We are living in the most transformative period of our generation. The recent events of COVID-19 have accelerated this change even further. No doubt that these unprecedented times will have a lasting impact on the way organizations do business as we already see growing pressure to digitally transform the way we work.

In fact, we've also found that employee engagement has taken a significant hit over the past few months, dropping to an all-time low, with 54 percent of employees disengaged and 14 percentage actively disengaged. Needless to say, 75 percent of business leaders believe that current operating models will be unrecognizable in the next five years.

Traditionally, however, digital transformation is challenging for many organizations. The pace of change was slow and it was difficult to see immediate results. That’s why organizations that can deliver efficient and successful transformations stand out now more than ever. 

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Our recent work with HEINEKEN offers real insight into how organizations can use a combination of the right strategy, mindset, engagement and energy to successfully transform their HR operation globally.

Working in partnership with us, HEINEKEN sought to deliver a major digital HR transformation. The program delivered one global, digital HR system—called MyHR—to all employees around the world. HEINEKEN simplified and standardized HR processes, making sure every employee would have intuitive technology at their fingertips. The ultimate goal was to improve HR productivity and deliver a seamless, digital HR experience—allowing HEINEKEN to become fully employee-centric and people-insights led.

Key to HEINEKEN’s success was the belief that the MyHR program was the first step on a much longer technological journey for the global brand. It provided a roadmap for their broader plan to digitally innovate and implement future-proof solutions. Wondering how we did it? Read below about our successful HR transformation collaboration.

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These 3 key factors drove success for HEINEKEN 

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What are the most important lessons that we've learned during our joint project? And which factors will help you get started with your digital HR transformation? These 3 factors have been instrumental to make this HR transformation a success. 

1. Understand your current technology landscape

Before the launch of MyHR, HEINEKEN’s digital HR landscape was complex. The company knew they were missing opportunities to improve the employee experience.

With a scattered HR technology landscape, it was clear that the first step in the process should be to standardize, simplify, and globalize the HR experience.  A challenge—no doubt—that many similar, long-established organizations will face.

2. Enable your people to lead the change

Employee engagement was fundamental throughout the process.

Initially, six relatively small markets were selected as pilots. HEINEKEN used employee feedback and lessons learned to roll out the new MyHR system in increasingly bigger and more complex markets and regions. As a result, each roll-out went live on time and on budget, with high adoption and usage rates in every market.  

3. Create a central technological core to build on

The goal of the technological core was two-fold. Firstly, it was to improve the employee experience. Secondly, the transformation was to go beyond reporting and shift to a predictive model, which anticipated and addressed HR issues before they arose. People were able to access their data anytime, from any device. HR managers have access to analytics to help them make better decisions. By standardizing and simplifying globally, markets can also implement technical add-ons to create a more tailored HR experience.

The MyHR team developed a technological core with a broad purpose and a single source of truth. By implementing SAP SuccessFactors, the team created a HR transformation core that became the base of the technology roadmap.

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Get the basics right first

With a strong digital core in place, the MyHR team looked for digital  products to add to create an even more seamless experience. True to HEINEKEN’s innovative and entrepreneurial culture, they turned to a unique sourcing event to address their HR pain points and come up with cutting-edge innovations.

HEINEKEN ran its first ever ‘HEINEKEN HR BREWHOUSE’ in October 2019, a technology competition where 106 HR tech companies submitted 143 applications. The challenges focused on ‘Recruiting for Superstars’, ‘Seamless Onboarding & Transitions’, ‘Employee Engagement’, and a ‘Wild Card’ category.

Though operating as a multinational organization, HEINEKEN was able to harness innovative and high-tech problem-solving solutions, usually only seen in tech start-ups.

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Not a project, but an ongoing journey

The MyHR team came together with the mission to enhance HR’s end-to-end productivity and ensure that the organization is truly employee-centric and people-insights led. HEINEKEN are on a continuous journey to deliver a seamless employee experience for all their colleagues across the globe. The aim is to continue building journeys that will make employees—from any generation, location and background—happy.

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"Ultimately, we want our workforce to manage their own careers with the same kinds of technologies that they use on a daily basis within their personal (and increasingly professional) interactions."
— Herman Rolfers, Director Global HR Technology & Solutions, HEINEKEN

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The new system along with the collection of feedback allows for:

  • A far greater user experience, with access to data anytime, and on all devices.
  • Standardized and simplified transactional HR processes, creating one single and accessible source of truth in MyHR.
  • Constant collection of feedback and insights into usage and adoption rates thanks to a global reporting hub.
  • Insights into teams within the organization, an increased level of self service and ownership of data.
  • The possibility of further innovation building on the digital foundation.

The successful adoption of the MyHR program is just the start of a much bigger journey for HEINEKEN.  The learnings and insights have been fed into a technology roadmap for the HR function, which will carry HEINEKEN into the future.

The MyHR program has had a positive impact on the organization’s mindset, leaving the international company better able to embrace change and respond in a more agile way - especially important in these challenging times. The program took a short pause over the summer due to recent world events. It has since been rebooted as of September 1, 2020 with the European deployment of MyHR now underway.

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How you can digitally prepare your company for the future   

With people being the most important ingredient in any company’s long-term success, HR is usually a great place to start your digital transformation. When people data is made available, and used to make informed decisions, the employee experience becomes seamless and intuitive. And when you bring employees along for the journey and implement their feedback, you will be rewarded with sky high usage and adoption rates.

Digitizing and automating repetitive HR tasks allows skilled employees to spend more time using their expertise and moves organizations into a more strategic position. This digital backbone can become the foundation with which you innovate your entire HR system.

Investing in the digital elements of your organization now can help open up more opportunities to succeed in the future. To learn more about this partnership, or to consult an expert about your own transformation, get in touch with Accenture today!

Nina Boen

Manager – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Talent & Organization, Human Potential


Tim Good

Managing Director, Talent & Organizational / Human Potential, Europe Lead


Bart Auwers

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Client Account Executive

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