Hello and welcome everyone. I’d like to thank you for joining us in today’s webinar. We are joined by Michele Terry, the global manager of Onboarding Technologies at GE. She’ll be talking about how they leverage Strategic Onboarding on a global scale to create meaningful journeys in local languages to support their company’s mission and uncover $6.5 million in ROI. My name is Kelly Karmody and I’ll be moderating today’s webinar. The session is being recording so you can expect an email with a link to the recording tomorrow around this time. Immediately following today’s presentation, we’re going to go ahead and dive right into a question and answer session with our presenter. So as we go through today’s webinar, please feel free to submit any questions which you might have in the questions area, in the console located on the right hand side of your screen and like I said, we’ll be happy to address those at the end.
Now I would like to give you a little bit of context around GE and the awards that they won at Connections this year. So GE won our Strategic ROI Award as part of the Talent Acquisition Award at this year’s Connections user conference in Orlando. The Strategic ROI Awards honors a standout SilkRoad client who has provided measurable financial return to the organization by transforming talent management transactions into a strategic employee-centric experience at scale. So now without further adieu, I’d like to hand things over to our presenter today, Michele Terry, welcome Michele.
Thank you so much Kelly, I appreciate the introduction. Hello everyone, I’m really excited to tell you guys and dive into our life cycle so far and how we saved $6.5 million in ROI. It’s really been exciting and to be at Connections this year and to win this award was amazing. So thank you again for the opportunity and for awarding us. That has been just a great thing, so a little bit about GE before we get started into all the details around our Onboarding process. We are now the world’s digital, industrial company. You’re going to hear that a lot when you start listening into things about GE. We are re-branding and re-presenting ourselves and we did too and any company that’s been around over a 100 years, you have to rebrand yourself and stay along with the times or you wouldn’t still be here. So it’s pretty amazing what we did and how we are constantly evolving.
Today our portfolio is made up of 11 different ISG’s and we’re constantly buying more, so things change very rapidly at GE. You will see us acquire businesses. One of our most recent acquisitions that we’re currently working on right now is Baker Hughes. They’re going to be Baker Hughes, a GE company, so we’re really excited about having them come along. Along with their other businesses like power, renewable energy, oil and gas, aviation, transportation, healthcare, capital, and digital, which another one of our bigger, newer businesses is digital. We still have our lighting in current businesses as well. So really a great portfolio here and very proud to say that I work for GE. We do have a global footprint. We’re in 251 countries with job openings. We’ve got 3,800 jobs current available and posted. All kinds of facilities across the world so we definitely have a big global footprint. There’s really not a place in the world that I would travel that I can’t find a GE person to connect with which is pretty amazing when you think about that. When you think I could go anywhere in the world and I can find another GE person, that’s pretty cool.
As we took that big global footprint and thought oh my goodness, how are we going to implement a new onboarding system, and what are our challenges today? As you can see our hiring volume is high in promotions and so it exceeded our current system capability and capacity which really was extremely time-consuming. We had a lot of different workflow through a thing called life support central. Some people had to access databases, they were tracking things on it Excel sheets, you name it there’s really no consistency and no global experience, and no global way of tracking everything that we did. It was like, oh your location has its own thing. We tried but it just wasn’t sustainable without a good tool to do it in. So those were some of the challenges that we faced that we knew, you know what, we’ve got to face these head on and we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to do it. So that takes us into our strategy.
We knew we had a ton of automation that we could do. We knew that we needed to get hires where they hit the ground running on day one. We need our people, we’re filling positions. We have a job for them to do and we want them to be productive on day one. We also noticed that in that time frame of giving someone offer before they start, the engagement wasn’t there and we would get turnovers. We would have people that was said yes to our job and they before they start on day one they’d be gone. And that was very sad because you wasted all your time, your money and your resources, and you lost a great candidate and now you’ve got to start over. So how can we how can we stop that? Why, why are people doing that? And it was like radio silence. We didn’t hear anything out of you. It was like, yeah you got this job, see you in three weeks, see you in two weeks, whatever, depending on your country and what type of time you have to get background checks and drug screens and things done. So we wanted to reduce that turnover and we needed a holistic way of doing this that showed our branding, that showed our company strategy. And we had a good experience for all hires, because as you can imagine the other way, some places did it well, other places not so much so we wanted all of our hires to have a great experience.
So talking about that employee experience, what do we want that to show in our tool and how can we make it global, show our diversity, show our culture, show about our businesses, but not be so ingrained that it’s overwhelming. Just enough to get the person acclimated but not overwhelm them. So one thing is is that we have a culture page and we tell you about our culture and we link back to GE.com where we have more culture information, more things that are maybe country specific, but we keep our tool at a very global level for the most part and then we link out to other places where you can search on country-specific or even location-specific items. We give our history. We’re very proud of our history. We’re extremely proud to say we’ve been here for over a 125 years and we want to be around for another 125.
