For millions of happy consumers, Crocs sets the standard for casual, comfortable, innovative footwear. Now its guiding credos of “find your fun, feel the love, and come as you are” are infused across the company’s global human resources (HR) system.
Ben Morrison, director of People Development at Crocs Inc., shared his company’s HR transformation using SAP SuccessFactors at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference.
Headquartered in the United States, Crocs has more than 4,000 employees worldwide conducting business in 26 countries. Scalability has long been crucial for the HR team. After all, they’ve been charged with supporting this 15-year old company’s fast growth, totaling $1 billion in revenue during its first 10 years. HR transformation began with alignment to corporate values.
“Our values are people-purpose design, unapologetic optimism, inherent simplicity, imaginative innovation, delightfully democratic, and confidently comfortable,” said Morrison. “This is how we make Crocs for customers, and it’s how we in HR developed our service model for employees. We wanted to make HR strategic, and make it easy for people to use.”
The first step was moving from 17 different systems into one centralized HR system for hiring, recruiting and other important processes, including documentation for compliance to regulations.
“We wanted to keep things intuitive and very simple, and that was the key driver of our HR support model,” said Morrison. “The SAP SuccessFactors platform is amazing, and will solve every problem in your organization. But you can easily get overwhelmed with customer work, and trying to solve too many problems.”
With employees in so many countries, Crocs standardized the HR experience where it mattered most. At the same time, the company provided sufficiently localized services for each unique culture.
“SAP SuccessFactors has great functionality out-of-the-box with names, and we spent a lot of time learning how to use those for local countries,” said Morrison. “For example, for our team in The Netherlands, it was very important for our Dutch employees that their names showed up in org charts in the proper way. That really mattered to them, and it drove their engagement in the system.”
Small Changes, Significant Outcomes
The HR team embedded the self-service model into basic HR tasks, putting organizational expectations front and center.
“We want to give our employees the tools to do their job, but we don’t do it for them. We have a clear line of where [HR] stops, and what we expect from employees, and that’s a big part of our culture,” said Morrison. “From day one, employees have understood that they own their data, and need to use self-service to take control of it.”
While seemingly simple, the HR transformation altered daily and ongoing processes in small ways for significant outcomes. For example, new-hires complete onboarding by signing a minimal number of documents, and submitting them before their first day of work. Crocs also took a slightly counter-intuitive approach with system training materials. Flipbooks on every manager’s desk explain the SAP SuccessFactors system, including workflows. Printed in 13 languages and shipped worldwide, these manuals make it clear employees are expected to use them on their own, and not call HR.
Blowing Up Performance, Goals
Another challenge was making performance reviews more about a meaningful conversation between managers and employees, and less about the process and bureaucracy.
“We blew up the performance review process to focus on what people do, and how they do it to get to results,” said Morrison. “We limited sections in the [online] forms to 1300 characters, or about 12 sentences. It’s about having a conversation, not writing a novel to get ready for that conversation.”
He added that numerous tools make it easier for employees at every level to manage HR-related tasks on their own. Managers are making better informed pay decisions, including how to rate and calibrate employees. They can also easily figure out how to set goals and cascade them to direct reports.
Advice for Others
Morrison advised HR teams in similar situations to embrace the transformation. “Don’t view HR transformation as a piece of software. We got our HR team excited, and they rallied around what we were trying to do and the outcome.”
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