Outsourced Payroll Specialists

I like working with smaller providers. They can be far more engaged with you. They want to work with you. They want to make a difference. The switch to e-payslips has been seamless. Trace made everything easy to understand and it’s not raised any accessibility issues.

- Bridget Patton, Interim Group HR Director

John Laing plc

Case Study


John Laing plc is a specialist provider of facilities through public private partnerships with a long-term perspective and approach. The company manages and delivers 75 projects from planning and funding through to design, construction and operation. It is actively involved in the management of a wide range of health, education, police, rail, roads and special purpose government facilities, both in the UK and internationally. In March 2010, John Laing’s partnership with Trace appeared to be drawing to a close.

John Laing comprises a number of divisions, one of which had used Trace’s payroll services for some years. Another division, with the lion’s share of the Company’s staff and payroll service requirement, used a different, much larger provider. When the time came for the divisions to consolidate their payroll services, the larger provider seemed the natural choice.

Yet Bridget Patton, Laing Interim Group HR Director didn’t quite see it that way.

“I like working with smaller providers. They can be far more engaged with you. They want to work with you. They want to make a difference.”

Putting Trace to the test

To remain as John Laing’s payroll services provider, Trace needed to show it could manage the requirements of the larger organisation – and its greatest test was ensuring it could seamlessly integrate John Laing’s Snowdrop HR system with its own.

“We didn’t want to be cutting and pasting between systems to get them to work with each other” says Bridget Patton. “That would have involved too much margin for error and too much effort.”

A way of integrating the systems had eluded Trace’s competitor for John Laing’s business, but Trace used its own in-house expertise to swiftly develop a way of entering the data required to run the payroll into John Laing’s HR system.

This innovation and resourcefulness meant John Laing’s investment in its HR system was protected and it helped convince the Company to sign a new 3-year contract with Trace Payroll Services. Together, Trace and John Laing have continued to grow their partnership.

Saving money and the environment with electronic payslips

For an organisation so committed to its corporate and social responsibility, electronic payslips made perfect sense for John Laing. The system used by Trace delivers payslips securely by email to the inbox of the employee. The employee gets the payslip a couple of days before pay day, and they no longer have to wait for a paper version. Yet Bridget Patton recognised that without a smooth transition, the benefits in terms of carbon footprint could easily be offset by a messy and frustrating switchover. Trace made sure that didn’t happen.

“The switch to e-payslips has been seamless. Trace made everything easy to understand and it’s not raised any accessibility issues. Our e-payslips mean we no longer have to produce dozens of reports and hundreds of payslips on paper. Trace is helping us reduce our environmental impact, but it’s also helping us work more efficiently – and by doing that we save money.”

Trace: a recommended partner

Bridget Patton is pleased John Laing chose to build its relationship with Trace. “Staying with someone is good. Seeing them improve is even better. I would recommend Trace Payroll Services because, to us, it’s an extension of our HR/Payroll dept. No question is too big for them to answer. It’s got people who help us reach good solutions and they take the trouble to get engaged.

“I’ve been involved in outsourcing arrangements before where you feel there’s so much work to do before the outsourcing takes place it’s not really worth bothering but Trace gets it. It’s a true outsourcer. It takes the workload off us.

“We wanted a payroll services provider that made our lives easier. Trace makes that difference. Trace is a partner, not just a provider.”