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Four Seasons deploys Workday cloud HR for 42,000 staff

Matthew Finnegan | Oct. 20, 2015
Luxury hotel chain replaces 50 disparate HR software tools used worldwide

Luxury hotel chain Four Seasons has rolled out Workday's cloud human capital management (HCM) platform to its 42,000 employees, replacing a variety of locally software to gain a "single source of record" across its business.

The Canadian firm owns 85 hotels in 41 countries in various geographic regions, including 16 in Europe.  

In order to provide better insight into its disparate workforce and improve its talent management, Four Seasons deployed a number of Workday HCM modules - including talent and performance, compensation, recruitment, benefit and expenses.

According to Four Seasons' vice-president of employer branding and insights, Michael Peterman, the public cloud software was chosen over traditional on-premise enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors both for the cost benefits and the ability to scale globally.

"We have small population sizes in each individual country, so for us to implement a large ERP system with servers at each of our hotels would not have been very cost effective," he told ComputerworldUK.

"The cloud based solution was very enticing to us in terms of having a very lean IT resource and having to cost share with each of those hotels."

He added that the cloud tool offered greater flexibility for the business: "As we start to add new hotels, having a cloud based system allows us to just turn it on and give access to employees in the new hotels to start managing their resource right out of the gate. We wouldn't get that with a traditional ERP system."

Four Seasons: Replacing variety of local software

In the past, Four Seasons relied on a "mixed bag" of software platforms procured on a regional basis. This involved using 50 different HR systems locally, as well as relying on manual spreadsheet processes to gather data - which could be both inefficient and inaccurate.

"We didn't have a [single] system, it was a variety of systems," Peterman said. "When hotels opened the GM [general manager] would go out and buy a payroll system and a fax machine. It was very disjointed in terms of how our systems operated.

"It was very much a challenge of rolling data up corporately to have any standards associated with data quality, and to be able to get meaningful reporting from our hotels at all."

However, since deploying the Workday HCM platform Four Seasons has been able to gain a clearer view of activity within its operations. Staff turnover is one example where analysis of HR data has benefitted the business.

"We hadn't been a very analytic driven company for a long period of time before we implemented Workday," he said.

"Previously it would take us three months to just gather a staff turnover number. We always looked at it and it was a pretty low turnover.


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