environment has caused HR and HR transformations to significantly evolve over the last couple of months. Enhancements such as improved operating efficiency and administrative effectiveness which were the primary focus for HR teams have become table stakes.

HR must now not only drive business value by addressing the company’s pressing strategic challenges but also build a work environment and an employee experience that can withstand continuous disruption and enable higher workforce performance, ownership, and productivity.

In this case study, we interviewed Tarun Katyal, CHRO of Max Bupa, who reflects on the company’s recent digital transformation journey and shares insights on how they achieved 100% employee adoption on their new HR technology system, Darwinbox.

Max Bupa’s vision for HR

Max Bupa’s overall vision for the company is to reach 4X profitable growth from where they currently are, by 2025. Understanding that HR is key to driving this business vision, Tarun shares “It was prudent that we accelerated our organization’s HR capabilities to keep pace with the growing business needs. To make this happen, we at Max Bupa identified key HR levers, also called the five C’s – Cost, Capability, Culture, Career, and Connect. These HR levers would help us initiate activities and programs that would ultimately result in improved employee experiences, creation of internal growth and development opportunities for employees, and the enhancement of HR capabilities in terms of being agile and handling higher levels of complexity.”

Another key milestone for HR at Max Bupa was to become a certified Great Place to Work and feature amongst the top employers in the country. Tarun and his team realized that this could only be achieved by creating best-in-class employee experiences, not only from HR policies and processes point-of-view but throughout the entire employee lifecycle.

HR Tech’s role in achieving this vision 

Any organization is only as successful and effective as the people comprising its workforce. In order to reimagine how HR could enable the organization and empowers its people, undergoing a complete digital HR transformation was key.

“We have a presence across 170 cities in India and have people bringing business from not just the Metros and Non-metros, but Tier Two, and Tier Three cities as well. This diverse and distributed workforce could only be engaged with the help of new-age HR technology that was capable of managing their work, daily activities, and service experiences.” shares Tarun

The right HR technology and tools would help build the capability, ease of accessibility, and overall experience that would deliver the high-impact results Max Bupa was so focused on achieving.

“Enabling world-class experiences for our employees with the help of mobile-first HR Technology meant empowering them to create a world-class experience for our customers,” adds Tarun.

How Darwinbox became the partner of choice

“We were also looking for a platform that ensured we could achieve a set of fixed parameters, which were a combination of - ease of user adoption, seamless integration with our existing IP system, and real-time data and analytics,” shares Tarun.

The refocusing and acceleration of digital HR investments in response to the evolving business needs at Max Bupa, also meant finding a platform that leverages new data and AI to improve HR operations, provides mobile-first capabilities to boost employee experience, and delivers consumer-class user experiences that enhance overall talent agility.

Further adding, Tarun shares “For us, another key priority was to have a system that had the best, non-compromising data and information security.” 

Darwinbox’s ability to solve these specific needs, the expertise and approachability of the team, and their proven in-house implementation methodology made them the partner of choice for Max Bupa.

“Darwinbox is a very forward-looking company with a focus on growth and creating value for the clients. They listen to you, even if they don't have a ready solution, empathize with the current needs and challenges, and get back to you with product innovations that solve,” says Tarun.

The implementation journey

For a pan-organization transformation of this scale, and one that impacted the entire employee lifecycle, the transformation team needed to design, create, and execute changes to not just the technology infrastructure, but the processes and policies as well.  The team started with a thorough review of all their existing HR processes and employee data to identify any redundancies or gaps. This was followed by a process mapping exercise that mapped their current processes to the to-be state of the processes post the transformation.

In this critical stage, the team performed a zero-waste exercise to eliminate redundant processes and keep only what was absolutely necessary. They also added new processes to meet their changing needs and fully leverage the newly enhanced technology capabilities.

A project plan with clearly demarcated stages and SLAs was the guiding star through the transformation process. However, the biggest challenge was the National Lockdown and the team was under tremendous pressure to deliver on these timelines.

Tarun shares that having the right team in place helped synchronize the execution and ensured everything moved according to plan. 

Upon being asked about the team that led this transformation, Tarun said “We at Max Bupa created a cross-functional transformation team, that constituted an apex team including the functional leaders, the technology head, the CFO, and me. Further, a larger team that included representatives from HR, legal, technology, and customer service, etc. were involved in the direct execution.”

Driving 100% employee adoption

Max Bupa released a series of communications that not only promoted the new HR platform but also drove adoption by raising awareness of the technology’s offerings. “As part of our communication series, we rolled out several videos about the system that demonstrated how it worked for the employees and how it could bring the highest level of convenience at their fingertips.” 

Another strategy aimed to accelerate user adoption was to conduct employee surveys and track the employee voice on the system. For example, the company recently did a COVID vaccination voluntary response survey which pushed people to log into the system and participate.

Furthermore, realizing that the best time to get people to adopt technology was right from the get-go, Max Bupa ensured new hires interacted with the platform right from the hiring stage. “We get the new hires onboarded on the platform and ensure all verifications and other background checks or activities are carried out on the platform itself,” adds Tarun.

Impact seen: Becoming a great place to work

In Taun’s own words, digitization has been a pure delight for employees. Everything has become easier, convenient, and experiential. Further, the overall transformation program has helped significantly enhance the HR team’s capabilities. The transformation has freed up valuable bandwidth, that the HR team can now focus on more strategic rather than mundane tasks. 

“While this is just the initial impact seen from the transformation, I am certain we will continue to see a significant amount of positive changes that will keep us on the path to achieving our HR vision of not just being a Great Place to Work, but also supporting business in achieving growth and success moving forward.” shares Tarun.

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Topics: HR Technology, #EmployeeExperience

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