Another thing that people wanted to know a lot about was when I talked about all those different things that GE is into, all of our different businesses. Typically when a person applies for a GE job, they know the GE business they’ve applied to. They may not know the big GE umbrella and so our businesses page gives a little overview of each business so you can really start to grasp what type of company it is that you have joined, and then there is a small message from our CEO as well.
The other part that we wanted to do was we want to align our hires with a buddy. We are still not a 100% great at this but we are working towards it and getting better every single day. We want to make sure that every hire has somebody to help them out on their first day, to tell them those things that, well this is how this works and this is what this means. And nothing that someone would just be able to see right outside so it’s one of those things that we want to be able to say, okay here is really how it works. A little peek under the covers so they can start becoming acclimated. We also linked our social media outlets. We want them before day one to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. Look us up on Instagram, Snapchat all those great things. Come with us, join us. These are the things that we’re putting out there. And then a little bit of country-specific information is we have links to their benefits information and benefits overview so those are the types of things that we have out there.
We do have different tasks and roles and things that have to be accomplished per location or department. So maybe everyone in this one IFG, what we call our industry focus groups, to one of our businesses. They have a certain task that no one else does because maybe for example aviation has a lot of government contracts. So we have to do lots of things around exports controls when it comes to aviation businesses. Other businesses don’t have as much of that. So we do have things that are very much specialized. So we wanted to make that employee feel welcome, warmed and energized and ready to go on that first day, and be excited to be part of our business.
So our global roll out, you say, okay that’s all great Michele but how did you get there? How did you get all this done? So our phases, we have four phases to roll this out. And all four of these are always going at the exact same time. And I’ll explain that better in one of the following slides. But our four phases, let’s start with that. Our discovery phase is our first one. In the discovery phase, that’s when we go out to our countries and we say, okay tell us. Let me see your documents today and I also say at this point, this is where we review things and make sure that they have standardized. When we first go into a country, a lot of times we’ll hear, well this location has form A and then there’s another variation of form A in this other location and then another business doesn’t use it at all, but they have another form that’s very similar to that but they call it something different. And so when we saw that, we were like, whoa, that’s not going to work. That’s too much to keep up. Everybody needs to agree. I don’t care if you say hello, welcome or welcome, Susie. Either way it’s the same thing. But we need to come to an agreement on what we want this document to look like. So that’s a lot of leg work that countries have to do before they can get out of discovery. And so sometimes we have a very strict timeline and we’ll about that timeline in more detail. But there are times when we have to make a very difficult call and say you know what, you’re not ready, you need to go get your stuff together and then we’ll get you back in discovery phase a little bit later when you are ready. So as I start talking through these, one thing you’re going to find is that we have an extremely stringent process and it may even seem harsh to an extent, but in order to be successful and roll out 80 countries, we’re live in over 80 countries now in less than three years, that’s that’s pretty amazing. And in order to really do that, you have to be stringent, you have to stick to your timeline and you have to be fair but tough at the same time. So the discovery phase is where we’re getting everything together. We review with the country, the functional team, the technical team and the SilkRoad team. And another thing to keep in mind as you’re going through all of this, when I talk about how we did it is remember that we are all partners in this and our main goal is to get the country to live in GE Hire. So we take the SilkRoad Onboarding and GE loves to brand everything and so it’s branded as GE Hire. So whenever you hear me reference GE Hire that’s our onboarding platform that’s powered by SilkRoad. So we have the SilkRoad team, we had a fabulous implementation specialist. He’s along with the ride on every part of this with us. We have a technical team, what I would call a team here at GE that we work with because we do see data back and forth between our HIS system and our document and policy system. And then we also have our functional lead which is myself and another lady named Michelle Sayer, and then we have our Country/Regional league. So anytime we go into these countries all of us have to partner and keep our focus on that main goal being getting the country up and running, and being successfully launched with GE Hire. So that’s the discovery phase, get all of our requirements gather. Get everything that we need collected, so like our discovery document, our E-form, specs, mock-ups, all those things. We submit those things to our technical team and to SilkRoad and at that point we’re into what we call our build phase.
In our build phase, our GE technical team is building the interfaces so we’re taking data out of an HRS system that’s been fed in through an applicant tracking system, and everything else. We’ve got all this data. We’ve got to get it into our onboarding tool. Our hire is eventually going to get us all of our information and we’ve got to get it out and back into our HRS system so that’s what our GE technical team is doing. It’s building those interfaces. The SilkRoad team is building the E-form. There is advanced validation on some E-forms, some of them are more heavily technical than others. So the teams working on building those along with our profile requirements. And our functional team is building our work flows, creating a task, updating a portal, creating all of our portal content. And you’ve got to remember, we’re in over 20 languages so depending on the country, that country have three workflows. So they may have a workflow in English, French, and Spanish as an example and so we have to make sure that we have all those work flows for that country built in all the different languages. So that’s what we’re doing in the build phase.
