5 keys to the successful business transformation of IRT

A business transformation program with 5 key elements has been critical to the success of aged care provider IRT, according to its head of HR, who explained that the company’s people & culture function has played a pivotal role in the delivery and execution of the program.

“The aged care industry is going through enormous disruption,” said Campbell McGlynn, executive general manager, people and culture for IRT, which is a community-owned provider of seniors’ lifestyle and care headquartered in Wollongong.

“Regulatory changes have seen funds for community care or at-home services, which were previously distributed through care providers, being issued directly to customers.”

There has also been a shift in customer expectations since baby boomers entered the market, according to McGlynn, who explained that they expect services to be delivered on their terms, which has led to innovative new business models where care workers and customers can contact each other directly through websites.

“Together, these changes have led to a flood of market entrants, with 120 new service providers launching in the past six months,” said McGlynn.

“These factors are forcing a drastic rethink of service provision in the Australian aged care industry.”

IRT, which employs about 2300 people across its operations in NSW, QLD and the ACT, responded to these changes with a comprehensive business transformation program focusing on five key areas:

  • Customer centricity: Mapping customer journeys to improve the experience
  • Innovation: Investing in the for new business models
  • Business excellence: Improving back-office operations and driving out costs
  • Culture: Encouraging staff to embrace new ways of working
  • Company: Talking with the board and membership to change their view of the world

“The aged care industry is going through enormous disruption”

IRT’s people and culture function was a driving force for much of the business transformation, according to McGlynn, who said the areas of culture and business excellence for the HR function (with technology as a key enabler) were particularly important.

“I saw an opportunity to improve HR systems and reduce paper-based processes,” he said.

He explained that the IRT executive team identified three goals that would be used as the basis for determining the target culture:

  1. To be the most recognised seniors’ lifestyle and care brand among its customers
  2. To create the business of tomorrow
  3. To improve the business of today

After going through a thorough review process at the start of last year, the executive team determined that IRT needed to be customer-centric and innovative above all else.

While everybody was onboard with customer-centricity, McGlynn said some staff needed support to align with a culture of innovation and what that meant for the business.

“We had to enhance empowerment and accountability before going after customer-centricity and innovation,” he said.

To assist in the process, McGlynn said IRT implemented SAP SuccessFactors as part of a broader change program to improve these aspects of the business’ culture.

“We used the performance and goals module to increase accountability amongst our management ranks,” he said.

“A number of their goals related directly to our transformation program, including our culture index that measures key target behaviours like taking responsibility for your actions and bringing the voice of the customer into the decision”.

“There are so many touch-points with the IT department, finance and so on that workflow processes can fall through the cracks”

Attention then turned to business excellence and improving back-office operations to improve efficiency, and IRT implemented SAP SuccessFactors’ employee central module in February 2017.

This was integrated with a new payroll system, to further improve cost of service and digital efficiency standards, and efficiencies delivered through the business excellence program have delivered annual savings of $740,000.

More than 2000 of IRT’s employees don’t work with computers, so McGlynn said there was some concern about getting people to embrace new technology.

To help address this, the people and culture team bought 40 Samsung tablets to support training, but McGlynn said these adoption fears proved to be unfounded.

“We’re providing employees with consumer-grade digital solutions, so filling in a leave form is a similar experience to internet banking,” he said.

“Everybody has smartphones and they were all happy to download the SAP SuccessFactors app.

“Now they can book leave while sitting in front of the TV or on the bus going home from work.”

IRT’s people and culture team is now focusing on improving recruitment and onboarding processes, including succession planning and talent development, workforce planning, performance analytics and compensation.

“Onboarding is a handful for my team because it’s currently very manual,” McGlynn said.

“There are so many touch-points with the IT department, finance and so on that workflow processes can fall through the cracks.”

Although IRT has made significant progress in a relatively short timeframe, McGlynn said there have been some key learnings and he advised anyone going through similar business transformation programs to conduct detailed project mapping.

“You need to take an enterprise-wide view in case there are opportunities to integrate with other projects,” he said.

“Plan thoroughly and avoid biting off more than you can chew.”

For more information on SAP SuccessFactors, the workforce of the future, the role of technology and what these mean for HR, visit SAP HR InsightsImage source: iStock