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article imageCeridian proves digital transformation is cultural transformation

By Jack Derricourt     Nov 16, 2018 in Business
When serial entrepreneur David Ossip took the reins at global HR management tech company Ceridian in 2013, he had his work cut out for him.
The company had fallen behind in terms of technological innovation and employee morale. Ceridian is one of the oldest technology stocks in America, and by 2013, it was starting to show its age.
While dealing with these issues, the organization maintained good client relations. Ossip had seen that firsthand while he was running enterprise workforce management company Workbrain, working with Ceridian as a client. But it was obvious that the organization needed a shakeup.
At the heart of Ceridian’s transformation is culture. According to Gartner, culture is identified by 46 percent of CIOs as the largest barrier to getting the benefits of digital business. It’s a barrier for a reason: entrenched culture at enterprise organizations can be harder to shift than a mountain.
Five years on from Ossip’s initial efforts, the company has gone public, has reported a total revenue of $179.6 million, up 9.8 percent year-over-year, in the third quarter of 2018, and features glowing employee reviews of Glassdoor.
So how did things change? With a huge, conscious effort on the part of Ossip and his executive team.
As part of a reorganization effort, Ossip worked to streamline the company. “At the time, Ceridian was a very complicated entity,” said Ossip.
Upon taking over Ceridian, Ossip outlined three key priorities:
Simplify the company by “divesting everything not related to the growth of our cloud human capital management business.”
Ossip did so, starting in 2012. Ceridian merged their credit card payment into Fleetcorp, worth $3.5 billion; sold their health and wellness business, cobra business, HSA/FSA business, UK management business, and more. What remains is the cloud business, 74 percent of their overall revenue; and the mainframe payroll business.
2) “The second priority I set for the company was a focus on employee culture.”
In 2012, the employee satisfaction at Ceridian was in a bad way. Ossip took the opportunity to look at who they were as an organization and to create a new brand promise and structure values around that promise. Through regular surveys and town hall discussions, a new vision of the company began to develop.
As they rebuilt the company’s promise, Ossip and his fellows focussed on creating a wonderful place for people to work — a place “where people would care about the outcome of the customer experience.”
’Makes work life better’ became a big part of Ossip’s efforts, and in focusing on the employee experience, he created buy-in for the overall efforts to build up the company into the state it is today. The company is now recognized for its employee engagement and its workplace appeal.
3) And finally, Innovate technologically
“I looked at Ceridian at the time,” said Ossip, “And I noticed that the company hadn’t had any technology innovation for a very long period of time — and as a result revenues were declining each year.”
When Ossip took the reins at the company, it was in the technological doldrums — living in the mainframe-entrenched past. Now, Ceridian’s flagship cloud platform Dayforce has over 3,000 customers, and the company is considered one of the major disruptive forces in the HR service industry. In the third quarter of 2018, Ceridian’s cloud revenue was reported at $133.0 million, up 29.1 percent year-over-year.
It’s not hard to see that for Ceridian, Ossip’s efforts to build an enthused workforce and a streamlined business offering have paid off.
More about ceridian, David Ossip, CEO, Culture, Technology
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