The UAT phase, the first thing I’ll tell you is always have a kick-off call with your countries and always continually monitor and push them to test early. If you just give them a date two to three weeks out, two to three days before that date’s here is when you’re going to get all your tickets and notice, and everybody is going to be pushing to get things done. Doesn’t work that way, you can’t turn things around that quick. So we had a kick-off call and then at least two calls every week during our UAT period with the countries that are in UAT to say, how you doing, let’s work through our tickets. And on those calls there’s GE functional, GE Technical, and SilkRoad all on those calls working together to make sure that we are pushing these countries through.
We then get into our launch phase and our launch phase is where we test everything, we’re ready to move into production, and we’re ready to start sending true hires through the process, not temp hires. Now we’re ready to start sending all hires through and we launch once a month. So once a month, we have a release, what we call monthly release where we launch people into production, and also throughout all of this we’re also maintaining all of our other countries that are already live. So there maybe improvements, enhancements, et cetera that have to go in that we launch on a monthly basis. Once a month every Saturday morning, I get to spend time with SilkRoad and my GE family, about an hour on Saturday morning to launch all of these things. And we do a little virtual celebration, it may just be a little cheer, tell a little story, talk about what we’re going to do the rest of the weekend. And it’s one of those things that our virtual celebration is fun but never lose focus on hey, we’re not just work horses that turn out work. We’re people and we need to celebrate those things. So that’s that we do with our launch. So that’s the four stages as things go through and as we go through those phases, we have the wave concept.
This is where I was talking when I say all these different phases we are going through. At one point in time we’re in all four of these. We’re in all of them so you can see that here with our chart so have some countries, and typically each wave has three to four countries in it. We say three to five, three is really our sweet spot. Four is not bad, five we’re crazy people. We try to stay at that three to four level but we will take five countries per wave if we need to and we did a lot of that at the beginning in order to rush and get everybody up onto this platform because we knew it was going to be fabulous. So we have discovery, build, UAT, launch and deploy. Launch and deploy and transition into our regular support model all going on at the same. So you can see how our timelines here go across and how we have multiple waves going on at the same time. And it’s all the same teams that cover all these waves so one hour we might be talking discovery. Two hours later we’re talking build and then the third hour of the day, we’re talking UAC with another group.
We’ve constantly got about 15-20 countries influx at a time. So you may say, well how long does it take? How long is each wave? How long is one of these cycles? Each wave is about 12 weeks, so it takes about three months to get a wave from discovery to launch. So that’s, again, five or six countries about 70 E-forms, we’ve only done six a couple of times. It’s more like five pushing it, four is the best so we try to stay in there. It’s one of those things where we learn. We learned a lot along the way. This had been tweaked many times. We did not come up with this perfect plan right out of the gates. We had to learn and how to tweak as we went through like discovery took a little bit longer but develop was a little bit quicker if we get a good discovery. Things along those lines so when you look at this, this isn’t something we came out of the gates and figured out. It took time to tweak it and really learn of how things are going.
This is our detailed project plan. And this is where I say we really, really stay on schedule. If a country does not make a timeline then if they’re not ready to move onto the next portion then they’re out. They have to start back over on another wave. And it’s not fun to have to tell a country that but the thing you have to remember is if I let one wave, one group push the timeline, it’s going to push it for everybody else in the future. It really has a huge ripple effect or wave effect on that as well. It’s one of those things where you can not let one country or one area hold you back. If they’re not ready, you have to tell them I’m sorry, you have to get off the wave now. You need to go back to the beach, get yourself together and be ready to catch the next waves as they’re coming in, so that’s one thing to remember.
So we’ve done all of this hard work and told you what we have to do to get there. So what’s the impact? So we’ve gained a ton of productivity. Oh my gosh, for both the HR team and for the employee, so hires love it. Think about it, on your first day at work, how many times did you use to walk in, you’d walk into some type of conference room, you sit down and there would be a stack of papers on every desk or table or whatever they have set up for you today. There would be a stack of paper and you’re like oh my gosh, if I have to write my home address one more time I’m going to scream. You don’t have to do that. You put it in one time and it’s pre-populated on all your E-forms, it is fabulous. The hire doesn’t have to type things or write things multiple times. They don’t have that stack of paperwork on day one. They sign everything electronically. You have advanced electronic signature. We also have qualified electronic signatures in some areas so there’s a difference in those and more than happy to talk about that in more details if you’re interested. But we do have qualified electronic signatures in some of our countries and advanced in others. We have eliminated kind of costs when we start thinking about costs. Think about if you had to mail something up to your hires so you want to send them a pack of paperwork even so you try to get that paperwork done prior to day one without a system or a tool. You’re either FedExing, UPS, somehow you’re shipping your post. You get your post cost for getting there. You have to pay for cost to print it. The paper that it’s on, the ink, then also typically you’re sending some type of envelope or packaging and prepaid envelope with that to say, now send it back to us. Then you have someone sorting through it saying oh, they didn’t really sign here. They were supposed to sign here, oh they were supposed to put a number here. They didn’t follow my little arrows I put on there. None of that, you don’t have any of that when you have a system because it does it all for you. And then the consistency of the brand.
