1. Tell us about your role in BrioHR?
As a co-founder and CEO of an early stage tech company, I focus mostly and sales, marketing, and investor relationships. I am also actively involved in recruitment along with my cofounder, while he takes care of tech and support. Truth is, in a company like ours, what counts is really to be agile in terms of the day to day role, as I have to do whatever it takes to take the company forward, starting with delivering a great service and ensuring client satisfaction.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I developed my passion for people management as I built, led, and scaled teams of up to 200+ at PwC and CMA-CGM, then while advising leading organizations both as a McKinsey consultant and internally while heading Lazada’s strategy department. There was a common pattern I saw across all these organizations again and again: companies always considered people their most crucial success element, but lacked the tools and equipment to help their people reach their full potential. So together with my co-founder (Nabil Oudghiri), we created BrioHR, an all-in-one HR management software to help companies implement and maintain effective people management, leading to more productive employees and improved company performance.
3. How do you think technology is changing the HR Sector?
Technology is helping HR teams fulfil their role as strategic partners in a business, by providing not just tools that speed up basic tasks, but also reporting and analytics functions that enable HR to make data-driven decisions in real-time, as well as turnkey processes for better talent management and development, really empowering HR Teams / Company management.
4. In what way is digitization impacting the admin processes for HR professionals?
It’s 100% making it faster and more accurate by eliminating the ‘manual’ elements involved not just in completing paperwork, but also in cross-referencing across different administrative functions (such as Payroll and Leaves Management).
“The idea is to shift the time spent on repetitive lower value tasks that no one likes to do, towards more value-added tasks that will help HR professionals achieve their objectives for the company.”
For us, what is very important to note, is that HR admin is only one pillar of the whole HR spectrum, and that is why we provide modules that help HR/Company leadership well beyond HR admin.
5. In what way can redefining PMS lead to employee satisfaction?
Redefining Performance Management Solutions is key to retaining and engaging talent. Where before appraisals were a dreaded “once a year thing we have to do”, at BrioHR we see performance management as an ongoing, daily activity – because how well employees perform in their day-to-day activities directly impacts the organization as a whole.
Not only that, when performance management is simple, user-friendly, transparent, and becomes a sort of “day-to-day reference”, employees are guided by their “North Star” and can trust in the fact that their performance is evaluated fairly across the board – this boosts morale and engagement, leading to greater job satisfaction, which improves business performance.
There was a local individual sharing his personal experience recently (it appeared to resonate with others on social media, to the point it was picked up by a popular social news network), highlighting that in appraisals, managers who don’t want to get questioned will just give everyone – regardless of actual performance – the same above average rating: not too good that it has to be justified, not too bad that it has to be justified. This shouldn’t be the case, and we firmly believe having the right performance management system in place will make a difference.
6. How does enabling OKR help in aligning employee goals with organizational goals?
Objectives & Key Results tie an employee’s objective to measurable results – crucially, each employee’s Key Results feed into their team’s and organization’s goal results. It enables forward looking performance management.
OKRs are also set, tracked, and evaluated frequently – this reduces time lag between (for example) a corporate decision made based on quarterly financial results, and how employees work towards that and are assessed in day-to-day operations.
Plus, the simplicity in OKRs – an objective backed by 2-5 specific and measurable results – means that employees have clarity on what they need to do, and how it impacts the organization as a whole.
7. What is the significance of developing customized individual employee development plan for employee performance and satisfaction?
It is recognizing that each individual is unique – that each employee learns, functions, and responds differently to different things. So inherent in customized plans is one very important thing: respect.
In terms of performance, multiple studies have been done about the impact of respect or disrespect in the workplace on performance (employee performance, which also impacts organization performance as the employee interacts with colleagues, clients, suppliers, regulators, partners, etc).
8. Can you explain to us in detail the attributes of BrioHR’s Talent Acquisition Solution?
Our Recruitment & ATS module was built to improve the speed and transparency of the recruitment process for all companies. We incorporated job boards and social recruiting functionalities, to enable companies to share open positions quicker (and fill them quicker); our applicant tracking system provides real-time updates on statuses so that hiring managers and HR are always up-to-date (this reduces back-and-forth as well); pre-assessments (which can be turned on or off with a click) further help streamline quality candidates to reduce time spent sifting through CVs.
