The Co-operative Bank

Managed payroll made easy with Zellis.


May 15th 2019


Industry: Financial Services

Employees: 3,500

Managed Services customer since 2014

About The Co-operative Bank

The Co-operative Bank provides its customers with a broad range of financial services, covering both the retail and commercial banking sectors. The bank split from the Co-operative Group, following a restructuring of the larger organisation in 2017. Headquartered in Manchester, it employs around 3,500 members of staff.

The Co-operative Bank’s challenge

As part of a larger organisation, the Co-operative Bank had previously relied on a centralised in-house team to manage its payroll function. Once the business split and became its own entity a completely new system needed to be set up.

With this clean slate, the team also wanted to pursue a different approach. Previously, payroll administration had largely been manual, involving many people and taking up a significant amount of time to operate effectively.

“Our systems weren’t working hard enough for us,” explains Sarah Hamilton, Head of HR Shared Services. “They were too clunky, largely paper-based and a lot of hand holding was needed.”

“We saw the split with the Co-op as an opportunity to move our payroll function elsewhere and a chance to work with one of the leading providers of payroll outsourcing.”

The Zellis solution

The Co-operative Bank chose Zellis to manage its payroll function and supply the ResourceLink Payroll and HR system. This included the MyView self-service portal, which would allow staff to access their pay slips online. Sarah and her team were confident that this would improve efficiency and accuracy.

Sarah said: “Zellis have a great payroll engine, processes and robust governance so we knew any issues would be picked up before it was too late. Where previously with the Co-op, we would have been happy with 95% accuracy, we knew Zellis could do better.”

It was also important for The Co-operative Bank that they chose a partner who understood the company culture. As Sarah points out “As part of a larger group, we knew we weren’t the priority. We wanted a partner who made us feel like we were higher up the value chain and could provide greater flexibility. We’re by no means an easy customer to manage, but Zellis completely get what we’re about and that really helps.”

The results

Although cost saving was not the primary objective, since moving to Zellis, the Co-operative Bank has seen cost reductions of between 33%-50% within its HR and Payroll function. Greater efficiency has also led to a sizeable reduction in the team, from 80 members of staff to 20.

“There are a number of reasons why the size of the team has fallen, but the support Zellis provides and self-service functionality for employees have delivered a tangible resource saving,” said Sarah.

This improved efficiency has also brought an increase in payroll accuracy. After a bedding in period, the team has consistently achieved 99.5%-100% accuracy with Zellis for the past 18 months. ResourceLink is also providing a full audit record so they can track and measure everything.

Sarah said: “Maintaining accuracy was a challenge in the past due to information being entered manually – we would have paper flying everywhere. Bonuses or overtime would be sent via email and could be missed, while new starters, who failed to show up, might still be paid.

“We now have real confidence in the accuracy of our payroll engine. Payday feels no different to any other day. I’m not worrying when I leave the office as I’m safe in the knowledge that we have everything under control.”

She explains: “We’re in a really competitive market. There are plenty of other banks vying for talent, and being headquartered in Manchester we also have Amazon opening a large office next door which will be competing for digital skills.

“We need to have a better understanding of what will appeal to new recruits and have the ability to identify a flight risk so we can retain the talent we have. With this data available to us, we can start to have the right conversations with our executive team.”

Due to the success with payroll, The Co-Operative Bank are now looking to roll out additional ResourceLink modules – recruitment and onboarding, which will allow it to benefit from its predictive analytics tools. Sarah sees the potential advantages this could deliver to the bank.

To find out how Zellis could help you, please email or call us on: 0800 035 0545

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