When you have everyone doing their own thing the next thing you know is you try to rebrand something, you try to reinvent yourself. You’re coming out with something new and you say, hey, go to new branding. Well it didn’t reach Johnny who got branding from 1982 still on his computer that he’s using. And so you finally run into him, you’re like, what in the world is that branding? You had no consistent way of doing it and no consistent way of changing those things. And no consistent way of making sure all your hires are having a great experience. Those are some of the impacts when we start thinking about how much money we’ve saved and where did we find that $6.5 million. It wasn’t in one thing. It was in all of those things put together.
So the voice of our customer. When you start to hear these things, it puts a huge smile on my face. It makes me so happy. We have people saying, I wish we had something like GE Hire in every process. It’s a tremendous improvement. All my information is in one place. I used this to complete my paperwork and it was awesome. I am so glad, I was a rehired employee and I was here five years ago and I sat down at the desk and had a big stack of paperwork. It was like by the end of the day, I felt like I bought a house and signed my life away. It’s user friendly, it’s easy, I could do it from my couch. All of those great things. These are the reasons that we do it. When you start seeing the customer feedback and you start seeing how much hires appreciate it and the HR folks appreciate it, because they’re no longer chasing people. Saying, I need this document, I need you to sign it. They’re no longer having to scan something and upload it somewhere else or email it, take a picture of it, whatever. So the voice of the customer when you start, once you really get this implemented and you start seeing the feedback. It makes you extremely proud of what you’ve done and it also makes you realize what impacts you’ve really had to employees.
So a little bit about what our pages look like and we got a new CEO, so now we have John Flannery’s picture up here but this is Jeff Immelt, so I didn’t have time to get that on here. So here’s Jeff Immelt and our talking head that we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from this. If you Google website “talking head,” you’ll find the company that we use. You actually get to pick out your model so you can listen to them while talking. They have models that have different language capability out there, all the different ethnicities. All those great things, do you want a female, do you want a male, whatever. You can pick your models. You write a script and then it will play when the page comes up, it will render. And so our model, when she first comes on, she lets everyone know that the task list is across the top of the page. There’s a place I can upload questions, you get quick navigation. It’s about a 35, 40 second video of her talking then it’s minimized and she goes away. It’s really great, our hires seem to love her. They think that it is really cool that a person came out and talked to them on the screen. It’s pretty cool that it’s there. You can see our social media and you can see the task list. This is our first page. Underneath the homepage, there are several other pages. One of them is called our culture. It’s a sub-nav off the homepage and this is where we talk about our different culture and we link out to that culture site that I was talking about. So again, we try to keep it very small in GE hire and then link out to where they can find more information that they can read about a little bit later when they have some more time. We talk about our history and how GE was founded. We have a little quite from our CEO on there and then we also again talk about our businesses. We talked about that a little bit earlier today, but it was, here’s our businesses, here’s a little bit about each one of them so that they can learn about our businesses because when you come to GE, it can be extremely overwhelming to learn about all the different businesses and places that GE is involved in.
Another one is the employee document upload page, with our little model on here that talks about how to upload documents. Employees no longer have trouble. As first, they would come here and some, not all employees are quite as tech savvy as others. And so this page might be a little bit overwhelming for some folks especially when you see things like choose file. For whatever reasons, sometimes that makes people nervous. So we just said okay, click the choose file button. The document will be on your computer, navigate to it, click on it. Choose your document type and hit upload. Just having that little person on the screen say exactly what the words say, it made all the difference in the world. She was money well spent for all of the pages but especially this page because this is the one that seemed to make hires a little antsy. And like I said, especially some of our hires that maybe are not quite as technical savvy as others. Sometimes there’s that stereotype of that maybe a manufacturing type position couldn’t do this. We have blown that out of the water. They absolutely can do this.
The other thing is our application is a 100% mobile friendly so you do not have to have a PC to do this. You can do it from your phone, from an iPad or Android, any type of mobile device. And believe it or not, you can actually do it from your gaming system. We have lots of (mumbles) interns and it has Google Analytics that we can talk about a little bit. Google Analytics is free for the base model, and you feel put a little pad that’s sitting on the page that you can see how long a person is on a page, what they’re doing on the page, and what type of device they use to access the page. And so what we’ve done is we do have hires and they’re typically, my guess is co-ops and interns. But they’re doing it from their Xbox and from their PlayStation, which is pretty interesting to think that you’re filling out your onboarding documents for GE on your Xbox but it can be done. So that’s pretty cool though, that shows you how they’re versed and how any type of system that can hit the internet can work. And employees are finding all kinds of very creative and new ways to interact with the tool, and those are things they wouldn’t have been able to do before.
