Like all industries, railways are facing major disruption, rocked by everything from the growth of urbanization to radically shifting passenger and public sector expectations.
Paris-based Alstom is a railway manufacturer that recently dealt with its own transformation after a multibillion-dollar deal made it a smaller, but more specialized market player. The newly independent company, now focused on railway engineering, needed a single human resources (HR) solution that would not only serve 31,000 employees across 60 countries, but also reflect the company’s innovative commitment and attract the right new talent.
With SAP software already the backbone of Alstom’s financial activities, the company quickly decided on SAP SuccessFactors. The European work councils were convinced that SAP SuccessFactors was the best choice since all HR and personal data would be safely stored within the SAP Cloud portfolio.
“We wanted to become more agile and have an entrepreneurial mind-set – like a new startup. And we wanted our employee’s experience to fit this image of the new Alstom,” said Mathias Klemptner, Senior Vice President of HR at Alstom. “Having an integrated HR solution has made our HR function more agile.
Alstom’s strategy was twofold: deliver an integrated HR software solution for existing countries, and better identify talent to support the company’s new corporate strategy. Following the introduction of SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central for core HR data, Alstom brought in the full range of SAP SuccessFactors Talent solutions. It then implemented SAP SuccessFactors Learning, bringing all training and certification management to one platform.
“The changeover to the new HR software was really smooth,” said Klemptner. “We’re an engineering company. Our people can deal with no functionality, but it drives them mad if functionality should work and it doesn’t. The SAP SuccessFactors solutions just worked so acceptance within the organization was fast across the company.”
The global rollout was completed in a record eight months, excluding learning – earning Alstom an award for the best HR information system project in France in 2016 from one of the country’s leading professional HR organizations.
At Alstom, SAP @SuccessFactors solutions worked immediately, making employee acceptance fast company-wide
Full Speed Ahead with Adoption and Processes
Employees have reported 100 percent satisfaction ratings using SAP SuccessFactors, while HR processes have sped up, including performance management. Eight-five percent of performance reviews are now completed on time, within 2 months.
“This is our best achievement ever for the delivery of performance reviews, and it impacts everyone’s incentives,” said Klemptner.
Being able to reward people faster is improving employee engagement and retention. Managers can immediately review proposals for salary increases based on performance, and HR can calculate bonuses or sign off on a long-term remuneration plan — all in the same software.
“In the past we had double data entry and different modules for the different steps in talent management. Now what you do once is in the system for good,” said Klemptner. “Integrated workflows make sharing information and following through on tasks faster. For example, if a manager in one country becomes an expat someplace else, they can see the same process documented everywhere.”
The high level of employee adoption of the software was due in part to the fact that Alstom could retain the brand name of its earlier HR software. This reinforced Alstom’s ‘business as usual’ approach while streamlining change management. Other reasons for success included using standard functionality and configuring the software from the perspective of the employee to keep it user-friendly. At the same time, learning became easier as employees can see all training catalogs in one place, and HR can offer mandatory training and track compliance.
SAP SuccessFactors also supports Alstom’s workforce diversity objectives, aimed toward filling senior roles with more women and non-Europeans. Instead of relying solely on succession plans for certain positions, Alstom relies on ‘talent pooling’ to cast a wider net for talent inside the organization. Managers can define categories of talent and classify experts per criteria in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central. These talent pools form the basis for annual talent reviews.
Well-Positioned for a More Innovative Future
Using SAP SuccessFactors solutions, Alstom is ideally positioned to address up and coming industry challenges, making mobility more energy efficient and safe, with a rider experience incorporating the latest innovations. The company’s plans include greater talent pool development by managing and measuring specific competencies, expanding usage of its recruiting tool within the HR community, and improving external brand awareness.
“We need to sell the company to people who may not be aware of Alstom as an employer, and go to where the candidates are,” said Cécile Michel, Vice President for HR Efficiency at Alstom.
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