Group HRD Travelex: "How I chose the HR technology I wanted."

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Gareth Williams is Global HR Director at Travelex. We recently interviewed Gareth on the global technology transformation taking place at the currency company. Here we ask Gareth about how he chose the cloud-based technology being implemented in Travelex and what advice he’d give to HR professionals on the same journey.

Finding a core HCM product

Why did we go with Workday?

"One of the key reasons was their upgrade path and their upgrade strategy on the technology.

"It does cause issues and challenges with regression testing, so every four months you’re upgrading to a new version, but that’s the back of the system. The UI doesn’t change, but there’s requirements to regression test and do all the change management that happens as part of the upgrade. That said, you know on one hand that’s a disadvantage, on the other you’re getting the best technology every 16 weeks. And I know what I’d prefer."

"Get left behind or lead the rest."

The hard facts

Peoplefluent’s direct integration with Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks has taken our cost to recruit in the Middle East (we launched there first) from £8 per hire to 94p.

"Some of the stuff they’re [Workday] doing on recruitment at the moment really is cutting edge. You can see a world where they will dominate the market within three years.

"Their analytics is mind-blowing too. It’s very exciting. I’m a data man. I believe in data. I believe in the facts. Because of the analytics capability and the total integration of all these products, having good quality meaningful actionable data, not just fancy HR metrics that go on the dashboard, that is absolutely key. And this type of technology gives you that."

Requirement gathering

Gareth and his team had over 200 requirements but these were the critical ones.

Priority #1: When we’d developed our core strategy, we had a better idea of the architecture and core HCM that would help meet our core strategy. How do these products relate to the core strategy? This is a fundamental question.

Priority #2: The products we then bought to bolster our offering must fit in with the core strategy and also with our core HCM product. Can they talk to the core HCM product, and each other, easily?

Priority #3: Mobile needed to come first. I knew 18 months ago that mobile would become ever more prevalent in our lives and the technology had to work seamlessly on mobile.

Priority #4: It was crucial that it meet our geographic footprint. We are in 30 countries with complexities in Europe, the Middle East and Greater China.

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Read our full interview with Gareth on the enormous HR technology-led transformation happening at Travelex.

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Here are some other tips he picked up along the way:

  • Data, data, data. It’s all about data. You can have the best products and services in the world, but if you don’t have good data going in, you’ll get crap[***] coming out.
  • You must be clear on implementation strategy to tackle the data issue – we had some complexities due to the sheer number of integrations we’ve done, particularly with regard to payroll and legacy time and attendance systems.
  • Be clear on change management strategy. I’m proud of ours, with business adoption at 98% in a few days.
  • Be clear on training – we use Cornerstone and we were driving people to the LMS so they could get a look and feel about what the new systems would look like
  • We assessed the capability of every single PC in our company to make sure it could access SaaS, there wouldn’t be any problems with firewalls, etc.
  • One thing you don’t want is multiple passwords for multiple services – single sign on is very important from a user experience perspective

Working with implementation partners

“We worked with an implementation partner – a company called Kainos. That wasn’t without its challenges but they’ve done an excellent job in supporting us. The detail of working through 30 different countries with millions of bits of data and configuration, reward plans, etc is a very complex process."

How did you work with them?

“All the integration has been done by them. Some of the thought leadership and configuration has been done by them, but as we’ve moved through the transformation we’ve had three waves. In wave one they helped us a lot, in wave two they helped us not as much and in wave three we’ve had the Mumbai centre doing a lot of the work.

“Would we work with an implementation partner again? Without a question, we’d have to. We would, but our model would be different.”

About Jamie Lawrence

Jamie Lawrence, HRZone

Jamie Lawrence is editor of global online HR publication and community HRZone.com. He is committed to driving forward the HR agenda and making sure that HR directors have the knowledge and insight necessary to make HR felt across the whole organisation. He regularly speaks to audiences of 250+ and has interviewed key HR industry names, including Daniel H. Pink. He has worked previously as a small business journalist and a copywriter and has published non-fiction that reached #2 on the NYT Children's Bestseller List. In his spare time Jamie likes writing fiction, films, fitness and eating out.

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