Iyad Rahmeh, Head of HR Technology at the Chalhoub Group, discusses how his company’s digital transformation is impacting its HR function with impress...
As technology disrupts the operations of businesses worldwide, Chalhoub Group is in the process of undergoing a major digital transformation in the retail industry. Their aim is to achieve their North Star Vision to become a hybrid retailer bringing luxury experiences to the fingertips of customers everywhere.
Overseeing the human resources (HR) technology department at Chalhoub is Iyad Rahme. “Our Group is going through a major transformation which started from within,” explains Rahmeh. “We don't just want to give the best experience to our external customers, we also aim to enable our employees with the necessary tools that help them focus better on their stakeholders. In terms of HR, our customers are also our employees and we make sure to keep them at the heart of everything that we do.”
Implementing digital platforms
During the past year, Chalhoub Group HR has implemented eight digital platforms, including a new social media platform for all its employees. “Last year, we launched our employee mobile app,” says Rahmeh. “It's a Beekeeper SaaS solution with the aim of connecting colleagues wherever they are and help them communicate and collaborate to share knowledge and expertise. We are a retail and distribution business with 70-80% of our taskforce being mobile, which is why this mobile app was necessary and been so successful.”
With the aim of introducing a smooth interface between employees and HR at the forefront of Chalhoub Group’s plans, the firm implemented SAP SuccessFactors solutions to accelerate its technological capabilities. “Most of our HR processes have become digital; our talent acquisition, performance management, learning management because going digital enables us to track each employee's progression and development” says Rahmeh. “We are always scouting for new technologies that can simplify our processes and provide our current and future employees with a seamless experience. We recently launched our first ChatBot, in collaboration with EasyRecrue, called TIM (Talent Interactive Matchmaker) to help candidates apply for a position on our career website. We also introduced a pre-recorded video and live interviews to be able to reach talents at all times.”
Operating with a data-driven approach, Chalhoub Group leverages on data to upgrade its services. “We’re always looking at ways to gather data as the more data we have, the more we can ensure we are taking the right approach and base our strategy on solid grounds” explains Rahmeh. Chalhoub Group recently introduced Qualtrics — an experience management platform allowing them to survey every interaction people experience within the Group to spot opportunities for improvement. “We gather data at every touch point we have with our current or future employees,” he says. “It starts from their initial experience of applying for a role within the Group up until their offboarding experiences.”
With technology having an increased impact on businesses and its influence showing no signs of slowing, Rahmeh understands the importance of introducing processes which will enable the company to accelerate operations without rolling out technology for the sake of it. “It's important that we implement the right technology that will take our business to the next level,” says Rahmeh. “We don't want to introduce a new digital platform for the sake of having lots of different platforms. Our aim is to make sure to facilitate and simplify our way of doing business – therefore, we ensure to partner with our employees and businesses before initiating any digital platform.”
“One of our guiding principles at Chalhoub Group is to collaborate with startups as they benefit from our expertise in the market and allow us a lot of flexibility due to their enthusiasm and eagerness for new challenges. It's much easier for us to work with them because they are flexible, fast and agile and this embodies our work principles perfectly.”
Having achieved substantial growth over the past few years which has seen the Group’s workforce reach over 12,000 team members in nine different countries, Rahmeh looks at how the Group can remain sustainable moving forward. “It’s important for us to keep searching, learning and innovating. We have to stay on the move and be agile in order to achieve our North Star Vision,” explains Rahmeh. “It is key for us to be fierce, to keep up with technology and the changing environment that we live in. Technology is there to help us and not replace us.”
Looking to the future, Rahmeh has clear ideas in mind on how the Group can continue to achieve success. “We can’t stop here — we have to keep enhancing our services. Last year we implemented eight digital platforms, this year we might bring in ten,” says Rahmeh. “It’s important to keep enhancing, developing and looking for better solutions because it’s the only way we can keep moving forward and differentiating ourselves from others to achieve our goal of becoming the employer of choice.”