When COVID-19 hit, organisations around the globe struggled to maintain business continuity, let alone implement transformational change. With the help of KPMG Powered Enterprise HR enabled by Workday, one organisation proved it’s possible.

The build up

Spectris, a global company, provides customers with expert insight through its advanced instruments and test equipment. These, combined with software and services, deliver value to many of the world’s most demanding industrial applications. Its growth strategy is built on talent: the business must hire and inspire individuals with technical expertise, deep domain knowledge and the ability to build close customer relationships.

Forty acquisitions made over many years created a patchwork of legacy HR systems and processes. Yet Spectris’ biggest challenges lay in delivering consistent, evidence-based talent management for 9,000 people in 30 countries and in reinforcing the link between an exceptional employee experience and a market-leading relationship with customers.

Spectris found the solutions lay in an ambitious HR transformation, with KPMG Powered HR enabled by Workday. This required launching 79 global processes, covering HCM, absence, compensation and performance, in 12 autonomous operating companies, across 3 different continents – all within just eight months.

“To really leverage our talent, we needed the right partner plus the right approach,” says Adam Forde, CIO at Spectris. “That’s why we chose KPMG in the UK. Their Powered approach allowed us to accelerate the simplification journey.”

KPMG’s Powered approach is a templated model, specifically built for HR enabled by Workday and based on the KPMG Target Operating Model. It provides detailed insight into HR processes and is useful for complex, global transformations.

Suddenly: lockdown

Spectris was just one month away from launch when the lockdown began. Fortunately, with clear and consistent ways of working in place and all the tools, methods, approaches and governance Spectris needed available in the cloud, the Powered approach allowed team members to adapt their working hours without jeopardising the launch.

“We never anticipated the Powered platform would have to support everyone working remotely,” says Adam Forde, “but it worked really well. It was remarkable how the team adapted. At the end of the day, if you have a lot of highly skilled, trained people, they find their way through – and they definitely did.”

Keeping on track

Daily briefings and one-to-one meetings with local HR directors helped Spectris stay on top of how the pandemic might affect the launch, while training plans underwent a major overhaul with all physical sessions rescheduled and materials rewritten for virtual delivery.

The technical teams took advantage of Workday’s cloud-based setup to continue launch preparations from home. Meanwhile, Powered HR’s cloud-based toolset allowed the delivery teams to continue to track progress, monitor deliverables, record testing, manage releases and track risk and issues.

The decision about whether to proceed fell ten days after the UK was called into lockdown. Team members had been placed under huge pressure, their lives had been thrown into turmoil and every preparation for go-live had had to be accomplished remotely. Nevertheless, Spectris judged that all key activities required for a successful launch had been completed. Go-live, three days later, received the green light.

Through the storm

With KPMG Powered HR, Spectris is creating a platform for performance and growth fit for the future. Already, the platform is giving employees transparency to review their objectives and check their performance, driving engagement and motivation.

The platform gives Spectris insights into the workforce that it has never had before. In an organisation that employees 9,000 people, the business has at its fingertips information on who they are and where they are located. The opportunities for enabling mobility and utilising and developing talent are immense.

No-one could have imagined this transformation would have such a dramatic birth – but the joint KPMG and Spectris team delivered.

“Anytime you bring a big team of smart people together, amazing things can happen,” concludes Adam Forde. In the case of a Powered HR go-live under the shadow of COVID, they certainly did.

Read more about KPMG Powered Enterprise to find out how your business can transform today and other client digital transformation success stories.

Learn about some of the potential benefits you can experience through digital adoption and transformation.