Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Editor's note: Our guest blogger this week is Martijn Nykerk, Senior Consultant Group IT at Randstad, the Netherlands-based global provider of HR services and the second largest staffing organization in the world. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.
HR is fundamentally about people. That may seem obvious, but in our firm that takes unusual dimensions. Randstad is one of the biggest staffing companies in the world and has some 29,000 employees working from more than 4,500 branches in 40 countries around the world. We help companies and candidates connect in industries such as engineering, finance and accounting, healthcare, human resources, managed services, pharma and technology. To give you an idea, we place on average well over 500,000 people per day. We’ve grown to become quite large since we began as a small company started in a student dorm room in 1960 and our business has changed quite a bit in that time. But at its core, we’re still the same. We’re all about people.
With so many employees in locations across the world, we had several different email and collaboration systems in place and were looking to standardize. A majority of employees around the world were using Microsoft Outlook for email and Lotus Notes for collaboration, but we ran into several problems. For one, both Outlook and Lotus Notes weren't seamlessly integrated with other systems, requiring our employees to find workarounds and solve formatting issues on their own. This wasted valuable time on the part of both the employee and IT department. In addition, both Outlook and Lotus Notes are primarily hosted solutions, which makes it difficult to collaborate across our many locations.
Our decision making process involved several companies, but ultimately we decided on Google for a few different reasons. We have a workforce of younger, web-savvy employees and we heard the feedback that they are quite familiar with Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts in their personal lives, and on a variety of devices, and that they'd like to use them at work too. Also, because the Google tools are all integrated, we wouldn't run into the problem of having employees across offices and countries having to work with several different pieces of technology that don’t work well together. Lastly, the availability of resellers such as G-company was a big plus. We wanted to provide our employees with as much training as they needed and G-company were able to provide that. Our rollout will eventually include all 29,000 Randstad employees, 5,000 of whom are located in the Netherlands. Our employees in France, Japan and India, approximately 8,000, are already on Google.
We’re right in the middle of our rollout, but early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We can simply do things that weren't possible before. For example, it has become much easier to search and access mail, calendar and documents when on the road, or for an employee in France to schedule a video chat with an employee in The Netherlands in a Hangout. It’s a conference call, but it’s so much more - it’s a conference call that’s based around people, not technology. For an HR company, that’s exactly what we’re looking for in a technology partner.