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TomTom navigates move onto global HR platform

TomTom went live with HR platform in all 37 countries, serving 5,000 staff, in March 2017

Switching to a single global human resources (HR) platform has changed the internal relationship between IT and HR at TomTom, and improved the way the Dutch navigation, mapping and technology company engages with its workers.

The business, known for its satellite navigation (sat-nav) devices, went live on 2 March 2017 with several elements of Workday’s HR platform in all 37 of its countries of operation, covering all of its 5,000 staff.

The switchover went without a hitch and has enabled TomTom to replace legacy systems with a single platform running human capital management (HCM), recruitment, talent and performance, plus an absence management system, the company claimed. In three countries, TomTom is also using Workday’s benefits system, and more countries may adopt this in time.

“The go-live in March was the culmination of a three-and-a-half-year journey for us. Prior to bringing in Workday, our systems were very fragmented,” said Mairead MacLure, vice-president of reward and HR operations for TomTom.

“It was inefficient, too, with lots of use of spreadsheets. For a flagship tech firm like TomTom, we knew we needed to do better. Our internal processes and back-end systems needed to match the brand, as well as working harder for us,” she said in an interview at HR Tech World (Unleash).

MacLure said benefits were starting to flow from the platform, but the long-term possibilities mattered more.

“It wasn’t a hard sell to the TomTom board that we needed to make this investment. It’s about making the right sort of change – less about immediate cost savings and more about possibilities,” she added.

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The Workday platform gives TomTom’s staff control of their personal profiles, enabling simple self-service processes such as holiday bookings as well as giving them the capability to list their skills.

For managers, the technology creates the potential to start drilling into the data and tapping talent more effectively. They can view organisation charts and see employee profiles, which is opening up new opportunities.

Fake self-service

“To get staff used to the change, we introduced a certain amount of automation and ‘fake’ self-service before go-live,” said MacLure. “That got staff used to managing their profiles and made the switchover easier.”

Measuring the impact of the new system is important, so MacLure said TomTom was asking users what they think and monitoring how much they use the HR system.

“There is a lot of interest, now that the platform is embedded in working practices. We are at the stage where we are fielding requests to do more and individuals are opening up to the possibilities of the platform,” she said.

Recruitment and the hiring process are also in TomTom’s sights. It has plans to use the technology to “onboard” new starters, and use analytics technology to improve the experience for new hires.

“The aspiration, and quickly, is to make a better experience for new starters and to drive motivation and two-way communication so the process is as good as it can be.”

The long run-up to adoption of the Workday platform was all about getting the company’s data cleaned up and processes aligned and documented, said MacLure.

“It was important work, but it also changed the internal culture. It moved IT and HR closer together and enabled better mutual understanding. It means, among other things, that our IT team now has a better strategic understanding of the HR agenda and how it fits into the systems they are developing. These are new skills, enabled by new relationships internally, and it will help us in the future.”

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