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AXA's HR Transformation Process

angles of a building in clouds to represent an HR transformation process

Headquartered in Paris, France, AXA is a multinational insurance firm serving 107 million customers in 64 different countries with the help of 116,000 employees. A nine-time winner of Interbrand’s “Best Insurance Global Brand,” the corporate team is committed to continuous improvement in their processes. A few years ago, they identified a need to update and centralize their overall HR systems, and after looking at a variety of options, selected Oracle HCM Cloud to begin their HR transformation process.

At last year’s HCM World conference, Yves Lavenant—Group Head of People Insight and Cyrille Reffay—Head of People Solutions and ELT Member walked attendees through the major transition, describing their experience as “run, fall, run again, learn, adapt, improve, run…” In their presentation, they provide insight into mistakes and lessons learned so other companies can implement change more efficiently.

To begin, Yves and Cyrille expressed their reasoning behind moving to Oracle HCM.

Factors in Selecting Oracle Cloud

  • Triggered by necessary IT refresh for Global PeopleSoft platform
  • Benefit from enhanced capabilities: mobile, social, analytics
  • HR process alignment at Group level
  • Enhance user experience with a hire-to-retire suite
  • Position HR as a cloud-precursor
  • Benefit from continuous improvement

Confident in this product decision, they moved forward with implementation. During the transformation, AXA re-engineered traditional performance management processes. Moving away from a simple approach of objective setting, mid-year review and year-end review, they evolved into overall business and development goal setting, ongoing check-ins with continuous feedback between manager and employee and one overall rating for the year.

These changes were not easy. AXA piloted this system in 2016 with poor results. In 2017, the team rolled out a new system to 10,000 employees and quickly realized they had failed again. With two failures under their belt, the team decided to include new voices in the designing stage—the end users. By listening to the end users, they were able to develop a system that fit HR goals and managers’ needs.

In building out the overall timeline for Oracle HCM implementation, the team shared that they thought they were embarking on a hikeable, step-by-step climb. Soon, however, they realized their systems journey measured more like an alpine summit.

Project Timeline

  • 2014 – Pilot CoreHR
  • 2015 – Core Models Definition and Global Move of PeopleSoft to Oracle HCM Cloud
  • 2016 – Pilot Performance Recruit
  • 2017 & 2018 – Mass Deployment

Change Management

In dealing with change management for their treacherous adventure into a new HR, AXA developed a Center of Excellence at the Group HR level and established various local change leads in all entities. The COE took on responsibilities including global storyline, common change approach and change consistency across streams while the local leads carried out local change plan building, local change plan deployment and best practices for sharing change with their community. Communication between the corporate team and local entities was essential for effective change management, so these groups interacted with one another regularly through community calls; a shared document repository containing best practices, materials and methodologies; and live and remote “boot camps” during the kick off for new projects. Included in this overhaul of communication, the team developed a new approach to dealing with internal HR requests, evolving from a centrally managed long list of enhancements and projects to a customer value-based decision matrix.

Today, the AXA team is 80 percent of the way through their goals. As they look to the future, they have identified a few challenges for sustainable success.

Challenges Ahead

  • Harvesting SaaS promise
  • Staying at the cutting edge
  • Streamlining UX
  • Leveraging the power of data

Even though the journey has been more difficult than anticipated, Yves and Cyrille are thrilled about their transformation. They encourage other companies to walk the same journey to streamline processes.

To learn more about the AXA transition from PeopleSoft to Oracle HCM, watch the full presentation here.

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