Strong Business - HR Partnerships, Coupled with Technology, Help Drive Talent Agenda

Cindy Carlisle, VP, HR. Commercial Operations, Roche Diagnostics Corporation

Cindy Carlisle, VP, HR. Commercial Operations, Roche Diagnostics Corporation

In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, companies must continuously innovate and improve the ways they work. By empowering employees and leaders to take a hands-on approach to personal development, companies are maximizing their talent agendas, increasing agility and delivering on business goals and objectives.

At Roche, we are always exploring new technology that will help us deliver medicines and diagnostic solutions to patients. We took the same approach last year, when we switched to a new HR Management System (HRMS), powered by Workday.

Each day, we awake to new challenges and new technologies. In order to be world-class, we have to remain agile and flexible.  In addition to the change that’s happening around us, our employees told us they wanted our HR processes to better reflect the ways in which they work –more flexibility, better integration, and a focus on the potential of all people.

That feedback led us to adopt new people practices that challenge Roche leaders to increase their involvement in developing and rewarding employees with more frequent discussions that focus on career, capabilities, connections and contributions. Roche leaders are also expected to take a different approach to find employees for open positions and to create diverse talent pipelines. Finally, another underlying goal we identified was to build HR skills, capability and agility. To support these changes, we needed a holistic HRMS. That’s what led us to fully integrate Workday.

Workday is a global, cloud-based HR platform that enables companies to manage all HR and benefits processes seamlessly and in real time. Unlike other companies that may introduce one or two Workday features at a time, Roche adopted many components at once. We launched the tool globally in April 2018, and added pay, time and benefits functionality in the U.S. in April 2019.

"Even our HR leaders have been challenged by these new dynamic systems, but they are excited by the new tools and opportunities available to them"

Using a new HRMS like Workday has enabled Roche Diagnostics to improve its talent agenda by:

1. Streamlining the hiring process

• Each employee has a Workday profile that can be viewed throughout the organization. Employee profiles include career/skills, experience and interests, which employees can update via their laptop or Roche-issued mobile device whenever they need to.

• All available positions within Roche are posted on Workday, allowing employees to see available jobs and to directly apply to them. The complete hiring process - from job applications and interview schedules, through offer letters and compensation - is streamlined, further expediting the process for applicants, leaders and HR.

• Roche leaders can proactively search to find employees with experience that matches their specific needs and then reach out to those employees directly.

2. Boosting employee engagement

• Employees are no longer tied to an annual goal cycle. They can create and update goals and professional development plans as often as needed, and they can notify their supervisor of changes.

• Benefits and paid leave are also integrated, creating a better employee experience and reducing the number of systems employees need to access. In the U.S., all Roche employee benefits will transition into the system during Roche’s October 2019 open enrollment period.

3. Increasing leadership engagement and accountability

• Using Workday, leaders from across the organization can build and sustain succession plans to prepare for the future.

• After launching Workday, we also implemented a new employee opinion survey tool called GLINT, which allows employees to provide feedback on their views and perceptions of the organization.  The GLINT tool provides results directly to leaders within 48 hours of survey close, allowing leaders to immediately address team concerns instead of waiting weeks or months for HR to analyze results and provide recommendations on action plans.

Of course, migrating to a new HRMS is not without complications, and a significant investment of time, and adjustments must continuously be made. Information in cloud-based systems is frequently updated, and tools and reports look and act differently than they did before the updates, requiring employees and leaders to be flexible in adapting to changes. As a result, Roche leaders have had to completely change the way they think about and approach employee engagement and management. Even our HR leaders have been challenged by these new dynamic systems, but they are excited by the new tools and opportunities available to them.

I, personally, love the challenge my HR colleagues and I have had in shaping the HRMS Roche and its employees needs for future success. This dynamic technology has enabled HR to be a more effective and strategic partner to the business, as we put people and culture at the center of our work.

HR teams are well-positioned as strategic partners to lead the transformation of our organizations, using technology that can enable people practices and engage both leaders and employees. Don’t be afraid to implement this emerging technology to enable your people practices and drive the talent agenda.


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