So how do we calculate our ROI, Return On Investment? We saved $6.5 million over three years. So what we did in 2016, we processed 38,000 hires through this. We have 21 different languages, getting ready to be 24. We’ve got three more coming in. We’ve got 78 countries in production. Getting ready to be 82, if I’m not mistaken. I have to go look at my numbers, but I think it will be 82 this month. We’ve eliminated over 1200 pages of paper. So think about that, and when I say eliminated, I’m not talking about like taking 10 hires and each hire gets 10 pieces of paper, that’s 100 pages. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking pure documents like, okay we had this document in this country and that was three pages. Another document, that’s four pages. Add those up and any time (mumbles) the paper we say, globally. When you start applying to the employee level, it’s even greater. So we’ve eliminated over 1200 pieces of paper that no one has to look at or fill out anymore. They’re all electronic. In the United States and Puerto Rico, you have your I-9 process and GE also participates in E-Verify because we are a government contractor, so we have to and we processed over 26,000 people through the I-9 E-Verify process in 2016, which is huge when you start thinking about the cost that can come and stiff penalties that can come if you’re not 100% compliant. And an I-9 E-Verify process, especially with the state of Washington these days, that’s getting more and more rigor around it all the time. That is huge to be able to say, I know SilkRoad’s doing it. They’re working with the government. They’re working with DHS, Department of Homeland security to ensure that the I-9 is 100% compliant and that the E-Verify process is as well. That’s a huge win and a huge amount of savings when you think about if you had to do all that manually, what’s your return on investment is. Think about if you have an I-9 and you were doing it still on paper. You forget a hire date in the center of section two, that can be a $3000 fine depending on how many of those you forgot it on. The date, you put in 8/3 but you forgot to put in the year, that’s a fine if you get audited. So when you start thinking about all those things you get away from paper and you get to automated processes, it’s huge when you start thinking about the savings. Even maybe not saving it today but saving it in the future in case of an audit, that becomes huge as well.
Our reduced cycle time is about 15 minutes per hire. We’ve almost saved an hour. Almost an hour per hire, so when you start thinking about that, if you have five documents and you have to store those somewhere and you have to scan them and then upload them. You have to check to make sure that the hires sign everywhere, dot every I, cross every T, put their dates in. All those things and we do have to take it if get taken to a court of law anywhere. You may have to produce those documents. If the hire didn’t sign them in the right places or whatnot, you may not win your case. And now, with SilkRoad, you absolutely do. You know that signature is where it’s suppose to be. You know the date after it because the tool forces it. It’s huge, we have 516, and that’s growing every day, 516 custom E-forms. Again, those are country specific, they could be business specific if we need to. We try to keep them at the country level. But country specific documents so if you think about United States, you have things like state notifications. Like the California and the New York and the Washington, D.C. state notifications. You have the New Jersey equity notice. There’s so many of them that you have to keep up with and then in addition to those, SilkRoad does those.
In addition to those, you also have things like a proprietary agreement. You have maybe a spirit and letter integrity type agreement that you want everyone to sign. You can have those built in custom E-forms. When we get outside the United States and Canada, there are many other legal forms and data and documents you have to collect, and you can build E-forms for those. And E-forms are smart, it can say that this has to be exactly nine digits long or it has to start with a letter and end with a letter and be ending numeric in the middle. It can do all of those things. So you’re stopping someone from having to check all that and trying to figure it out on their own. So it’s a huge savings when you start to think of all of those things.
So we’ve had a lot of lessons learned along the way. I’m going to go over these and these are my “ah-ha” moments that I’ve had along the way. And those things that I think, you know what if someone said, what have you learned in the three years you’ve been working on this project and bringing GE along on this journey? These are my “ah-ha” moments and the things that I can think of. And one is stay nimble and move quickly. You want to avoid complexity. You want to enforce timelines and makes hard decisions. I’ve already touched on that a little bit. But again, to reinforce that, if I didn’t do those things and you don’t have a really strong team that’s together on that, you can’t have one person wavering on your core team. And what I call my core team is my GE IT technical team, my functional team, and then my region leaders along with my SilkRoad partnership, my implementation specialists. If we’re not a good strong core team, when we get out to these countries, we’re going to fall apart. So it’s making sure that you’re all on the same page and that goes into our partnership and our trust and our transparency. I may not always like the message that I have to deliver, even to SilkRoad. I may have to come home and say, oh, gosh, you’re not going to believe this but I need a favor, I need this or that done. And typically, if they can, they will do it for us. I’ve never have them tell me no. And then on the flip side though, there may be something that SilkRoad says, that’s going to take us a little bit longer and I know that’s not an easy message to come tell a customer. But if we had that trust and transparency and we understand and we talk about that, that’s huge. I made my relationship with SilkRoad a partnership not a dictatorship and I think that’s extremely important in order to be able to be successful and move extremely quickly, and we make decisions together.
