Digital certificate creation
Quick and legally compliant
Individual certificates through electronic
process at Axel Springer SE
Axel Springer is a media and technology company which operates in more than 40 countries. With the information offerings of its wide range of media brands (including BILD, WELT, BUSINESS INSIDER, POLITICO Europe) and classified advertising portals (StepStone Group and AVIV Group), Axel Springer SE helps people to make free decisions for their lives. Its successful transformation from a traditional publisher of print media to the leading company for digital publishing in Europe is now complete. The next goal has been set: Axel Springer wants to become the world market leader in digital journalism and digital classified advertising through accelerated growth.
The company is based in Berlin and employs more than 16,100 people worldwide. In the 2019 financial year, Axel Springer generated 73 percent of its revenues with digital activities.
From the logging of the task portfolio through to creating appraisals and signing employment references – for these processes, the HR departments of the media group use SAP-integrated software from EASY SOFTWARE. The entire process is based on standard SAP functionality, and runs as a web solution in the SAP back end and in the Manager Self Service of the SAP human resources portal
In many human resources departments, compiling employment references is a laborious task. At any given time, more urgent matters frequently have to be dealt with, and employees sometimes have to wait a long time for their employment references. Until recently, things weren‘t any different at Axel Springer SE. To change this, the media group installed a SAP-integrated process from EASY SOFTWARE AG for the creation of employment references. This process provides effective support to managers and human resources departments with the creation of employment references. It means that the employees promptly receive legally-compliant, high-quality employment references.
Axel Springer Medien Accounting Service GmbH (ASMAS), the human resources department of the company, oversees some 5,000 employees in the Axel Springer Group and issues an average of 1,500 reference certificates per year. In the past, this was completed manually using a wide variety of communication media, and therefore took long time. “In introducing the employment reference tool, we can ensure a balance between standardization and individualization,” explains Ms. Danijela Böttger, Head of Human Resources at ASMAS. „Every employee wants to have an individual employment reference. The PCM Process2Design from EASY SOFTWARE has made the reference process more efficient and quicker.” The HR service completes this task in two ways: an electronic process for initiating and processing the request for an employment reference, and the provision of readyto-use text modules that can be used repeatedly in different versions.
The technical challenge in this project: the group works with different operating systems. The solution therefore had to be a browser-based application that runs on all operating systems and is SAP-integrated for the export and import of data. It also had to be expandable, as complex organizational structures such as those at the Axel Springer Group make rolling out a standardized application difficult, as Danijela Böttger is well aware. EASY SOFTWARE AG scored points with all these criteria and was therefore chosen.
At first, the system wasn’t used throughout the group. It was initially implemented at the group subsidiaries Media Impact GmbH & Co. KG and Bild Digital GmbH & Co. KG for three months. Over the course of 2013, its benefits were then discussed with the general works council. The employee representatives always keep a watchful eye on technical innovations in the field of human resources management. Are standardized employment references really in the interests of the employees, and how do the employees benefit? The complete preparation and roll-out phase was characterized by a close coordination with the generaland group works councils. The decision was clear: Yes, standardized employment references are of relevance in the age of digitalization. That is why a company agreement has now been reached on this issue, and full use is being made of Process2Design.
The formulation of the range of requirements, from the invitation to tender, the product selection and detailed concept through to the final implementation took a whole year. Before it was possible for the first employment reference workflow to start, the HR department first had to create the basis in the form of text modules, which were drafted using EASY PCM Process2Design and saved in the SAP system: A wide-ranging field with a high customizing workload, in which the Axel Springer Group decided to categorize the data according to eleven areas of assessment and grades of very good through to sufficient. These areas of assessment were the standard ones: specialist knowledge, further training, perception, capacity for reflection and judgement, motivation, etc. In the first step, the human resources department drafted texts for the commercial staff and in the next step, for the editorial staff. Six text modules are available for each area of assessment and grade, with one each for the final- and interim employment references. Some of the task descriptions are already available in the system and can be supplemented and edited and/or freshly created.
All of these texts are now stored in the SAP backend system and are used when creating employment references with PCM Process2Design. For managers and the human resources department this means that they no longer have to create new texts each time, but can rely on standardized modules. To prevent the texts from becoming inflexible, the creator can add or extend the standard text modules as required and save the new versions as text templates. Therefore, despite the standardization, an increased individualization of employment references is possible.
„In introducing the employment reference tool, we can ensure a balance between standardization and individualization. Every employee wants to have an individual employment reference. The PCM Process2Design from EASY SOFTWARE has made the reference process more efficient and quicker.“