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Creating an entire talent lifecycle with Victoria Ward, Dimension Data

With a presence in 48 countries, and more than 30,000 employees around the world, Dimension Data has become a major player notably in the networking, datacenter, cloud and security sectors. Victoria Ward, the HR Director for Europe leads the company's HR strategy execution for the region, whether it is the HR digital transformation or the current development of its employee talent. HR One met with her as she was visiting Dimension Data’s team in Luxembourg. We discussed the implementation of a new Human Resources Information System (HRIS), but also employer branding and Dimension Data's learning and innovative mindset.

"We've recently started working with Workday, our global HRIS. We've been on this journey for more than 18 months, and are implementing it step by step", Victoria explained that the first step for implementation was gathering and digitalizing the employee data worldwide. "Before Workday was introduced it was a manual and tedious process: we now have a global view on who exactly we have in the company, their specific roles and skillsets" she added. What also helped with this first step was a one-of-a-kind job architecture: "We call it the Dimension Data job framework and it is an amazing piece of work. We've been using it for 10 years now and every single role within the company is detailed, across all the functions".


According to Victoria, this data collection now allows the company to move forward: the Workday recruitment module was launched at the beginning of May and more modules, such as workforce planning, are about to be added to continue this digitalization journey. "Where are our capabilities and where do we need to grow them?" is top of mind for Victoria. "As a matter of fact, the people at Dimension Data have an innovative mindset and therefore we encourage and welcome creative talents. Because innovation is in our DNA, the people we hire share this mindset. Team work is also key within our company. It is actually a common value in all the countries and businesses we work in. It also requires collaborating with the clients and partners, not only internally" explained Victoria.


Staying on top of the game, on both the HR and talent sides


The development of employees was also discussed during our meeting: young talent has a need to be flexible and in working in environments where they can cultivate their learning mindset. Victoria added: "We do not believe in having them in classrooms. People need to be self-motivated and they have access to more than 2,000 online courses through the Dimension Data University. These are not only technical but also aim at developing their leadership skills". Newcomers also receive specific support when joining Dimension Data: "The new generation of employees want to work for us because of our global business, and we therefore try to bring them into that global area. Moreover, there is a fast-track program designed with our bright stars in mind, helping them become a true and strong leader".


Young talents also wish to work for Dimension Data thanks to a strong employer brand: "One of the initiatives is the ambition to be recognized as a Top Employer through this global accreditation. It actually tells us if our policies, procedures, activities and approach to learning and development are moving in the right direction" explains Victoria. Dimension Data is one of 9 companies who has been awarded the Global Top Employer accreditation for the last 3 years. Victoria also reinforced on the importance of listening to your audience, in this case employees, with four different generations currently working for Dimension Data.


Moreover, Dimension Data develops several internal employee engagement initiatives around the Tour de France, a global sports event broadcast all over the world, in which the company is revolutionizing the viewing experience with real time data analytics in a partnership with the ASO (the owners of the Tour de France) and as a principle sponsor of Team Dimension Data. "We are now able to create a unique viewing experience for sports fans notably through big data analytics in real-time, thanks to a great collaboration with the ASO" added Victoria who continued: "Our internal teams absolutely love it. It's very refreshing to work on such projects. People stay connected and motivated. It shows, once again, how innovative Dimension Data is".


New generations, new expectations and new methods


In Europe, 40% of our business is composed of Millennials. France comes first with more than 50%, and Luxembourg is in second position. "A young workforce is emerging. It changes the way we manage performance. Younger generations want feedback… right now, and on a regular basis" explained Victoria, who's thinking about making it more "real-time" and more engaging.


Terms such as "vision" and "mission" are crucial to these new generations. But one must not forget social responsibility and awareness as additional key words. In this respect, Victoria underlined Dimension Data's participation in the Qhubeka project. This Nguni word, which actually means "to carry on", "to progress", is the name of an initiative aiming at mobilising people with bicycles in Africa. "These can actually change lives through creating access to education, healthcare and economic opportunity" highlighted Victoria. Through #BicyclesChangeLives, Team Dimension Data that participates in the Tour de France also supports the Qhubeka project.


"We are aware that what got us ‘here’, won't get us ‘there’ in the future. We constantly have to look at our people practices, how we engage with people, how we attract and reward them. It is an exciting time for HR, yet, a creative and innovative mindset is needed to survive" concluded Victoria.


Alexandre Keilmann