GKN Aerospace is a global aerospace and defence components manufacturer. It employs 17,000 staff, operates in 51 manufacturing sites across 15 countries and supplies most of the world’s major original equipment manufacturers, including Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin.
The business has been shaped by numerous mergers and acquisitions. As a result, its IT landscape, particularly from a HR perspective, had become disparate, based on numerous singular legacy systems and largely disconnected from any central management.
Following a change in ownership, GKN Aerospace needed to exit from group-provided HR systems within a short timescale which presented several key HR challenges, especially for busy HR directors looking for a simple way of gaining insight into how employees located across multiple office sites were performing.
A key driver for future success was to create one integrated global HR system that provided excellent visibility for senior HR management across the entire workforce world-wide, seamlessly binding all operational aspects of HR, as well as improving two-way engagement between staff and HR teams and attracting and nurturing talent to ensure the future success of the business.
Finding a solution
GKN Aerospace chose one single, self-service hub and one global set of tools and processes that would simplify procedures that HR teams needed to carry out, while enabling employees to access resources and complete HR-related tasks quickly and easily. SAP SuccessFactors was selected as the enabling technology; the Employee Central, Performance Management and Recruitment modules were chosen for Phase 1 of GKN Aerospace’s journey.
Gordon Pitman, Chief HR Officer, explained: “The number one priority was to ensure the system supported our vision of GKN Aerospace as a great place to work. We wanted to transform our operating model into a global enterprise model, enabling us to lead and grow in our chosen markets.“
delaware was selected as the implementation partner. Pitman, explained: “I was looking for a partner not just in technology terms but also on the change adoption and process side, helping us create a world-class HR systems environment.
“delaware had that capability, together with the expertise to deliver projects on time and on budget, and focused on ensuring ROI was maximised from the day the new technology went live.”
Driving through results
After a five month sprint, the project was delivered successfully on-time and on-budget, rolled out globally to 15 countries in 10 languages.
With support from delaware, the business was able to achieve a strong adoption rate: 80% of key users were using SAP SuccessFactors within the first month.
One of the key factors of this success was the innovative, iterative design process which involved delaware and GKN Aerospace’s global HR teams. Traditional adoption methods such as user acceptance training and process guides were supplemented with intensive on-site workshops. HR Business Partners and key stakeholders were encouraged to test scenarios and processes, which resulted in business-driven change impact assessments, user training and process mapping. This innovative process helped to fast-track the project while encouraging early user adoption.
During the iteration workshops and a number of HR roadshows, key users were encouraged to challenge and test the new technology, often on their own devices, enabling employees to engage and interact with the new system. This collaborative effort has been essential to its adoption success and recognises that the traditional project approach of system go-live followed by a period of Hypercare with Change Management as a separate workstream can be replaced with a much more agile approach of solution delivery, aligned to user adoption and underpinned with a culture of continuous improvement.
The HR system now sits on a new platform named Wilbur, and is at the heart of GKN Aerospace’s connected IT systems, uniting its people and processes.
The new self-service functionally enables employees to have greater personal accountability for their own professional development by interacting with training tools and competence management. The ability to execute HR tasks and find information is empowering employees to take ownership of their own careers and development, boosting engagement and driving productivity, while also freeing up the time of the HR department.
Processes are more employee-centric and foster continuous feedback which aids team dynamics. Accurate data and enhanced reporting capabilities allow managers, team leaders and senior HR staff to make better decisions faster, and provide greater visibility into performance and satisfaction levels.
Today, SAP SuccessFactors (Wilbur) and delaware are driving the success of HR at GKN Aerospace and helping the company grow and evolve as a global enterprise model. The new system has provided a strong, scalable platform, capable of helping to deliver accelerated business expansion and evolving HR demands. It is already supporting future phase roll-outs and will continue to enhance GKN Aerospace’s HR processes, encourage positive change in the way that its employees work and innovate, and lay the foundation for long-term, sustainable growth.
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