Cloud-based HR delivers for Dexus

Real estate group rolls out Workday HCM

Rolling out a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) system has made it easier for managers at Dexus to access personnel data while also giving HR staff at the property management company more time to focus on the business’ strategic priorities.

Dexus is a real estate group that owns office and industrial properties valued at $11 billion. It also manages $11 billion of office, retail and industrial properties for clients.

It’s almost exactly a year since Dexus rolled out Workday HCM, a software as a service offering that has replaced multiple systems supporting HR functions at the ASX-listed company — including a number of spreadsheets and databases, explains Deborah Coakley. Coakley is Dexus’ executive general manager, customer and marketing.

“The concept of a single source of HR truth was perhaps the guiding light” for implementing Workday at Dexus, she explains.

“A lot of the analytics necessary to improve the way we wanted to support the business, as well as some of the everyday HR tasks, were taking a very long time and required interactions across multiple systems.”

Going to a single system was imperative both for efficiency and effectiveness.

“We wanted to enable our leaders to have much more everyday access to leadership information that was helpful to them, but at the same time, from an HR team perspective, we wanted to be a much more efficient business unit,” she says.

“We really felt that the first step in terms of the change that we wanted to make was to put ourselves in a position where we had one system.”

Moving to a cloud solution was seen an opportunity to lighten the load on Dexus’ IT team. It also offers uptime benefits because it doesn’t have to be taken offline for upgrades, Coakley explains —  “In systems I’ve used previously, upgrading was a project in itself.”

The rollout took place at breakneck speed, with Workday implemented in around four months.

“While we were wanting to integrate all of our existing data, we certainly weren’t looking to go back and integrate data that was too historic,” Coakley said.

“We want the information that was useful to us at the time and we chose a rollout plan which allowed us to get operational quickly.”

The core HR and admin functions went live at launch, but the business has continued to work on implementing other modules. The Recruiting module has gone live since launch, and Compensation will be implemented in the not-too-distant future.

One of the key benefits of the rollout has been to make HR data available to Dexus staff on mobile devices.

“It’s had a huge impact on managers or leaders being able to check information in real time in a meeting,” Coakley said. “When they’re discussing promotions or anything to do with individual salaries — those sorts of things — the information for their team is available to them.

“The ability to approve leave and manage the timetable over the Christmas break is right at their fingertips.”

There is a concept of “virtual self-service”, she added, which means routine activities such as obtaining a payslip can be done without having to phone up payroll staff.

For the People and Culture team, there’s less need to “act as a help desk” and it has helped free up staff time to focus on strategic priorities.

“One of the efficiencies that we wanted was to free our business partnering teams and our HR admin teams from routine questions,” she said.

The rollout of Workday has helped them focus on “more high end, high-level advisory questions or requests coming from the business — and we’ve certainly seen a big change in the sort of requests that come though.”

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