A pioneer in the treatment of cancer and brain disorders, Elekta develops tools and systems for radiation therapy. The rapidly growing multinational company is an innovation leader in its field – but when it came to its HR systems, the company needed a new approach.
Elekta required an HR solution that could unify its more than 3,600 employees in 28 countries and provide a single source of data and a single set of global processes to manage its people. That’s why Elekta turned to Workday.
From 20 systems to 1.
Like many companies, Elekta had a number of different HR systems that made even simple tasks, such as managing employee headcount, extremely challenging. "Even confirming the basics, such as how many employees we have, was difficult", says Raymond L'homme, global HR business application manager. “We had no single HR system-of-record. We were using Excel spreadsheets. If we wanted to get a headcount, we would need to ask for the information and then combine it. It took almost a week – at which point, it was already out of date. We had counts that excluded contingent workers, people who were part-time or on sick leave. There were no consistent rules.”
The Elekta team had a number of key criteria that its new HR system had to meet: It had to be a cloud-based tool that was accessible securely from all countries, supportive of Elekta’s business processes and capable of delivering better business decisions based on real-time reporting. “We are an innovative company and we saw a cultural fit with Workday”, says L’homme.
With Workday, Elekta replaced more than 20 disparate systems. "The biggest advantage is one system, which is huge for our global managers", says L'homme. "We have the same processes, the same look and feel. For example, if we want to increase salaries, it’s the same process in China as it is in Sweden. With executive support HR, IT and finance have agreed that Workday should be the single source of truth.”
Growth and expansion.
“We’ve grown into a multinational company with global processes", says L'homme. "That growth brings many challenges to ensure that all services work together. The larger benefits are seen when different countries come together, when regional organisations can extract information from all of the countries and use that to gain context.
“Our managers can get information on attrition – for example, why employees are leaving, what their profile is, what the trends are. That way, we can improve the way we think about talent management and employee retention.”
The seamless evolution of Workday.
Filip Sjögren, vice president of Compensation and Benefits, agrees. “As a truly global organisation, having data from region to region is crucial to me. If we don’t have that, we can’t deliver effective and efficient HR”, he says.
In addition, over the last decade, Elekta has grown organically and by acquisition, which has created a number of challenges for HR in terms of ensuring that new employees embrace the culture from day one. “Bringing separate organisations together following an acquisition means uniting business processes and making new people feel like they belong and are part of the Elekta family. Workday gives us a fast and smooth path to transition that is invaluable following an acquisition”, Sjögren says.
Elekta’s decision to move HR into the cloud has a number of major advantages. As a SaaS technology application, Workday offers regular updates instead of the costly upgrades that burden on-premise software systems. “HR in the cloud is a better world for HR and IT”, Sjögren says. “We don’t have to wait for and then buy new versions of Workday to ensure we have the right tools. That means we don’t have to build a business case to purchase new software. Workday is seamlessly evolving with Elekta as we continue to grow.”
Elekta achieved ROI on its Workday investment quickly, recouping its costs in about 12 months. “The investment is paying for itself already – both in terms of the up-front investment and the licence fee”, says L’homme.
A seat at the table for HR.
“Executive management is really starting to utilise the data from Workday to steer organisational strategy and guide data-driven decision-making”, says L’homme. “For example, do we need to do more succession planning? Can we manage our talent better? Workday gives managers more insight into their teams to make better decisions, to plan ahead. It will give them the insight to understand certain trends and the impact they have on our business. Does this trend happen globally? Do we need to do anything about it?”
The Workday deployment has also freed up Elekta’s 40-person global HR team to do more effective and strategic work. The team can now focus on making annual appraisal and merit change processes quicker and more efficient for Elekta’s employees. “It used to be that HR was the last to be informed. Now we’re getting questions from executive management – we have a seat at the table”, says L’homme.
“Workday is a very good investment in the future of our company”, concludes Sjögren. “Without reliable data, we cannot make reliable decisions. Now we can provide the kind of guidance the management team needs to move forward with confidence. They know they can rely on us.”