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AutoZone’s Jump Start to HCM Transformation

If you ever attended camp or played on a sports team as a kid, you probably remember learning a chant—maybe involving a particular clapping or stomping pattern—that your team would recite excitedly in unison. Typically, these chants were yelled for the purpose of getting into the spirit to tackle a task or pursue victory together.

For the employees of AutoZone, this type of cheering didn’t end with childhood. Weekly meetings at AutoZone Headquarters include the following rhythmic reminder:

“AutoZoners always put customers first!

We know our parts and products.

Our stores look great!

We’ve got the best merchandise at the right price.”

This habitual reciting of the core mission keeps employees motivated to serve their customers and support their stores effectively. These unique methods seem profitable, as AutoZone’s 38-year lifespan illustrates its industry success. As the largest retailer of auto replacement parts in the nation, AutoZone brings in annual revenue of over $10.6 billion across 6,000 stores in the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil.

Previously, the company’s system for managing over 90,000 employees included PeopleSoft and multiple on-premise and third-party solutions, but last year they identified the need to undergo an HCM transformation.

AutoZone realized its need for an upgrade in systems due to:

  • High turnover in retail stores
  • Difficulty in differentiating qualified candidates for job openings
  • A lengthy application with 50% abandonment rate
  • Highly customized Peoplesoft systems making talent management difficult
  • Lack of analytics and hiring metrics
  • Aggressive growth targets to double revenue to 20 billion in the next five to ten years

 A Collaborative Approach

AutoZone sought the help of Hitachi Consulting and Oracle HCM to implement a modern, scalable HCM system. Working together to efficiently and effectively execute solutions, these three entities created a collaborative approach that split up responsibilities in the following ways:

  • AutoZone takes ownership of the business process and provides business, customer, and vendor knowledge.
  • Hitachi Consulting provides expertise on industry best practices, brings Oracle solution knowledge, and serves as the implementation partner.
  • Oracle HCM provides the software solution that’s built around best practices from Hitachi Consulting and addresses business needs expressed by AutoZone.

Hitachi’s implementation approach is to align the right people, processes, and technologies with the best practices typical of cloud solutions. The suggested plan included organizing workshops with store operations and all functional areas, preparing an iterative design and development process, hosting multiple UAT sessions, and collecting user feedback at the AutoZone National Sales Meeting.

Phase 1 of implementation zeroed in on talent acquisition including sourcing, recruiting, and onboarding. As part of this phase, the team hoped to streamline and automate the following processes:

  • Evergreen requisitions
  • Use of coverage areas for sister stores
  • Simple CSW
  • Use of DAR
  • Automate background initiation
  • Auto check on rehire eligibility
  • Automate onboarding initiation

Within this plan, AutoZone set out to attract the right talent using branded landing pages, a better search experience, a simplified application, and the creation of a talent community. Previously, the application process took candidates around 28 minutes to complete. Thirty days post-launch, the application process average had narrowed to only eight minutes and AutoZone received 93,000 completed applications—more than four times that amount completed in the same time span the previous year.

Today, AutoZone looks forward to initiating phase two of their plan. To continue a successful transition, they’ve identified nine key success factors.

Success Factors

  • Executive Sponsorship
  • Clear Mission
  • Alignment of People, Process, and Technology
  • Being realistic about resources
  • Committed program management
  • Infusing change management from the start
  • Recruiting business champions
  • Choosing the right partners for the long-term journey
  • Committing to ongoing improvements

To dive deeper into the lessons learned by AutoZone, listen to the full presentation by AutoZone’s IT Manager Theresa Ledoux and Hitachi Consulting’s Vice President Sona Manzo. Click here to watch.

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