Meet Centrica’s UK payroll advantage: transparency, accuracy, and speed.

“We saw significant cost savings by aligning Workday Payroll for the UK with our Workday HCM platform.”—Tracey Tomkins, UK Payroll Compliance Manager

Transparent, accurate, and accessible data

Significant cost and time savings

People empowered to serve their own reporting needs

Ongoing upgrade path ensures relevance and improvement

With the need to serve around 20,000 employees, the payroll requirements of UK-based energy services and solutions business Centrica were always going to be demanding. But during the years leading up to the April 2021 go-live date with Workday Payroll for the UK, the company’s payroll team had to contend with complexities that were directly involved with its reliance on an outdated, over-extended, and ultra-customized solution.

In the words of UK Payroll Compliance Manager Tracey Tomkins, “We were using multiple platforms, which then caused differences in data. With the different sources and integrations, we’d spend many hours and days reconciling one platform with another and investigating the differences. We didn’t have one source of the truth—we often didn’t know what the truth was. This made it extremely difficult to give accurate information and be confident that the business could use the information we shared for other purposes.”

Overcoming complexity to get to the truth.

Workday Functional UK Payroll Manager Shweta Kale states, “It wasn’t user-friendly; hence, there were issues around absence and other matters. Likewise, it was challenging to keep all the systems in sync, particularly when you need to manage time and payroll data for 20,000 people.”

Already using Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and Workday Expenses, Centrica knew the benefits of a transparent cloud-based system that delivers a single version of the truth. As Tomkins comments, “It made perfect sense to get Workday UK Payroll onto the platform too, as it would enable us to decommission many legacy systems. It would also ensure we had data in one source platform, with Workday HCM feeding Workday Payroll rather than us needing to pull data out of one source and import it elsewhere. So it was a natural progression for us.”

Payroll calculation time has been reduced by more than 50%.

Shweta Kale, Workday Functional UK Payroll Manager

Decommissioned integrations deliver major time savings.

The addition of Workday Payroll for the UK to the company’s Workday portfolio has had a positive impact across the organization, including the decommissioning of legacy systems and integrations.

As Tomkins says, “In total, we’ve decommissioned 18 payroll-related integrations across areas such as pensions, benefits, and time. This is a very tangible gain, as not only did each integration take time to run, but that also came with the risk of dropping out with rejections.”

But this is only one aspect of the time savings enabled by Workday Payroll for the UK. According to Kale, “Payroll calculation time has been reduced by more than 50%. On a full population run, we’re finishing in just 2 to 3 hours.”

Kale also highlights a process change in making an FPS submission, with time spent decreasing from 4 hours to just 30 to 45 minutes. As Kale says, “It’s a great saving, as every minute is precious to us during payroll processing.”

Cutting costs and empowering people across the business.

With Workday Payroll for the UK, Centrica not only saves time, but also money. According to Tomkins, “We saw substantial cost savings by aligning Workday Payroll for the UK with our Workday HCM platform. It’s enabling us to remove unnecessary duplication and introduce higher levels of data accuracy. It’s also bringing us more time to focus on other things that need doing, and we’ve been able to cut back on resources in several areas—such as substantially reducing our HR admin support contract. With Workday, elements such as employee references and mortgage application letters are automated. Previously, we had an admin team that would do that.”

In addition to the above, the increased functionality around reporting and dashboards has enabled self-service among employees and managers across the business for their own data analysis and reporting needs rather than relying on both internal and external technical specialists.

The payroll team also has more autonomy. As Kale puts it, “If you have the right authorization in place, the same person can now access the data, write the report, and then get it to where it’s needed. Also, I love the way Workday helps you evaluate your calculations: I can write a calculation and analyze whether it’s right or wrong without reaching out to the technical team. That’s just fantastic!”

Definitely, for me, it is a partnership and a journey that we’re on together. So it might be the Workday product roadmap, but we feel that we are very much a part of what’s on there.

Tracey Tomkins, UK Payroll Compliance Manager

Ongoing evolution drives continuous improvement.

Both Tomkins and Kale are excited about the continuous developments in the Workday suite, including Workday Payroll for the UK. As Kale says, “I was absolutely thrilled when I saw Workday for the first time. And it continues to amaze me just how much Workday Payroll for the UK has evolved since deployment in April 2021.”

“Things that were not supported then are supported now,” Kale continues. “And Workday is continually looking into, understanding, and responding to our business needs as we develop. For example, when changes in National Insurance were upcoming, I checked with Workday to be told that everything was on track for a new release the following Sunday.”

“Similarly, we have mid-month payroll, so we need everything ahead of other customers whose payroll is at the end of the month. And it’s always there for us,” Kale concludes.

Tomkins agrees wholeheartedly. “There’s a true commitment to continuous improvement, and that’s not just from a compliance point of view,” Tomkins says. “It’s based around what we as a company really need as a business. It’s as though Workday cares about what we need out of the system and then builds that into its future development.”

Tomkins also highlights how working with Workday has been much more collaborative than with other vendors. “They have that ability to not only understand their own product, but understand where we are as a customer and deliver something that we’re all able to get our head around, embrace, and run with.”

Tomkins and Kale have taken opportunities offered by Workday to be involved in Workday Payroll for the UK Design Partner Groups, which help design solutions for customers and also influence what is on the product roadmap. This relationship with Workday is a top benefit according to Tomkins, saying, “Definitely for me, it is a partnership and a journey that we’re on together. It might be the Workday product roadmap, but we feel that we are very much a part of what’s on there."

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