A group of the nation’s top retailers gathered at Oracle HCM World in Chicago recently. They came to hear Brian Jones, VP of HR for American Eagle Outfitters describe the process of going full digital with global cloud recruiting and HR.
The retail audience was mainly interested in three things: what was the business case, how was the transition planned and executed, and what results has American Eagle achieved so far?
Some background may help. American Eagle experienced rapid growth over the past decade or so, adding brands, expanding globally, and more than tripling annual revenue, which reached $3.5 billion in 2016. The company, with headquarters in the US, expanded in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America, over the past 15 years, and now has 1,190 stores - more than doubled their number of employees, now 37,800.
Early on, American Eagle embraced the strategic value of omin-channel retail consumer marketing. They wanted to take a similar approach with talent recruiting. However, rapid growth had left the company with a trail of disparate legacy systems, including everything from SAP SuccessFactors for performance management, to spreadsheets for compensation planning.
The proposal to deploy digital talent recruiting and HR management moved rapidly through American Eagle’s decision-making ranks, gaining board approval within two quarters. Brian shared five main points that drove the decision:
American Eagle implemented at a rapid pace, perhaps indicative of the company’s lean and youthful workforce culture. Jones himself is full of energy and enthusiasm. In hindsight, Jones recommends putting a dedicated project team in place. American Eagle’s rolled out the main Oracle HCM Cloud modules globally in just a few months.
March 26, 2015Early Results
While having new digital capabilities on a global scale is still relatively new to American Eagle, Jones has already seen a number of improvements. In particular, just being able to see unified HR data across multiple locations is a big change. Just being able to share global HR data has had a big impact on how the internal HR team collaborates and manages on a day-to-day basis. Jones sees the value of standardizing and sharing best practices, where before things were much looser and inconsistent. What he is most excited about is the potential to really start working with the data to drive business performance.