Independent qualification body the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has selected Reading-based start-up Sage People’s Auto-Enrol product to ensure compliance with the latest Auto Enrolment legislation for employee pensions.
The government has made plans in an attempt to get more people saving for retirement, with new laws which mean that employees will be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme.
However, the associated administrative tasks are lengthy and if a business is not sufficiently compliant they could be hit with fines of up to £10,000 a day.
Jemma McKenzie, HR business partner at RICS, told Computing that the organisation looked into several other options before deciding that a new system was appropriate for the firm.
“We looked at options such as recruiting someone on a full-time basis to manage it, we looked at having other systems developed for us in isolation from our HR system and we looked at whether our IT team could develop this for us, but our preferred option was to have an end to end system – not two different ones, we wanted everything for our employees in one place,” she said.
RICS’s HR system, dubbed ‘HR Pro’, is a data system that has not been updated for seven years, McKenzie said, leading to the firm issuing a tender in March 2012 for a new HR system that could ensure compliance for auto enrolment.
“The HR system that we had was not a global system and we are a global organisation. We had a lack of engagement around the organisation with people using it as it was not user friendly at all. It was also a challenge to get data out of it,” she explained.
“Sage People was chosen as it was a truly global system and it was based in the cloud. One of the key benefits of this is that it allows flexible access for our employees and meant that they required less IT support. In turn it meant our internal IT people could focus on revenue generated schemes rather than the back office,” she added.
The cost of the system was another contributor, McKenzie admitted.
Organisations of different sizes have different deadlines by which they have to ensure compliance. For RICS this is on 1 November this year.
RICS is currently in the process of implementing Sage People, and McKenzie stated that in order for the transition to be smooth, the organisation had to ensure it has all of the right data on its employees and this would include the need to migrate certain data from relevant systems. In addition she wants employees to receive a good education on what the new auto-enrolment laws mean for them.
Sage People will train RICS’s HR team in-house on how to use the system and will train line managers globally through Cisco’s WebEx video conferencing tool.
Without the Sage People system, McKenzie said that the firm had no chance of being compliant.
“It is because of the integration that is needed between HR data, payroll data and the insurance/pensions companies; we need to work fluidly between them. We need really strong audit processes to say that people had opted out and our current system did not allow that at all,” she said.