The transparency element is crucial – to prevent any form of bias in recruiting, and to ensure each company acquires the right talent, because the costs of a bad hire are exorbitant. We’ve built in interview questions and score cards into our Recruitment module, to function as a guide for how a candidate is assessed. For further bias prevention, HR teams can even select other managers / employees in a company to participate in the recruitment process, ensuring a holistic opinion of a candidate.
9. How do you prepare for an AI-centric World?
AI is a major buzzword now, and in the HR space many reference the use of “CV crawling” – where a bot trawls through submitted CVs picking up keywords, and candidates with the highest amount of the ‘right’ keywords in their CVs then get passed on to HR for the next step.
I recently read an interview of an HR Tech unicorn cofounder. Interestingly, before cofounding this amazing company, and becoming its Chief Product Officer, he completed a PhD in AI. Despite his company being a Unicorn, with more than 10 years in business, his take was the following: “we invest a lot of time and money in AI in our company, we believe AI can have tremendous power in the HR field, but we are still very far from really having AI and enjoying its benefits in HR software, maybe 5-10 years from now”.
So, AI is very powerful and can be applied to HR, for sure. But for now, companies barely have processes and tools in place – or any data altogether – and what they need today to start putting those tools and processes in place, to collect relevant data and enable AI later on. Matching words on a resume with words on a job description is very useful, can save a lot of time, but it is automation and has existed for quite some time. It is not AI, which, based on holistic, unbiased data (i.e. not the data we currently have in most cases, but rather data to build), will be able to acquire a level of autonomy: for instance, in recommending non-traditional profiles for specific roles for unmatched productivity and happiness after analyzing a quantity of data that humans either cannot process, or would process with an unconscious bias.
“Essentially, I think what’s important is that any use of AI provides speed and accuracy to HR – allowing HR teams to trust in the data provided and make decisions off that data.”
For example, our system actively assesses all data points across modules, and pulls out information relevant for HR leaders or company management.
10. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent times?
Our product is already among the most advanced and has leapfrogged competition on many aspects, but we will never stop adding to it: innovating, at a rapid pace, is our passion. Our clients know that they have a partner when they work with us – they don’t just buy a software from a vendor and have to deal with it – they buy an amazing platform helping them tremendously from Day 1, with the assurance that it will constantly go higher and higher. So, we listen to our clients to decide what’s next. For instance on the admin side we have recently rolled out Time Tracking, and are continuing to expand our Payroll module internationally (bearing in mind the different regulatory requirements in different countries) to help our clients with multinational presence. We also constantly work on the overall design to bring more value in more optimized ways, adding functionalities and working on eye-catching designs.
Soon we will embark on a journey to really push the employee engagement capabilities in BrioHR (taking the employee pulse, advanced analytics, etc) as well as integrations. We already can integrate to pretty much anything as that is in the DNA of BrioHR, but we will expand with more and more standard integrations to create seamless processes where people will apply leaves on their day to day messaging apps just by sending a text that our bots will analyze and so on.
11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
Our Team is one of an early stage company, meaning that everyone knows everyone, and we have a lot of benevolence for each other.
When we hire, we actively seek out independent thinkers – individuals who take the initiative, who are always curious, who don’t have a “that’s not in my job scope” mentality.
Having people like these, who support each other, and BrioHR, is of paramount importance because I have absolute faith in the team doing what needs to be done for the company – I don’t need to constantly monitor or check-in with them, which frees me up to meet with clients.
Also, I appreciate the straightforward natures of the individuals in BrioHR – they are unafraid to voice their opinions, and will challenge decisions when they believe things can be done better to help the company. This helps ensure I don’t operate from a position of “blindness” or “short-sightedness” – with diverse perspectives and a culture of openness, we can finetune strategies and ideas together to move the company forward as a team.
12. What movie inspires you the most?
There are a lot of films I like and am inspired by, and I think what inspires people evolves as they themselves evolve. So right now, I would say “Forrest Gump”. The reason being that this man is genuine, does not try to be seen as someone he is not, cares about others, and gives his best at all times.
13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, we won’t mind having a look at some of the pictures?
14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
(MySejahtera is a Malaysian app that was launched nationwide in response to COVID-19 and the need to contact trace)