Old Mutual’s Celiwe Ross says learning is the biggest workplace currency

Old Mutual has implemented Workday HCM to help fundamentally change its relationship with its employees.

Director for human capital at Old Mutual Celiwe Ross says that making learning accessible has become the biggest workplace currency, which is why the company has enabled learning journeys on Udemy through Workday for business and employees.

“We’ve called the campaign ‘Dare to Learn’ for all of our employees and we are activating it in a number of ways.”

She highlights that what will really capture Old Mutual’s employees’ attention is the Old Mutual Course Club, which is like a book club for employees. “We have them per segment and each exco member runs a course club and we get to pick a course that has to be business orientated and driven by our business units,” she explains.

“I think what’s going to grow is people’s willingness and ability to learn in the way and time they want to.”

The learning journey is part of a broader HCM implementation that Old Mutual has embarked on with Workday to fundamentally change its relationship with employees and win the war for talent.

“There is a need to strike a new social contract with employees to win the war for talent. Workday is helping us to completely rethink our people practices. We’re putting power in the hands of our employees and placing diversity and inclusion under a more focused lens,” she says.

Celiwe explains that in joining forces with Workday HCM, the first thing Old Mutual wanted to achieve was modernisation of all its practices, and the ability to let its employees live as they normally do at work, and make learning accessible and easy.

The second thing was to achieve a level of agility that she believes only Workday can help with. She adds that Workday launches new modules and applications on its platforms twice a year.

“For example, during lockdown one of the big things they started to think through was how we activate diversity and inclusion for organisations, how we give them data that helps them see how they are progressing, and whether there is any bias in our interview and performance rating techniques and in the way that we constitute our teams,” said Celiwe.

She says that VIBE (Value Inclusion, Belonging and Equity) from Workday is going to help Old Mutual to achieve diversity and inclusion.

While Old Mutual is still refining a few of their processes, from a people leader perspective, they now understand their employees much better: the support they need, and how best to manage work volumes across the employee base, she says.

With one cloud-based system for human capital management, Old Mutual can provide managers with deep visibility and insights into their teams, which are often spread across multiple countries, enabling them to better measure performance, recognise and develop top talent, and align skill sets with roles.

The system also improves workforce planning with real-time analytics and reporting that equips managers with robust, reliable data about their people and teams, and business leaders with clear insight into the entire workforce.

Regional country director at Workday Zuko Mdwaba says, “Forward-thinking companies like Old Mutual understand that digital transformation remains critical to their recovery from the effects of the last year and as part of their strategy for future success.

“With Workday, Old Mutual is building a culture of agility and data-driven decision making that will help it to respond to challenges today and into the future. Having the best core business systems in place allows leaders to focus on moving the organisation and its people forward.”

Celiwe says she believes in the intersection of people and technology: “HR as a practice originated in the 19th century when employees were (mostly) illiterate and managerial skills were rare. Information was expensive to gather and change was gradual. Today, we need organisations that change faster than the world around them, are alive with the spirit of entrepreneurship, harness the inherent genius of every employee and infuse work with dignity, opportunity, equity and wellbeing.”