There are times a country will come to me and give me an issue and I’m like, oh goodness, I don’t know. And so I have a weekly call with my technical team, with my functional team and my SilkRoad team. Weekly calls just the leaders and I’ll say okay, here’s the things that have come up over the last week. We need to talk about, we need to figure out. We need to see what’s going on. We need to also talk about the SilkRoad enhancements that are coming up. Every quarter SilkRoad is improving their tool. We need to talk about those things, learn about them, know when they’re going into test so that we can test things, know when they’re moving them into production. That’s what we cover on that weekly call and I would say that call is very, very key. If we don’t have that call, I can feel that things will start to fall apart. We went a couple weeks without a call due to vacations or what not and when you get back it like, oh my gosh, I’ve got a laundry list. Where have you been all my life? It’s like I missed you and so it’s very important, that call is, in learning and adapting. And I have to also tell you that SilkRoad has been fabulous with this. It’s one of those things where together with our partnership and staying nimble to move quickly, we’ve also learned that we have to learn and adapt and it’s one of my favorite what they call GE beliefs. And it’s one of those things that I find that plays well in all parts of my life, not just work. Is that I’ve got to learn to take things as they are and adapt to them. And do not be afraid to pivot and what I mean by pivot is, is if you think about your playing basketball and you’ve got your one foot playing it and that’s your pivot foot. And you can turn those circles as long as you don’t move that one foot. Well that’s kind of GE Hires. GE Hires is our main thing but I can pivot around and make things within that tool work. And so we make may try something one way and say oh, not working so good. We thought that would work better or we don’t like the way that responds or acts. We don’t like the results we’re getting. We’ll pivot, we’ll figure out what else to do. It’s great and that’s another thing we do there. We could call, we brainstorm about ideas. And encourage ideas from everyone. That’s the other thing that I do, I have a monthly user call so all my countries across the world. I have an a.m. and p.m. call, so a.m. is my a.m. and p.m. is my p.m. But in other parts of the world it’s their a.m. And they come on and they can tell me what’s going well. What’s not going so well, what can we do better and it’s also my time to tell them about new things that are coming out that we’ve found and they can share across the countries. Because something they’re doing in China may be something that you learn from that you say oh, I need to apply in the United States or I need to apply that in Brazil and Chile or over in the U.K. what not. So we really use that to learn and adapt from those type of calls, so I do have that. And then also I have a weekly regional leader’s call so a call where I don’t have any of my SilkRoad partners on, none of my countries on. A true regional strategic call to say okay here’s where we’re at today. Where do we want to be at five years down the road and how we’re going to get there. So we do have those as well and all of those I’ve learned a ton from.
Some key takeaways, this is one of those, oh take a picture of it screenshots. And I love these when I’m going to webinars and presentations and I wanted to make sure I included one is to say what would I tell you. And so it’s strong project leaders help ensured timelines are met. If you don’t have strong leaders, again, functional, technical, SilkRoad, you’re not going to make it or you’re not going to make it in a true timely fashion. All areas working as a cohesive team. Again, you’ve got to be partners in this. You can’t be enemies, you can’t have your backs to each other saying nope, this is where I put my foot in the ground, there are your (mumbles). It cannot be like that. You have to work as a cohesive team and that runs into trust and transparency. You have to be able to trust the person you know. Not all the messages are fun to deliver, believe me, I’ve had to deliver a lot of them where I’m just dreading the conversation. But you’ve got to do it, and when you start opening up those gates and you take down that barricade and that wall a little bit and say look, I’m going to trust you and I’m going to tell what’s going on, it’s amazing where you can get. It’s a whole new world when you do that and that was a little difficult.
I’ll be honest with you when I first started this journey, I was always being told to keep everything close-knit. I’ve took down that wall. That was a growth opportunity for me. I took down that wall and then it served me well. So I have to say that that was a big learning opportunity for myself. Again, encourage ideas from everyone and avoid complexity. Those are my biggest things that you can apply to any project you’re on, not just this one, and these things would work for any of those. So those are some of the definite key takeaways.
And so what’s next? We got 20 more countries on our road maps for this year for implementation so we’re rolling right on through those. We’re starting to work through our acquisitions, our internal and our hourly. Three new languages again this year that we’re implementing. Continuous improvement and change requests. Last year, I’m going off the top of my head here. I’m trying to remember. I think it was close to 3000 change requests that we did throughout the year. And when I say that it may be updates, this E-form changed, change this task wording or update the portal of this content, et cetera. So all of those come in as change requests. We all have to review those. I keep those very tight knit. I do not give countries the ability to do that themselves. If I did I’d be in a world of trouble, and my branding would be out the door. We have that very controlled between myself and Michele Sayer who works on a team with me. And together we go through all those things and we make those decisions. Are we going to make this change or not? Do we push back on this one or do we push this one through? So we keep all of our changes extremely close knit. We do not allow the countries to do it. We’ve tried that and it did not work well. We quickly pivoted and said, no we’re going to keep a closer knit on that because before you know it, things are out there that shouldn’t be out there. And we’re doing a polishing phase from countries, so we’re tightening up those things. We’re looking at notifications. Making sure every notification has the exact same banner on it. Making sure that all the wording on all the pages is exactly the same in all languages. Saying, you know what, we’d like to send a notification when this happens or we’d like to change the wording on this task. Keep them as consistent as possible, and polishing them up and tightening things up when we learn something. Yeah okay, that didn’t work so well. That’s okay, no problem. Let’s change it up a little bit. So it’s one of those things where we’re continuously improving it and that’s a big thing is that we always want to continuously improve throughout the process. So that’s what’s up in 2017, and in 2018 it will probably more of the same there. I’m sure we’re going to have other things on our plates that I didn’t even imagine yet that are coming our way. So it’s an exciting journey. I am thrilled that I’ve been apart of it and I think now Kelly we’re ready for some questions, and ready to open it up. I’ll let it go back to you now.
