The Hershey Company employs roughly 15,000 people around the world, but just a few years ago, the multinational candymaker was using an HR platform that dated back to before some of its youngest employees could sink their teeth into that iconic milk chocolate bar.
“HR was actually working off a system that hadn’t significantly changed for twenty years. It was highly customized, couldn’t really do everything we wanted it to do, and certainly couldn’t get to any futuristic, on-demand support, or advanced employee self-service,” recalls Sean Kirlin, Hershey’s director for HR operations.
So in 2016, Hershey embarked on a massive resource planning and platform change that encompassed a number of areas, including HR. As a result, employees had to master a new system, SuccessFactors, for handling everything from changing dependents on insurance forms to hiring someone new in their department. That shift impacted everyone from Hershey’s HR business partners to managers and production workers.
“It was a huge change for us, and we were hoping as part of it to remove HR business partners as a middleman for common transactions and enable manager and employee self-service,” Kirlin explains. “It was a monumental change management task not just in changing the system, but also changing the roles within transactions.”
In those situations, many companies may turn to traditional change management methods such as instructional videos and knowledge articles. But Hershey’s HR team knew that would not be enough to shepherd everyone through such a significant shift. Rather, Hershey imagined an innovative approach to this HR transformation that would provide employees with real-time guidance through a new system—one that would empower them to perform the newly expanded set of processes and transactions.
That’s where WalkMe comes in. WalkMe is a pioneer of the digital adoption platform (DAP) that acts as a real-time road map to help users navigate web-based programs, software, and systems. Through the platform’s Walk-Thrus, users can navigate an online process from start to finish following clear and straightforward directions given in the Walk-Thrus tip balloons overlaid on the screen. Walk-Thrus have become an effective means for support, training, and promotional purposes.
Now used by thousands of enterprises globally across all industries, WalkMe provides pop-up messages, reminder notifications, and familiar tooltips that employees can access to get additional information about an unfamiliar term or item.
By using the system, employees are more productive and more likely to self-serve, and businesses can appreciate the full value of digital assets.
“It helped us achieve an employee experience that wasn’t previously possible,” Kirlin says. “When employees are in our newly implemented system, they know they’re only one click away from getting immediate assistance via WalkMe.”
Across industries, the exponential number of changing platforms is leaving employees overwhelmed and underproductive. WalkMe changes all of that by providing a virtual layer of proactive help and guidance at the exact point and time that they are needed, which ensures users can easily get the right information at the right spot. WalkMe also seamlessly helps employees access systems in their preferred language, change personal information, or complete more complex transactions—such as processing annual performance reviews and incentive payments.
While WalkMe has only been in place since 2017, Hershey is seeing strong employee engagement with the platform, especially at times when the HR department is typically flooded with calls from managers trying to navigate parts of the HR system they only access annually.
“We used it to support all of our year-end processes. Performance management was executed with support from WalkMe, and there was a significant decrease in laborious one-on-one support thanks to our employees’ ability to self-serve,” Kirlin says. “The impact was so substantial that Hershey decided to invest in WalkMe for a handful of SAP enterprise applications to drive additional learning and productivity gains for our employees.”
Rather than seeing their expanded capabilities as a burden, managers are finding that the new HR system and the on-demand guidance provided by WalkMe allows them more freedom and flexibility in the way they work. For example, managers can work directly with the company’s recruitment team to find and hire a new employee for their department rather than using an HR business partner as a bridge to execute system transactions.
“They can do things themselves without having to pick up the phone or send an email and rely upon someone,” Kirlin says. “So, the real selling point for managers was more efficiency and self-sufficiency.”
With about 15,000 employees globally, Hershey’s greatest asset is its people, which is why the company invests in employee empowerment as a strategy for the long-term. Hershey’s innovative approach to HR through smart investments, like its partnership with WalkMe, has allowed the company to deliver on its employee commitment.
Photo: Courtesy of LinkedIn
At WalkMe, we make interfacing with digital systems easy for everyone, allowing enterprises and their employees to keep pace with the speed of innovation and transformation. WalkMe is honored to be selected as a key partner in implementing successful change management that concurrently reduces the training and support burden for Hershey and other Fortune 500 enterprises.