26,000 people at TfL experienced work changing forever – how did HR transform to meet their rapidly changing requirements?
People sustainability concepts are being embedded into organizations with instant impacts on wellbeing and retention.
This includes prioritizing people and human potential as precious resources that must be supported and valued to drive resilience, agility and achievement of sustainability goals.
Success stories from the frontline of HR tech never go out of style here at UNLEASH. And what we heard so much about at UNLEASH World in Paris was first-hand experiences, insights and lessons learned that are invaluable to other HR leaders taking their organizations through a continuous journey of transformation.
This exclusive webinar carries on those conversations post-event, with Transport for London (TfL) sharing its incredible – and ongoing – digital HR transformation in partnership with SAP SuccessFactors, that has led to a cultural change focused on creating an adaptable, purpose-driven workforce.
Watch on-demand to:
- Hear invaluable insights from TfL’s people leaders.
- Understand how HR technology is enabling huge cultural shifts across the organization.
- Learn how a performance and talent-first approach can lead successful HR transformation.
When transformation is the mother of necessity
Like so many organizations, when the pandemic hit, TfL experienced huge shock waves that rippled through all of its staff, from senior leaders to frontline workers. Although they responded rapidly to the challenge, it is rare to hear a case study that is so considered and intentional when it comes to HR technology. This is a transformation led by a people-first strategy that has truly contributed to its success.
One of the areas TfL had already been working on prior to the pandemic was its new company values. Three core focuses for the organization to become more caring, open and adaptable. This seemingly simple structure is very different to the complex behavior framework that TfL operated previously.
The idea was that it would lead to greater employee empowerment – making sure everyone was having better conversations, building in wellbeing, being inclusive, developing careers, managing flight risks and succession planning. All to underpin the priorities of its people’s wellbeing and address issues around retention.
“People sustainability underscores the business imperative to support people and unleash human potential to create a more sustainable future and drive organizational resilience and agility. The first part of creating a sustainable workforce is creating a culture of belonging where every person is seen and valued.” – Lara Albert
Six pillars of people sustainability
With the concept of people sustainability still new to many, Lara Albert took us through SAP SuccessFactor’s beautifully straightforward but powerful, people sustainability framework. The full model is shared in the on-demand session and centers around six core pillars:
• Wellbeing and balance
• Trust and transparency
• Empowerment and growth
• Organizational purpose and corporate social responsibility
• Health and safety
• Diversity, equity and inclusion
It might feel that talking about people sustainability is a separate issue to that of employee experience. But the two are inextricably linked as we shall see.
How a focus on people sustainability improves the employee experience
One of the ways in which TfL chooses to walk the walk when it comes to people sustainability is to make its new values visible and truly embedded into its talent and performance strategy.
SAP SuccessFactors is fittingly dubbed ‘My Journey’ in-house at TfL and is accessible to ALL employees not just a chosen few. The values are used to inform objectives and performance goals for everyone. But unlike many organizations, these objectives are now employee-led.
“We do things completely differently now. Our people decide on their employee ratings. They tell us what they’re ready for next. SAP SuccessFactors helps manage performance-based meetings more effectively, and enables us to record these conversations, which has led to better decision making. Ultimately it’s a more inclusive approach and is already helping us manage retention better.” – Leonie Saywell, Organization Development and Leadership Lead, TfL
Living the values of TfL’s people sustainability approach – caring/open/adaptable – sounds simple, but in reality, if people aren’t experiencing those every day then it will only ever feel like a top-down initiative. But having these values truly embedded into the talent and performance strategy is making a real difference.
HR tech is the key enabler of a cultural shift
Claire O’Neill, Head of Change Portfolio at TfL has been instrumental in the successful implementation of SAP SuccessFactors as the ‘My Journey’ platform. One of the key takeaways of this story is how TfL has embraced technology as an enabler but led with its own strategy and approach. Instead of letting a software solution dictate its talent and performance strategy, TfL selected SAP SuccessFactors precisely because it could be configured to meet its new requirements.
“It’s about choosing the right technology partner. We knew we didn’t want to dictate the processes but become employee-led which is a massive shift in a highly unionized and politicized environment. And we’ve been able to move away from a traditional 9-grid model to our new approach. Previously, performance management was a very manual process here. We knew we wanted to bring our own people the level of experience we’re giving customers everyday with innovations like the Oyster card. Now, the new platform has enabled us to marry the ‘hard and the soft’ – the technology with our culture.” Claire O’Neill, Head of Change Portfolio at TfL
With the focus on being employee-led, Leonie, Claire and the TfL team created guidance around objectives, indicators on progress and multiple bite size resources on video and Q&As to support this. These have landed successfully and enabled people to adapt to the new process without it feeling they are being told what to do or dictated to. One attendee commented it’s a brave approach and we agree – but what an exciting one too!
Powering change by leading with performance and talent
Ultimately, TfL is now enabling better connections for its colleagues with crucially important parts of the employee experience – performance and talent management.
One of the biggest shifts is a more continuous conversation. Employees and managers can provide feedback on the go via the mobile app for example. This is fundamental for an organization with so many frontline staff.
Objectives can be made public on the My Journey platform, which has been especially interesting as many senior executives objectives have led from the front by ensuring theirs are visible to everyone in the organization. This provides a ‘clear line of sight’ across what everyone in the company is doing which has further helped embed the new value into the culture as it feels everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Lara Albert adds, “Starting with performance management made a lot of sense as TfL really reimagined its employee experience – it’s enabled more two way dialogue via the technology, more real time coaching and feedback, made it easy to capture achievements and accomplishments, and created alignment across the whole organization when it comes to objectives.”
“When it comes to successfully rolling out new HR software, it certainly helps if it is a solution employees can get behind and support. And the mobile aspects of the solution has helped the adoption of employee self-service in this area.”
With an incredible implementation time of just 13 weeks during lockdown, this case study from TfL and SAP SuccessFactors demonstrates that anything is possible.
Claire O’Neill concludes with inspiring advice to other HR teams, “Don’t think anything is impossible – the pandemic has enabled us to really push our boundaries.”
And Lara Albert finishes with sage words of wisdom, “Organizations need to start with the why – ground your strategy in your organization’s vision and values – don’t go for a solution that’s hard coded out of the box – find one that you can work with to suit the needs of your organization and your people.”
Which concluded the whistle stop tour (trains, whistles, see what we did there?) of TfL’s journey (OK, we’ll stop now!) from which so many can take inspiration in the transformation of the employee experience – with performance and talent at its heart.
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