Fast growth is nothing new for Under Armour, a global athletic apparel company headquartered in the United States. Approaching its 20th year in business anticipating close to $4 billion in revenue this year, Under Armour is investing heavily in international growth that includes a rapidly expanding direct-to-consumer business.
A remarkable culture of innovation drives this sportswear powerhouse, from the advanced technology embedded in its clothing and accessories, to the Human Resources (HR) software behind the company’s bold expansion plans. Calling its employees “teammates,” Under Armour prides itself on providing everyone with strategies to win as a team.
Speaking recently at the SuccessConnect 2015 event in Las Vegas, Troy Barnett, Senior Director of Corporate Services Technology at Under Armour, said the challenge was how to get ahead of the company’s 30 percent annual growth rates with an HR strategy able to support a workforce approaching 11,000 teammates worldwide. He shared the results of Under Armour’s transformation from paper-based, decentralized processes to strategic HR.
“We knew we had to get ahead of our growth because we wanted to be strategic,” he said. “We asked other leading companies how they got there and they said to build it with the end in mind. That is how we started, now we can give our directors and above a clear picture of how the value they bring to the company will be rewarded to them over the next five years in total compensation. We completely revamped our store recruiting process giving our store managers the ability to manage their recruiting process, from hire to retire, so they can keep the pipeline going in our 140 stores without having to go back to headquarters for support, guidance and approvals.”
Revolutionizing recruitment and more
Like many leading edge companies, Under Armour has its pick of top talent. However, HR realized it needed a way to respond quickly to the talented people who want to work at Under Armour, and provide them with the ability to excel from streamlined onboarding through targeted career development plans.
Scaling an international, highly collaborative, HR process was at the top of the company’s agenda. This was the impetus behind replacing disparate systems with SuccessFactors Performance & Goals, Compensation, Succession & Development, Learning Management and Recruiting.
The streamlined application process features dashboards where recruiters can easily monitor and manage the real-time status of requisitions and candidates. On-boarding is faster than ever as new-hires can automatically populate resume details into the system from existing documents. Most important, Under Armour now provides the same strategic HR support to managers, employees, recruiters and candidates worldwide, meeting each location’s unique regulatory compliance and language requirements.
Overall, speed and ease of use have helped reposition HR as a business partner. Calling SuccessFactors’ recruitment capabilities a huge win, Barnett said Under Armour added Akamai network technology underneath to quadruple system speeds, allowing teammates and candidates easier anywhere, anytime, any device access to manage hiring.
“We wanted to get away from desktop-centric systems and be the thought leaders of our company. That meant moving from day-to-day routine functions and focusing on what matters to Under Armour’s growth objectives,” said Barnett. “We wanted the business to trust us, which required moving complexity out of the landscape while giving them the tools to be more strategic.”
At the core of Under Armour’s HR system is a road map that identifies process and system integrations points, as well as gaps and service level agreements. Armed with this blueprint for success, HR is able to document its present and future value to business. Amanda Oxenreider, Senior Manager of Business Relations at Under Armour, advised HR departments considering transformation to adopt a highly collaborative and constantly evolving approach.
“Don’t make decisions in silos. You want to involve everybody because having more information will help you build a more solid program foundation,” she said. “We’ve re-evaluated often since we began with SuccessFactors Recruiting and Onboarding in 2011. Every year we continue to build something new, looking at the quarterly releases to determine how and when that new functionality can help us.”
Future plans for Under Armour include installing SuccessFactors Employee Central early next year.
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