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Avon swaps Oracle PeopleSoft for Workday cloud HR, speeds staff hiring process

Scott Carey | May 26, 2016
By shifting to a new "process driven" system like Workday, Avon saw key HR activities like hire time reduced from six days to four, and terminations from seven to five, globally.

The next step for Avon is to leverage the analytics capabilities of the Workday system. But first the company had to go through a thorough data refresh by establishing a 'global data governance framework' last year.

"One of the core things we needed if we wanted to go onto dashboards and insights, which was one of the core reasons we went onto the system in the first place, is we needed people to trust the data," Gowler says.

"We have over one hundred downstream interfaces and business systems, from supply chain to finance, which are fed by Workday, so we needed to make sure that people all of a sudden were seeing data that they maybe weren't used to seeing before and knowing that data was right.

"Previously we didn't have a common definition to the data fields. So as much as you may think a compensation field within PeopleSoft in North America meant 'x', in Spain it meant 'y', because they were using a different system locally. So now we're comparing apples with apples."

Now with the data in place Avon can start to give line-of-business users access to dashboards and insight into their talent and workforce. "That's really given us a valuable tool to pay back the users of the systems," says Gowler.

The next step for Gowler is to go bigger, with predictive analytics and big data.

Change management

Gowler says that the biggest challenge with the Workday implementation was change management when converging around a new, global system.

"We didn't have the luxury of a change management team supporting the project team," says Gowler. "What we did was use the workforce [component] in HR and we picked up small groups of countries in clusters and identified someone over and above their day job to be our 'core change lead' for that cluster and engaged them in the training rollout as well."

These core change leaders were all trained here in the UK before running local language training courses for the new system in each of their assigned clusters.

The move to Workday has also created an essentially new role in the HR department as they increasingly work with data and process management. "The role of HR was changing so we then had to change the skill level and make sure there was an evolution in aligning our system with HR."

"All of a sudden they were accountable for that data and that data was highly visible. So what do we do here to support them? Our role in operations was to support them with tools in Workday to give them insight and support and training materials but also to nudge them along in that accountability journey."


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