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Automation and streamlining of annual pay review process

Project Overview

We worked with our customer’s HR and Finance teams to upgrade the organisation’s annual pay review process, transforming the user experience and generating significant time and cost savings.

Microsoft 365 Services
SharePoint Online
Power BI

Brief

Moving away from an amalgamation of spreadsheets

Our customer was looking to move away from a collection of personalised spreadsheets used by the company’s managers to carry out the Pay Review process during the final quarter of every year. A large number of Excel spreadsheets containing employee salary packages were manually updated by managers and communicated via email in a bottom-up fashion covering the entire employee base.

The process would start from the least senior managers and move up the ranks until it reached the senior execs, with approvals required at every stage. Upon reaching the top managerial levels, the aggregate spreadsheets would then be passed on from various parts of the business to the Finance team who were responsible for manually collating information into a single master spreadsheet that could subsequently be reviewed and signed-off by the execs.

Due to the lack of standardisation from the use of spreadsheets and the inefficiency of emails, reviewing and approving salary data across managerial levels was very time consuming for all parties involved. Manual intervention from the Finance team was also required frequently to fix data inconsistencies stemming from different managers choosing to capture different information for their employees and having the ability to do so in Excel.

Separate to that the organisation was faced with GDPR concerns due to the communication of employee sensitive information via email, and the ability of employees to download and store salary-related documents in their personal devices.

Solution

A solution to standardise and automate the process

After engaging with the Finance team and senior execs we designed a bespoke solution based on the Microsoft 365 platform to meet the customer’s needs.

The solution leveraged Microsoft SharePoint and Power Platform tools to create:

  • A digital database of Employee salary packs stored in a SharePoint List with uniquely permissioned items accessible only by the appropriate managers; This list replaced the multitude of spreadsheets previously used for data collection and aggregation across the business;
  • Power Automate workflows that managed the seamless, bottom-up transition and approval of Employee salary data across the hierarchical chain levels in the organisation; These workflows enabled a single manager only (from the lowest level up to the CEO) to review and approve a specific Employee pack at any given point, with Managers only seeing data pertaining to their subordinates;
  • A versatile Power BI reporting toolkit that enabled the HR & Finance teams and Senior Managers to keep track of Pay Review statistics throughout the process, featuring custom role-based reports with groupings and filtering per Manager, Business segment, completion stage, and other KPIs.

Outcomes

Significant time and cost savings, better experience and in-depth analytics

Our solution improved all aspects of the previously manual process whilst resulting in richer analytics and significant time and cost savings.

  • Significant time savings vs. previous approach reported by all stakeholders involved, resulting in the total Pay Review process getting completed in 3 weeks vs. 3 months previously;
  • Having one version of the truth ensured that the sign off process was much quicker and smoother, with Finance admins saving approximately 40 hours and managers saving 1 hour on average whilst reviewing salary data sets
  • Cost savings from having to purchase specialist software estimated at a minimum of £30k – £40k for purchase and setup plus an added £20k / year perpetual costs for ongoing licensing and software maintenance including vendor support
  • Improved GDPR compliance with personal/sensitive data safely secured in SharePoint as opposed to stored and communicated across hundreds of employee mailboxes in previous years;
  • The new process was greeted as more professional and received very positive user feedback for the solution’s intuitiveness and minimal training requirements.
“I wanted to drop you both a quick email to say a huge thank you for all the work you have done to support us with the pay review. What you have developed has been truly amazing and has worked so smoothly and made such a difference to the process. I am hugely grateful for this and cannot thank you enough for your hard work and support.”

Group HR Director