Sitting at the forefront of a mammoth industry with unique needs, the animation powerhouse WildBrain Studios has built an impressive catalog of productions. Producing hit content for such kids' brands as Peanuts, Sonic the Hedgehog, Strawberry Shortcake, Fireman Sam and Johnny Test, as well as collaborating on contract-based work with industry-leading partners such as Disney and Lego, the company’s Vancouver-based studio took important steps forward with Cegid Talentsoft to enhance and optimize their talent needs through full HR digital transformation.
Simplicity as a driver
When Daryl Chappell came onboard as Vice-President of Talent at WildBrain Studios, he understood that the animation powerhouse was not without its HR challenges. As a company with an ambitious talent strategy, WildBrain Studios structured its HRD to streamline the internal staffing process – called Crewing – by virtue of Artist Managers: a group of artists tasked with crewing future projects with the right animators from their database.
Despite this cutting-edge approach, Chappell realized that one of the real strategic opportunities was to maximize the ability to execute quicker and more efficiently, while engaging talent in a meaningful way.
“My mandate was to pull all the talent functions together, work cohesively in terms of being operationally efficient, and to optimize processes to create an engaging and meaningful employee experience,” said Chappell. Stressing the importance of scaling the experience across the board in one place to consolidate learnings, CVs, portfolios, professional skills, professional work interest and past project performances, Chappell adds: “That’s a big part of what Cegid Talentsoft is delivering for us.”
“What can we do to optimize the employee experience? Can we offer more learning opportunities? Can we pull everything together to make it seamless? Can employees see and update everything themselves? That’s a big part of what Cegid Talentsoft is delivering for us.”
“We previously used a number of solutions globally at the corporate level,” Chappell explained, “but they weren’t efficiently integrated. Some pieces weren’t as involved or couldn’t be as involved as we wanted them to be, given the nature of the employment contracts we have at the studio. We just needed all these aspects to come together into one.”
That was only part of the solution. With a vast network of talent who had previously worked at WildBrain Studios, the team needed a way to not only streamline its HR initiatives but to also more effectively empower its Recruiters to reach out to alumni and build teams on a project-by-project basis, leveraging its top talent by skillsets and interests. And they needed to do so without having to manage complex documentation or rely on multiple, non-integrated solutions.
“A lot of contract artists work with us for a period of time on specific projects, and then they will shift for a time to projects at another company. There’s a lot of freelancer movement happening within the industry based on project timelines,” he explained. The need for WildBrain to equip itself with a solution to manage and continuously engage its alumni was a necessity. “We needed a highly effective solution to manage a large network of past contractors, so that we could efficiently and effectively call on people who have worked with us before.”
“How do we tap into our wealth of talent? How do we efficiently and effectively call on people who’ve worked with us before? This is what Cegid Talentsoft is enabling: an alumni network for us to make that connection.”
The WildBrain Studios team also needed a feature that would help manage those relationships head-on. “It’s very important to us to be able to engage artists on their own terms,” Chappell said. Leveraging the Cegid Talentsoft Skills Match feature, alumni can build their own profiles—similar to those found on LinkedIn—and be proactively encouraged to apply to projects of interest based on their skillsets and experience with the company.
Alternatively, it changes the way Artist Managers internally scale an upcoming project, using a system that helps them manually prompt artists who best fit the project scope to apply to certain open positions.
Thanks to the technology embedded in HR data analytics, WildBrain Studios will be able to quickly take a skills inventory of their workforce and understand through the Cegid Talentsoft platform what new skills they need to develop and, in parallel, improve their management and reporting capabilities while ensuring company strategic alignment.
Supporting an artist-centric philosophy
As a forward-thinking employer, one of WildBrain Studios’ main drivers for success has been its artist-centric philosophy. It was this shared perspective that led to the partnership with Cegid Talentsoft: “I like the ability to collaborate with our alumni network,” Chappell indicated. “That’s the difference-maker for us. We needed to focus on our artists and develop a great HR experience for them. That’s where Cegid Talentsoft stood out.”
“During deployment, Cegid’s team always showed up. That’s a true partnership.”
Through the complete digital transformation with the Cegid Talentsoft Recruitment, Learning and HUB modules, WildBrain Studios has now been able to optimize its processes to effectively amplify the impact of its HRIS, promote agile leadership and prepare for the future of work. Regarding the latter, Chappell adds: “I want to embrace working anywhere, but technology has to keep up with that in our industry.” He added, “People can choose to come to the studio. We love seeing them and working together in the studio. And we provide a great working environment, a destination where they want to be. But it’s an optional place to be in the new hybrid work model, so we need to ensure our HR solutions and processes fit that new reality.”
About WildBrain Studios
WildBrain Studios creates award-winning content that kids and families love in every corner of the globe. Our animation studio in Vancouver has roots going back 30+ years, and we are now home to over 800 artists letting our imaginations run wild.
With between 10-12 lines of production operating at a time, including 2D and CG animation, preschool to tween, comedy to mystery, we’re up for anything—especially a new challenge. We’ve been trusted with some of the world’s most beloved characters, including Snoopy and Carmen Sandiego, as well as original stories by renowned creators. With full-scale pre-production teams, we can take a project all the way from script through post-production, in a constantly expanding variety of styles.
WildBrain Studios is part of WildBrain Ltd., a global leader in kids and family entertainment.
Cegid is a major player in cloud management solutions for professionals in the Finance (ERP, treasury, tax), Human Resources (payroll, talent management) and Accounting and Retail sectors. With its experience as a leader in cloud management solutions, Cegid is committed to its customers over the long term and supports the digitization of companies – from very small businesses to major accounts – as well as public organizations. Cegid combines a forward-looking and pragmatic vision of the business with a mastery of new technologies and a unique knowledge of regulations. In a rapidly changing world, Cegid opens up the possibilities and reveals the full value of its customers’ businesses by providing them with useful and innovative solutions. Cegid acquired Talentsoft in 2021.
Cegid now has 3,600 employees and sells its solutions in 130 countries. Cegid has annual revenues of €498 million (as of December 31, 2020).