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By Saadiq Samodien, Online Event Specialist, Top Employers Institute
By Saadiq Samodien, Online Event Specialist, Top Employers Institute

Key Takeaways: Digital Innovation in HR with Volkswagen webinar

Traditionally, HR administration in blue-collar work environments have largely been manual and a top-down in their communication approach. But nowadays, in the new technology era of work, almost every employee has a powerful computer in their pocket: their smartphones. This presents a new opportunity for both HR and workers to process simple tasks together more efficiently, and to communicate faster with each other. 

In our For A Better World of Work series: Digital innovation in HR, Karine Wohlke (HR Manager at Volkswagen, Brazil (Transformation & Academy) and Eric Morello (Global Head Client Services & Certification Delivery at Top Employers Institute) discussed how Volkswagen used an app to put communication and HR self-service in the hands of their employees.  

Watch the full webinar by filling in the form or read the key takeaways here:   

With the goal of creating a more efficient, agile, and improved employee experience, Volkswagen piloted its Volkswagen and Me app for blue-collar employees in Brazil in 2017 and has since released several improved versions, including an HR virtual assistant. 

Cultural Transformation 

The motivation to build the Volkswagen and Me-App was based on a cultural transformation at Volkswagen Brasil. The pillars of this cultural transformation are:  

  • Communication & Engagement  
  • Organization and Process 
  • Leadership 

The Volkswagen and Me app used these pillars to ensure that there was alignment during the design. Furthermore, the app also supports these pillars of Volkswagen's cultural transformation, as it enhances communication in the workplace, optimizes HR processes and supports leaders along the way.  

Working Process 

The app was designed stemming from two sections of their “Design Thinking” 

  1. Employees from different areas and categories were asked to identify common pain points for employees and then to create solutions based on it.  
  2. They then sought assistance from employees from these key areas and created a process and assigned responsibilities interally.  

Overview of the Volkswagen & Me App 

  • Launched in May 2017 
  • Accessible to active Volkswagen Brazil employees. 
  • It has been accessed by 98% of the target group. 
  • It evolved from a communication app to providing HR self-services (e.g. applying for leave). 
  • Main channel of communication and internal news. 
  • Has over 100 000 monthly accesses. 

The app was designed on the following three premises. 

  • Support and Assist – To provide quick services to employees, for it to be customizable, and an assistance in daily tasks. 
  • Distribution and exchange of information – easy access to the latest news in the company and improved clarity on internal vacancies  
  • Encourage collaboration – increase iteration and engagement, facilitate submission of ideas and improve feedback.  

Functionalities of the Volkswagen & Me App 

The app was designed to be a powerful tool for employees in the palm of their hands, which allows them to:  

  • Update their profile 
  • Receive the latest company news and product highlights 
  • Provide personalized stories of their Volkswagen journey 
  • Link to their social media updates 
  • Access basic HR services (e.g. payslip, leave, time bank, medical aid info) 
  • Provide access to internal surveys 

Furthermore, the app was further enhanced by a cognitive HR virtual assistant, which could address up to 53 human resource subjects, and was automated with over 2100 example questions.  

Watch the Digital Innovation in HR with Volkswagen webinar to learn more about how Volkswagen uses an app to put communication and HR self-service in the hands of employees by filling in the form on the right hand side