Aleksandr Bedrin - Fotolia
Executives at Stockholm-based healthcare company Elekta have begun using human resources (HR) trend data to make strategic business decisions, following the company’s introduction of a global HR system.
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A year after completing the roll-out of cloud-based HR technology to 3,800 staff across 24 countries, board members are now able to view workforce trends in each of Elekta’s operations worldwide, says global HR business manager Raymond L’homme.
Elekta, which specialises in developing treatment for cancer and brain disorders, replaced incompatible HR systems and spreadsheets with a cloud service from Workday in 2014. The last country, Germany, went live this year.
Board members now receive a single report on the status of the company’s global workforce, and can drill down into recruitment, staff turnover and performance data.
“It’s easier for them to make decisions. They had numbers, but now, with that extra context, they can easily make decisions with fewer assumptions,” says L’homme.
Linking HR to finance
The company is now working to integrate Workday with its finance technology – enterprise resource planning (ERP) system Movex M3, and a reporting tool called Arrow – in a project that will make it easier to review workforce costs in each country.
“We are looking at one source of the truth [for HR data]. We are now looking at taking that a stage further, getting one version of truth for the whole company. We have started conversations with finance, so data on headcount can be shared and is in the same format,” says L’homme.
The project will also eliminate the need for staff to rekey data from Workday into the finance system, saving hours of manual work.
In China, for example, it takes the HR director two days a month to prepare headcount data, and a similar amount of time for HR business partners and finance staff to complete the preparatory work. “There are six days spent preparing data in just that particular country,” says L’homme.
Elekta plans to use Workday’s application programming interfaces (APIs) to export the data. Reconfiguring the financial systems to pick up that data will be technically challenging.
“We can use Workday APIs to create the export. The difficulty is our financial systems picking them up, because they are not that flexible,” says L’homme.
The project will go live in January 2017. There will be three or four months of manual checking and testing before Elekta fully automates the process.
At the same time, the company is developing software dashboards, that will give HR managers a window into workforce trends.
They will allow the HR team to see where its recruits come from, allowing them phase out job boards and recruitment agencies that are not performing.
L’homme plans to use the technology to find insights on why good employees leave the company, allowing the HR team to put programmes in place to help retain staff.
“If you find you have five or six startups [recruiting your staff], then you have to start promoting your business”
Raymond L’homme, Elekta
“There is some drop-off after a year, which happens quite a bit. We are planning a programme to offer more mentorship during the first year. That way we can start preventing that drop-off,” he says.
Managers will be able to use the dashboards to identify, for example, when there is an exodus of staff in a particular country, and to identify the cause.
“If you ask local business and find you have five or six startups [recruiting your staff], then you have to start promoting your business.”
L’homme plans to make the dashboards available to the HR team by January 2017.
Elekta has deployed Microsoft’s Active Directory software, which went live three months ago, and integrated it into Workday.
The project will allow the company to automatically create email addresses and VPN logins for new employees.
Active Directory will make it possible for Workday to share data on employees with Elekta’s Concur travel and expenses software, ensuring that each system uses the same up-to date information.
Separately, Elekta has invested in software from McAfee to give employees the ability to log on to multiple IT systems using a single sign-on. The username of each employee will be passed back from Workday, through Active Directory, to the applications they use.
“Currently, not all the systems are [on single sign-on]. Recruitment systems and Workday are there, Salesforce is in there, production and planning tools are in there,” he says.
Another project is underway to link Workday with Elekta’s payroll software in North America and Poland. China, which uses payroll servers from Unit4, and the Netherlands, which uses services from ADP, will follow.
Elekta will spend 2017 integrating its IT systems and developing its use of the data generated by Workday, says L’homme, before embarking on other HR technology projects.
The company is considering whether to replace its existing recruitment software, iCims, with Workday’s recruitment module. It will make a decision in January 2017.
Elekta has installed iCims in six countries, and plans to roll it out globally if it rejects Workday as an alternative.
The HR team is also looking at the potential to extend its use of Workday’s absence management capabilities – currently in 10 countries – worldwide.
The introduction of Workday, at an estimated cost of $500,000, means HR staff spend less time on the processes and more time on the issues, says L’homme.
“People are seeing benefits and more people are keeping it up to date, which improves data quality,” he adds.
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