Travelex has consolidated disparate HR systems on to a single Workday cloud platform, helping reduce costs through streamlined recruitment processes.

The foreign exchange firm, which supports 8,000 staff across 30 countries, began a project two years ago to overhaul its ageing HR systems, spread out geographically across its operations.

"I had the mandate to radically transform and digitise our employee experience," said Gareth Williams, group HR director at Travelex.

"What that meant was moving away from our legacy systems - a mixture of spreadsheets and archaic systems - and streamline as much of that as we could."

He added: "By the end of the transformation there will be around 22% of HR operating costs that will have been reduced."

Legacy systems

The company had previously relied on a variety of HR systems, including a 15-year-old Ceridian implementation in the UK and US, ADP in France, as well as Excel spreadsheets throughout other parts around the world, such as Australia.

The previous systems created a number of problems for Travelex, such as generating inaccurate data with no 'single version of the truth' regarding staff headcount or cost per employee, explained Williams.

"We had basic things go wrong like not being able to pay people on time and accurately in some parts of the world. We weren't able to allow employees to participate in the regular types of activities – such as applying for internal opportunities, or the opportunity to be part of leadership and talent programmes and development," he said.

"But the primary driver was the inefficiency cost of having so many legacy archaic systems," he said, adding that bureaucratic and complex managment processes which could take weeks to complete are now resolved within 'minutes if not seconds" with Workday.

"So, for example, new starters or when someone leaves the business, holiday requests, managing the compensation processes, talent management – all of those basic processes, which organisations perhaps take for granted, were affected."

Cost reduction

The deployment has already shown cost benefits since going live with Workday in the UK, ahead of a launch in North America and continental Europe in the coming weeks, says Williams.

Reducing the average time for staff recruitment from 45 days down to just eight by automating processes could potentially result in 'millions' of pounds of savings, for example.

By moving away from paper and Excel-based records, the margin for error for its £228 million payroll spend could also be reduced.

The process improvements have in part been enabled through the creation of a central HR hub in India to "fully leverage the Saas technology", providing support for the Workday implementation globally, as well as services such as recruitment and payroll admin.

For example, this allows Travelex to automate the posting of jobs with direct integration to various social media channels throughout the world, as well as country-specific job sites.

"The recruitment team in Mumbai press a button and a recruitment requisition automatically posts on the LinkedIn or Facebook site. CVs then start to work their way through into our applicant tracking system, so we then start to build out our own repository of candidates, which means we disintermediate recruitment agents."

SaaS strategy

Workday is just one part of Travelex's cloud HR plans, providing talent, performance management and compensation modules. The company is also using a number of other cloud software suppliers, including PeopleFluent, CloudPay, Kronos and Cornerstone.

"We have gone for seven Saas platforms that we are integrating into each other," he said.

"To the best of my knowledge, there is no other business in the world that has put the entire HR experience in the cloud. By this I mean core data management, reward management, rostering, workforce scheduling, payroll, recruitment, applicant tracking and talent acquisition."


According to Williams, one of the main reasons for choosing Workday over competing products such as Oracle and SuccessFactors was the mobile functionality, which ties in with its BYOD and mobility strategy.

"We want our retail managers to be out from behind their desks and working on tablets. We are using the analytics on things like absence trends and labour cost spends, and we are pushing these reports out to their mobile devices," he said.

Travelex also has plans to offer discounted Android devices to staff to ensure that all are able to access the Workday system on the move.

"Employees want information on any device, and at any time. To future-proof this business, and to ensure that we can compete in hiring the best and keeping the best, we have to have a digital based workforce strategy. That is why Workday and all of our other suppliers all have mobile-first strategies," Williams added.

Earlier this year Travelex appointed its first chief digital officer in Sean Cornwell, who spoke to CIO UK about the foreign exchange company's commitment to digital transformation.