Self-service is commonplace these days, and the next logical step when personnel administration systems become outdated. This was also the belief at electrotechnical company Alewijnse. The plan: a single HR system. But how do you achieve this in seven countries with different local requirements and where staff members don’t always have access to a computer?
Alewijnse is an electrotechnical company, and not for standard household connections. Alewijnse´s work is complex, large-scale and highly specialised. “Think of modern super yachts. They’re packed full of advanced electrical systems, ICT, entertainment and navigation systems,” explains Wouter van de Loo, HR Director. The Dutch family business is internationally renowned for its expertise in installations for the maritime sector and industry. Alewijnse has been in existence for more than 125 years, has 1,200 staff members and works in seven countries.
An international family business
The Dutch company has made its name with specialist knowledge. Alewijnse staff members now work everywhere from Romania to Vietnam and from China to Curacao. Wouter: “A large number of our employees work on projects abroad, for example, in Galați (eastern Romania), France, Indonesia, Spain. We work where local shipbuilding takes place. Despite this, we’ve always remained a family business. We know each other well at Alewijnse.”
We worked across borders in a very inefficient way. Wouter: “Our systems weren’t connected. So if someone from Romania was working in the Netherlands, we didn’t know how things were organised there in terms of salary tables or the assessment system. Our personnel systems were set up locally. But if you want large-scale collaboration, you need a simple registration system and you don’t want to have to rifle through a filing cabinet. We also wanted more insight and additional control over the deployment of staff. Which specialist is working on which project and is he or she offering the maximum added value there?”
Alewijnse was looking for a modernised system of HR automation, with Employee Self Service and Management Self Service. “Many of our staff and managers want to have insight and control over issues themselves. It’s user-friendly and removes a lot of administrative stress. Unfortunately, we still have to deal with the differences between countries. In Western Europe, we’re ahead of the game with automation, while in other countries things are set up in a more traditional way, where it still isn’t the norm for staff and managers to take care of issues themselves. It’s just a matter of time though.”
What is social security number in Romanian?
Local requirements didn’t make the search for a single international system easy. We were looking for possibilities to switch functionalities, such as Employee self-service, ‘on’ or ‘off’. Wouter: “There aren’t many organisations who have a genuinely international system. Often the Dutch system is a point of departure, with our Dutch terms then translated into English. But how do you explain to a Romanian colleague what a social security number is? They don’t have them there, along with ‘unemployment insurance premiums’, for example. But Exact offers the possibility for a local design, and that was exactly what we were looking for!”
Alewijnse opted for Exact Globe & Exact Synergy Enterprise. With smart workflows, the working method is now largely the same in all countries. Wouter: “Exact helped us design the workflow method effectively. A workflow was created for each type of change, such as address changes, reporting sick and travelling abroad.” The uniform registration is already paying dividends. That’s why Alewijnse has plans for further expansion. “We’ve already added the safety registration and the accident registration. And in future we also want to add performance management. This is how we plan to track the competencies and development of staff members further. We want to deploy their expertise as well as possible, which will be beneficial for our customers.”
The result: convenience, insight and savings
The administrative stress at Alewijnse has been drastically reduced. “Staff and managers enter the information online, HR receives a notification, implements a check and that’s it. When the entire workflow has been completed, the change is automatically logged in the system. That saves a significant amount of actions, telephone calls and support. Because Exact is web-based, we can log in anywhere in the world and process workflows. When these basic processes run smoothly, there’s more room for the development of staff members, for example. This is ultimately the aim!