Despite the organisation’s global scale and complexity, the Freudenberg Group historically operated a range of fragmented HR systems, and relied on antiquated and time-consuming manual processes.
Recognising the need for change, it started the search for a new solution in 2018. And, according to Global Head of HR Sarah O’Hare, one contender quickly stood out.
Implementing a truly transformative solution
“Workday was our number one choice,” O’Hare says. “It was quickly obvious that Workday understood what we needed. And we could see that having a single source of truth in master data, all in one place, was a truly transformative alternative to what had effectively been a collection of other systems linked together over time.
“In particular, we were really excited about implementing its excellent mobile experience. But it’s been a great success across the board, particularly in efficiency gains: with Workday, what used to take weeks or even months – and a lot of effort by our 800 HR professionals – literally takes 30 seconds, and sometimes even 5 seconds!”
With Workday, what used to take weeks or even months – and a lot of effort by our 800 HR professionals – literally takes 30 seconds, and sometimes even 5 seconds!
Sarah O’Hare, Global Head of HR
Bringing Freudenberg’s HR vision to life
For the Freudenberg Group, maximising the positive impact of its people is at the heart of its HR vision.
As O’Hare puts it, “Focusing on talent, how we attract them, get them into the organisation, provide a best-in-class experience – all that is really important to us.
“We ask for two things to happen: for employees to drive their own careers; and for HR partners, our managers, to use the system to expand their networks and ability to communicate. And that’s exactly what Workday is doing for us.”
Integrating with Works Council
One key element to the company’s success with Workday was the Works Council. Jessica Vollmer, manager of Corporate Data Protection and HR Projects, led this integration, saying, “I supported the Works Council negotiation and was very heavily involved in implementing change, communication and training. Our Works Council relationship is super important. Even before we appointed Workday, we involved them. Together, we created a specific group for every workstream including talent and performance, compensation and HCM.”
Vollmer continues, “Training the Works Council on Workday and its benefits was integral to a successful rollout. We defined different roles for the Works Council with different transparency levels for the employees.”
Creating a single look and feel for the external market
When Freudenberg deployed Workday Recruiting a year after the initial Workday deployment, the Works Council was also involved. “Previously, this application process was paper-based, but for the first time, we did it digitally,” Vollmer says.
It’s been a game changer. According to O’Hare, “It’s been exceptional, because now there is one look and feel from the external market into the Freudenberg Group. Our managers now have candidate applications routed to them seamlessly, and then they flow into the hiring process. That simply wasn’t possible before.”
Since the go-live, Workday, the Works Council and the team have regular meetings. “We meet every six weeks and talk about different topics and new features. It’s a strong, transparent relationship,” says Vollmer.
If we can provide a great employee experience and a place where everyone fulfils their potential, we’ll have achieved everything I’d like to accomplish.
Sarah O’Hare, Global Head of HR
Creating a more diverse organisation
Workday is also making a significant contribution to the Freudenberg Group’s workforce diversity strategies.
According to O’Hare, “With Workday, we started focusing on metrics to establish what was really going on and how and where we could improve. We recognised that we are very male-centric at the top of the organisation.”
Workday surfaced these insights, putting efforts to rectify the situation at the heart of the Freudenberg Group. “It is properly streamlining our work to make the move from just 5% women in senior roles to 20% over a 10-year horizon,” O’Hare says. “With our former fragmented approach, we would have struggled to carry out the analysis, let alone put in place and implement an effective programme of change.”
Training the Works Council on Workday and its benefits was integral to a successful rollout.
Jessica Vollmer, Manager of Corporate Data Protection and HR Projects