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By Mary Sullivan on Human Capital Management and Payroll

In a few days I'll be in Chicago for the HR Technology Conference & Expo. I'm delighted to participate in a session on Monday, where I'll talk about an exciting development for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts: our recent go-live on Workday for our global workforce.

A global workforce means different things to different companies. At Four Seasons, where I serve as senior VP of corporate human resources, our workforce of more than 35,000 is quite literally spread out across the world, serving guests in 90 properties in 36 countries. Each time we open a new hotel or resort, it's imperative that we bring our service culture with us, in order to continue to provide our guests with highly personalized service. That makes talent management truly the core of our business. From Miami to Marrakech to Mumbai, our people and brand are why our guests return to Four Seasons again and again during their business and leisure travels.

Among the unique challenges facing global companies is the ability to have a true understanding of their workforces. For Four Seasons, that means not just how well we're staffing our properties, or how we'll staff additional properties we plan to open, but also the needs of the individuals that make up our widely spread workforce. Where are they now, and where would they be willing to go for a new opportunity? (Not everyone wants to live on an island!) Or, what do they think their next position should be, and what skills would they need to achieve that goal?

When we had 50 separate HR systems, gaining insight across our employee base to accomplish this sort of workforce mobility just wasn't possible. It would have taken us an enormous amount of time to aggregate information from all of those different systems. We needed a better solution.

A few years ago, we started hearing a lot about Workday and how it offered Human Capital Management (HCM) in the cloud, but we honestly didn't think it would work for us. A single system that aggregated all of our employee information worldwide, with no servers or software to maintain? It seemed almost too easy, considering the many different cultures, languages, and country rules involved. But as we learned more about Workday, we came to understand that it was the best HCM solution for us.

To support our goal to drive early engagement and adoption of Workday across our workforce, we branded the deployment "MyHR" and created a mascot for it, the "Workday Blue Man."

In addition to the opportunities for global workforce insight and agility, I'm especially pleased with Workday's mobile solutions. Many of our executives travel extensively, and Workday for iPad® lets them accomplish tasks and gain insights while they're on the road—including insights into the Four Seasons properties next on their itineraries.

If you're at the conference, I'll hope you'll join me and Workday Co-Founder and Co-CEO Dave Duffield as we discuss this exciting accomplishment at Four Seasons, and how we arrived to it. See you at the show.


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