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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Why did a global children’s right NGO implement HR technology and what did they solve?

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We recently interviewed Mark Banbury, Global CIO at Plan International, on how the NGO is using HR technology to save children’s lives. In this follow-up Mark tells us the reasons he chose to implement cloud HR technology and what business challenges have been solved by the implementation.

First business challenge solved: how many people work for Plan International, what do they work in, and what do they actually do?

Mark explains:

“HR technology gives us, ultimately, a unified view of our staff globally. Now that’s not only good in an emergency system but also for the good of the organisation – where they are, what they’re doing, what qualifications they have.”

“We invented the concept of child sponsorship back in 1937 and for 50 years that was all we did. But the reality is that in the last 28 years we’ve rapidly expanded to other forms of fundraising like large multinational grants.

“As these have come along we’ve had to expand and change our staff in different directions. We’ve also had to migrate staff from where we’ve closed down programs to where we’ve moved in to. We have to therefore look at our workforce globally and get more mobile with the workforce.

Second business challenge solved: global performance management to ensure smooth succession plans and hold people accountable for goals

Mark explains:

“The next thing was: how many people are accountable for results? We have a global performance management framework in Plan that involves setting goals at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year we review this and in many countries the results of that determine progression and salary. It was important that we aligned those processes globally.

“Last year we ran 2000 people through performance management as we rolled out the system and we finished the roll out in June this year. July 1st was our new year, so now we have 9500 on the system doing performance management, so we can look at alignment all the way from the CEO at our headquarters, down to someone working on a particular project in a particular community in Kenya, and be able to see those alignments across organisational structures, and hold people accountable for those results.”

 “These are the two big ones. Everything else is icing on the cake.”

Third business challenge solved: one common LMS across the globe.

Mark explains:

“Whichever country you’re in, you’re coming to the same portal, across a variety of topics, in one place. All learning – management, finance, programmatic work, leadership material etc – is located in one place. We ask that certain courses are taken during a specific period to ensure those in the leadership pipeline will have adequate skills – this makes it much easier.”

Fourth business challenge solved: getting rid of local systems

Mark explains:

“Getting rid of local systems is great too. We had a lot of local point solutions, so there were people in Thailand for example who were implementing performance management. It was similar to our current set-up from SuccessFactors in that people reviewed at six months and at the end of the year, and they had it in a database, but now with SuccessFactors we can retire those systems.”

“And that’s just performance management. We’ve had people do entire HRIS implementations in local territories. So getting rid of that ‘waste’ and getting rid of those core systems obviously saves us expense in both HR and IT time globally.”

Fifth business challenge solved: alignment around policies and processes

Mark explains:

“It’s great having a cloud system because we’ve configured it and basically said, “well, this is the way Plan handles hiring, or compensation, or hiring, and these are the steps you go through.”

“This puts rigour on how you actually map those areas across the 50+ countries we work in around the globe, so it makes it easier then to say, ‘one step of processes, one set of policies.’ The software supports that, and that creates a lot less duplication of effort.

 and said you know this is the way WE handle hiring, compensation planning etc and these are the steps you go through and therefore it puts rigour on how you actually map those across the over 50 countries we work in around the globe, so it makes it easier then to say ‘one set of processes, one set of polciies’ and the software actually supports that, and that creates a lot less duplication of effort, etc

Sixth business challenge solved: breathing new life into skilling up

Mark explains:

“On-the-ground staff make a learning on a basic level and feed it up and you often realise their way of doing things is superior. With a cloud-based system you can roll out that process change across the globe. We call it ‘skilling up’ in the development world.

“The technology is a great way to encourage skilling up, whether it’s an HR process or an individual with a great programme and they need a way to promote that globally.”

“We look for those wins and being aware of who’s doing what and being able to connect the networks, the people working on education, working on healthcare etc, and it’s great because we can virtually connect these people into networks. So we can say “here’s your peer group, share what you’re doing”. That leads to knowledge sharing.”

Author Profile Picture
Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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