When Hexagon Metrology doubled in size, it looked to current payroll provider ADP
by Bob Richard
Hexagon Metrology
Address: 250 Circuit Drive,
North Kingstown, RI  02852
Web Address: www.hexagonmetrology.net
Number of Employees: 720
Description of Primary Products or Services:  
Leading metrology brands such as Brown & Sharpe, CE Johansson, CimCore, CogniTens, DEA, Leica Geosystems (Metrology Division), Leitz, Romer, Sheffield, and TESA.
Date of Outsourcing Commencement: 2006
Provider: ADP, Inc.

Please describe the circumstances that led to your company turning to outsourcing.
Hexagon Metrology, a leading provider of high-precision measurement technology for industrial applications, was in acquisition mode, faced with growing the company to more than double its size. Our strategic priority was to focus on high-impact, high-value activities instead of administrative work. We evaluated many HRIS models to address the integration of multiple talent management issues, benefits programs, and payroll processes. Being an ADP payroll client for nearly 10 years, we naturally considered them for our HR outsourcing needs. Once we learned of the capabilities of ADP’s HR/benefits solution, we decided to outsource as a way to keep our HR department lean during this time of rapid growth.   

What were your initial concerns and worries about engaging services?

We had every confidence that the solution would meet our needs. Our only challenge was regarding our internal employee communication, especially for the self-service features. Traditionally, if an employee had a question, they would call an HR staff member. After outsourcing, we directed all inquiries to the web site for self-service. To help our workforce embrace this change, we held meetings first with managers to make sure they had the tools they needed to help their staff adapt to the change. Then  we met with the entire staff to encourage them to use the site and become comfortable with the technology.   

How did you decide on this set of external services?
We made the decision to outsource our HR management to achieve two goals: to keep the HR department at its current headcount despite the company growth and to allow the staff to spend less time on administration and more on activities that drive business growth. By outsourcing, Hexagon Metrology has elevated its HR function into a strategic, partnership role with the broader business.

Can you describe the current state of your HR department?
After an acquisition, HR staff is typically expected to focus almost entirely on administrative needs to integrate new employees and policies. Before the acquisition, our staff time was divided 75 percent administrative and 25 percent strategic activities. However, we were able to flip this equation to focus three quarters of the HR resources on business-driving activities such as recruiting and developing and retaining top talent. If we had not partnered with ADP, we would have had to add 50 percent more staff to the HR department to carry out these duties/activities.

How did you decide which provider was best suited for your needs?
We have used ADP for payroll administration for nearly 10 years. We knew that we could turn to ADP to get the insight and expertise on other solutions and offerings that could best drive our organization forward.

In retrospect, would you have changed the tactical or strategic approach you took? If so, how would it differ?
We learned that it’s not enough to simply explain the new offerings to employees and set a launch date. To help with this, ADP provided teaching materials and gave our HR team step-by-step directions and guidance.

What advice do you have for other companies considering an external solution?
Evaluate how the change will affect the perception of HR internally. HR has traditionally been a very personal, hands-on role in the eyes of many employees. When we outsourced, the role transformed, and employees were encouraged to use a web site regarding everyday questions. For us, this transformation meant an HR staff of three can support more than 700 employees. And their time can be dedicated to business-driving activities and supporting senior management. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every company must determine what the right solution is for their organization—culturally and financially, in a way that meets long-term goals.

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