As a young company with a passionate workforce and a large geographical footprint, HDFC Life wanted a platform through which each employee could connect with the other anywhere within the organization. In addition, the organization also wanted to provide its employees a base to interact with their colleagues and management besides sharing innovative ideas, which could allow the organization to graduate to the next level.
Inspired by social networking platforms, HDFC Life decided to deploy a social networking application internally to facilitate a smarter way of working together. Before building the platform, the organization started identifying various existing cases that could be executed at HDFC Life. After a detailed study, the company finalized strategic objectives of the platform, thereby setting up a measurement framework and ensuring data security controls to prevent untoward incidents.
The next task was to encourage employees to start using the social network called ‘My Life’. Extensive communication to employees was done through teasers e-mails and SMSes. Employees were sent a link of the mobile app through an SMS to encourage them to install it. To accelerate the employee on-boarding process on this platform, various training sessions with the departments including HODs and their direct reporting managers were held. Simultaneously, education mailers were sent to employees about how to use various features of ‘My Life’. This created the required impact in just 5 months’ time, as around 7,000 employees logged in and started using the network for discussions, idea sharing and for connecting with colleagues and seniors across locations.
In order to increase participation and derive business benefits from MyLife, a mix of engagement and business focused activities were conducted regularly. For example, the firm conducted a ‘Best Community Contest’ in the initial weeks to get people to begin new communities. Quizzes were conducted regularly to drive competitive spirit. To get field level inputs into issues faced by the organization, the team conducted a best idea contest. Additionally, live chat sessions with the CEOs, HODs and subject matter experts were conducted weekly on this platform.
Today, there are more than 400 communities related to departmental initiatives, innovation, and common interest areas. These communities, in turn, have helped in creating a knowledge bank of all discussions and documents. Communities educate employees in tax planning, selling better, clearing CFA exams and sharing regional practices with everyone across the country. A recognition community has been created and all achievement stories, felicitation pictures, etc, are shared here. All teams today are using MyLife to share important ‘how to documents’ for everyday tasks like using e-learning platform, lead management system, claim reimbursement, etc. Additionally, live chats to connect with all India employees are regularly conducted.
Due to thorough research and action planning, we were able to achieve huge participation in just 5-6 months. Such results are generally achieved by other organizations after 2-3 years– Thomson Thomas CIO, HDFC Life
“MyLife has been a fascinating journey as social platforms fundamentally question the culture of an organization. Collaboration platforms are being used imaginatively over the world, and we believe that mastering this new way to work will be key to success in the future,” says Uzma Jamal Rushdi, VP-Strategy, HDFC Life.”
Due to the nature of social networking websites, there is a real danger of frivolous activities overcoming professional activities. HDFC Life has managed to avoid this issue through planning and execution. “It is now seen as a place which helps HDFC Life become better at what we do in an engaging manner, and also helps connect with like-minded hobbyists without a ‘frivolous’ connotation,” states Thomson Thomas CIO, HDFC Life.
Going forward, the team plans to make the platform more user-friendly and introduce gamification to drive participation and engagement. The team intends to continue with the departmental ownership concept every month with different HODs to drive participation from each department. HDFC Life also plans to focus on migrating business processes which will help in making the portal an integral part of an employee’s life.