When you’re a company like Leonardo – a global leader in the Aerospace, Defence and Security industry for over 70 years, and striving to equip the world with advanced and sustainable technologies – your employee experience means everything.

Today, the 49,000-strong Leonardo family works to deliver innovative customer solutions that protect and empower people, territories, and infrastructure. But to drive forward Leonardo’s mission, they need experiences that keep them feeling engaged, looked after, and appreciated for the work they do – each and every day.

Seeking: a partner in people success

With a large and complex workforce in the UK, Leonardo needed a payroll and HR partner to help manage its entire employee lifecycle – from hire to retire – and engineer stronger business outcomes.

In particular, the partner of choice would have to act as a true extension of the Leonardo team – focusing on developing smooth and seamless processes, fostering a mindset of continuous improvement and, where appropriate, generating and maintaining a shared plan with third parties.

Leonardo identified Zellis as a proven payroll and HR expert that could be trusted not only to deliver efficient and resilient services to its 7,000+ UK employees, but also push the organisation to engage with new, innovative ways of working.

Zellis implemented a managed payroll and HR solution, underpinned by its award-winning software, ResourceLink. This includes delivering critical employee services on a day-to-day basis, managing the roll-out of new projects, and providing a dedicated team to run an Apprentice Management Service on-site. From the outset, Leonardo has also received expert support from Zellis’ service delivery centre, based out of Kochi, India.

Engaging new talent with exceptional experiences

One of Leonardo’s biggest challenges – common within the wider industry – is recruiting for specialist, niche skills. Cyber security is an example of an area in which, due to the high demand for skills, the rate of employee churn is very high (sometimes up to 30%).

Darren Bartholomew, Head of HR Planning and Information Systems, explained in May 2021:

“Getting recruitment and onboarding right is a real focus    for us, not least because of the timescales involved. In some cases, it can be up to year between an individual accepting a job offer and the actual start date. So, when we do attract talent into the business, we have to do everything we can to retain them.”

Leonardo has worked closely with Zellis on large-scale recruitment projects, with a focus on enhancing the candidate experience and onboarding phases. The team uses Zellis’ partner recruitment solution, TalentSoft (fully integrated with ResourceLink) to simplify talent acquisition, while giving candidates a fantastic first impression.

Critically, Leonardo has also recently implemented Zellis’ onboarding functionality, which helps to keep new employees (especially those with a long wait before their start date) engaged with the organisation. It has also reduced the number of occupational health, security and other forms the individual must complete from 23 to just four, saving them valuable time and effort.

Over the next five years, Zellis will focus on improving the end-to-end employee experience, including further developing Leonardo’s thriving apprenticeship scheme and designing a robust process for offboarding leavers.

Continuous improvement, powered by data

Continuous improvement is a big priority for Leonardo – but it’s something that can only be achieved through the gathering and analysing of critical service information. By working with Zellis, Leonardo’s reporting and analytics function has improved by leaps and bounds.

The enhanced use of ServiceNow provides both Zellis and Leonardo colleagues with clearer visibility into commonly received service queries – those that are easily resolved with a single corrective communication to the wider business. This results in a win-win situation: calls to the service desk are reduced, and Leonardo colleagues can focus their attention on priority matters. Plus, the recent adoption of the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) has allowed for further reporting around service levels.

Working with Zellis’ experts has enabled Leonardo to add a new level of sophistication to its data analytics capabilities:

“We’ve started to move away from asking basic questions like ‘Did everyone get paid on time?’ to ‘How did we get there?’,” added Darren. “We’re achieving a greater depth of analysis, looking at factors such as the accuracy at different stages of the pay cycle, and how effectively changes were communicated within the team. This is helping us make additional process enhancements in key areas like payroll.”

A ‘one team’ approach drives operational excellence

Working with Zellis, a ‘one team’ approach has been quickly established within Leonardo. Payroll processes are harmonised across the business to ensure consistency and efficiency, and whether an employee raises a query with a Zellis colleague or a Leonardo colleague, they are sure to receive the same high-quality experience.

Ensuring continuity in this ‘one team’ approach has proven invaluable, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Leonardo’s team were identified early on as key workers and therefore could afford no disruption to their usual employee services: Zellis would need to recruit, train, and pay as normal.

In March 2020, Zellis rapidly transitioned all managed services staff, including those on-site at Leonardo, to home-based working within 72 hours. This even included supplying electric generators to enable remote working for Kochi-based colleagues. 

“The resilience Zellis has shown to the pandemic has been incredible,” said Darren. “The speed and effectiveness with which Zellis acted was completely in sync with our wider organisational response. We felt completely supported at every stage.”

Zellis’ ability to forge strong working relationships with Leonardo’s other strategic partners in areas such as pensions and fleet management has also proven to be crucial. By developing a ‘shared language’ (establishing common terminology, as well as shared plans and objectives), Zellis has collaborated effectively with these suppliers to meet Leonardo’s business goals.

This same mindset will be applied as Leonardo embarks on a two-year project to implement Workday HR, with which Zellis’ solution will be tightly integrated.

A vision for innovation

There have been significant improvements in the management of – and business value generated from – payroll and HR projects, with Zellis establishing a firm discipline around governance, visibility, and stability. Several successful initiatives carried out in the past 18 months, which include payroll harmonisation, MyView enhancements and recruitment campaigns, have benefited from dedicated and consistent ownership, underpinned by a shared plan with Leonardo and, where appropriate, third parties.

Zellis’ approach to account management not only provides Leonardo with strong governance, but also a way of working together that ensures the organisation’s needs are constantly aligned with the product roadmap. In other words, Zellis supports Leonardo in being early adopters of new, innovative solutions, helping it to keep pace with the rapid rate of change in the world of business and technology.

“Like with many organisations, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for us to accelerate our rate of digital transformation with exciting and ambitious technology projects. Working with Zellis has already made a huge difference to how we work and the quality of the payroll and HR services we deliver to our employees. We’re looking forward to further strengthening our partnership over the months and years to come.”

To learn more about Managed Payroll and HR Services from Zellis, please contact us at tellmemore@zellis.com or call 0800 042 0315