HR Services Technology Director – Unilever

As HR Services Technology Director at Unilever I led the strategic envisioning of the (HR Services) Employee Experience , defining the purpose, vision and objectives for the creation a suite of technologies as part of Unilever’s global HR Digital Transformation.

I then led the development of these technologies (and architecture) which enabled employees to self-serve to carry out tasks and find information via a single, omnichannel, consumer-like interface which included a multi-lingual conversational chatbot.

Exployee Experience was front and centre of the project and I led the use of Design Thinking, Use Cases and Experience Maps. Delivery was via Agile project management involving prototyping, testing and deployment.

The following technology elements were developed to work together in order to deliver a seamless and consumer-like employee experience.

Una Bot – a multi-lingual Global HR/IT Chatbot: I led the team developing Una Bot: a multi-lingual, Global HR and IT Service conversational chatbot which enabled employees to find information, answers to questions and undertake tasks  – all through plain language conversations. When Una Bot didn’t understand an intent, or was not able to complete the task, it raised a case in Salesforce. An integral part of this project was training the Bot to understand utterances and intent (using Natural Language Processing) and then crafting natural language conversations. In countries where English is not widely spoken (e.g. China and Turkey), conversations were translated in real-time.

From a technical perspective, it surfaced employees’ personalised information from Workday and status information from BMC Remedy; added and updated their personal data and supported their Line Manager actions in Workday as well as triggering automated processes in other systems. APIs linked to core systems carried out in order to carry out the user’s intent.

Una Hub – a Global Knowledge Base Search Engine: To support employees who preferred a Google-like self-service experience, I led the development of Una Hub. This multi-lingual search engine surfaced relevant articles from a Knowledge base and used Machine Learning to increase accuracy.

Where a relevant self-serve article couldn’t be found, the user could raise a case directly into the Salesforce.com Case Management System and monitor progress in real time. Articles were written locally and were maintained using KCS methodologies. Over 60,000 articles and policies  were rewritten in a consistent, plain language format and chunked so that only content relevant to the user was served,

A Global Case Management System (Salesforce.com): We developed a core Global Case Management System (using Salesforce.com) ready to be deployed to an initial group of countries in 12 weeks. Over the following six months the system was scaled to support all countries globally.

Accessed seamlessly via both Una Hub and Una Bot, users received updates on their case automatically or could request an update via Una Notifications. Where relevant, the raising of a case instigated an automated workflow.

Una Notifications – a retail-like communication experience: Una Notifications is a retail-like notification system which allows employees to choose which channel they want to receive communications via. Whenever an employee needs to respond to an action as part of a process they could choose to be prompted by email, chatbot or via a personalised dashboard on the intranet.

Watch the interview about Una with Leena Nair, CHRO, Unilever

Watch Keith talk about Chatbots in HR for REBA

Senior Project Lead – Employee 20/20 – Unilever

I led the Employee 20/20 project to completely re-think the way Unilever engages with Employees and delivers employee services. The output of this project was one of the foundation stones of Unilever’s subsequent global HR digital transformation programme.

Global Reward Director – Total Reward System – Unilever

I was the Product Owner of Unilever’s Total Reward System – a dynamic, calculation based process which not only provides a Total Reward Statement to employees in 106 countries, but also provides comprehensive, real-time cost reporting for use by both Reward and Finance; systemises the Reward Benchmarking process; and puts a self-serve package cost modelling tool on the desktop of every HRBP allowing them to cost a package in 15 seconds. This product has subsequently been commercialised as U-Flex Reward.

Watch Keith talk about this project.


Oxford Artificial Intelligence Programme, Said Business School, University of Oxford, 2020.