Carrefour has been active on the Romanian market since 2001, managing to develop over time a local network of 25 hypermarkets and 46 supermarkets, with over 9,500 employees. In order to manage this workforce the HR department is divided into several key areas: Payroll, Development, Recruitment, Internal Communication and Administration.
In addition, each hypermarket has 1-2 HR specialists in charge of hiring, processing and updating specific documents. Usually, supermarkets don’t have HR dedicated staff; the afferent activities are managed centrally at the company’s headquarters. The Administrative area comprises a team of 6 people that are dealing with the relationship between the headquarters’ HR department and all stores, ensuring an effective role of the HR department in the flow of documents (personnel files), application procedures, feedback etc.
The economic expansion peaked in 2008-2009, giving Carrefour Romania employees, as well as the entire market easy access to credit instruments. To access these financial services employees needed many copies of personnel documents and files (employment contract, job description, addenda etc.), which generated a high volume of activity in the HR department. This situation was aggravated by the large number of employees of the company (about 8000 at that time) and the complexity of records requested by the banks.
During 2008-2009 there were processed 20 to 25 working records and 10 personnel files per week, while a HR specialist had to allocate on average 2 days per week for centralizing applications, removing the work record /files from the archive, making copies, classifying and framing the original certifications, preparing the envelopes for the postal courier.
These processes and the large distance between headquarters and stores made it difficult for employees to get their documents fast; usually, they received them in about 1-2 weeks, fact which generated many complaints among them, adversely affected the employment relationships and affected the image of the company's HR Department.
“A person in my team dealt almost exclusively with these issues. We needed at least 2 days per week to copy documents and send them to the stores. We had no possibility of using the automatic supply function of the equipment in order to copy the work records – we had to copy each single sheet of paper. However, all these documents had to be sought in an archive with thousands of files, they had to be packaged, shipped etc. It was a very large workload and a high pressure on the whole team, while the average time of 1-2 weeks in which employees received the necessary credit documents was quite frustrating for many of them.” claims Florentina Gologan, HR Administrative Manager Carrefour Romania.
The solution identified by the HR Department to eliminate the redundancy in delivering the requested documents was to process these documents in each hypermarket, especially since there was a HR structure in each location. In order to achieve that, a digital archive that would provide employees with network access to all their personnel files was needed; thus, documents could remain at headquarters as required by the current law, which stipulated that they should be available to representatives of the Labor Inspectorate at any time. More than a digital archive, however, a document management solution that would streamline the entire work process was needed.
“Our HR department uses Charisma HCM, the solution developed by TotalSoft. In this context I attended the annual event "Charisma Days", where I learned about a Document Management solution developed for another client, but I found it suitable for our problem. The solution was developed on Microsoft platform – this gave us extra confidence and so we decided to request additional information.” Claims Florentina Gologan, HR Administrative Manager Carrefour Romania.
In essence, it was Charisma Document Management, a document management application developed on Microsoft SharePoint platform, according to which branches/subsidiaries of a company had access to a centralized document repository. The fact that the solution belonged to TotalSoft indicated an easy integration with the product we had already implemented before, namely Charisma HCM. In addition, Microsoft SharePoint platform had an easy to use interface and many features of collaborative working environment.
“Carrefour had already established in 2003 a solid business relationship with TotalSoft by implementing the payroll and timekeeping solution. The fact that the solution was developed on Microsoft technology also gave us confidence. Dealing with the same supplier would obviously remove potential compatibility problems or application integration.” Explains Florentina Gologan, HR Administrative Manager Carrefour Romania.
Therefore, the HR department of Carrefour Romania and TotalSoft agreed upon the solution development according to specific procedures and flows. The solution was aimed at ensuring appropriate personnel files processing and laying the foundations for future developments at hypermarket level.
After the analysis conducted by a joint team, the project implementation began in November 2009 and was completed in February 2010.
In the first stage, all personnel files and documents (about 250,000 pages) were scanned and indexed in order to digitize the physical archive. This phase lasted 1-2 months and was managed by SmartControl, the company that brought the necessary equipment and staff for the entire process.
Later, in the second stage, TotalSoft took over the digital archive, checked the data consistency and imported the files into the new application, which was integrated then with Charisma HCM. Each employee recorded in Charisma HCM is now assigned automatically a file (folder) in the document center. The Document Management solution retrieves the information from Charisma HCM and allocates all documents related to the employment contract on several predefined categories: identity documents, addenda, job descriptions, study certifications, work records, contracts, personal documents etc.
Documents are conceived in PDF format and can be accessed and printed from any location based on access rights predefined in the application. Searching and identifying documents can be performed according to several criteria such as name, ID or PIN. New employees and transfers of employees between the hypermarkets are managed within Charisma HCM that synchronizes once a day the information, with the document management application. Thus, the employees are automatically assigned to new locations. New documents are loaded into the application by the headquarters based on procedures that provide the correlation between names and afferent PINs to avoid allocation errors. HR managers from the hypermarkets are automatically informed by email about changes in employee records.
Based on Microsoft SharePoint functionalities there were defined document access and intervention rights, while various operational reports were generated on categories of documents, as well as alerts on the integration of new documents. 35 users were defined for the application use.
The benefits of the solution have exceeded the HR Department area spreading throughout the entire organization. According to internal assessments, the benefits can be described as follows:
Improvement of the labor relations by eliminating dissatisfaction with the slow processing of personnel documents. With the new solution, the employees can immediately receive copies of their personnel documents, since they are generated locally. Their requests are dealt with immediately, not after 1-2 weeks as it happened before. "It's an elegant and useful solution for the entire company; all employees are happy because they receive all necessary documents exactly when they need them" said Florentina Gogolan.
Increase of the HR Department’s productivity. The time spent previously on processing personnel files was very demanding – basically, a person with specialized training allocated 40% of the working time to this activity. The new solution decentralizes the access to documents, and thus, gives the employee the possibility to focus on more productive activities in accordance to his/her qualifications.
Faster file search. Microsoft SharePoint search facilities allow a real-time identification of documents based on several criteria such as last name/first name, ID or PIN. Previously, employees of the headquarters’ HR team spent much time looking for these documents in the physical archive. The archive contained thousands of files grouped into 40 shelves, even if these documents were filed and grouped alphabetically. A careful search was also mandatory, since each record contained an average of 20 different documents.
Elimination of employee dissatisfaction with HR department’s services and increase of internal cohesion. The company regularly runs a project aimed at measuring the internal climate, namely "Carrefour listens to you". Before using the Document Management solution, the company received many complaints about the slow delivery of personnel documents. These complaints have disappeared, and the HR department’s image has considerably improved.
Increase in transparency of the relationship with the Labor Inspectorate. Local access to all personnel files streamlines the relationships with the labor inspection authorities in accordance with the current legislation.
Increase of control over the Administrative HR department’s activity. The Document management solution eliminates human error in recording, selecting and sending documents requested by all Carrefour hypermarkets employees. Furthermore, the HR team is currently aware of the multiple functionalities of Microsoft SharePoint and is considering the possibility to extend the solution towards their workflows as well.
“By using the Document Management solution, we managed to eliminate the redundant activity of copying documents. Now, we have a modern solution that can solve promptly and effectively all employees’ requests, while our HR staff can focus on management activities.” Florentina Gogolan, HR Administrative Manager Carrefour România.
Case study revised in 2012.