At Derichebourg Multiservices, digital technology allows us to remain connected with our employees

Interview with Malika BOUCHEHIOUA, Director of Human resources at Derichebourg Multiservices

Why did you decide to set up a digital workplace?

Derichebourg Multiservices specializes in providing outsourcing services to companies and local authorities. It has nearly 30,000 employees that work on site at our customers and we need to increase how attached they feel to their company. We conducted a survey that told us that HR was not close to the employees. We thus decided to set up a new ‘digital workplace’ to maintain a connection with our employees, despite the distance. It helps them to deal with administrative matters.

HR thus plays a role in making it easier for employees to access all types of information on their professional or personal smartphones or tablets.  The platform is Cloud-based and can be accessed at anytime, anywhere, from any device.

How long did it take you to set up the platform?

We’ve been thinking about this for the past two years and we asked our employees how they feel about it. We thus thought they were ready for the use of electronic administrative documents and, as a result, ready to implement a platform to handle their daily tasks and interact with HR. Before launching the project, we ran tests for 3 months on two business units that included executives.

We are still in the testing and change management phase. We think the platform will be deployed and operating efficiently within about a year in our subsidiary of 16,000 employees and are planning on setting up training courses to help them.

Did you find there were problems in handling digital technology and how did you deal with them?

It is essential that we implement a change management process so that everyone within the company gets used to the portal. Our employees are mainly blue collar workers, who are not always connected. We have asked the startup, Simplon, a startup specializing in programming and digital technology training, to help us set up short, dynamic and pragmatic training sessions. The training courses will be handled by managers and HR professionals.

How do see the role of HR in projects to develop information systems focusing on the employee experience?

A digital workplace is indicative of a company’s social performance and is thus an HR project. HR departments should focus on this, because employees need tools that will help them with their daily tasks, but that will also provide access to important and relevant information. Today, we need to examine what type of information we want to deliver, so that messages sent to employees are appropriate for the types of situations they are confronted with. Employees should have the feeling they are recognized. Our main objective is to offer them personalized HR services and a better work environment and Sopra HR 4YOU helps in that it provides a space for managers and employees.

We are living in a time when too much information can overload your brain. HR has to provide just the right amount of information and make sure the balance is maintained between the personal and the professional.

With the help of digital technology, are HR departments increasingly attracted by the use of HR marketing to strengthen the employer brand?

Yes, we do a lot of HR marketing. It must, however be done correctly so that employees feel involved, otherwise you spend a lot of energy for little results in return. We have to deal with their concerns and anticipate their questions. We are not yet in the data analysis phase.

5 years ago, I would have told you that digital technology was only good for its technical aspects, for developing new applications. Today, I am convinced that it is a way to help bring on change, because it helps to create a relationship with the employees, it makes their daily tasks easier, keeps them informed and ensures that they are in line with company strategy;

What would be the problems to overcome concerning the use of digital technology?

We have to protect employee privacy! The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enables us to protect people from unauthorized use of their personal data, but HR’s job goes beyond simple data protection. We need to personalize the tools to meet the various needs, without infringing upon any rules of ethics, that HR must ensure in terms of personal data management.