Talent Management

Initial Situation:

ABB is a worldwide leading group in energy and automation technology and currently employs 140,000 people in 100 countries. The company develops, produces and delivers products, systems and solutions that are deployed in the generation, transportation and distribution of electrical power. Beyond this, ABB supports its customers in improving their production processes by means of industrial robots and intelligent control systems. The claim and mission of ABB are derived from both of these key activities: ‘power and productivity for a better world’.

In 2011 ABB was faced with the challenge of realigning its global HR system and related ongoing global processes in order to achieve its corporate and HR strategy objectives. At that time it was difficult to upscale the HR system in line with historical and planned growth in new national markets, business areas and business units. The quality of the core data and available functionalities did not correspond with the demands of a global corporation – neither for process implementation nor for HR reporting procedures. There was only limited user-satisfaction with the processes in the global system. Even the governance and support structures were unstable. Improvements were often implemented on a ticket-driven basis and only addressed the view of individual countries or ‘silo’ processes – but were not geared towards achieving a common objective or even meeting the requirements of end-users in operative business.

ABB Factsheet


In order to approach the various different challenges, ABB defined a portfolio of measures in line with the following objectives:

  • Stabilisation of the technical platform and data quality
  • Specialist and technical optimisation and extension of global processes and the way they are displayed in the system to ensure that they meet world-class requirements
  • Increasing the business benefit (in terms of business criticality and business impact)

Approach and Services of Promerit AG:

To enable a unified approach to the formulated objectives, ABB and Promerit first developed a joint roadmap based on an analysis of the current situation and a target definition. This was followed by the drafting, implementation and roll-out of improvements in waves, in several partially overlapping projects:

  • Defining the objective and the HR-IT roadmap: ‘checking the pulse’ of the existing processes and System configuration; identifying optimisation and action requirements and transferring these into a coordinated objective with HR and Business; working out an HR-IT roadmap that takes all functional, technical and resource-related aspects into account.
  • Optimising the recruitment process: upgrading the SAP e-recruiting system; cleaning up application data; leveraging areas of specialist potential; preparation of the roll-out in key countries and stabilisation of the worldwide user community
  • Optimising performance management and succession planning: introducing SAP TMC, traceable succession planning to the SAP standard and technical extension to integrate Promerit templates.
  • Supporting the ‘global mobility’ process for international secondment: developing and implementing a dedicated application for international secondment based on the existing SAP infrastructure.   
  • Introducing an integrated talent profile: developing and implementing a consistent talent profile across all talent processes and platforms (SAP e-recruiting / SAP TMC); integrating this profile with LinkedIn. Defining role-dependent profile views.
  • Realigning talent pools and job architecture; developing a reporting framework and support in the area of global master data: developing systems and processes for talent pools; adjusting the job architecture; defining a framework for HR reporting; providing consultation for optimising the interplay between global and local HR systems, including the definition of the global HR core data and the way it is ‘consumed’ by the talent processes.
  • Project and programme management: defining the programme architecture and the project management office; defining and supervising programme planning. Managing objective achievement, scheduling expectations and resources. Guidance of steering committees and milestone gate approvals

Project results and client benefit:

Out of this cooperation over more than three years, ABB has realised the following benefits:

  • A verifiable increase in user acceptance, as measured by quarterly user-satisfaction surveys.
  • An increase in data quality across both talent processes and reporting processes – in particular through establishing an integrated talent profile and linking this to the performance/target-agreement process.
  • An improvement in quality / reduced susceptibility to errors in process execution and systems.
  • Stabilisation of programme and project-management standards.
  • Stabilisation of governance and support structures.
  • Improved selection of internal and external candidates.
  • Higher global transparency regarding talents in the group.
  • An initial breakdown of individual ‘silo’ processes to the benefit of an integrated talent-management system.

As confirmed by Gary Steel, Head of Group Human Resources, commenting on global talent management at ABB:

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