Insight: How a mobile-first system can redefine the new normal workplace, Darwinbox leads the discussion

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Is your organization ready for the evolving world of work? This was a question company CHROs and CTOs strove to answer at Future-Proofing HR: Leveraging Technology for the Evolving World of Work, an exclusive online discussion with Darwinbox, one of Asia’s leading HR management software solutions firms.

In the midst of a volatile and fluid pandemic scenario since 2020, today’s workplace continues to undergo massive disruptions. This has necessitated companies to dive deep into a conversation that is relevant to our organizations now more than ever: how to mobilize your team, a company’s most valuable assets.

The age of the new normal workplace is here, and it is essential to ride the wave of changes in order to survive. Companies need to consider how people, processes, and technology can support new work models and business realities. With businesses around the region resorting to work-from-home systems in light of their countries’ respective pandemic responses, there remains a need to further optimize and bridge efficiency gaps as employees remain in their homes. But how can HR ensure a seamless and enhanced workforce experience through technology? How can companies adapt to an ever-shifting work environment faster and better?


Darwinbox, Asia’s leading end-to-end HCM platform, aims to simplify digital transformation in the workplace. To date, over 600 Enterprises use Darwinbox, with 1.3 million employees onboarded on their platform across 90+ countries. While using technology to optimize and streamline work processes is not a new concept in itself, Darwinbox’s Southeast Asian footprint has allowed it to adapt to the unique needs and qualities of the region especially in the time of COVID-19.

“We’ve really kept in mind the context of operations in Asia, where we have some very unique processes where we have a huge mobile footprint –– we have a situation where bandwidth is not necessarily easily available everywhere”, Darwinbox’s Vice President and Global Head of Transformation, Vijayshankar Ananthanarayanan explained. According to Ananthanarayanan, planning for different kinds of situations amidst the lack of bandwidth and uneven technological infrastructure meant designing the platform to be mobile-first –– a step in the right direction given Southeast Asia’s burgeoning mobile economy. 

The VP also added that ensuring a frictionless, do-it-yourself experience for their clients was also essential to maintaining a smooth management experience. “We said, ‘We can’t have a situation where for every small change, people have to go ahead and ask the change requests and then have to work through the entire dependency on the OEMs, and system integrators’. So we’ve designed this to be do it yourself, configure rather than customize and have all of that configurability on it, do it yourself more from the front end itself rather than having to go and code in the back end.”

This has resulted in the creation of One Unified HCM Platform for the entire Employee Lifecycle, containing a comprehensive suite of employee management and security capabilities in one mobile interface. Many of Darwinbox’s features involve texting and voice capabilities, working intuitively with the region’s affinity for mobile usage and features. One of these examples is Voice Bot which follows voice commands –– if you want to file a leave, for example, saying “I’m sick” will lead you to filing a leave form.

One of their successful use cases is JG Summit, one of the Philippines’ largest and most diversified conglomerates, including Universal Robina Corporation; Cebu Pacific Air, Robinsons Land Corporation, JG Summit Petrochemicals, Robinsons Bank. In addition to these businesses that are majority-owned and managed, JG Summit also has significant minority positions in the country’s leading organizations such as PLDT, Meralco, Global Business Power Corporation (GBP), and one of Singapore’s leading property developers – United Industrial Corporation/Singapore Land.

Marco Angelo Padernal, JG Summit Holding Inc.’s HR Director for Employee Experience, shared that they have observed four themes when it comes to shaping the new workplace in the midst of the pandemic: health and safety; digitalization; employee engagement, and work arrangement.

In addition to intuitive HR technology, cybersecurity measures were also crucial especially in the era of remote work. Carlos Santos, JG Summit Holding Inc.’s Vice President of Shared Service, shared that security was one of their biggest initial challenges across all tools used to facilitate remote working, without exposing crucial information and access to anyone outside the company network. 

According to Ananthanarayanan, Darwinbox follows all security compliance standards and data privacy guidelines. “In any activity –– from how we code, how we load and manage the data, how we manage client data –– every single one is driven by a strong principle of being targeted as far as security compliance and data privacy is concerned. In terms of compliance, we have checked on all the standards we need. But what you’ll also see is because we’ve worked very closely with sectors like banking, financial services, and pharma, which mandatorily almost stipulate a paranoia around security, we’ve internalized that.” According to the Darwinbox head of transformation, this includes yearly vulnerability and penetration testing, and a significant focus on monthly data reviews to check for any kind of anomalies while maintaining uptime of close to 100%. “Rest assured that this is something that is not just what defines us, but something that we have created. It’s stewardship for us that we recognize the responsibility with which we have to handle the data of our respective clients and how much they are dependent on us.”

As Padernal explains, “I view our employees as customers in understanding the employee journey, intimately, understanding what pain points are shaped, the technology enablers we need, and as we continue from there, we have an anchor on what technologies are important. The first is a technology application that is agile and flexible to the evolving needs of the employees. The second would be partnering with an HR solutions provider who really listens as well, who shares the same passion as ours in terms of knowing the user stories that are important to our employees.”

Learn more about our partner Darwinbox and the evolving world of work by visiting their website

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