Part Two: Acuity’s Human Resources Transformation Journey with SAP SuccessFactors

Earlier this week, I shared some initial digital HR transformation insights from Daniel Goldblatt, former chief human resources officer of Acuity Brands. In part two of this series, Goldblatt and I dig further into the business impact and results Acuity has seen since implementing the full SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite.

Q: In our last conversation we talked about getting started with SAP SuccessFactors. Now, with the implementation behind you, can you reflect on what types of behaviors you have seen shift?

A: It’s not just about the people, which is always the most important thing, but it goes beyond them in terms of how you run a business. It’s a holistic total workforce conversation. The toolsets that you have to communicate at the board level or at the CEO level are really important as facilitators for a productive conversation. Getting an HR organization to think about how they articulate the strategic relevance of it all is really an exciting part of the process. Our account contact at SAP SuccessFactors really worked with us effectively to help us get to a better place as we started to articulate that to our leadership team.

Specifically, the onboarding process became something we did far more effectively. I think we also started to look at things like internal fill rate and how we drive a cultural mindset of one organization focused on many missions. We began to focus on how to get a team to understand the contextual elements of what we are trying to accomplish from a business perspective and then translated that into how we embed those mindsets into the cultural transformation so that, as a team, we are all pulling in the same direction.

Q: You’re right—a holistic transformation is so important. Looking ahead, what would you like to see in terms of that investment, from an HR perspective?

A: We manage to a set of key performance indicators (KPI), and I think we need to embed those KPIs connected to the investment of SAP SuccessFactors into our daily work. When you make an investment as significant as one like implementing SAP SuccessFactors, making sure you’re getting the return on investment is essential. Companies need to ask themselves if they are living true to the model presented to their leadership team in order to connect the dots from what they set out to do, to the impact to the people, and also to the overall results.

Q: Have you seen a cultural impact internally as well?

A: The impact has been phenomenal. I think we are an organization that has grown up inside itself. We could have very easily seen the comet coming down and been the dinosaur worried about extinction, but implementing SAP SuccessFactors has allowed us to evolve our workforce by attracting new and exciting talent into a space that allows us to remain relevant in a really dynamically changing environment.

Q: To sum up our conversation, what advice would you give to someone who’s either thinking about new solutions, knows they need to start their digital transformation journey, or is considering SAP SuccessFactors or any other technology vendor?

A: I think that the most important thing to mention is that it’s very easy to make an investment into a set of solutions. Getting to the point where you are working with an organization that has the nuts and bolts of a system that can service your needs is critical. I think that one of the great things about SAP SuccessFactors is its ability to work with many different types of businesses in a way that allows you to articulate who and what you want to be through the system that you use.

Interested in learning more? Don’t miss the webinar Goldblatt recently did with IDC: Acuity Brands: Driving Digital Transformation in HR for Its Total Workforce. Goldblatt was also recently featured in Bill Kutik’s Firing Line video series. Watch the full story here.