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Janine Milne

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Case Study: Rentokil Initial introduces “cohesion” by integrating HR processes


Rentokil Initial has automated and integrated its HR processes in a bid to make them more cohesive as part of a broader company-wide initiative to standardise administrative and operational procedures.

The pest control and cleaning specialist is a £2.5 billion global organisation that employs an international workforce of 66,000. But, according to group HR operations director Fergal Harkin, there was “no cohesion, no management” across the firm’s 1,000 branches spanning 58 countries.
This meant that the company had multiple payroll systems and predominantly manual HR processes in place. “Rentokil is a collection of a lot of small businesses acquired over the years, none of which has been effectively integrated,” Harkin said.

But when evaluating what to do, he realised that the small and low-key nature of HR function combined with the fact that the company had under-invested in its IT infrastructure, would make it difficult to manage an on-premise HR system.

As a result, the decision was made to go for a Software-as-a-Service offering from Workday – the only vendor on the firm’s shortlist that had not taken its traditional on-premise software and adapted it to a cloud delivery model. Other attractions included lower upfront costs, easy-to-use self-service tools and the fact that expensive third party consultants were not required to re-engineer processes.

“It’s much more flexible from that point of view. This way, if we want to re-engineer a software process for our end users, we do not need to get consulting engineers in to do it. With traditional software design, if you want to change that costs time, effort and money to do so,” Harkin said.

The project’s first ‘proof of concept’ phase began in May and the UK and Spain are expected to be fully up-and-running by the end of the first quarter of 2012, with 17 of the company’s largest territories due to follow suit. Longer-term, the aim is to extend the system’s usage to include performance reviews and talent management.

Although Harkin said that it was difficult to put an exact figure on the savings that had been made to date, because payroll accounted for 70% of total costs, gaining more effective control over the process and obtaining better insights due to real-time reporting would prove invaluable.

“We’re a very small HR team and what this enables us to do is deliver significantly enhanced HR processes without significant increase in the size of the HR function,” he said.

Rentokil Initial has already been using SaaS systems such as Google Apps’ email, intranet and collaboration suite, Ariba’s procurement tools and Cornerstone OnDemand’s online learning offerings for some time. Harkin stressed that the firm was not dogmatically following a cloud approach, however, but was instead assessing each business case individually.


One Response

  1. Rentokil

     Your example of how Rentokil has streamlined and amalgamated their HR systems is an inspirational case study. It is an example of how IT is now making a Global business operate at the ‘local’ level with the increasing advances of the internet and computer technology. The high upfront costs for some programs is a major off putting effect to some companies which you mentioned, but I do think that this is a great example of how they have reaped the rewards of making the switch.  

    Dave Evans Commercial Director at accessplanit Specialist in Course Registration Software and training management software


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