Employee-centric delivery on a global level

Leading chemical manufacturer, Nouryon, empowers users with a centralised HR services portal on ServiceNow

  • Industry: Chemical manufacturing
  • Headquarters: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Employees: 10,000+ employees
  • Challenge: Migrate HR services to centralised, employee-friendly portal in three months following separation from former parent company
  • Products: ServiceNow® HR Service Delivery, ServiceNow® IT Service Management
  • Solution: ServiceNow HR Service Delivery enables an employee-centric approach to service delivery on a global level

Nouryon helps your sunscreen last longer. It helps growers bring more food to our tables. And it even helps golf balls perform better on the links. In 2018, the chemical specialist split from its parent company and relaunched as an independent business ready to take its rightful place alongside other industry leaders. While the company develops sustainable chemicals that help shape everyday products, it’s also committed to providing employees with simple, user-friendly technology to help them work smarter.

Continuous operational excellence in an evolving environment

For 400 years, Nouryon has been developing innovative chemicals for the manufacturing industry. Its products play an essential role in the everyday lives of millions around the globe.

Along with expertise in chemistry, the company has a strong focus on sustainability and an appreciation for people; it prides itself on strong partner and customer relationships, and an unwavering commitment to the well-being of its employees.

Creating an environment where staff can flourish starts by empowering them with the right technology. When Nouryon split from its parent company in 2018, it turned the challenge of aligning 10,000-plus employees across 80 countries into an opportunity to invest in efficiency and improve user satisfaction.

“The platforms we were previously using were designed for a much bigger company,” says Liesbeth van Dijk, global HR technology manager at Nouryon. “We needed to find an agile solution for HR services that met our needs as a standalone company and gave our employees a great user experience.”

Transforming HR services in just three months

The company decided to migrate HR services onto a dedicated portal for its employees. But with tight timescales as it split from its former parent company, the team had just three months to transition its highly complex and dynamic environment to a new solution.

“We went to market with three main considerations,” recalls global HR process lead Donika Kaneva. “Firstly, we needed a solution we could implement in three months. Secondly, our lack of in-house expertise meant we’d need a user-friendly system we could get to grips with quickly, and finally we wanted to simplify operations and focus on speed over complex functionality.”

By streamlining access to HR services, the team hoped to improve employee productivity, provide greater transparency, and standardise services across its 80-plus global regions. It also consolidated nine global HR teams down to six based in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, the US, Brazil, and Asia, with two dedicated HR services teams.

“We envisioned a one-stop-shop for all HR services; a platform that was easy to navigate and would help users find information or resolve issues quickly and easily,” explains van Dijk. “Smarter workflows and more automated processes were also top priorities to help maximise HR resources and minimise ongoing platform maintenance.”

Leveraging out-of-the-box functionality

Impressed with the out-of-the box capabilities of ServiceNow HR Service Delivery, Nouryon implemented it in just three months with minimal customisation. The maturity of the product meant it already had the capabilities the company needed to meet its needs while migrating data and services quickly.

Key features of the HR portal include Case and Knowledge Management capabilities. The team was also impressed with the tool’s reporting feature, widgets, roles, security rules, and advanced permissions that allow it to restrict access to sensitive documents needed only by authorised HR personnel.


decrease in unnecessary knowledge articles

“Initially we did make a few customisations to the solution, but now we’re reverting those back to the standard functionality,” reveals Kaneva. “ServiceNow simply works better, and we’re taking advantage of new features every time there’s a new release.”

One example of this is ServiceNow’s “change language” feature. With users across the world, it’s important for employees to be able to view the portal in the language of their choice. After initially building customisations to enable them to do this, the team reverted to the platform’s own, stronger multilanguage functionality.

Adopting a user-centric approach to change

To ensure the new HR portal was a success, the team used a design thinking approach to find out what employees really wanted from the platform. Via a combination of interviews, user experience sessions, and workshops, they learned employees wanted a single access point with a simple interface and better self-serve capabilities.

“You have to walk in a customer’s shoes if you want to truly understand their experience,” comments Kaneva. “Despite finding the previous system difficult to navigate, people really wanted to be able to help themselves.”

Self-service doesn’t just empower employees. It also helps resolve issues faster while taking up fewer HR resources. In the first year the portal was live, self-service increased by 12% while phone calls dwindled by 7%.

The feedback also revealed that users thought the 6,000-strong knowledge bank was overwhelming. As a result, the team reduced the knowledge bank by 90%, to 600 more relevant articles that now receive 10x more views.


increase in self-service in one year

Smarter change management boosts user adoption

As with any IT transformation, change is only as effective as user buy-in. Two months after the initial implementation, Nouryon launched a campaign to promote awareness of the portal and encourage user adoption.

The company’s chief human resources officer ran awareness sessions and picked ambassadors to encourage peer-to-peer adoption. The campaign included employee video testimonials, a mass mail out, and promotion of the portal in email signatures. Large posters were displayed that showed off the attractive design and key functions, highlighting the portal’s consumer-like experience.

Innovation roadmap

Nouryon’s HR portal has had a strong start, but the journey’s not over yet. The company has big plans to take the portal to the next level as part of its innovation roadmap. The most advanced user group, based in the Netherlands, will be the first to trial transitioning to a portal-only approach, with the goal of eliminating all emails to HR.

You have to walk in a customer’s shoes if you want to truly understand their experience

“Our users told us what they wanted, and we listened — we aim to be able to solve 60% of enquiries by self-service, but that will mean further optimising our platform,” says van Dijk. “Now that we have the ‘must have’ capability in place, we can work on reducing the lead time on tickets and streamlining manager approvals, for example.”

By the end of 2020, the team plans to add more than 70 additional services to its catalog, along with relevant knowledge articles and comprehensive forms that capture all the information required to resolve the issue quickly.

Nouryon has integrated its core HR system, built on SAP SuccessFactors, with ServiceNow to synchronise to-do lists across the platforms. This yields a more seamless user experience. Nouryon plans to further streamline case routing between SAP SuccessFactors and ServiceNow by adding categorisation to cases generated by the system. As well as reducing admin with automated workflows, having a central source of HR data will help create more accurate reports.

By simplifying HR processes on a single, user-friendly portal, Nouryon has improved operational efficiency and freed up staff to focus on what they do best — delivering the innovative chemical solutions that have helped set the company apart from its competitors for hundreds of years.