Enigma uses Sage People to build a strategic People function

Enigma Industrial Services chooses Sage People to meet business continuity deadlines and improve people management

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Enigma Industrial Services






United Kingdom

Following the purchase of Interserve Industrial Services Ltd, Enigma Industrial Services Ltd wanted to implement an improved HR and people function, to get it up and running within a targeted time-frame of just four months. With Sage People, Enigma Industrial Services immediately found it had quick access to people management information that could drive the business forward.

Key outcomes

• 75% time saving across the business, by enabling managers to access HR information quickly and efficiently
• 65% reduction in pay review administration and 99.7% payment accuracy achieved
• Reliable management information from Sage People ensures optimum resource allocation
• Refined auditing process providing customers confidence in security, compliance, health and safety

A leading player in the industrial services sector
If all the scaffolding poles belonging to Enigma Industrial Services were laid end-to-end around the world, they would span the globe’s circumference four times over.

As a leading player in the industrial services sector, construction and housing markets, Enigma Industrial Services operates two distinct businesses. Its ‘Access’ business provides scaffolding from its six regional offices to everyone from construction giants to local builders. The ‘Hard Services’ business offers scaffolding, insulation, painting, and facilities management for very specific clients in regulated industries, such as large pharmaceuticals and nuclear sites such as Hinkley Point C.

Having acquired the business from previous owners Interserve in 2018, the company was keen to maintain its exceptional standards across the external business, while simultaneously seeing no loss of internal services.

Enigma Industrial Services is proud of its reputation in the industry, says HR Director, Geoff Hughes. “The sectors we operate in mean that health and safety is absolutely paramount for us. We’ve won the Sword of Honor [health and safety] Award twice, and it’s crucial to our business that these high standards do not waver.”

When the company set out on its own in October 2018, Enigma Industrial Services had just a few months to set up the new businesses HR and People functions.

Looking for the perfect HR partner
Following the acquisition, the board of directors and management team needed to get the company’s support functions up and running to ensure no disruption to service, customer projects or employee requirements.

With just a few months to achieve this, it was no mean feat, says Hughes. “There was essentially myself and the SMT putting together an entire back office for an SME that already had around 1,000 employees and almost £55m turnover, in just under four months.”

“This included everything from HR to finance and technology systems, as well as compliance software and reviewing our processes and procedures,” explains Hughes. “From an HR perspective I also had to coordinate and find new pensions providers, medical providers, wellbeing providers and occupational health organizations – everything a company in our sector would need to operate and be health and safety aware and effective.”

The organization wanted the new HR and People team to be a more strategic function, prioritizing vital people initiatives over admin and paperwork. The objective was to create more than a simple back office function, and instead a team focused on the issues that matter – including talent development, staff retention and manager support.

With a go live date set, Hughes began to evaluate HR systems. Hughes explains, “I’d used various products over the years, latterly a Microsoft Dynamics product and didn’t want to go down that route. There were 20 systems on my shortlist and over a number of weeks I met with each, read success stories and reviews, to whittle them down.”

The building services sector is highly competitive, both in terms of business and recruiting highly skilled workers. So Hughes had stringent requirements for what his HR system should be able to achieve. “I wanted a system that was highly user-friendly, and that was better than we’d had before,” Hughes adds. “I knew it had to be expandable with our business; we have almost 1,000 employees today, but we are growing quickly and next year or so I may need the system to cope with 2,000 employees.”

Sage People, he says, fits the bill. “From an operational perspective every time I spoke to a manager who had used Sage People in previous roles, they’d loved it. I was told time and again how the system had given them all the data and the management information they needed, from tracking absences to recruitment, all in a user friendly way. This helped to finalize my decision.”

Hitting a tight deadline
With such a tight deadline for delivery, Sage and its partner Tugela People worked together with Enigma Industrial Services to draw up a detailed time line. Hughes says having multiple face-to-face meetings helped establish a relationship in the beginning, and ensured Sage and Tugela People understood the challenges Enigma Industrial Services was facing.

Despite the expedited implementation period, Hughes adds, Sage and Tugela People worked in partnership to reach their deadlines. “We knew it would be tough getting something up and running so we could pay people on the first week,” Hughes explains excitedly. “But Tugela People were fantastic. They supported us throughout the process and anything they couldn’t help with, Sage People stepped in and came up with a solution.”

First to be established was the ability to deal with ‘SLAMs’, as Hughes calls them. “Starters, leavers and movers – that was our first priority. This was a paper-based system previously. Now it’s all digital and everything can be done using the Sage People system, managers can authorize everything from pay increases to absence and holidays.”

None of the new Enigma Industrial Services HR team had used Sage People previously, but following the implementation period and some training with Tugela People, Hughes says the team are comfortable with using the platform daily and it’s working brilliantly.

Making an impact on employee’s lives
Within just a few days after the deadline, Enigma Industrial Services was able to conduct its first payroll run seamlessly based on the information managed through Sage People, according to Hughes. “Since then we’ve hit a 99.7% payroll accuracy rate with the platform.” Hughes adds: “With Sage People we recently ran an entire company-wide pay review. Previously that would have taken me between 6-8 weeks. Now it takes me less than two weeks. The efficiency and time savings we’re getting mean I can do more strategic tasks, rather than form filling or paper-based analysis.”

When it comes to the data, Hughes says, Sage People enables managers to have information anywhere they need it – which can have a huge impact on people’s
lives. “If managers want to give exceptional bonuses for great work, they have access to the system to instantly start that process. It gives full accountability to the managers, whenever and wherever they need it.”

The accuracy of data from Sage People has also been recognized by the board of directors, says Hughes. “I use the system every day. The dashboards give me a quick overview of what’s happening, but the data I get is in-depth.”

“This data – and the accuracy of it – has built more confidence in my team from the management. They know that the information they get from us is correct. They use that data to make decisions about the business, such as where we need more resources, or how to manage absences.”

Hughes adds that Sage People also played a pivotal role during a recent BSI (British Standards Institution) audit process. To achieve building or health and safety standards such as The Sword of Honor application (a prestigious recognition from the British Safety Council), every firm is audited by experts.

“We had to do all of our standards and best practice awards from scratch. This covers everything from our leadership to our security, health and safety, and management competencies,” Hughes explains. “When the BSI auditors came in, many had seen Sage People before so they were already confident, we would meet the standards required. This made the whole process so much easier and gave us credibility as a company. Sage People means the auditors – and now our customers – are fully reassured that we manage our data, our security and our people to the highest possible standards.”

Enigma Industrial Services 2.0
Hughes says the next phase of the project is to implement the recruitment module and then the self-service options for his teams. “The recruitment module will not just save time, it’ll help us to be more efficient because everything is automated.” Hughes explains: “Potential candidates can apply on our website which will feed straight into our automated system – we’ve never been able to do this before,” he says. “The self-service phase will mean we have less reliance on admin staff and more accurate data. Managers will be able to organize, approve and process so much more than they can now.”

Hughes adds that Sage People has become integral to the business. “We don’t have a plan B. Sage People is wholly part of our business and helping us so much I don’t know what we’d do without it.”

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