James Eastwood

James Eastwood, Syngenta HRO Engagement Director, Capgemini’s Business Services 

Syngenta HRO head James Eastwood talks to Innovation Nation about how Capgemini has transformed Syngenta’s HR function through implementing its Digital Employee Operations solution.

Welcome James. Could you start by talking about what Digital Employee Operations means to you?

James Eastwood: That’s a very interesting question. Perhaps I’ll turn it on its head and ask: what is Digital Employee Operations—or DEO, as we refer to it? Is it about implementing a Workday or SuccessFactors system? Is it self-service HR for employees? Is it about mobile access to learning? Or is it automation and robotics applied to the HR world?

Within the Syngenta account, we’ve been moving towards the digitalization of HR services for a number of years and have recently accelerated our digital journey. I’m pleased to say that DEO is all of the above for Syngenta HRO and more.

But DEO is so much more than simply a combination of digital HR platforms. It’s a complete next-generation HR mindset and attitude that manifests itself pretty much everywhere across our team and our approach to HR operations for Syngenta. In fact, within the Syngenta account, you’re never more than a click away from DEO.

How does DEO work within Syngenta’s HR function?

Within the Syngenta account, we are digital in everything we do. We run our account in an entirely digital way via our global “Reimagine HR” hub.

Reimagine HR is based on Microsoft® SharePoint 365 technology, which embeds our digital platforms to create a single, powerful, digital communication platform. Reimagine HR is a unique partnership channel that we have co-developed to facilitate how we deliver, communicate, track progress, and especially, how we work together as a global team.

From a user perspective, Reimagine HR enables our joint Syngenta-Capgemini HR teams to do everything from checking key dates of meetings, accessing relevant videos, blogs, and vlogs, checking out the latest project updates, and exploring the ever-changing transformation roadmap. The Syngenta DEO command center is embedded within the Reimagine HR platform making tracking KPIs and operational progress a dynamic and intuitive activity. As a digital channel, Reimagine HR is home to our digital magazine and the platform for interacting with colleagues and managers—including checking the latest news from our clients. We’ve also embedded Yammer into the platform, bringing the social aspect to the team’s interactions. The list of how we use Reimagine HR to bring digital to the team is really endless.

In what ways have DEO and Reimagine HR changed the way you deliver value to Syngenta?

Reimagine HR digitally connects all our team members and stakeholders in a single, incredibly powerful, digital platform. Reimagine HR provides a sharp performance edge and mindset shift that keeps everyone informed and focused on continuous transformation. It underpins our success in delivering great service for Syngenta and has been a key ingredient of the secret sauce to delivering customer satisfaction that scores as high as 90%.

Reimagine HR is also an accelerator that has increased our clock speed and response times. For example, rather than holding a typical monthly service review meeting, where we would talk to Syngenta stakeholders about data that could be six or seven weeks old, we’re able to focus on the very latest, current command center data, and on future indicators—not past.

Along with the mindset, Reimagine is a cultural discipline and way of working that is embedded right across the Capgemini and Syngenta teams.

Aside from Reimagine HR, what impact has DEO had on Syngenta’s HR function?

DEO in Syngenta goes way beyond Reimagine HR. Currently, we have 50 different projects that leverage DEO. Some of these include:

  • Our partnership with Syngenta to implement a global Workday platform that delivers next-generation self-service access and straight-through processing in HR.
  • Our successful implementation of the Transversal digital knowledge base that gives our team leaders instant access to a wealth of knowledge and replaces the traditional access to desktop procedures and work instructions.
  • Our award winning SumTotal relationship delivered a truly next-generation digital learning solution that helps Syngenta deliver unique and intuitive learning solutions.
  • Our innovation hub that brings various ideas to life, including automating Syngenta’s payroll processing to minimize errors and increase efficiency, deploying a next-generation, best-in-class case management system with Service Now and RightAnswers, and automation to generate error-free new joiner contracts and onboarding paperwork through the Escriba digital document management platform.

Finally, what is the future of Digital Employee Operations at Syngenta?

At Syngenta, we pride ourselves on bringing DEO to life but with a service wrapper around the technology. The way the technology is deployed and the service delivered through talented people is absolutely crucial to our success—which brings us back to tour Reimagine digital hub that injects Digital into our DNA.

 James Eastwood is the Engagement Director for Syngenta HRO within Capgemini’s Business Services based in Krakow. Together with his 200+ FTE team located across Capgemini delivery centers in Kolkata, Krakow, Nanhai, and Campinas, James focuses on implementing and optimizing Digital Employee Operations within Syngenta HRO.