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New Systems Help Plan International Manage Its Human Resources


Founded in 1937, Plan International is one of the

oldest and largest children's development organizations in the world, promoting rights and opportunities for children in need. With global headquarters in

Surrey, UK, the organization has operations in more

than 70 countries (including 51 developing nations

in Africa, Asia, and the Americas), and worked with

81.5 million children in more than 86,676 communities in 2014. Plan International has grown steadily

over the years and has more than 1,200 paid staff

members and more than 9,000 volunteers.

Plan International is not affiliated with any religious or political group or government. It obtains

about half of its funding from donations from corporations, governments, and trusts and the rest from

individuals willing to sponsor a child.

Plan International works with children, families,

communities, and local governments to bring about

positive change for children in health, education,

water and sanitation, protection, economic security,

and coping with catastrophes such as wars, floods,

earthquakes, and other natural disasters. For example, Plan has sent workers to help children affected

by the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and

the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. In addition

to coordinating emergency response efforts, Plan

runs public health information campaigns and trains

health and aid workers.

Plan's objective is to reach as many disadvantaged children as possible, and this requires a highly

coordinated approach. When an emergency strikes,

Plan must locate and deploy the most appropriate

resources wherever they are required. To accomplish

this a disaster relief team at Plan's head office must

sift through data on all of its 10,000 aid workers in

70 countries to see which people have the appropriate skills and experience in medical aid, child protection, education, and shelter management to provide

the necessary services. Typically the people chosen

to respond to a specific emergency will have a variety of skills, including frontline workers with knowledge of the language and the local area. Plan now

has the ability see data about all of its workers' skills

the moment an emergency occurs, so it can respond

immediately with the right team of people.

Plan is now able to instantly assemble pertinent information about its workers because of its

new human resources (HR) systems. The human

resources systems allow Plan to track not only the

skills people bring when they are hired but also any

additional training or experience they have acquired

for disaster response emergencies while working for


The human resources systems also help Plan

manage the grants and donations it receives. When

a donation first comes in, it is sent to Plan's London

headquarters and allocated from there. If, for example, Plan receives a $40 million grant to use in Sierra

Leone, Plan will need different people to manage

that grant for Plan. Plan needs to be able to scan the

organization globally to find the right people.

Before the new human resources systems were

implemented, Plan was working with very outdated

decentralized systems that were partially manual.

The organization had to keep track of employees

using a patchwork of 30 different human resources

systems, spreadsheets, and documents.

It could take weeks to locate people with the right

language skills, disaster experience, and medical

training. When a massive earthquake struck Haiti in

2010, Plan had to email everyone asking if staff knew

any people who could speak French, had the appropriate disaster management skills, and were available to help.

In 2012 Plan began looking for a human resources

system that could handle its growing global workforce, support common processes across all regions,

and deliver information on a secure mobile platform

in regions where technology infrastructure was not

well developed. The organization selected a cloudbased HR system from SAP's SuccessFactors as well

as on-premises software from SAP, which satisfied

these requirements and are integrated with one

another. Implementation of the new system began in

May 2013. It took only 16 weeks to implement a fully

working system at Plan's international headquarters,

and all of Plan's international regions were brought

onto the system by 2014.

The cloud-based SuccessFactors system runs in

remote computer centers managed by SuccessFactors and is accessible to users via the Internet. The

system provides a centralized employee profile

with a comprehensive view of employee skill sets,

expertise, experience, and career interests. Through

an intuitive interface, employees can update their

own information, creating an easily searchable directory that every employee can access. Plan uses

SuccessFactors software modules for recruiting, performance and goals, succession and development,

compensation, and learning. Plan also implemented

SuccessFactors Workforce Planning and on-premises

SAP Personnel Administration and Organization

Management software. Workforce planning entails

systematic identification and analysis of what an

organization is going to need in terms of the size,

type, experience, knowledge, skills, and quality

of its workforce to achieve its business objectives.

SAP's Personnel Administration software manages

employee recordkeeping and organizational data

concerning the recruitment, selection, retention,

development, and assessment of personnel. SAP's

Organization Management software enables organizations to depict and analyze their organizational and

reporting structures.

The new human resources systems provide a

bird's-eye view of the entire Plan workforce, showing

immediately how many people work for Plan, where

they are located, what skills they possess, their job

responsibilities, and their career paths. Plan's central

human resources staff spend much less time chasing

information. For example, assembling and analyzing

data from employee performance reviews, including performance-based salary calculations, used to take

up to six months. Now all it takes is the push of a

button. Employees are able to access their human

resources records online and update information such

as address, family details, and emergency contacts.

By enabling employees to perform these tasks themselves, Plan saves valuable human resources staff

time, which can be directed toward more value-adding

work. Plan is also able to show its donors exactly how

their contributions were spent and the results.

Using SuccessFactors and SAP human resources

software, Plan staff are able to identify and dispatch

relief workers to disaster areas within hours. When

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013, Plan specialists were on the scene within

72 hours. Being able to deploy staff to emergencies

so rapidly has saved more lives. What's more, Plan's

improved response time has helped it secure new

sources of funding by giving it more credibility with

governments, corporations, and other sources of

grants and donations.


1. Describe the problem faced by Plan International.

What management, organization, and technology

factors contributed to this problem?

2. Describe the system solution to this problem.

Describe the types of systems used for the solution.

3. Why is human resources so important at Plan international 4. How did these systems improve operational 


5. How did these systems improve decision making? 

Give examples of two decisions improved by 

Plan's new systems

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Subject: Business, Management
With global headquarters in Surrey, UK, the organization has operations in more than 70 countries (including 51 developing nations in Africa, Asia,...
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