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“Before selecting SumTotal, I evaluated Workday and SAP Success Factors.” Ghie explains, “SumTotal’s learning capabilities were far superior to the other tools. I knew it would make my life easier, and would drive a cultural change, not just automate processes.”
Ghie Lara, AVP for Human Resources, Administration, and OD
Ghie Lara couldn’t have been more excited to join Alsons Power Group. It was the first time she had worked for a local company steeped in tradition and family culture. Best of all, their work was critically important to the local economy. Everything that made it wonderful also made it incredibly challenging.
“Every process was totally manual. Performance reviews, recruiting, training, all of it was put to pen and paper. And without the personal relationships that bonded so much of the staff, I was worried I couldn’t get buy-in to create a new vision”, explained Ghie Lara, AVP for Human Resources, Administration, and OD.
Just three weeks into the job, she attempted to resign. Lucky for her and the entire team, Ghie’s boss convinced her to stay the course. She went to work building a solid business case for transforming their human resources function into a modern workplace.
Succession planning became a cornerstone of the effort. For many power generation facilities, plant managers and engineers are nearing retirement. Without a data-informed succession plan, the organization’s future was at risk. Traditional performance reviews were completed in Excel spreadsheets, and everyone was simply rated “excellent.” The status quo hadn’t prioritized development, something they would need as their most experienced staff was getting ready to hand over management to new talent.
Ghie set out to find a partner that could support her vision for integrated talent development. It would have to address performance appraisals, succession planning, training, and compensation. “Before selecting SumTotal, I evaluated Workday and SAP Success Factors.” Ghie explains, “SumTotal’s learning capabilities were far superior to the other tools. I knew it would make my life easier, and would drive a cultural change, not just automate processes.”
“SumTotal has been there for us every step of the way. Their partnership has been as good post-sale as it was during our evaluation process and really stands out from other vendors. If we hadn't started our digital transformation journey two years ago, we would never have survived the COVID-19 pandemic."
STRATEGIC FIRST STEPS DROVE A BIG CULTURE SHIFT
When you have a complete talent development platform at your disposal, it can be tempting to reframe all of your processes at once, but Ghie knew that would create backlash at Alsons Power Group. Instead, she prioritized skills development that would have the most impact. By focusing on communication skills such as giving presentations for engineers, and advanced Excel courses for Finance, IT, and Sales and Service teams that came with their Skillsoft content subscription, the team quickly embraced the power of learning. From there, Ghie and her small team of three were able to embark on a strategic planning process that would impact the entire organization. “We’re not a technology company, so we had to think carefully about how we introduced automation to the team. The time we took to pre-load applications and train adoption ambassadors was instrumental to our success. But without the user-friendly interface SumTotal provided, we would never have gotten so far so fast."