Alright and thank you Michele. I just want to remind everybody that you can ask your questions in the questions box on the console on the right hand side on your screen, and we will be taking those now. First question is can you tell us a little bit about your buddy system and how you have operationalized it or implemented it I guess? Yeah, absolutely. So what we’re doing is that we have a task now in GE Hire that actually sends an email out to the hiring manager, and that email says, and I’m paraphrasing but basically, hey there hiring manager. You’ve got Johnny starting on this date in this work location. Please make sure you assign Johnny a buddy. Below you will find a message for your buddy. So they could get that one email, they can hit forward on it. They can just easily highlight and delete out that little message I just told you that was to them. And they can say, oh I want Melissa to be Johnny’s buddy. So hey Melissa, forward the email to Melissa say, hey I need you to be Johnny’s buddy, please see below. And it has all the information like don’t forget to reach out to the person. Here’s their email address. Here’s their phone number. Did you put them as profile filled? but we provide email address or phone number, whatever the hire has given us permission to show, we’ll show there. We also have a link to an internal site that says things that a buddy should do. And it reminds them of their buddy tasks. And again it’s a global platform that we have internal to GE. They click on it. There’s a little bit of a checklist but I don’t like a checklist. It’s more of reminders saying hey, reach out to your buddy immediately prior to day one. Tell them where you’re going to meet them at on day one and how you’re going to interact with them. Let them know if you have the opportunity to schedule lunch with them, please do in the first week or take them out on day one for lunch. And then it also says, don’t forget to do your check-in calls. After the first week, you should be with him every single day throughout the first week. And then after that, you’re meeting with them. How are things going? Make sure you show them were the restrooms are. Show them where the cafeteria is. Those types of things. Then have at least a minimal weekly touch base and then a 30-day and a 60-day check in as well. So it goes through and it has all those things that we lined out and I’ll tell you the hardest part when it comes to the buddy part is getting that content. That content is extremely important because you have to be able to provide them with information and links of where things need to go, give them directions. And that was the hardest part is getting those ideas together of, what do we want to suggest that they do, how often should they meet with them? And what’s the warning? We may change our mind on that an change those time frames but that’s what we’ve got right now. And so it’s a email out to the hiring manager reminding them to assign a buddy, with that all that buddy information right below it. They hit forward on the email, whip out the little note to themselves and then they say hey, basically hey Melissa see below and all that information is right there as well. Awesome.
The next question is how do you calculate the reduced cycle time by 15 minutes per hire, and how do you compare against paperless process? So what we did was, we took an average to say okay, so we took our before and we said so what did it take when we would send out an offer package and we would get an acceptance back, then what would we do? Okay, we got an acceptance back. We got told yes, yes I accept this role. Great we’re going to be sending you a package. So we’d have someone confirming their address. We would then have someone who had to print all the most latest and greatest documents. Or at least if they would pre-print it, go pull them and make a package for the person based on is it a new hire? Is it a re-hire? Is it a co-op intern? Is it re-hired pensionary? Is it hourly? Is it a salary? All those different things that dictate what type of package that person would need. So you go pull all the paperwork that was needed and then you would package it up. You’d send it out, we estimated how long it took a hire to fill out that paperwork. And then we also when it came in, would time and we got an average of how long did it take us to review the paperwork. How often do we have to go back to the hire and say oops, you missed this or you missed that. And then that back and forth, how long did that take? Along with this, also what is the postage rate? What’s the average post for sending a package and then getting that package back. So we looked at all those things and so adding all of that up together, we found that the hire was spending probably about two hours on average doing paperwork. We found out that we were going back and forth with almost every hire so when you average that. Some hires you get and some hires you had to go back four and five times. So when we average that out, we say we had at least touched back with each hire at least once. That touch back would take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, so we average it out to 7 1/2 minutes. And so that’s who we looked at every little thing like that just to see how much time it was taking and then once we did have all the right documents how long did it take to scan a document, and then upload the entire document and policy manager tool. So we say if someone can do that quickly to scan and upload with 2 1/2 minutes, I just happened to remember that one, 2 1/2 minutes per form into our doc and policy. So we added that up and we said on average how many documents does every country have? So we said every country on average has at least three documents. So we said, okay so that’s three times 2 1/2 so we got our minutes that way. So that’s how we strategically looked at that and can see okay that’s what that process took. And then we turned around and said okay now that we’ve got GE Hire implemented and we had to wait till our feet got a little wet and we got used to it. Now, I know I don’t have to pull a package anymore because GE Hire automatically assigned the task. I don’t have to worry about did I send somebody the right paperwork. Did I accidentally grab the wrong piece of paper and I gave them the salary first. Don’t have to worry about anymore, that’s all taken care of. I don’t have to pay any of that postage back and forth. Don’t need it, it’s all done electronically. So save that amount of money. Then I no longer have to review documents, make sure everything is filed everywhere, and then scan and upload it in doc and policy. It’s all done and we interface the completed forms from GE Hire into our doc and policy tool. So all of those minutes were saved. And then what we figure is minutes saved also turns into money because if you don’t have stuff taking 50 minutes to process every hire, They can be doing something else with that time, and they can be doing something else that’s more productive. So that’s a glimpse at how we did that. If you need any more additional information feel free to type it in there or respond back to that. I can dig in deeper on that but at a high level that’s how we did it.
