Strategy & LeadershipHR StrategyHR Distinction Spotlight: Executing a monumental change with Travis Perkins

HR Distinction Spotlight: Executing a monumental change with Travis Perkins

HRD Connect looks at how Travis Perkins has successfully made a shift to adopting new HR systems.

Many organisations strive to go through a transformational journey and guarantee global success. To complete these tasks, businesses must undertake numerous changes over many years. This can heavily impact culture, talent, and strategic focus. Through these monumental changes, HR plays a key role in maintaining and aligning a consistent experience for their workforce to ensure the best experience is being shown daily in times of uncertainty.

This week, we look at Travis Perkins PLC’s change journey, through data, technology, and strong relationships.


Recently Travis Perkins has undertaken its largest change programme yet, affecting 27,000 employees consisting of 5 divisions. This process was designed to advance their in-house HR systems, as their current software was no longer economically sustainable. It would be regarded as a renowned success if they were able to standardise and simplify the process, by creating an engaging, user-friendly, self-service portal for both managers and colleagues to use.

Their HR team played a crucial role in developing a unique change management process, which was broken down into five steps: assessing change impacts, communications and engagement, stakeholder management, training, and change readiness.

“Using this strategic approach meant we identified the key change impacts affecting our people, processes and technology, which in turn gave us the knowledge, resources and behaviours required to deliver and embed the new system and ways of working,” said Andrea Farmer, Head of HR at Travis Perkins.

“This meant we were able to create relevant, meaningful and engaging communications and training that galvanized our business to drive the necessary changes.”

Technology played a key role in the change process. To maintain communication in times of uncertainty, Travis Perkins ensured that there was a communications network established through multiple channels.

Consistent communication and updates were critical in ensuring that their change programme was a swift and simple transition. They achieved this by managing weekly reports, distributing monthly workshops, and ensuring that this was shared evenly throughout the business.

“To ensure we were on the right track to successful implementation, we gathered information on all opportunities and barriers to the change across the Group through change readiness workshops, forums, interviews and surveys with all stakeholder groups, said an HR professional from Travis Perkins.

“We then undertook any necessary activity to overcome these barriers, continuing to temperature check at every important stage gate in the programme. Feedback is always constructive, and it was very busy!”

As well as feedback and constant communication, they saw that it was important to maintain a positive workplace culture throughout times of transformation. To overcome this challenge, they established a champions network, which encouraged colleagues across the business to test out the new live model. These volunteers would be gifted with goodie bags, as well as being part of the G+ community champions network.

Another key challenge for Travis Perkins was ensuring that their workforce knew how to use these systems. To overcome this obstacle, they ensured that line managers were fully trained and prepared for when these systems were live.

Over 4 weeks, line managers went through various training and development courses, including printable training guides, support materials, and online simulations. Doing this guaranteed that managers could distribute this knowledge to employees working alongside them. Furthermore, this training would be at a fairly low cost. After the 4-week training scheme, 3,000 line managers were fully trained to use these new systems.

“Ensuring that colleagues understood the new system, new ways of working and were ready for launch was really important and an area where TP had been lacking in the past. We set out to make this an experience – putting colleagues at the centre of what we do. We now have 27,000 colleagues connected through their new Google accounts, self-serving through the HR systems and who have easy access to fulfil their HR query requirements.”

A structured and well-managed change management program is critical when implementing such complex technologies for a large workforce. Travis Perkins couldn’t have performed this huge task without precise planning, training, and employee feedback, which were key to achieving transformational success. By doing this well, Travis Perkins noticed a positive shift in culture, productivity, and employee empowerment. Travis Perkins succeeding in this monumental transformation has given them the confidence to triumph again in change management in the near future.

Although the process was launched due to the necessity of updating old HR systems, it provided the opportunity for Travis Perkins to evaluate their whole HR system across the organisation. These changes have resulted in them now having an engaging self-service system for everyone to use, which has additionally driven a positive shift in culture and employee empowerment. Implementing this new programme also enabled employees to access their holiday requests, payslips, and personal information all in one place whether they are at work or not.

“Our change management approach lead to the successful implementation and embedding of the new systems. We also noticed a shift in working and culture change, this future blueprint for managing change has provided Travis Perkins with the confidence that we can continue to successfully deliver change in the future.”

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