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Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, has grown through technological innovation, commercial excellence, and strength in emerging markets. The company has also enhanced its capabilities and market reach over the years by making complementary acquisitions. As acquired businesses were integrated into Thermo Fisher, it became increasingly evident that disparate human resources (HR) policies and a lack of standardized HR processes and systems needed to be addressed across the company. To support the organization’s growth, goals, and objectives, the HR team was focused on standardization of service, administration of global processes, centralization of administrative tasks, and elevation of the HR business partner role. However, implementing these goals was difficult with the widely dispersed employee base, competing objectives of each business, and fluctuations in funding due to economic factors. ScottMadden was asked to provide support to the HR team to realize their goals.

The Challenge

Thermo Fisher has a strong culture of analysis and problem-solving bred from their foundation of research and development. The HR organization uses this philosophy in its program development and execution. However, the organization had encountered challenges in mobilizing the HR group, standardizing processes, and ensuring that those new processes were implemented. The HR organization had already made the decision to launch a new HR service delivery model, which included a central HR shared services center. However, due to economic challenges, the company had not made the transition. Rising cost pressures led to the need to execute the plan quickly.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, the HR organization launched a pilot HR shared services center to one of its business units, serving 18% of the U.S. employee population. The success of the pilot led to a decision by the company’s leadership team to quickly scale to serve the remaining U.S. employee base. The biggest challenge in the next phase of this project was the lack of process standardization and a central source for answers, as well as the need for training and change management. Additionally, the HR team wanted to transition the HR service delivery model for all U.S. employees with limited funds and needed a plan and approach that fit this requirement. For example, Thermo Fisher wanted to leverage their existing in-house technology—applications needed to be adapted for use, without cost, by the HR organization.

Additionally, Thermo Fisher was cognizant that the new HR service delivery model needed to support the full employee population, 30% of which was in a manufacturing role without daily access to a computer. Centralizing HR service support to a solution center reduced the availability of on-site, face-to-face HR to this employee group, and the HR organization wanted to be sure that it continued to provide high-touch support to all employees.

How We Helped

The ScottMadden team leveraged its deep experience in HR service delivery to create and manage the overall project plan and to lead the Thermo Fisher project team through key decisions and milestones in the transformation. During this 10-month project, ScottMadden provided guidance, oversight, and resources on the following project objectives:

  • Project design and management
  • Organizational and staffing changes
  • Policy harmonization and process standardization
  • Knowledgebase development and launch
  • Communications, marketing, and change management
  • Training content development and delivery
  • Go-live and stabilization support


ScottMadden started by developing and defining a detailed project plan, leveraging our standard implementation approach, based on Thermo Fisher’s required timeline and internal resources. We organized a core team made up of client representatives to lead each work stream and provided each team lead with the framework to execute the plan. Where necessary, ScottMadden customized the approach. For example, Thermo Fisher needed to leverage the existing employee intranet as the portal and knowledgebase in their HR service center, and we worked with the core team to build these requirements into the implementation.

Once the necessary organization was in place, the work streams were launched. Each leader was responsible for their part of the project plan, and the work streams were coordinated by ScottMadden and the core team. Thermo Fisher involved roughly 60 HR employees in the implementation team, as these subject matter experts were called on to contribute to process redesign workshops, portal content, training, and change management efforts. The teams were virtual due to the representation from many Field HR and Center of Excellence (COE) members located across the United States.

Since the HR organization was dispersed across the many business locations of Thermo Fisher, a key focus for ScottMadden during this project was to drive change management through more face-to-face interaction. Over the course of the implementation, HR leadership brought together the HR community to participate in process workshops and pre-launch, two-day training sessions. The “road show” training covered process changes with the HR service center launch and associated role and responsibility changes with Field HR and in COEs. These sessions, attended by 240 individuals, were viewed as a valuable way for the HR community to learn and network in the changing service delivery landscape.

Through the launch of the service center and during the stabilization phase, ScottMadden provided support in process, operations, and communication stabilization, helping Thermo Fisher’s employees and the HR community adapt to the new service delivery model.


With assistance from ScottMadden, Thermo Fisher met the short implementation timeline and launched the new HR shared services center for all employees in July 2012. This go-live showcased 21 harmonized policies and 61 standardized processes. In coordination with the HR service center, a new HR portal, through the company intranet, was launched to allow employees’ access to readily available information and to initiate service requests. The new HR portal included 165 employee-facing pages.

ScottMadden also helped Thermo Fisher focus on defining the role of the HR business partner in the HR transformation. This role needed to be promoted and defined within the field, so part of ScottMadden’s support focused on this critical component in the service delivery transformation. Thermo Fisher developed plans to assess competencies and skill sets of their strategic HR staff and to execute the assessment and development of these team members in the coming months.

Both the ScottMadden team and Thermo Fisher leadership were pleased with the successful HR transformation. Mark White, Vice President of HR Operations at Thermo Fisher Scientific, said, “We could not have done it without ScottMadden.”

Thermo Fisher will continue to optimize the services offered through their HR service center, focusing on metrics, customer service scores, and ongoing continuous improvement. They are looking to expand on their efficiencies in HR service delivery through implementation of further offerings in employee and manager self-service in the years to come.

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