18 November 2011

Having successfully outsourced its entire payroll process on a tight schedule to MidlandHR in 2010, Fountains (previously known as Connaught Environmental) is continuing its rationalisation process. The extended contract will see MidlandHR facilitate the migration of an additional 600 employees onto the single cloud-based iTrent platform.

When Connaught PLC entered into administration in September 2010, Connaught Environmental was ring-fenced due to its profitability and allowed to continue trading. It changed its name to Fountains and engaged MidlandHR as a strategic partner in helping it achieve independence during a challenging period, by maintaining business as usual, building the Fountains brand and supporting the company growth agenda.

When administrators set an extremely tight schedule for complete process separation – just 62 days from contract signing to running the first payroll – it placed huge pressures on the project. MidlandHR quickly extracted and consolidated around 2,000 employee records from the previous HR shared service (HRSS) and completed implementation of iTrent’s core HR and payroll modules in just six weeks. The first payroll run was delivered accurately and on time which proved crucial for confirming business as usual. As well as supporting Fountains in achieving independence in record time, the migration of remaining employees onto the single iTrent platform and outsourced payroll services means that all workforce data will be consolidated and centralised. This is a key step as it will provide Fountains with the visibility of information needed to inform strategic decision making going forward.

Ellie Kenyon, Fountains’ group HR director, comments: “Moving a payroll and HR administration function in six weeks was a real challenge, but essential to successfully separate from Connaught. Fountains is an exciting business with a loyal employee base that has stuck with us through a very turbulent time. We needed to ensure our HR function could provide an outstanding service to our people and the first step in this transition was maintaining and exceeding ‘business as usual’, which in turn increased confidence in a somewhat insecure workforce and raised the profile of our company.

"The technical expertise from MidlandHR’s engineers was invaluable, consolidating the existing weekly and monthly payrolls from over 60 UK sites, tailoring each location’s payroll process under real pressure.”

Inheriting the inaccuracies of the previous HRSS data, the need for comprehensive management information was critical to allow an accurate and real time picture of the business through the iTrent platform. During the initial stages of the project, MidlandHR was forced to implement 600 workarounds to the existing data in order to meet the tight go-live deadline. Kenyon continues: “Inherited data issues, coupled with the urgent need to consolidate an additional 600 employees from another Group company into the hosted iTrent environment provided the impetus for the final phase of the project.”

Whilst consolidating these additional employees on to the system, MidlandHR is undertaking a total system rebuild. All employee information will be cleansed to eradicate problems with the inherited Connaught data in order to provide valuable management information across the organisation.

Declan McGrath, managing director at MidlandHR concludes, “Our partnership with Fountains has produced fantastic results. We are pleased to have supported the company through the administration process of their former parent company and will continue to do so throughout their future growth plans. The swift extraction, consolidation and implementation needed during the first phase of the project is testament to the determination of our experienced outsourcing teams as well as the true flexibility and scalability of the iTrent platform.

“Recognised in MidlandHR’s 2011 HR Technology Impact Awards, Fountains was awarded Best Outsourcing Project and Outstanding Strategic Vision and Planning. We look forward to continuing to build upon this success throughout our partnership and are delighted to have been able to support them so instrumentally in their challenging journey.”