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HR HERO:  Tracy Bargielski, Yamaha Corporation of America

Transforming HR Administration to Value-Driven Operations

When Tracy Bargielski interviewed with Yamaha Corporation of America, she was about to embark upon a journey that would be filled with highs and lows, tremendous challenges, yet huge gains. Hired as a soon-to-be replacement for the retiring head of HR, she came to the company filled with ideas and enthusiasm. One of her first goals in her role as senior manager of HR was to replace the payroll service bureau the company had been using with UltiPro — a massive internal change for the company.

Because of her masterful understanding of both HR and systems, the deployment of UltiPro progressed smoothly and she completed the activation of UltiPro on time and on budget. However, not long after a successful deployment and a promotion to the head of the human resources division as the new general manager, Tracy experienced an unexpected medical emergency, requiring immediate surgery followed by a long recovery period, several trips to the hospital and yet another surgery.

Despite all this, Tracy persevered and continued to work, travel for business, and take action to help Yamaha experience more benefits as a result of UltiPro. Today, Tracy is healthy and has beaten her medical problems. Even though Yamaha is best known for delivering its products to many of the world’s best-known musicians, the company has its own rock star leading the HR team.

“I think it’s important to stay positive and stay productive when confronted with that kind of life changing occurrence,” said Bargielski. “It’s not about what you are given, but how you deal with it.”

Because of her strength and hard work, the entire Yamaha workforce is benefiting from improved collaboration, visibility, and automation with UltiPro. And Tracy is using the time she has gained to develop programs to support the revenue-generating operations of the company.

After rolling out UltiPro, Yamaha immediately improved the accuracy of reports and saved substantial time across the HR division, and this team is now focusing its energy on new value-added projects that contribute to Yamaha’s core business. For example, because of the time savings with UltiPro, Bargielski’s team is collaborating with the sales division to support company’s dealers in an effort to help our customers more effectively recruit, motivate, and retain their employees.

“To help us grow our business, we wanted to offer services to our dealers that set Yamaha apart from others in our industry. HR can now support our revenue generators,” said Bargielski. “If UltiPro hadn’t provided us with so many ways to save time, we wouldn’t have been able to deliver the added value to our business.”

In addition to this, the human resources division won the Spirit Award for 2011 at the end of April. This was awarded by the management of the sales divisions and is awarded “in recognition and appreciation of the outstanding leadership, focus and support of the Employees of Yamaha Corporation of America.” It is not only the first time that human resources has won this award, but also the first time any administration division has won.

Bargielski believes UltiPro has helped drive the transition from being perceived as a cost center to a value-driver. “We’re now more results-oriented and future-oriented rather than being process-oriented, and our employees and managers can now feel more ownership because they have instant access to their information. Our actions have allowed us to become better connected to the company’s overall objectives, and can help HR to be viewed as a strategic business division and not just a center for administration. We’re only able to do this because of UltiPro. With all HR and payroll information in one place and the use of business intelligence tools, we are able to gain visibility, clarity and insight into the organization's data assets to help us understand how our people and the business are performing. This easily provides information to senior management, empowering them to make more informed workforce decisions.”

We congratulate Tracy for being a real HR hero.