Cultural Transformation Within Human Resources

Cultural Transformation Within Human Resources

The company

The multinational company featured in this case is present in more than 60 countries with around 50,000 employees and operates both in food and specialized retail sectors.

This case portrays the optimization of the human resources department of this organization which is responsible for processes such as recruitment and selection, development, salary processing, and performance evaluation.

The challenge

Since its creation, this multinational has grown and diversified its business areas. This growth was of course accompanied by the human resources (HR) team through the creation of various units within each of the companies.

They later chose to centralize all these teams in a single shared services center. However, this centralization was only physical, and a structure with different teams per business area, and even different ways of carrying out the same processes were maintained.

In this context, the challenge arises of standardizing all the HR management processes between all the companies of the group - creating a truly centralized team. The aim of this cultural transformation is to achieve efficiency gains that would allow an increasing number of tasks and processes to be taken over by the various companies of the group.

The approach

To meet this challenge, they began by carrying out a diagnosis of all the existing team processes. For the identification of critical processes, the SIPOC (Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Client) tool was used, which maps all existing relationships between the department's information suppliers, the inputs they supply, the team processes, the outputs produced, and the client for whom these outputs are intended. These processes were prioritized in order to identify the most critical for the team's performance, according to the workload they require, their frequency, and improvement potential.

Each of these processes was mapped out in detail with the identification of all the people involved, their tasks, and respective execution time and Lead Time. This exercise allowed the evaluation of the main wastes in each process, namely, the confirmation of tasks already carried out, the correction of errors, excess of stakeholders, bureaucracy, or unnecessary printing. With regard to the information flow, several stoppages of information relating to validations or authorizations were also identified.

The organization of these improvement opportunities into KAIZEN™ Events, together with their respective success metrics, enabled the creation of a detailed implementation roadmap with over 40 workshops aimed at transforming the organization, its processes, and its teams.

The re-engineering of processes was supported by a development and autonomy model implemented across approximately 30 teams within the human resources department. This model enabled the teams and their leaders to develop skills that guarantee basic stability, but also contribute to the incremental improvement of the processes. To this end, the teams were thoroughly trained and monitored during the development roadmap consisting of the following stages:

1. Team organization: development of the ‘speaking with data’ mindset by creating routines for communicating the work plan and indicators within the team. Visual management was developed through the creation of digital team boards.

2. Workspace organization: to improve the teams’ productivity, the physical and virtual workspaces were reorganized.

3. Process standardization: through the creation of simple and visual standards, the team defined the best way to carry out each of the critical processes. In addition, methods have been defined to audit these processes and to train the new elements effectively. The skills matrix made it possible to identify the degree of competence of each employee in the execution of tasks complying with the standard which served as a basis for the definition of the training plan.

4. Process improvement: development of the ability to solve problems in a structured way with a special focus on identifying root causes. Team leaders are now able to lead this exercise in their teams, by mapping processes, identifying improvements, and following up on actions.

The success of the implementation of this model was demonstrated by the cultural transformation in which all teams participated. The paradigms and mindset of the teams have been transformed, making them more flexible and more focused on their productivity and on the quality of the service they provide to their internal customers.


Among the several processes that were the target of transformation, the management of the training process and the recruitment and admission process were the most impactful. The compliance rate with the training plan rose from 70% to 100% with ever-increasing internal customer satisfaction. In addition, the average recruitment time (from making the application to filling the vacancy) fell from 69 days to 42 days.

By embracing the paradigm of putting the customer first, processes were transformed to increase the productivity of those who carry them out and to make the customer experience unique. The development of this continuous improvement culture was achieved after more than 600 hours of training, more than 128 team meetings, and the detection of around 114 improvement opportunities.

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