Uniper Almost Doubles HR Recruitment Productivity Using SAP SuccessFactors

After a corporate restructuring turned Uniper into an international energy company with 13,000 employees worldwide, the Human Resources (HR) team wasted no time moving to the cloud, specifically SAP SuccessFactors.

Headquartered in Germany, Uniper provides energy products and engineering services to a fast-changing international market. HR needed a system that directly supported its top three strategies: getting closer to the business, digitalization, and cost-savings. The company decided to migrate its previously on-premise HR processes to SAP SuccessFactors, beginning with recruiting, followed by goals and development, and learning.

“We have to understand the business so we can meet their expectations across the employee life cycle,” said Bernhard Ehret, head of HR Operations at Uniper. “We’re also continuously moving ahead with digitalization, enabling employee self-services. And, during the past two years, we’ve reduced our HR costs per employee served by 25 percent.”

Employees and managers are equally satisfied with the usability of the new HR system. For workers, self-service mirrors the experience they have in their consumer lives. Managers appreciate how much time self-service HR saves them, while fostering a continuous dialogue with employees, and supporting strategic business objectives.

Partnership Doubles Productivity

Faced with the double challenge of an aging workforce and attracting new workers in an intensely competitive market, the HR team tackled talent acquisition first. Using SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting, Uniper transformed talent acquisition from a series of manual, disconnected steps to a transparent partnership between the business and HR. Hiring times are much faster, and require far fewer HR resources.

“Business managers are empowered to initiate recruiting, and can easily work with HR throughout the talent acquisition process,” said Ehret. “We’ve aligned workforce planning to job postings, candidate sourcing, and interviewing. It’s entirely intuitive with no time wasted because managers know what vacancies they can post, and the status of open requisitions. We’ve almost doubled the number of vacancies our recruiters can manage at once.”

Ehret added that a pilot for sharing recruitment processes with Works Council members in Europe has sped up hiring in those countries. Transparency about hiring non-members of the Works Council avoids decision roadblocks.

Efficient Communication

Chief among Uniper’s goals was getting managers and employees to have regular, meaningful conversations. Replacing a cumbersome, paper-based approach with SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals and SAP SuccessFactors Compensation allowed Uniper to foster timely dialogues, supporting high-quality planning and development company-wide. Managers can also more clearly link goals achieved to compensation and bonuses.

“The beauty of having an integrated HR system is that there’s an ongoing dialogue between HR, and managers and their direct reports cascading corporate goals down to everyone’s daily performance expectations and outcomes,” said Ehret. “Employees and managers trigger the workflow that automatically keeps the conversation going so everyone understands what’s expected, and takes ownership of their responsibilities.”

Self-Service Boosts HR Value-Add

Like every company, Uniper’s employees must stay abreast of a multitude of regulatory and other training requirements. With SAP SuccessFactors Learning, employees use an online learning portal to sign up for, complete, and track courses. These include modules to gain skills for specific career paths and certifications, as well as compliance with company regulations such as the code of conduct, and larger mandates like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). In addition, mobile access means employees can learn at their convenience, in the office or remote locations.

“We’ve significantly reduced the hours HR spends on training administration, freeing up our time to focus more on understanding and supporting the strategic needs of the business,” said Ehret.

HR Reduces Complexity, Gets Closer to Business

Calling his company’s move to SAP SuccessFactors a journey, Ehret said that Uniper recently added SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central.

“We see SAP SuccessFactors as the comprehensive, strategic platform to introduce streamlined, standardized HR processes,” said Ehret. “We want our colleagues, managers and employees to better understand HR, and we’re doing that by transferring our processes directly into the business.”

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