Does Cloud-based HR Boost Performance? Three Companies Report Back

It’s not big news that top performing human resources (HR) organizations are replacing spreadsheets and reams of paperwork with cloud-based software. But where’s the evidence that these new technologies are actually saving time or making people more productive?

Three HR leaders from companies in different industries recently shared their experiences with cloud-based HR technology during a panel discussion at SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP’s annual customer event.

Triumph Foods lowers the cost of doing business, increases productivity

As the largest premium pork producer in the United States, Triumph Foods needed to modernize its back-office systems in synch with the company’s overall commitment to state-of-the-art food processing from farm to table. “We didn’t have a lot of experience with technology, and when I joined the company two years ago our systems, including HR, were pretty much on paper in file rooms. Yet all of our employees carried smartphones,” recalled Nancy Fox, Vice President of Human Resources at Triumph Foods.

Triumph Foods began with SuccessFactors Employee Central, followed by Recruiting, and Performance & Goals for its highly diverse employee population. Although fairly early into its total implementation, Fox says that Triumph Foods has already decreased the amount of paper it uses for HR reporting. “We translate that to lowering the cost of doing business. The ability of people to get answers much faster is really mind-boggling. We look at software as a way to expand the size of your staff and hours of operation because an employee and their manager can be doing all of their HR business anytime from anywhere.”

Interestingly, Fox says that the company is using Employee Central as the ‘company intranet portal’ that it never had. “When I pull SuccessFactors up on my mobile device, it looks the same as if I’m sitting in my office. When we’re fully implemented and everyone is using the tools to their maximum potential we envision everyone will be using their smartphone, other mobile device or home computer 24/7 rather than waiting for the HR office to open. That’s a huge benefit.”

Owens Corning builds next generation of leaders

Building leadership from within is foundational to Owens Corning’s HR strategy. “We realized that we didn’t have the system capability from a talent standpoint to deliver what we needed. Some processes were on paper, our recruitment management system was old and unsupported, and we didn’t have performance management processes in place,” said Sue Hatfield, Director of HR Systems, Compliance and Payroll at Owens Corning.

Owens Corning first deployed SuccessFactors Recruiting, followed by Performance & Goals, Succession & Development, and Compensation. Plans for next year include Employee Central Payroll. The company benchmarked certain metrics prior to implementing the software in order to accurately measure results.

“We’ve had a 30 percent increase in internal promotions for our leaders and executives. The visibility in their profiles that allows employees to talk about what’s important to them, what their career goals are, and what jobs they want, has helped us to match them with the job that they’re really excited about,” said Hatfield.

In addition, 94 percent of employees have reported having more meaningful performance conversations, while executives experienced a 60 percent decrease in the amount of time spent completing succession planning. The company also saw a 35 percent reduction in both the cost to hire and time to fill positions.

Kawasaki changes company culture

Culture change was the overarching transformation at Kawasaki after implementing SuccessFactors Performance & Goals.

“We make some of the coolest toys in the world, and we’re all about winning and high tech performance. When I joined the company six years ago, we had performance metrics for our motorcycle engines but no metrics for our people. SuccessFactors has changed the company culture–the way you think about business and managing people. You have to think about what kind of a high-performance company you want to be,” said Tom Porter, Director of Human Resources at Kawasaki.

For the last two years, Porter says that 100 percent of Kawasaki’s performance reviews have been completed on time because the system enables HR to link annual bonuses to review deadlines. “Managers and employees collaborate to set goals and metrics for what will be achieved so there are clear expectations. Everyone looks forward to having performance conversations.”

As the experiences of these companies show, every organization has its unique business demands that encompass HR. Using technology to alleviate pain and support growth is like any other business imperative. At the end of the day, it’s all about empowering people.

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Related content:
SAPPHIRE NOW Future of Work replays
VIDEO: Kawasaki: Ensuring Business Alignment through Talent Management

Photo: Shutterstock

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