Williams is in a race to hire the best people. Adopting a digital process is supercharging its HR efforts

Business Situation

Williams Group attribute part of their decades-long success in Formula One racing to hiring the industry’s best engineers. It’s a practice they continue in their Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) services business, which shares the company’s expertise not just with automobile manufacturers, but also with a growing list of clients in industries that include automotive, motorsport and aerospace.

But it’s not always easy. Paper-based systems resulted in approval forms that sat on executives’ desks, resulting in unnecessary delays in the hiring process. Those delays could result in talented candidates being lost in a highly competitive market. As a result, HR team members responsible for these processes would each spend approximately one or two hours every day chasing forms and signatures. For this high-speed business, Williams was just not used to moving so slow. The business required a faster HR process.

“Our business depends on hiring the best talent available. With the WAE Recruitment & Salary app that Avanade created, we can do that faster and more successfully, reducing our time to hire exceptional talent that will deliver competitive advantage.”

Nicola Salter HR Director, Williams Group


To achieve speed, Williams turned to their technology partner, Avanade. As part of Avanade’s ongoing initiative to help Williams create a digital workplace, the two companies worked closely together to produce WAE Recruitment & Salary, a custom app based on Microsoft SharePoint. It turns formerly manual job-creation and recruitment processes into digital processes that are almost as fast as the company’s racecars.

WAE Recruitment & Salary gets executives’ attention by, ironically, making the least demands on them. Executives mainly interact with the app through email. They now receive automated emails only when they are required to take actions. They can also log into a WAE Recruitment & Salary portal, which provides an at-a-glance view of all recent user actions. Avanade drew upon their experience-design expertise to deliver a portal interface that is intuitive to all users. The interface is streamlined, showing pending and completed requests, the status of open processes including pinpointing any delays, and messages from colleagues explaining why they did not approve positions or candidates.


Decisions made in one hour—from anywhere in the world. Williams wanted a faster HR hiring approval process. They got them. A single HR process, such as approving the initiation of a search, used to take a week or more. Since executives can participate with WAE Recruitment & Salary from wherever they are, anywhere in the world, HR tasks and decisions can be completed in about an hour. Add up all the processes involved in creating a single position and hiring a candidate for it, and the time savings can be a month or more; making Williams far more competitive in hiring the best talent.

Increases HR productivity and time savings. HR managers who coordinated the manual processes used to spend up to two hours per day chasing paper forms, getting them signed, and moving them to the next executive, sometimes across the Williams campus. Now, none of those tasks are necessary, increasing productivity and saving time.

New analytics capability enables better decision making. WAE executives now have highly accurate data on the aggregate results of key HR processes over the course of a year. They can mine that data for insights to refine those processes and boost HR effectiveness even further.

Williams Group

Williams Group case study

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