The path to an all-star team starts by supporting the unsung heroes

No high performance team makes the journey to the top alone. HR can be central to implementing the correct tools and support for success.

Melbourne City FC CEO, Scott Munn, saw an opportunity to leverage HR to improve its football team performance by improving the performance of the employees supporting them in the background, writes Marc Havercroft

Melbourne City FC had 21 employees backing its football team in 2010. Eight years later it’s part of a global giant, City Football Group (CFG). Amid all of the changes, the CEO saw an opportunity to capitalise on its newfound global position by making a few strategic decisions at the local level.

“We were going through a huge amount of change but we had significant barriers to growth at the people and infrastructure level,” Melbourne City FC CEO, Scott Munn, says.

As one of six teams across 10 locations, and a global network of 1,200 employees, Melbourne FC was now required to report back to CFG headquarters in Manchester, UK. People now needed to collaborate with colleagues all over the world in order to get their work done.

Munn saw the need to transform the company’s approach to HR to deliver on the growth and performance that the internationally dispersed organisation – home to UK Premier League winners, Manchester City –  was looking to achieve.

His vision aligned with that of the football club’s parent company. To fulfil the potential of an integrated football powerhouse, CFG had already determined that it needed to undergo a global digital transformation. It had set its sights on becoming the most technologically advanced football organisation in the world.

“People now needed to collaborate with colleagues all over the world in order to get their work done”

“One of our primary business objectives was to reinvent the way we manage and measure performance,” Munn says. “We had to make sure we were creating an agile approach built around regular reviews and common goals, with consistent regular development conversations between employees and managers, no matter where they’re located.”

The team behind the team
The initiative was driven by a strong belief that the team behind the players on the field are unsung heroes of the game.

“The players play their role on the pitch but behind them is an incredibly broad and diverse group of employees,” Munn says. “Those staff require just as much key information, whether it be on their individual performance or on their department’s performance.”

Munn knew his team needed to be empowered and motivated. To streamline processes and engage employees across all departments, he wanted to give staff more power to drive their own performance indicators. He also wanted to gather feedback simply and quickly from managers locally and globally. In the process he hoped to reduce the number of handwritten reviews, which create security risks as hard-copy documents travel across borders.

A single system
To achieve all of this, Munn sought a single digital system where staff from across Australia and the world could manage and measure performance, undertaking reviews and carrying out hires or promotions in a fair and efficient way using the club’s rating system. The standardisation of terminology across CFG’s multiple locations was another key objective.

“The initiative was driven by a strong belief that the team behind the players on the field are unsung heroes of the game”

“We hadn’t previously been able to assess and measure staff fairly across the group. We ended up just looking on a local basis but from a global perspective it didn’t work at all, particularly when it came to collaboration,” Munn says.

The solution
In conjunction with parent CFG, Melbourne City FC embarked on an SAP SuccessFactors deployment. Benefits were quickly realised:

  • An easy fit: The interface was tailored to the look and feel of the Melbourne City FC brand, incorporating the club’s rating system to drive user adoption and acceptance.
  • The power of consistency: With common titles across the group’s multiple locations, staff have been able to align more closely and simply with colleagues across the world and cut back on redundant work. Their performance and compensation can be measured and set in a way that contributes to a greater sense of fairness and objectivity. A stronger common corporate culture has been developed.
  • Alignment: With a single system to feed into, significantly less time is being spent calibrating HR information that was being fed to CFG headquarters. This efficiency has been accompanied by fewer mistakes and stronger security around critical personal information.
  • Morale and performance uplift: Staff are more motivated than ever, knowing that their productivity and performance is being acknowledged and rewarded in a fair and consistent way. This has reduced staff turnover and unnecessary wage inflation.

Munn says the system has streamlined processes and removed obstacles to growth, boosting performance across the entire organisation.

“To streamline processes and engage employees across all departments, he wanted to give staff more power to drive their own performance indicators”

“It motivates our employees and boosts their productivity through clear objective reviews. It will reduce turnover cost and wage inflation,” he says. “We know those employees who are high performers are being rewarded and those employees who are critical to the business are being retained. It significantly reduces time and effort spent on calibration, which was previously extremely time-consuming and inefficient.”

With common terminology, global collaboration has become a lot easier.

“That helps us to very simply see who aligns with who and who is working on similar work levels, whether it’s in New York, Melbourne or Manchester. I think that’s very important because it fosters that common corporate culture,” Munn says.

Ultimately, he sees the system contributing to the most critical goal – enhancing the overall success of the football team on the field: “Irrespective of department, ultimately we all share a common goal to see the teams on the pitch perform well. SAP SuccessFactors provides key solutions to help those teams succeed.”

Scott Munn will be speaking at a series of breakfast events on 2 August (Melbourne) and 9 August (Sydney) about how digital HR is helping Melbourne City FC score goals. Click here for more information or to register.