Replacing Manual Processes With Automation Technology

Prudential Plc improves employee performance through adoption of SaaS solution.
by Shelley Schmoker
Prudential Plc is an international financial services company with around 23,000 employees worldwide. Operating within the U.K., Asia, and North America, Prudential (which is not related to  the U.S.-based Prudential Financial) faced an ongoing challenge relating to competing in a globalized marketplace: a requirement to retain and develop its people to meet the demands of tomorrow’s business environment.

In particular, Prudential is expanding rapidly within Asia and needs to ensure it has the right talent to properly take advantage of the unique business opportunity presented by exploding Tiger economies. Prudential’s HR department is also undergoing rapid change to equip it with the capabilities to support this business challenge. In addition to implementing a more effective human capital management system, the company is undergoing a cultural transformation within its HR team to enable more collective working practices—a need identified following a group leadership review.

Part of this transformation includes the creation and ongoing management of a global talent warehouse for succession planning to capitalize on the strength of the Group’s human capital.

Prudential has been actively managing its senior management talent pool for five years and identified 500 top people globally upon which to base the global talent warehouse under development.

“Talent management is a very strategic issue for Prudential, particularly as the company is expanding so rapidly into Asia,” said Lawrence Barrett, group head of resourcing and development at Prudential. “Our focus is primarily oriented around succession planning for top management positions and, in particular, identifying candidates for international, cross-business moves as we groom key talent for future executive positions.”

The group of employees involved in Prudential’s talent management program includes members of the general executive committee, their direct reports—the company’s so-called “Top 75” managers—probable successors to the Top 75—and people identified as “raw talent and high potentials.”

“Previously we were using Excel spreadsheets to collect and analyze all our data, and it was hell,” conceded Sue Dutt, a human capital analyst responsible for developing and managing data concerning succession planning and the relative “bench strength” of the organization’s talent pool. “The process of data capture and collation took so long it was out of date by the time we managed to present all the information.”

What Prudential needed from its talent management solution were the following:

  • Global system coverage;
  • Greater operational efficiencies;
  • Ease of use with configurable workflow to replicate the business process;
  • A software provider with global talent warehouse experience;
  • Evidence of external hosting experience;
  • Sharing of data across worldwide operations;
  • Flexible reporting based on group-wide standards;
  • Support of common language and classifications;
  • Enhanced awareness of group vision and strategy

It found that StepStone met all these requirements and was selected as the best solution for Prudential because its product was well established, had a track record of externally hosted applications, and offered extensive reporting capabilities. Additionally, Prudential believed it would work well with StepStone’s project team, which was a significant factor given the level of customization the company wanted to commission to create a unique look and feel to reinforce its organizational identity.

StepStone is a European provider of software-based HR performance management solutions and technologies for effective HR. Together with StepStone Online, one of the market leaders for online job boards, StepStone Solutions is a global provider of total talent management. It offers services covering everything from job advertising to e-recruiting, HR management, skills and competency management, performance management, 360-degree feedback, compensation management, learning management, and succession planning.

Just a few months after going live with the software implementation, Prudential realized immediate benefits from using StepStone ETWeb. “The business is delighted to be able to stop using the old manual system, and StepStone has been welcomed as a win-win for everyone,” said Dutt. “Individual users are now able to update and manage their own talent profiles, adding performance and skills data plus career aspirations as relevant. This means the nature of my job has changed completely, allowing me to focus on analyzing the meaning of our talent data rather than collection and checking its accuracy.”

Barrett added: “This project has undoubtedly positioned talent management much higher up the strategic agenda and raised the profile of the human resources function in a very positive way. Looking back, it was also a highly successful project from an IT perspective, which, in my experience of implementing technology solutions for human resources is unusual.”  


Shelley Schmoker is head of products at Stepstone Solutions. She can be reached at Shelley.Schmoker@stepstone.com.

Posted April 20, 2009 in Talent Acquisition

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