Case Study
Holland & Barrett Shop

HR technology to improve the experience for staff and deliver business efficiencies, agility and innovation

One of the key challenges for retailers today is the level of digital transformation they need to embrace at speed. For leading health and wellness retailer Holland & Barrett, one of the key success factors was ensuring a positive user experience across the organisation. By selecting a best in breed digital HR platform that’s agile and can respond quickly to changing business and environment demands they have achieved that goal.

“I’m delighted that our payroll queries have significantly reduced since the introduction of elementsuite.”

Simple, engaging self-service for retailer with a heart

Holland & Barrett is one of Europe’s largest health and wellness retailers leading the market with a broad range of vitamins, supplements, specialist food, sports nutrition and ethical beauty brands. Established in 1870, it currently operates more than 1300 stores worldwide (including over 800 in the UK and Ireland) as well as a rapidly expanding e-commerce business. All Holland & Barrett colleagues are highly trained in nutrition and supplements, able to advise customers on their individual needs.

Having successfully completed an ambitious digital transformation programme for their customers, Holland & Barrett wanted to implement a best-in-breed HR system for their staff.

“At Holland & Barrett, we’re passionate about our Colleagues and last year we successfully deployed elementsuite – a full suite digital HR/Payroll system, known internally as “H&B Heart” across all our Retail, Shared Support Centre and Distribution functions.”  Tricia Foster, Head of Pay and Benefits at Holland & Barrett.


The Challenge

Holland & Barrett had a legacy payroll system which was at end of life, no longer supporting the forward-thinking brand. They were also looking to make step-change improvements across their HR function where data consolidation, software support and operational controls to accurately manage HR and Time and attendance data across all their sites.

Due to the complexity of their business model, Holland & Barrett also needed a solution that was compliant and able to deal with holiday payments for variable types of contracts and shift patterns for their staff.


Embracing leading-edge HR technology

elementsuite provided an opportunity for Holland & Barrett to fully address these needs with a cost-effective single solution, with the added benefits of a modern HR SaaS platform. A mobile-first, user friendly system that’s intuitive for staff, modular and flexible.

Employees can access and edit their own personal records, which has significantly reduced the support and maintenance costs across the business, whilst incorporating the digital-first mentality.

The elementsuite digital HR solution, implemented in 2019, has given Holland & Barrett the right tools to more accurately manage their HR and Time & Attendance data across all their sites, so that managers can more easily and accurately review and submit the time worked in the stores for payroll processing.

“Colleagues can now view their rota, book their holidays, check their payslips and review their contract and personal details all through their mobile phone when it’s convenient to them. Managers can prepare and publish their rotas, approve holidays, and submit timecards for their sites to ensure accurate time and attendance – that flows through to payable time in payroll.” Says Tricia Foster, Head of Pay and Benefits at Holland & Barrett. 

“We have over 50% of the workforce logging into the system on a daily basis, mainly via their mobile devices.”


Gain agility with a single platform for HR, payroll and time

elementsuite’s frictionless technology needed to integrate seamlessly into Holland & Barrett’s systems, whilst empowering employees to manage their working lives and make quick, informed decisions.

Significant business benefits were achieved by the removal of dual keying and duplication, through consolidation of data and one record for each employee. The easy to use, self-drive approach is freeing HR teams and managers from time consuming transactional and manual work.

“elementsuite has transformed the previous manual complexity associated with capturing time and attendance in our stores to a simple, and engaging self-service user experience for colleagues and managers. The “user” transparency is so helpful too and has resulted in H&B being equipped to improve the culture and practice, enabling new ways of working to be taught in real time, along with appropriate guidance and timely HR/Payroll policies.”


Future-proof flexibility in the face of change

elementsuite makes it easy to change as new needs arise, from implementing policy changes to adapting to new regulations. Since deployment, the COVID-19 crisis has caused considerable disruption and impacts on all consumer-facing businesses such as Holland & Barrett, resulting in significant pressure for HR Leaders and HR teams to act fast.

During the early stages of the crisis, the immediate priority of HR leadership was to keep all employees safe and well informed whilst ensuring business continuity.

System changes had to be rapidly implemented to accommodate changes in UK legislation, and to support the changes in absence types and payroll changes. Owing to the agility and flexibility of the elementsuite platform, these changes were seamlessly designed, built, tested and deployed in rapid and continuous release cycles, to support the changing profile of the workforce and business needs, whilst maintaining full compliance with the changing HMRC requirements.

We are continuing to work closely with elementsuite to respond to the ongoing challenges of COVID. We’re also excited to review and roll out additional features as they are available as part of elementsuite‘s wider SaaS offering


Modules selected by Holland & Barrett

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Benefits at glance

  • 50% of staff logging in every day
  • Time savings across all processes
  • Intuitive for all staff
  • All paper HR eliminated
  • Peace of mind around compliance
  • Real time analytics and graphical dashboards
  • Easier staff planning and rostering for managers
  • E-signatures for contracts
  • Completely Holland & Barrett branded

Holland & Barrett vitals

  • Over 5,000 employees
  • Over 800 UK stores
  • 1,300 stores worldwide