Jan 07 2022

Prioritizing Employee Experience to Boost Digital Transformation

“We have seen over the past 18 months that there is a need for continuous upgrading and it has intensified. Our people, like so many other organizations, have experienced one of the biggest changes to work during the lockdowns. ”

by  Swechha Mohapatra, Head - Consulting & Delivery, hrtech.sg

hrtech.sg's Tech Talks focuses on engaging with HR & HRTech Subject Matter Experts to unearth trends & insights in the realm of HR Technology.

In this edition, we talk to Herman Rolfers, Director Global HR Technology & Solutions, Heineken.

An optimist, leader of change and digital transformation.

Driven by innovation, Herman has always had the desire to help organisations change and adapt for the future. As the Global Director of HR Technology & Solutions at The HEINEKEN Company, Herman bring’s together structured thinking, balanced with creativity to lead and deliver global digital programmes. Since 2018, he has been in charge of one of HEINEKEN’s leading digital business transformation programmes to date, having embarked upon a journey to enhance the employee experience across the globe through modernised digital HR technology. Digital transformation to me is a long-term business enabler. And ultimately, our ‘North Star’ is to continuously focus on how we can continue becoming more employee-centric and people-insights led using technology and data.

His recent achievements include the first HEINEKEN HR Brewhouse activation, which brings tech players and industry disruptors from around the globe together to help HEINEKEN design the future of work based on a number of pre-identified HR challenges the company currently faces. This initiative was nurtured from concept to action in just six weeks and run throughout 2019 and early 2020.

Here are some excerpts from the discussion with Herman:

  • The Heineken company completed a huge feat of connecting over 80,000 global employees on one human resource system. What is MyHR and the EMPOWER project?
    EMPOWER is a program that helped to simplify Heineken’s HR technology landscape, but also to build an environment in which we can become fully employee-centric. We bring our users onto one mobile platform called MyHR, and we make sure that the journeys are completely seamless.

  • What has been the Impact of the pandemic on tech adoption?
    We have seen over the past 18 months that there is a need for continuous upgrading and it has intensified. Our people, like so many other organizations, have experienced one of the biggest changes to work during the lockdowns. The need for digital connectivity just shows how business-critical digital solutions are to all of us.

  • How do you keep pace with the technological change that is within Heineken?
    Data is critical to an organisation’s strategic decision-making, particularly if you want to keep ahead in a fast-paced world. We at Heineken are striving to be people insight-led. We asked our people what was keeping them awake at night, what they need, what they expect, and how we can make their user experience more customer-centric. It's very simple. They tell us and we respond.

  • What can businesses do to stay agile and ensure you have the right technology for the right solution?
    I'd like to share the example of the technology competition that we designed- ‘HR Brewhouse’. It aligns with Heinekens’ values of being curious and entrepreneurial. The aim of the Brewhouse was to create win-wins,not only for the startups, but also for Heineken. Digital products that you can crowdsource through events like a brewhouse can help you to identify those opportunities that are mutual in terms of supporting a startup and for Heineken in this particular situation.

  • What do you learn from Brewhouse and what impact did it make on digital HR?
    From the Brewhouse, I learned that transformation will never be easy. This may seem like an open door, but you must be prepared to fail and when you fail, which you will never do during experimentation. You also need to make sure you fail fast, and fail forward. It's also important to capture that failure because it will allow you to keep innovating. I always say nothing is ever finished. It's just upgraded and we move forward. This is the kind of mindset that you need to embrace.


Swechha Mohapatra (IHRP-CP, Associate CIPD) is a Senior Consultant – Digital HR at hrtech.sg and has over 7 years of global experience in various Talent functions. She is a passionate HRTech evangelist, a member of the IHRP HRTech CoP Taskforce, and an avid learner who is certified Six Sigma-Green Belt with a background of MBA (Specialization in HR and IT) and Masters in Labor Laws and Labor Welfare. 


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