With a mission to create new possibilities in medicine to cure diseases and improve people’s lives, this Boston-based biopharma company was looking to bring that same attention and care to the lives of their employees.
Recent years have also shown a rash of changes within the organization: rolling out several new drugs and trials, growing from 1,800 to 2,800 employees in a decade, and acquiring a $1B company in 2019.
Accompanying all this internal change was the need to modernize their enterprise systems, particularly for their HR team. While the pharmaceutical company’s IT department was thriving with ServiceNow ITSM, their HR department was struggling to keep up with their manual processes. They answered employee questions and requests via email and phone, without a proper process for documenting the type of employee issues they were resolving, prohibiting the HR team’s ability to be efficient and effective in their roles.
With new HR leadership starting, they wanted to leverage the ServiceNow platform to support their HR transformation vision.
Driving Digital Transformation in Biopharma: A 4-Year Old ServiceNow Platform Expands into HR Service Delivery to Align with their Digital Transformation Goals
The first stop on the firm’s journey toward digital transformation was the need to consolidate its HR tools into a single, unified platform. Because their IT department had created a robust ServiceNow culture, developed a suite of workflows and capabilities (and generally proved out the Platform ROI), ServiceNow was a logical fit for their HR transformation needs.
Specific to the biopharma company, optimizing their HR operations meant replacing manual processes, increasing visibility into what employees are seeking help for reducing multiple systems, enhancing metrics and reporting, and building out a valuable knowledge base for their growing global employee base – scheduled to hit nearly 3,000 shortly.
The new HR executive team was very aware of industry trends toward HR modernization and were eager to align their company’s cutting-edge pharmaceutical research with an equally advanced talent and team management process. Specifically, they wanted to bridge the HR-box, and elevate the department to help it serve as a business partner for the whole organization.
Like many companies, they were also encountering a younger workforce with different needs – a challenge that pushed their HR leaders to provide employees a singular knowledge base for all their HR needs, plus user-friendly experience for employees to easily find and answer their unique questions with relevant, consumable content.
In short, they wanted to deliver an outstanding experience that mirrors how its employees engage in the real-world.
In looking for a partner, the biopharma company wanted a team who would match their level of excellence and innovation. Being around the ServiceNow ecosystem, they were aware of Acorio’s reputation for strong consulting and guidance, and the team was a consistent fan of the company’s thought leadership blogs, webinars, and eBooks.
Acorio and the biopharma had been looking for a project to partner on for nearly two years before the HR initiative came to the fore.
For the organization’s executive leadership, selecting Acorio to help guide them on their HR transformation came down to experience – specifically, the fact that Acorio had completed over a dozen large HR Service Delivery transformations in the past 2 years.
In addition to Acorio’s experience across the ServiceNow platform (and not just in the ITSM space), the consultant’s deliberate process also stood out in the selection process.
During their initial conversations, one of the biggest differentiators was that the entire Acorio team listened, paid attention, and were as invested in their challenges and priorities as their internal team was. When building a long-term working relationship, sometimes the needs can be as straightforward as that.
Additionally, the company had some challenges in previous projects with partners who had “sold” with an exceptional team, but quickly transitioned more junior-level resources when the project kicked off. Acorio’s commitment to team stability throughout the entire project duration was a significant selling point for team execs.
An HR Service Delivery Solution with ServiceNow
Since employee experience was a high priority for the biopharma’s HR team, they worked with Acorio to implement service portal, knowledge management, and case management – all within 23 weeks (including post-go-live support)
The team decided to roll-out this HR transformation in two separate phases.
Aligned with Acorio’s best practices, the initial HR portal launch was exclusive to their HR team (just under 100 employees). This pilot launch lasted two months and allowed them to test and vet processes in a “soft” launch before rolling it out to the global organization.
Still, the launch included multiple groups within HR, including their stock group, payroll, HR generalists, etc. – all of who have different needs and concerns.
Throughout the soft launch period, members of the HR team served as both front- and back-end users, creating cases from an employee perspective. Seeing these cases from both sides empowered the team and got them comfortable and confident using the system as back-end users.
In just two months, the team submitted 649 cases (against a previously untracked number) and published over 220 knowledge base articles.
From there, the team moved into phase two: rolling-out the platform to their global employee base.
Valuable Lesson: Aligning on Language Matters
For our consulting team, this HR transformation project was a valuable lesson that, for ServiceNow HR Service Delivery projects, the vernacular and language used throughout the engagement is, understandably, different than a typical IT project. Both teams needed to adapt to each other’s communication styles and vernacular.
To manifest a positive work environment and achieve success with the project, Acorio needed to educate their HR team on our consultative language.
This meant spending more time with demos, educating their team on terms – such as what a “story” is or what an HR service is and how you define that. Acorio’s consultants held weekly status updates, with ad hoc meetings, averaging 2-3 times per week, for enablement and education to make their team feel comfortable taking this leap in their HR transformation.
The ServiceNow transformation team also dedicated significant investment in aligning with other consulting firms advising on organizational change management – a common need among enterprise programs. Because the HR team was also working with an HR digital transformation company on advancing some of their HR processes, the team spent multiple cycles aligning these new processes into the technology and new workflow developments. Tactically, that meant regular meetings among all our teams to share decisions, transfer knowledge, and keep all of the separate project threads working as one cohesive unit.
The Result? Being There for Employees in the Moments that Matter.
Building on the success of the soft launch, the biopharma was ready to embark on their second phase of the portal rollout – the enterprise global launch. In just one week, they had over 1,840 unique visits and 230 cases submitted, of which 78% were self-service cases. Only roughly 6% of inquiries come in via phone.
According to their leadership team, they’ve derived “great success” in their user adoption, with a current count of 30,000+ page views. The enterprise can now track the top cases categories their employees most commonly have issues with, which they found to be: (1) health, wellness & benefits, (2) tools & reporting, and (3) pay, equity & recognition. Additionally, they can assess the top knowledge articles to help their teams solve these questions.
Their leadership was mostly impressed with the global reach the HR team was able to achieve with their new service portal. Even after just one week, they’ve reached over 14 of their locations and can easily track usage in ServiceNow.
With over 300 survey submissions regarding the new system, over 92% of feedback was positive. Now, employees can easily consume content, take action, or get help – without having to remember who owns what on their global HR team.
By leveraging a digital solution, like ServiceNow, their company has revolutionized their employee experience and enabled their HR department to work smarter. Now, the HR team is confident that they’re there for their employees for the moments that matter – throughout their employee journey.
Ready to start transforming your own HR systems and strategy? Check out our brand new HRSD eBook, Empowering Employee Experience.