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How vital are employees if companies are to hit the goals set out in their five-year digital transformation plans?

How vital are employees if companies are to hit the goals set out in their five-year digital transformation plans?
August 5, 2015in Business2015-08-052015-08-10businessen
We talk to Claire Scott, HR VP of EMEA for cloud-based CRM services provider Salesforce.com
The HR heads at dynamic CRM cloud provider Salesforce.com and innovative IT and telecoms solutions giant Orange Business Services give some clear insights into just how vital employees are considered to be if the companies are to hit the goals set out in their five-year digital transformation business plans.
 
Claire Scott, HR VP of EMEA for cloud-based CRM services provider Salesforce.com
 
Q Why do you believe it is important to put employees at the heart of whatever you do as an organization?
 
A For us, it’s all about growth and innovation – we’ve achieved fantastic growth of 30% in EMEA as of our most recently reported quarter (Q4) over the past year. We’re consistently working to hire the best people in the market and make sure they’re really engaged and excited about Salesforce and the amazing work they do supporting our customers.  Having fabulous talented people who are passionate and love what they do is key.
 
Q Can you tell us more about how these aims will manifest in reality?
 
A We have developed a 2020 Talent Strategy for the region focused around three key pillars:  Attract, Develop and Culture.   The first is about evolving our recruitment model so we can tap into a wider source of talent.  Whilst hiring experienced and seasoned professionals (people who have ‘been there and done that’) will always be a key focus for us we have an ambitious plan to ramp up the numbers of individuals who are early on in their careers.  We recognize they are the future lifeblood of the organization. We have an organization created especially for them called FutureForce.   
 
 
The second pillar is about developing individuals and supporting their career progression by putting more structure in place.  It is also about supporting our leaders in bringing employees together to nurture the sense of community, belonging and sense of leaving no one behind:  We call this our Ohana spirit.  
 
And the third is about evolving our culture – so we’re promoting innovation everywhere; celebrating individual and team success; increasing transparency about everything we do as a business and ensuring employees have a voice; encouraging people to find their vibe and practice it every day, and reinforcing our 1-1-1 model, which means that 1% or our employee time, products and equity go to non-profits every year in every community we’re working in.
 
Q What else are you doing to ensure the organization is in good shape to meet future requirements?
 
A We’re using our own technology to help us accelerate as a business. And we’re also using all the data we have to make smart decisions around talent across the whole employee lifecycle from hiring to developing, engaging and rewarding people. 
 
It’s all about tapping into the best talent on the market, engaging people and continuing to ensure that they’re very excited about being part of the Salesforce journey. As leaders in the business, we don’t necessarily have all of the answers, but our employees often do, so it’s vital to give them a voice, and listen, engage and respond.
 
 
Patricia Waldron Werner, senior vice president of HR for Orange Business Services
 
Q Why do you believe it is important to put employees at the heart of whatever you do as an organization?
 
A The starting point for a successful customer experience is a high quality employee experience. So the top priorities of the group’s Essentials2020 plan are to support our customers in their digital transformation, but also to put employees at the core of what we do. The aim is to build a company model that is both digital and caring. It’s well known that digital equals transformation and change, and not everyone is comfortable with that so it’s important that we enable our people to come along with us.
 
Q Can you tell us more about how these aims will manifest in reality?
 
A To ensure that we took our employees along with us, last year we developed a programme called ‘Digital Leadership Inside’. The aim was to stimulate and support digital transformation and it was based on three pillars:
- 1 raising awareness of the issue
- 2 training our people to develop new skills so they can meet changing business and customer requirements
- 3 ensuring everyone had the right equipment to work in more agile ways and respond more quickly to customer needs.
 
So during the first year, we created a Digital Academy to increase the knowledge of our 166,000 employees in all things digital. They receive a Digital Passport on completing the course, which includes Massive Open Online Courses and learning videos, and can then add Visas to their Passport if they learn about big data, for example.
 
We also launched digital awards to identify, share and promote existing in-house digital initiatives that were happening around the world. And in terms of equipment, we introduced a new customer relationship management system with Salesforce to give employees all of the data and tools they need at their fingertips.
 
Q What else are you doing to ensure the organization is in good shape to meet future requirements?
 
A We’re piloting a new experimental kind of collaborative workspace in France. It’s a big, open place where people can reserve space for themselves, their customers, suppliers and partners to work on projects and ideas together. The idea’s similar to musicians going to a studio to jam – the studio doesn’t belong to them and nor does the equipment, but they can make music and hang out and share ideas.
 
The issue is that everyone’s being touched by digital transformation, which means culture change at all levels. But we’ve set out early on the journey, which puts us in a solid position to respond to what our customers are asking for.
 
Conclusion:
 
While these two organizations may be at very different stages in their organizational development, what is clear is that advance planning to build the optimum workforce for the future is a must in order to stay ahead of the pack.
 

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