e-HR in action B&Q's HR project manager, David Foote, explains how the DIY retailer is reaping the benefits of a solid e-HR infrastructure with its SAP HR system
On average, B&Q has 1,100 new joiners, 800 leavers and 10,000 contract changes each month across its 320 UK stores. With a significant increase in the labour force expected in the coming years, HR project manager David Foote knew he had to find a way of easing the strain on the HR department by streamlining processes.
That was in 2000, and while many companies are still debating the whys and wherefores of an e-HR strategy, B&Q leapt straight in. Foote's willingness to bite the bullet has meant that the number one DIY retailer in Europe is reaping the benefits of a solid e-HR infrastructure on which to build from both an HR and business standpoint.
"We needed to upgrade our HR technology to make sure we benefited from extra functionality, increased accuracy of information, extended reporting mechanisms and streamlined processes," says Foote. "Our SAP HR system has given us this."
To help achieve its aims, B&Q employed the services of HR specialist Arinso UK, which has a track record in implementing SAP systems. Arinso made sure the design of the system was tailored to a store-based environment, encouraging exhaustive testing by the organisation.
"We had two user testing groups - one that took 2,000 existing payroll records that were entered into SAP HR to see if the same pay figures were arrived at, while the other team was tasked with dreaming up wacky HR and payroll scenarios to see how the technology reacted," says Foote. "We spent five months on this phase, but it was worth it as the first payroll went smoothly."
A working party was established to assess the best way to roll out SAP HR. The personnel administration and organisational management modules were rolled out first, with time management (which includes a clocking facility) following later.
An interim solution was developed to allow the administration of the HR processes to be managed by the existing central HR team, but many tasks would eventually be devolved to store managers, and it was planned that each store would be online to the SAP HR system via a PC.
Roll-out to stores initially focused on the larger B&Q warehouses that already had mini HR infrastructures