Flex HRM offers a great freedom of choice
— I have participated in a number of projects during my career and I must say that this one stands out as one of the best ones. Everybody has worked in a focused way, with a joint ambition.
Oskarshamn Energi has used Flex since 1999, and over the years one has added more and more parts to the personnel system. Ulrica Ericsson is leader for the accounting department and HR coordinator and has worked at the company since 2005. At that time, the Windows based system Flex classic was used, but in 2018 Apollo went on to the web-based system Flex HRM.
What made you change from Flex Classic till Flex HRM?
The thought came up that we should have something newer and more modern, that was how everything started. The GDPR issue was brought into focus. We thought that what we have today will maybe not work in the long run. At the same time, the board took a decision that we should digitalize our entire business. We felt that the personnel system was a natural thing to start with. I saw in a newsletter sent out by Flex that there would be webinars focused on the energy sector. It sounded exciting, so we signed up and got a demo of Flex HRM adapted to our branch.
How did the transition go?
In June 2018, Oskarshamn Energi performed a test run of Flex HRM, parallel to using the old system Flex Classic. It exceeded all expectations, and in July 2018 the whole company went live with Flex HRM. Previously, in Flex Classic, it was just the white-collar workers who used the system. The blue-collar workers registered their times using pen and paper, and in their view that worked just fine.
— I can honestly say that on that side, the employees were a bit sceptical to the change. Some believed that it was an attempt to keep watch of them. The white-collar workers, however, were only positive, as they were already used to working with a system and saw the benefits. Also, one of the reasons for the change was to have it uniform, that everyone should do things in the same way, Ulrica says.
However, after a brief presentation where we focused on all the benefits, the blue-collar workers eventually changed their minds.
– They have learnt to handle the system and they see that it doesn’t entail a greater work load – quite the opposite. Everyone has realized that the purpose is to make things easier for ALL parties.
Ulrica explains how they have thought through the different needs within the organization and how to meet them.
— Oskarshamn Energi offers electricity, electricity networks, heating, biogas and similar services in the Oskarshamn region.
Previously, when reporting the time, it has often been made afterwards and you had to think through where and when the job was performed. Now the guys punch their time directly when they are out in the field and they change account codes in the mobile app or when sitting in front of the work computer, if the stop by here at the office. We have also set up a tablet which can be used for punching in and out and changing account codes. We have several different options to make it easy for them..
At Oskarshamn Energi they thought things through carefully at an early stage, that is clear. Has Flex been receptive and met their ambitions?
— We have had a very good cooperation with the consultant from Flex. No question was too hard or to strange. I was met with understanding throughout the process. Furthermore, the consultant was very familiar with our branch agreement, which has also been a great advantage. I have participated in a number of projects during my career and I must say that this is one of the projects I will recall as the best ones. All project members have worked focused against the same target, willing to solve the problems – yet few and small ones – that have arisen. I really want to emphasize that – normally it does NOT work this well!
Now that you are under way and have used Flex for some months, what are the advantages compared to the old system?
— The freedom of choice, to be able to report via an app, computer or tablet, that has been a major thing for us. The fact that you can change project directly on site through the app. And the digital absence approval is great too. You make your application and your manager can authorize it directly in the system. Everything is distinct and clear. Another thing we values is that the system has such a great management of on-call time. The system takes care of it, which means that all manual management is eliminated. And when it comes to the travel expense claim, I understand that many users really appreciate being able to photograph receipts with the phone and make them appear in the travel expense claim immediately. And to have it authorized there. Many users have also mentioned the little guide for registering travel expense claims, which they find very useful.
On the contrary, is there something you miss in HRM that you had in the old system?
— I have thought about that and I can honestly say that I haven’t come up with anything. Not yet anyway, says Ulrica and laughs.