Okay, and how many people were on your core team? For our core team, there’s two functional people. We both happen to be named Michele. The two functional people. We have four GE IT people and we have one implementation specialist from SilkRoad. That’s seven people on our core team and then our regional teams. We have a regional, like for example European leader and we have an axion leader. An Asia leader, a Latan leader, a US/Canada leader, but those are our regional leaders. They’re part of my somewhat core team. They’re not the nitty gritty core team that’s on every implementation. Every implementation was seven people. Six of them that are GE and one that’s SilkRoad.
Okay and have you been able to quantify the cultural impact of the onboarding process? That’s a little bit more difficult. Great question that everybody wants to know. But what we can say is it’s hard to truly quantify it but what we can say is we have seen a reduction in our decline rate after acceptance. So they accept it and they decline. We’ve seen that go down some. So that’s great. We have also noticed that our hires love and we get this great feedback now, where before the feedback used to be I spent six hours sitting in a conference room filling out paper work. This is ridiculous. We don’t hear that anymore. We hear hey, all that stuff was done from day one. I got to walk in and meet my team and get to have get to know sessions. Sometimes our managers hold what they call Get To Know sessions. We will come in and do a little game or a round robin to get to know your new team and acclimate you to the process and take you to lunch on the first day all of those great things. So from that perspective, our hires will engage right from day one. We’ve also with this process allowed our IT teams to make sure that they have a computer and they have their access. Another thing we remind our hiring managers to do and you wouldn’t think you have to do this but believe me, you do. Remind your hiring manager, hey Johnny’s starting tomorrow. Don’t forget to have his desk cleaned off. You definitely want to open it up and see the last person who sat and ate crackers. Clean it out, making sure it’s clean. So doing those things, so I do see where our hires are much happier when they come in on day one. They don’t feel like they’re sitting in a room getting, for lack of a better term, preached to and filling out paperwork. So they do get to actually interact with their teams so that we have noticed. But to have a true quantifying number around it, I don’t have that.
Okay, another great question is what strategy did you use to influence or gain buy in from key stakeholders who may have been hesitant with implementing GE Hire? That is a great one and so what I will say is money talks and so does time savings, and so does, when you start realizing and you can say hey, your hire on day one, do you want them sitting in a conference room filling out paperwork all day and then day two doing orientation, and day three doing this? Or do you want them to walk in and be able to start interacting with you and your team immediately and hit the ground running? So I would say hit them with the productivity of getting all the paperwork done prior to day one. Find out what is your true cost. When you start sitting down and you think about the true cost of what it takes to onboard somebody and the time that someone is doing to get that paperwork out to that person, to get it completed, to check it all, to scan it, to send it to let’s say payroll and send these forms to benefits, and if you’re in the U.S. the I-9 E-Verify, again another extremely time consuming thing where you start to do it, but you don’t have to do it on paper where you’re not having those risks. Those are the types of things that we use this as buy in to say hey, this is where we need to be. The other part is if GE truly wants to be a digital company, well guess what, we need to move to being a digital processes. So we use that, that was a big, big selling point as well in our business. We wanted to be able to say, we’re rebranding ourselves as a digital industrial company. But we’re still handing out paperwork. Seriously? How digital is that? So it’s one of those things when you start learning that and you start really get into social media and that’s what really helps selling it is how you can engage them prior to day one, get all that monotonous paperwork out of the way prior to day one. Hit the ground running and then also the whole digital factor of being the cool Google. You’re not going to grow work for Google or any of those other places and expect to fill out paperwork. If you want to be cool like Google, you’ve got to do those things so that’s how we sold it.
Awesome, well, we are at the top of the hour and I would like to thank Michele and we can’t thank you enough for your insights and your best practices around strategic onboarding on a global scale. It’s a great example of how to integrate your culture strategically into the onboarding process or during calls great and activate those new hires and existing employees. So thank you so much to Michele and I’d like to thank everybody that joined us for the webinar today. I hope that you enjoyed the discussions. In the chat box, I put a link to the case study where GE did with Nucleus Research around what she just presented. So go ahead and take advantage of that and like I said, you will receive a recording tomorrow. There were some additional questions that came in and Michele I can share those with you if you’d like to reach out to those folks on a one to one basis. So thank you to everybody. I hope you have a great rest of your week here. Bye everyone. Thank you, bye.