Case Studies

Global Bank: HR Process Standardization Yields 3 Month Breakeven from Transformation

A Top 5 Global Bank HR Group
Europe, Hong Kong, North America
Operating cost
Annual savings
Capacity improvement
Internal service levels
Break even point
3 mos.
ROI (12 month)

Client Situation

How to Transform HR Operations by Implementing Standardization in Human Resources

“Don’t worry,” the vendor promised, “our core technology will increase HR productivity. HR process standardization is built in. Just install our app and get lean process improvement.”

The HR team soon saw that the new technology lacked real HR process improvement. That’s because tech vendors define “transactions,” such as résumé intake, as “business processes.” They automate these and call it “process improvement.” But the HR operations team needed true, end-to-end lean process improvement to meet aggressive cost saving initiative goals in the HR department. For example, they needed to increase hiring productivity: from recruiting through employee onboarding. And they needed to upgrade service and quality everywhere.

Project Sponsor

Project Sponsor: Chief Human Resources Officer

Self-funding operational improvement implementation:

  • No new core technology
  • End-to-end HR improvement
  • 6-month implementation

Client Description, Project Scope, Objectives

HR operations included 3,000 employees. They served a global bank of 250,000 employees across 50 countries. HR supported the bank from shared service centers concentrated in North America, Europe and Hong Kong.

The HR team reviewed The Lab’s standardization improvement methodology. They saw how these could rapidly achieve their process improvement, HR cost optimization and service improvement goals, within 6 months.

The project began with an 8-week, Phase I analysis of HR operations. This initial phase delivered a self-funding, guaranteed business case and work plan that launched the Phase II HR transformation implementation.

The implementation effort targeted rapid results, low risk and frugal costs. Pilots for lean HR process improvement began in New York and London. Once proven to increase HR productivity and deliver the planned cost reduction, these were implemented worldwide. 

Project Objectives
  • Accelerated hiring
  • More qualified candidates
  • Cost reduction
  • Lean management
Project Scope
  • Employee selection (Hiring)
  • HR consulting (Generalists)
  • Compensation
  • Benefits administration
  • Training
  • Management development
  • Payroll and pension

Standardization-based HR Transformation Process Improvement Examples

The Lab implemented over 400 non-technology standardization HR operations improvements. Examples:

Standardized Job Position Descriptions — The Human Resources department previously maintained few centralized repositories of standard job descriptions and struggled with how best to match candidates and positions. For example, a simple IT analyst position had over 40 different descriptions. HR received complaints of mismatch from new hires and the business. The Lab helped reduce total job descriptions. Centralized management was implemented for a standard inventory of descriptions.

Decreased Over-service — Businesses submitted hiring requisitions but later canceled over 25 percent of them. HR serviced all requisitions. No questions asked. During the HR improvement initiative implementation, process standardization improved requisition coordination. HR and the business jointly evaluated each requisition. This increased operational efficiency for recruiters by reducing the number of unneeded, partially-processed candidates.

Reduced False Complexity — Compensation plans were rarely standardized. Prior acquisitions and business line autonomy created new “one-off” plans. HR administrated these as 500 “unique” plans. But most had only minor differences that created avoidable work. Standardization of admin tasks boosted employee productivity by 25 percent.

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