Investing in people: why this is your ticket to cost efficiency

When businesses look into trimming fat, employees are often the most affected by cost-cutting measures. I’ve seen this practice escalate during the pandemic. 

According to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the top three cost-saving measures implemented by businesses in 2020 were no-pay leaves, adjustments to salary packages, and shorter work weeks. Some businesses also cut resources and benefits available to employees, resulting in reduced budgets for tools and services that could enable individual productivity. This hurts employees.

On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven tech spending on human resource (HR) technologies, with more companies willing to invest in digital platforms to cover all aspects of HR. Yet, HR software could still be hard to use, owing to poor user interfaces and complex HR policies that can be hard to digitalise and navigate. The end users—your employees—still lose out. 

What if we could offer a consumer-quality user experience on business software at a friendly cost? Improving retention and implementing the right people operations powered by well-architected technology can boost cost efficiency. 

One top issue that costs businesses money is workplace distractions. Diversions can be anything from constant disruptions to a disorganised workplace. We can add clunky internal processes like filing claims and applying for leave to this list. Such distractions take employees’ attention away from their jobs, leading to poorer productivity, efficiency, and happiness.

To better understand our Grabbers and customers, we have innovated culture, employee benefits, productivity and collaboration, and cost-efficiency through effective people operations. Our approach has made us LinkedIn’s top employer of choice

Investing in your people also means creating the best environment or platform to complete their administrative work and enjoy their well-earned benefits. When it comes to investing in people technology, here’s how we do it in Grab.

Digitalise expense management

Manually creating and filing expense reports is no fun. It takes up time your employees can allocate to productive work. Moreover, employees are highly likely to incur work-related expenses the more they work, travel, and interact. 

Putting the onus on productive employees to understand complex company policies could waste their energy and frustrate them with failed claims. According to a Global Business Travel Association report, it takes about 20 minutes per employee to file a report, resulting in USD58.00 (~SGD79.50) to process just one report.

Digitalising expense management is the first step. The next is ensuring that it is user-friendly, transparent, and enabled with real-time updates. 

We’ve made a seamless platform for our customers through the Grab for Business (GFB) portal. This unified digital platform covers Grab transactions for everyday business needs such as transportation and food delivery. Employees can easily upload receipts and describe every spend through the Grab app, while employers receive automated reports on these claims.   

Grab for Business has 23,000 registered clients, each saving 3,800 hours monthly on their expense reporting. The time saved goes to productive and meaningful work, and we’ve helped improve this for our clients by 70%.    

Set trackable allowances that employees have the flexibility to exceed

Benefits such as allowances for transportation, food, and learning and development go a long way. Studies show that benefits increase productivity and boost morale, all of which help attract and retain good talent. In fact, companies rated highly on benefits experience 56% lower attrition.

However, about 70% of employers see their benefits underutilised. What improved benefits utilisation for some of our clients was setting programmable and customisable policies on allowance, time, or location through the Grab for Business portal. 

In this digital platform, employees can see what benefits they’re entitled to, and they’re empowered to pay the balance if their spending exceeds the allowance they’ve been allocated. This way, they can use all their benefits in one app. 

Automate processes to reduce errors

As I mentioned earlier, errors in expense reports cost money. As the Global Business Travel Association study was able to track, one in five expense reports contains errors. It costs an additional USD52.00 (~SGD71.00), plus another 18 minutes, to correct each expense report.

Errors take time away from work when your employees track, edit, and correct claim errors. And mistakes are unavoidable. With many employees filing their claims, we can’t fault them for wrong or duplicate claims. 

One way to reduce errors is through automation. At Grab, we’re going beyond hybrid work and straight to cloud work—the real future of work. We want to make Grabbers more bionic. What does this mean? It means investing enough in tooling our employees to radically change how they use data and technology for their professional and personal lives.

The key is unlocking operational efficiencies through automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Imagine a future of work where transactional and repeatable tasks are automated, collaboration remains immersive across diverse settings, and learning is accelerated through virtualisation and gamification.

Since March 2022, Grabbers have been using the GrabCentral Bot to open tickets for IT support. This was done manually in the past—lots of back and forth before you could open a ticket and get service. Through the GrabCentral Bot, we equipped Grabbers with self-service, giving them the power to request help directly and automatically. To date, the bot has completed 1,300 requests for IT support.

We also use Zoom Whiteboards to make our hybrid meetings more interactive and immersive. These are just some small changes that move us toward becoming more bionic.     

Put technology at the forefront 

The ticket to efficiently managing costs, improving transparency, and reducing errors is harnessing technology.

High performers are 400% more productive than average performers. Losing good talent from poor people management and wasted time hurts the bottom line because businesses lose reliable staff, innovators, and problem solvers. 

Companies must leverage technology to minimise unnecessary work that affects performance. Outdated technologies will hurt productivity and efficiency. Technology should work for businesses.

Well-architected technology will power people operations, reducing turnovers so you can retain your top talent. Interested in people technology to achieve cost efficiencies? Contact us today to find out what Grab For Business can do for you.

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

COVID-19 has dealt an unprecedented blow to the tourism industry, affecting the livelihoods of millions of workers. One of them was Komsan, an assistant chef in a luxury hotel based in the Srinakarin area.

As the number of tourists at the hotel plunged, he decided to sign up as a GrabFood delivery-partner to earn an alternative income. Soon after, the hotel ceased operations.

Komsan has viewed this change through an optimistic lens, calling it the perfect opportunity for him to embark on a fresh journey after his previous job. Aside from GrabFood deliveries, he now also picks up GrabExpress jobs. It can get tiring, having to shuttle between different locations, but Komsan finds it exciting. And mostly, he’s glad to get his income back on track.