Meet Marc Starfield, the Group Head of HR Systems and Programs, Vodafone Group, a multinational technology communications company responsible for digitally connecting over 34 million mobile, fixed line, TV customers and organizations of all shapes and sizes. Globally, Vodafone ranks among the top five internet providers. It is also one of the largest operators of submarine data cables.
Vodafone is the largest mobile and fixed network operator in Europe with the largest 5G network. The telecommunication company is also the world’s largest IoT connectivity provider, connecting over a hundred million devices annually.
Marc is an Information Technology, HR Transformation, and Global Program Leader, who has successfully led the strategy and transformation at several leading global organizations, including AstraZeneca, BP, and Barclays. Currently, as the Group Head of HR Systems and Programs of Vodafone, Marc has led the delivery of digital HR transformation for 100,000 employees in more than 26 markets.
The Steadfast Leader
An excellent opportunity to lead a multiyear digital HR transformation program, including innovative applications and a world-first solution to enable consumer-grade AI-powered cloud service for 100,000 employees in over 26 countries, led Marc to join Vodafone in 2018.
Armed with his objective of Employee Experience Excellence, Marc has the privilege of leading a global team implementing a new, simple, and integrated digital experience for the brand’s employees. This program covers the implementation of SuccessFactors functionality, process automation, AI capabilities, and introducing TOBi, Vodafone’s employee chatbot, also the single access point for all its employees to search, find, transact and resolve queries.
The Greatest Achievement
Marc feels his most significant professional achievement is implementing a future-proof, leading HR cloud architecture and technology stack, which is the foundation for a world first integrated AI solution for resourcing, skills, learning experience platform and a new HR organizational construct. However, he also realised that this was not about the technology’s sake; it was about supporting new ways of distributed working and enabling skills for the future, which directly contributes to Vodafone’s corporate vision to become a new generation connectivity digital service provider.
“Skills are the currency of the future, and AI in HR can enable unbiased and democratized opportunities for all, which will be the required response as individual values replace the collective’s for the future’s workforce.”
Marc deems his most significant personal achievement being accepted and completing an MSc at the University of Oxford, which foundations where built on three pillars; his Mom, who as a single parent to three children created the love and space for them to achieve their dreams, a munificent business man who provided a bursary for his first degree, as they could simply not afford or even get a loan to attend university and finally the unwavering faith and encouragement from his wife.
Presently Marc and his team are working to deliver an outstanding and engaging employee experience, which is based on the following foundational rudiments:
- Standardise and Simplify: Entirely entrenched in a single, simplified global platform that fully integrates all HR functions, processes, and data, including API services.
- Productivity Savings: Provided an engagement platform to drive large simplification and productivity savings via consumer-grade employee experiences.
- Innovative Product Roadmap: Targeted innovation in critical areas of the HR processes, specifically Skills Mobility and Talent Marketplace.
- AI for HR: Implemented and embedded AI for HR Automation, Digital Assistants, and Machine Learning.
- Analytical Capabilities: To deliver multilateral insights and predictive analytics that syndicates multiple sources of data and ensure data driven decision making.
- Agility: Establish an agile, demand, governance, and ethics model.
The tagline Marc uses for his team is “Align, Innovate and Value Create”, which is a simple summation of the digital strategy and approach employed by Marc.
Picture of the Future
Marc definitely connects with the Vodafone “Together we can” belief that is aptly summarized by this Vodafone quote, “At Vodafone, we are known for our technology, but the truth is, it is humanity that drives our business forward. With the global pandemic raising so many questions for tech brands, it has highlighted the leading role that we need to play.”
Marc personally connects too and is inspired to continue the transformation to build and implement the ‘Human Spirit of Technology, as an inclusive and growth environment where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.’
A central part of Vodafone’s strategy is to move from a Telco to Technology Communications Company. Along with technology, people and culture are key enablers in achieving this. Marc believes there are two decisive foundational elements to achieve this.
- Attract and retain the best digital skills: Where the culture and HR journeys represent an environment where digital natives feel like they belong.
- Grow Skills: The culture of continuous exponential learning and transparency with employees helps them feel empowered.