Empowering HR in an age of workplace upheaval, with Salesforce
Navigating uncertainty by championing a better workplace
Remote working, redundancies, skills retraining, furlough schemes, health, safety, and wellbeing…it is hard to remember a more turbulent, challenging time in the workplace. The upheavals of 2020 have intensified the scrutiny on good employers, and great employment standards.
It is the aim of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to champion better work and working lives for the benefit of individuals, businesses, economies, and society. It’s been doing this since 1913, operating in the UK, Ireland, Middle East, and Asia. Today, to its 150,000-plus members, CIPD is vital in helping navigate uncertainty.
“When COVID first impacted we did think membership would take a hit,” said Louise Robinson, IT Product Management Leader, CIPD. “But despite job losses and tighter budgets, our members recognise we have an important role to play in helping them through this.”
CIPD has worked hard to cement its status. Rather than simply creating a repository of content on workplace-related matters, CIPD has taken a front-foot approach to communications. It is more direct, more social, and more PR-savvy.
By understanding the power of digital and leveraging a consolidated CRM, built on Salesforce, CIPD is delivering valuable experiences as a result.
Establishing a consistent, integrated experience for 150,000 members
Like many organisations, CIPD is undergoing digital transformation. Digital tools promise to unlock an entirely new way of service provision. Digital channels will extend the reach and the frequency of CIPD’s touchpoints.
“Historically, we’d perhaps been guilty of underinvesting in technology,” said Louise. “That has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The IT team has gone from 12 people to more than 40 in the last 18 months, and we continue to recruit.”
Salesforce is one of the pillars of CIPD’s IT strategy, which aims to support the wider business with its initiatives of growth, professionalism, and operational excellence. It consolidates three CRM systems into one, bringing together a wealth of customer data.
Today, CIPD uses three Salesforce clouds: Sales, Service, and Marketing. Together, they enable a data-centric approach to service. “Salesforce is at the heart of our architecture now,” said Louise.
Out of the total workforce of 360, 40 work in customer service, answering calls and emails from members. Salesforce Service Cloud provides agents with a clear history of each caller, so that every interaction ‘continues the conversation’, establishing a consistent, joined up experience for all members. As a consequence, response rates and satisfaction scores are up.
“This certainly helped when dealing with anxious members during the early days of COVID,” she added.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud has been used by the organisation for more than three years, with 80 different CIPD business functions relying on this digital marketing platform. While Sales Cloud supports the organisation in exploring new markets and opportunities, providing the data to drive strategy changes on the fly.
Since using Marketing Cloud, CIPD is now able to segment its data and target its content better. It can send emails automatically based on user behaviour, meaning customers are contacted in a more timely and relevant manner which has improved open and click-through rates. The organisation is also less reliant on the marketing department to send every communication, with nearly 150 users across the organisation now onboarded. Productivity has increased and staff can spend more time personalising and testing content for their customers.
All of this has been achieved with CIPD staff working from home. “Having a stable solution, with everything in the cloud, is great. Salesforce is the building block for our future vision,” said Louise.
Strengthening IT control and strategy to deliver growth
The partnership with Salesforce is an example of CIPD’s renewed vigour around IT. Across the board, Louise says IT supplier collaborations have improved due to stronger relationships being built, providing a more defined link between IT and the business.
The adoption of Salesforce has been planned and managed alongside Blue Wave, a Salesforce impact partner.
“Blue Wave has been instrumental. We already had some experience of Salesforce but working with experts totally geared to Salesforce has helped maximise the value of the engagement. It’s really kick-started our ambitions,” said Louise. “When we first took a critical look at our original Salesforce implementation, Blue Wave came up with more than 90 recommendations on structure, implementation, and functionality. We now see how we can fully optimise Salesforce.”
Digital transformation is never a destination, she added. The journey continues.
“We’re building our inhouse expertise across the IT function,” said Louise. CIPD has recruited a host of new positions in the last 18 months, including a new Salesforce developer who will be starting soon.
“The transformation within our team has been amazing and our profile has been raised internally,” she added. “We’ve had lots of positive feedback from other departments across the organisation and the IT team is now asked for input on projects like never before. Our organisational value has really improved.”
Elevating the role of digital as the modern workplace evolves
CIPD will present its new digital face in early 2021 with the launch of its digital Learning Hub. This will transform their ability to promote, deliver, and assess online learning. All these touchpoints will integrate with Salesforce.
“CIPD and HR have always favoured face-to-face interaction, and that will remain,” said Louise, “but we recognise the world is changing. The Learning Hub will allow us to be more direct in the way we deliver skills to a wider audience.”
The engagement with Salesforce also underpins CIPD’s international expansion. The organisation already has offices in Ireland, Singapore, and Dubai, and sees growth potential in these regions as local economies continue to develop. As a charity with limited budgets, Salesforce helps inform where best to direct precious sales and marketing spend.