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As M1 started to accelerate digital transformation initiatives, they needed to understand the skills and capabilities of its internal talent. And with Codility, they were able to accurately assess the workforce.

The telecommunications industry may be under more pressure than any other to execute successful digital transformation initiatives. Especially as 5G networks mature, consumers and businesses will expect advanced features and services from telcos and outdated operations won’t get the job done.

This is why M1 has worked to evolve into Singapore’s most vibrant and dynamic communications company, offering a wide range of B2C mobile and fixed communications services as well as an extensive suite of commercial solutions.

But the core digital transformation strategy that has driven this evolution requires careful planning. The team of Nathan Bell (Chief Digital Officer), Sundi Balu (Senior Advisor to Digital Officer) and Ng Chow Yong (Senior Manager, Special Projects) had to put the workforce in a position to succeed.

M1 digital transformation depends on talent

The strategic objective at M1 is to become a truly self-sufficient digital telco. That means “leveraging cloud-based architecture to deliver best-of-breed solutions for B2C and B2B customers” without relying heavily on systems integrators to piece all the new solutions together, according to Nathan.

But implementing an array of innovative technology solutions doesn’t automatically lead to digital transformation success. Rather, the success of M1’s digital transformation hinges on its ability to get employees actively involved in the process by putting them in the right roles.

While many companies use skills assessments to evaluate talent during the hiring process, M1 took a unique approach—they wanted to go beyond role titles to get a true understanding of their internal capabilities. This started with building a skills benchmark for the entire staff and coming up with the most effective ways to communicate the process with employees.

Redefining roles, responsibilities, and positions

When Nathan, Sundi, and CY were working together to build the skills benchmark, they knew that a generic coding test wasn’t going to deliver the best results. They needed to tailor assessments to specific roles and job functions so they could accurately evaluate where an individual employee fit in the new digital telco model.

While there are people “in our main office who have been with the company for 10+ years,” the team understood that role titles didn’t necessarily translate to a standard set of skills. Using the Codility platform, they were able to adjust assessments according to language specialties, role expectations, and future expectations. Because “Codility went out of their way to ensure our assessments would run as smoothly as possible,” M1 was able to make it clear that the process would be beneficial to both employees and the organization.

Having access to the Codility team meant that M1 could tap into a wide range of skills assessment experience. Instead of going through a lengthy trial-and-error phase, M1 was able to come up with a benchmarking process that delivered accurate results quickly.

Engaging employees in digital transformation

Maximizing engagement for an internal skills benchmarking process is easier said than done. Because “it’s easy for employees to feel like the company is doubting them when they’re asked to take a technical assessment,” it was up to M1 to make the process as comfortable as possible.

Communication was key. Employees were continuously reassured that “it’s not meant to be a brutal, nerve-wracking process.” Even though change can be uncomfortable for employees, constant communication helped support the confidence of the workforce.

However, it’s not all about communication. To ensure employees were engaging with the process, M1 had to make the assessments themselves as smooth as possible. Using Codility to run the tests gave employees an easy-to-use interface and clear instructions. Employees weren’t left frustrated by slow performance, clunky software, or buggy interfaces. Having these things covered by Codility meant the digital transformation team could focus on scheduling the right amount of time for an individual to complete the assessment and finding a comfortable area for them to focus.

The result was widespread buy-in for the skills assessment process, leaving M1 with the most accurate birds-eye view of the organization’s gaps in digital capabilities. They then shuffled employees into the most appropriate roles and identified areas where external hiring would be necessary.

Wrap Up

“Now that M1 has a 5G license, we have to continuously capitalize on what’s next in the telecom industry. That’s why it’s so important that we run digital initiatives that future proof our systems and set our workforce up for success.”

The telecom industry is changing rapidly and it’s not realistic to expect employees who have been at a company for years to perfect every project. There are times when external hires become necessary.

By creating the skills benchmark and effectively reorganizing internal talent, M1 has put itself in a position to make high quality hiring decisions. The combination of well-positioned internal talent and the right external hires puts M1 on a path to achieve its goal of becoming a truly self-sufficient digital telco.

Dana Pavel, Customer Success Manager at Codility.

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