“If we hire a new employee today, all their data will have been fully processed into our payroll accounting by tomorrow.”

Interview with

Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs Marianne Riedstra
Country HR Manager Netherlands

Products in this case

  • Payroll
  • HR Management

Case in short

Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs was looking for a quicker and easier way to communicate any changes in the HR and payroll data from their individual park sites to the central payroll accounting system. Raet software has enabled the company to achieve this automatically – including processing the changes. It has made the appropriate personnel data available to the HR department whenever they need it.

Professionalizing processes

Marianne Riedstra is the Country HR Manager for the Netherlands at Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs. In 2012 she contacted Raet because she was looking for a system that was able to process 6,000 changes a year - at eight different sites - quickly and without any errors, while also making sure that the employees were always paid correctly and on time.

“We used to manually process changes in both the HR and payroll accounting systems. This meant we were doing the work twice.”

The Dutch sites of Center Parcs employ 3,100 staff, in varying formations and with many different contract forms. In the past, the local HR employees at the parks used to enter all the changes into one system, after which the payroll accounting department would manually process them in another system. Marianne Riedstra considered this to be inefficient and also found the existing HR system very complicated. “There was a significant risk of errors. And some work was even being done twice although this was not necessary. I wanted to further professionalize that process.”

This professionalization is important for Center Parcs' competitive position, says Marianne. “We operate in a challenging market. Our philosophy is that happy employees will lead to happy guests. That's why I find it important that everything should be arranged perfectly for our employees. This also makes us an attractive employer and it binds people to our company. But, at the same time, we still have to be mindful of our costs and use our time as efficiently as possible.”

All changes now go through one system

“I was looking for an easily accessible HR system that would enable us to further professionalize our processes.”

In her search for a solution, Marianne's main criterion when comparing systems was their ease of use. “I was looking for an easily accessible system. No complicated stuff, but clear and user friendly screens where data can be entered easily. Our colleagues in the payroll accounting department had to be able to rely on the system being a good match with their processes. And I was also looking a step ahead: if I want to professionalize the entire scope of my HR processes in the future, will that be possible with this system? Raet scored the best on all these points.”

It did not take Marianne and her colleagues long to build a clear business case and be given the go ahead by the board. “Actually, it's quite simple. Failing to properly arrange the processing of changes costs money. In the end, it was the reduced error sensitivity that convinced them.”

Linking the HR and payroll accounting processes together was quite an exciting challenge. But if any skepticism existed, this was quickly removed during the implementation phase. Marianne: “Because we involved different groups of employees in the implementation – from HR managers and HR officers to payroll accounting staff – our new way of working was well received. The process now goes smoothly and reliably: an HR officer enters a change via the Raet software, the HR manager approves the change and Payroll Accounting automatically receive any change. For example, when hiring a new employee, the system enables us to arrange all their details in no time at all. And that's a must in our business: if we hire an extra worker today, we want their full details to have been processed in all our accounting systems by tomorrow – because often the new employee will start working the next day.”

Always the right data available

“Raet's software helps me with our annual reporting. The fact that I can present all the figures helps HR to come across as being very professional.”

In addition to the efficiency improvements that have been achieved, Marianne Riedstra is particularly happy with the reporting options offered by Raet. “Our headquarters in Paris want a report with more than 200 statistics about the composition of our workforce and our wage structure every year. Raet's software gives me many of those statistics. I also visit all senior managers every year to give them an insight into their own personnel and I am able to present all the figures in a very professional way. Our senior managers really appreciate this and look forward to my visits.”

And that's probably what Marianne is most proud of: the fact that HR is considered as a business partner in the organization. “In our organization, HR is really valued in the boardroom. And that's only possible if you deliver quality, are aware of costs, and have the right data readily available.” It feels good to Marianne that she always has this data at her disposal. “I travel a lot, but wherever I am in the world, I can still log on to the Raet software via my iPad. This is really convenient if I need some information quickly.”

Marianne is already looking ahead to the next steps she could take with Raet. She is currently following a study into implementing Employee Self Service (ESS), possibly followed by Manager Self Service (MSS). If Center Parcs decide to implement ESS and MSS, the employees and the managers will be able to communicate changes themselves and see their wage slips online. “That's what makes my work so interesting,” says Marianne Riedstra. “Always taking that next step towards further professionalization.”

About Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs

Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs is the product of a merger between the Dutch Center Parcs and the French Pierre et Vacances organizations. The group is the European market leader in the field of near-to-home holidays, operating more than 300 sites in Europe, with nearly 48,000 flats and cottages. Center Parcs have 3,100 employees in the Netherlands, working at eight different sites.

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