Ford Motor Company

Shortlisted team for PWA Award for Excellence through Technology: Personnel Today Awards 2000

Before the creation of HR Online, Ford Motor Company HR department’s Web presence lacked an integrated approach. The intranet focused on the organisational or business unit level, with the result that there was little quality assurance and both content and development effort were frequently duplicated.

HR Online was launched in North America in January 1999. The European version covering the UK and Germany appeared on 1 December the same year. While the speed of launch is impressive – the required teams had only been assembled in August – they were able to benefit substantially from the knowledge already gathered by their US counterparts. In this way, the implementation of HR Online was a truly global effort made across the company.

The aim of the initiative was to provide an easy-to-use web tool through which employees and operating management could access Ford HR information, conduct transactions and view their own personal data. The final product should require no pre-use training and adhere as closely as possible to a “one-click” design, where users can carry out transactions or access the information they need with the minimum of effort.

The range of services delivered is extensive: from policy at-a-glance documents to interactive functions for each individual’s personal data. Content is provided by internal subject matter experts – HR, pensions and payroll – as well as external suppliers such as PPP Healthcare and the Prudential, among others.

A Project Steering Group and Local Project Management team ensured the project stayed on target and that the final product met the needs of the organisation. At the same time, establishing the presence of HR Online for users required a comprehensive communications strategy across diverse media – from posters and mail-drops to e-mails and promotional material – to reach the target audience. Customer focus groups were also created, ensuring the site would be actively used once it was launched.

The final product is not simply a web site but a fundamentally new way of managing the HR-customer interface. It has been the key enabler in HR transformation strategy, allowing the function to cut administrative and transactional processing and become more customer-focused at a consultative and strategic basis.

The HR Online team’s contribution to the business was officially recognised by the company itself through the Ford Quality Connection Award for an outstanding contribution to serving Ford customers in Europe.


Company fact file

Team HR Online Project, Ford Motor Company

Team leader Stephen Nolan

Number in HR team Two in HR team plus two supporting heads in IT department

Number of employees responsible for 8,500

Main achievements The speed to market delivery of HR Online with a critical mass of high-volume content within four months. Since its launch, HR Online has been used by the entire customer base. 3,600 customers visit the site for HR services each week and 86 per cent of users registering feedback rate the site as highly valuable.

Priorities for next 12 months To develop self-service transaction features which key into the Peoplesoft HRMS. To continue the Web enablement of business processes providing tools for employees and managers which remove HR from simple processes.

Judge’s Comment “Ford has been successful in two key areas. One was the decision to brand HR Online and use this heavily in imaginatively promoting use of the HR intranet. Great skill and ingenuity has been used by Ford HR professionals in what is always a problematic aspect of promoting intranet use. Second, it succeeded in designing and implementing a substantial HR intranet in just a few months, despite the complexities involved in being part of a larger global system. Once again this demonstrated great versatility on behalf of the HR function”

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