ATB Financial: Investing In HR Transparency To Create A Better Workplace

Estelle Lagorce

If you have a philosophy that puts team members first, the last thing you need is a human resources (HR) system that discourages them from feeling that they are stakeholders in their own success. However, in 2014, this was the situation ATB Financial, a financial services Crown corporation in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, found itself in.

ATB Financial has more than 750,000 customers and roughly 5,000 employees. One of its strategic goals is making ATB the place to bank and work. But its legacy HR system relied heavily on the manual entry of transactions and interactions by a central group, distancing team members from having transparent and self-service capabilities.

A change was needed. ATB’s journey is a concrete example of how technology innovation can support the HR function and help HR departments design processes to adhere to employee-first philosophy.

As Charleen Pomerleau, senior leader of ATB’s P&C Operations team (People and Culture), put it: “The focus of P&C Operations is on the team member experience, and part of that is to make sure that all our HR applications are smart, simple, helpful, and in alignment with ATB’s strategy of being known as a great place to work.”

Delivering HR transformation

How could this philosophy extend to ATB’s HR system? Rather than simply looking to replace the existing HR system, ATB chose to use the opportunity to transform how HR worked and give team members ownership of their career paths, development, and overall success.

With this in mind, the company set out to find a new technology solution supporting the transformation of its HR processes. While added transparency was top of the list of requirements, avoiding the need for customization was another driving factor. ATB’s previous system had been heavily customized, and as a result, was difficult to maintain. To help the company deliver effective transformation ATB chose a cloud-based solution because of the agility and transparency it offered, and turned to Deloitte Consulting to kick off a three-month process redesign project. By starting with a blank slate and leveraging Deloitte’s best practices and pre-configured templates, ATB avoided customizations and went into the build phase with predominantly out-of-the-box HR processes.

Putting managers and employees in control

ATB now has visibility into the company’s entire workforce and a core HR system of record to manage processes. With a holistic view of the workforce, ATB has the ability to define and track its HR strategies.

Team members now have tools that put them in control of their own destiny. They can view their personal and employment information and see their job title, salary, certifications, performance reviews, and anything else to do with their employment. It’s something that just wasn’t available to them in the past.

In the same hub, managers and HR business partners can now make transactions such as onboarding, terminations, transfers, bonuses, and workflow approvals. Previously, they needed to fill out and send by email a form for almost any transaction—for example, hiring or transferring an employee—and hope it got processed. Today they can make changes quickly without any extra steps, red tape, or paperwork. The new solution has reduced the effort involved in administrative tasks and freed them to focus on more value-adding activities.

ATB has a new HR system that is aligned with its philosophy of putting team members first. And there were some pleasant surprises along the way. “We were introduced to a great community of atb_financial_insiderprofileorganizations that use the same HR solution as us, each with their own experiences,” Charleen says. “Having a community like this is something we weren’t used to having with our legacy system.” Being able to share ideas with other companies not only helped to fine-tune the new HR platform, it also squared nicely with ATB’s stated mission of being a people-first organization.

Learn more

Read the full SAPinsider story on: ATB Financial Banks on Team Members.


Estelle Lagorce

About Estelle Lagorce

Estelle Lagorce is the Director, Global Partner Marketing, at SAP. She leads the global planning, successful implementation and business impact of integrated marketing programs with top global Strategic Partner across priority regions and countries (demand generation, thought leadership).