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Case Study
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Case Study

How Yara centralized their Europe HR operations through ServiceNow

EY teams helped Yara redefine its HR operations, moving from local to a regional model to free up the HR's time to focus on strategic tasks.


How can a digital strategy harmonize disconnected HR operations?

Yara’s Europe HR operations had a fragmented structure across countries and needed a solution.

Yara is one of the world’s leading crop nutrition companies and a provider of environmental and agricultural solutions. Even with its large size as a multinational organization and with employees spread across several geographies, Yara did not have a unified digital platform where HR could collaborate on processes and tasks to deliver services to employees.

Although there was an HCM software implemented globally, the local operations in each country had its own unique way of dealing with various HR activities. While some countries performed all their HR tasks through emails, some had to manage with physical forms, and some others had their own SharePoint sites to manage their HR interactions. This made HR delivery of even the basic tasks a manual and time-consuming process for the HR personnel. In addition, the lack of a digital system to raise HR service requests made the overall process cumbersome for the employees.

Our goal was to standardize HR Operations and to do that, we realized that we did not have the necessary expertise nor capacity inhouse to drive such a transformation.
Sigrid Nordeide
Head of HR Transformation in Yara

Need for centralizing HR processes to one common platform

Based on EY professionals and Yara‘s analysis, it was evident that there was a need to harmonize and clarify HR roles and accountabilities. There was also a need to optimize HR processes and to bring a centralized digital system within the HR function, which would also help ensure General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. The present system provided limited visibility and ability to quantify manpower demand. Hence, the leadership did not have the necessary insights to optimize the workforce.

“Our goal was to standardize HR Operations and to do that, we realized that we did not have the necessary expertise nor capacity inhouse to drive such a transformation. So, we contacted EY to analyze our HR operating model and to recommend and implement a digital solution for our employees,” said Sigrid Nordeide, Head of HR Transformation in Yara.

Team in business meeting

Transitioning HR processes to a common digital platform

The global EY organization helped Yara’s HR services transition to a fully digital and regionalized delivery model.

Partnering with EY teams for a transformation journey

Yara and EY teams had been working closely over the past year and a half to assess the current state and to design a new Target Operating Model (TOM) for Region Europe HR. To fix the challenges with their HR delivery, a decision was made to implement a common digital service channel for an efficient HR service delivery with the following intended benefits:

  • Digitizing the processes and workflows
  • Providing employees an intuitive portal for self-help and for raising HR-related requests to save valuable time
  • Freeing up HR personnel to focus on more strategic initiatives
  • Case management system for HR personnel and communication tool for virtual teams spread across Europe
  • Ensure GDPR compliance

 “In the analysis phase, it was evident that to truly realize the benefit of the new operating model and a virtual shared service team, a digital platform such as ServiceNow is essential for Yara’s success,” said Anja Undrum Enge, Engagement Partner, EY Consulting.

Building a personalized user experience 

The team started with defining the guiding principles and what the end state should look like to work our way back into what was a feasible out-of-the-box solution and where changes were needed to achieve the end goal. It quickly boiled down to building a personalized user experience for both the HR personnel and the employees, especially coming from different geographies with local laws and regulations and ways of working.

Leveraging what EY professionals has built for other similar clients and understanding Yara’s business needs, the team recommended various intuitive designs and functionalities to meet Yara’s goals. EY teams’ thought leadership and viewpoints helped Yara visualize the outcomes and benefits of ServiceNow.

The development was carried out iteratively through sprints, with EY teams leading working sessions with suggestions and Yara providing feedbacks on what was suited for their organization and the way they work. Post every sprint, EY professionals conducted a show-back session (every 3 weeks) to help Yara understand the work in progress and to get inputs early on, thereby reducing QA/UAT time needed towards the end. This iterative engagement gave the team a deep understanding of the client’s needs and their values while helping Yara understand how ServiceNow works and how this new way of working would eventually materialize.

“Working Agile also means responding to change. Along the project there were times we needed to rethink and pivot from a specified approach to manage obstacles and changing business priorities. Yara has been one such client who has been a great partner in being agile, and this collaboration and ease of working has helped EY create a stable product of high quality,” said Vaibhav Shah, Implementation Lead, EY Norway.

Delivering High Value through One EY approach

While implementing the ServiceNow platform for Yara, the approach followed was of One EY with multiple teams working together internally to provide a coherent recommendation and output to Yara. EY professionals were able to bring together a team which had knowledge across different domains such as HR, industry, project management, technology and change management to provide a broad solution for Yara. 

Customer satisfaction score after six month


The score from the survey reinforced our continued focus on Employee Experience

Enabling a smooth transition

EY teams hosted several training workshops and walkthroughs of processes for the client to become comfortable with the new platform. This was a key step in preparing the HR agents for a seamless transition to ServiceNow. For the end user, one of the guiding principles was to build a platform so intuitive that it did not require any training (just an initial guided tour – like how you would use a new iPhone).

A proper handover of development activities was provided along with training for Yara’s IT team to develop an in-house capability for changes and enhancements. This will help Yara in their efforts for continuous improvement.

In 6 months since launch, out of ~26K portal visits, only 11.5% have resulted in case creation, freeing up HR time to focus more on strategic tasks.

This reinforced our KBIs (Key Behavior Indicators) of shifting left towards more self-service.

Person watching harvest in sunset

Shifting from fragmented siloed structure to one Region HR organization

A centralized platform benefited Yara's employees and freed up HR’s time for strategic initiatives.

Yara’s HR organization shifted from a fragmented structure with different countries using different processes in silos to one region Europe HR organization. To enable the HR function to work as one common HR team, the HR portal was essential, as this ensured a platform where the HR team could offer support across country boundaries. The portal has a very simple, intuitive design and is easy to navigate. Self-service has been beneficial to Yara employees (in the modern day of Google Search) and has freed up time for the HR personnel to work on other strategic initiatives.

In the past, Yara did not have the visibility into different HR agent tasks across countries and their challenges. Now, with everything consolidated to a single platform, any case raised the HR Portal is visible to the HR management for continuous improvement. It provides visibility on how much time each task takes and helps build an understanding of the various problems that HR agents face. It also gives insights on what is most important to employees for the HR to be able to focus on.

The platform now also acts as an HR knowledge management portal which supports addition of new articles with search capability for any information that may be needed. The users do not have to navigate different SharePoints to get required information such as benefits and compensation for different countries. The portal also allows users to raise request for information to an HR agent in case the search does not yield the required information. This can help HR to add more information on the portal for which users are searching and hence, enhance their knowledge base. Users can now directly contact HR from the portal to ask questions or raise requests. This has eliminated the need for raising cases over emails which in the past led to undefined workflows with longer resolution time.

“With the whole process being defined on a digital platform, it has become easier for us to track all cases raised by employees. The automated task assignment auto assigns tasks to the agents which saves a lot of time. This streamlines our work and gives us more time to focus on high priority tasks” says Juliana Filippelli, Team Manager, People Services.

51 agents servicing 3400 employees based in 18 countries

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