Shortlisted team for the tmp.worldwide Award for Outsourcing: Personnel Today Awards 2000

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Founded in 1967, TMP Worldwide – now with more than 7,600 employees in 29 countries – is one of the largest search and selection agencies, the on-line recruitment leader with, and the world’s largest recruitment advertising agency. The company’s clients include more than 90 of the Fortune 100 and more than 490 of the Fortune 500 companies. With over 600 staff across the UK, the executive resourcing division of TMP Worldwide is an important part of Europe’s fastest moving human capital solutions business.

A major player in the HR recruitment market, the team provides tailored recruitment solutions across all industry sectors, placing HR professionals in both contract and permanent roles throughout Europe

Having invested heavily in its payroll, Asda had what it believed to be one of the most efficient systems in the country. But the need to make it millennium compliant brought the opportunity for a rethink and the company decided to outsource, an approach that had already been adopted in other areas.

The priority for HR systems manager Andy Haywood, who led the project, was to select a supplier with a similar employment culture to Asda, resulting in the choice of Centrefile. Haywood encouraged a culture of open communication between the two, setting up regular meetings and communication channels. One initiative was for project team members on both sides to work on-site at Asda headquarters, instead of being spread among various regional offices. This enabled face-to-face discussions to take place during the testing phase, leading to speedier resolution of issues as they arose.

Hayward was also concerned that the change should impact positively on the careers of the 14 Asda payroll employees. These transferred under TUPE agreements to Centrefile, and were shortly afterward relocated to a new separate office near the headquarters in Leeds.

In the three years since the contract was signed only one employee has left, reflecting general satisfaction with the new arrangement. Several staff have taken advantage of Centrefile’s financial support and encouragement to study for professional qualifications in payroll. That has provided a knock-on benefit to Asda by raising the professionalism of the payroll service it receives.

“The development and career opportunities have been absolutely marvellous,” Hayward says. “One of the staff has been promoted to pay centre manager, which is something that we as a retailer wouldn’t have been able to offer.”

The new service has also increased efficiency in many areas. One move has been to automate the repayment of staff loans, centralising a process that had been administered by local managers who might not always ensure the money was recovered. Another innovation is a call-logging system, which analyses queries made by individual stores and alerts head office to training needs.

Hayward says, “Outsourcing provides not just a system but a total solution. It means that we don’t have to tie up manpower resources every time there are changes to the employment legislation.”

One benefit has been that HR can now devote more time to its own systems and processes, while the expertise of a specialist has helped provide a better service: key performance indicators in 250 stores register a measurable increase in customer satisfaction.

Company fact file

Team Asda Stores

Team leader Andy Haywood, HR systems manager

Number in HR team six

Number of employees responsible for 100,000

Main achievements The move enables greater focus on HR systems and processes, while Centrefile’s expertise helps to provide a better service, strongly demonstrated in customer satisfaction measures

priorities for next 12 months Converting the HR system to Wal-Mart, following the merger with the US supermarket chain

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