How One Company Gave 20,000 Productivity Hours Back to Its Employees

Kiersten Conner |

Smith & Nephew was facing a change in philosophy due to upper-level management changes, shifting from an overly compliant enforcement approach to a more employee-centric focus. The global medical devices company realized it needed to transform from assuming needs to anticipating them.

“That shift from excessive compliance to customer [employee] centricity and improving the experience helps us convey a message that really, we care about you, and want you to have a smooth experience as a Smith & Nephew employee,” says Jorge Monge, the travel and expense lead at Smith & Nephew.

The organization knew that mutual trust between company, employee, and customer was integral to success as it scaled operations within 44 countries. By creating focus groups and surveys to get feedback from customers and employees, Smith & Nephew was able to build a solid method to deliver the optimal employee experience. Part of that exercise was the use of AI to streamline the travel and expense process and ensure compliance, saving both time and money while increasing accuracy of reporting.

“We have been able to…return over 20,000 productivity hours to our employees. That enabled us…to shift from a very tactical approach to more strategic-oriented duties,” shares Jorge. “For instance, managers don’t really have to approve expenses nowadays. We use AI and [Concur]Detect [by Appzen] for that and they are assured that things are taken care of, and they can dedicate that time to other more value-added tasks.”

Smith & Nephew came up with creative ways to increase communication and awareness of new processes by creating short and fun animated internal training videos and then distributed them through the SAP Concur platform. The company also selected “change champions,” or frequent users of the employee expense tools with a span of influence, to spread these messages across the company. With employee adoption of new philosophies in place, Smith & Nephew has been able to make realistic goals and stay within budget. 

Jorge adds, “we have been able to really shift to a more strategic approach, where we are not only doing the expense reporting function but actually shifting towards being a strategic business partner. And at this moment, we are producing analytics that allow upper management and executives to trend and track expenditure, spend behavior, and this has enabled them to also better understand and reach their target, their savings and their budget management objectives.”

Part 1: Watch how Smith & Nephew struck a balance between employee experience and compliance

Part 2: Watch how Smith & Nephew increased spend accuracy

Part 3: Watch how Smith & Nephew streamlined executive spend management decisions


Listen to this episode on Apple, Amazon, Spotify, Listen Notes, Acast, or your favorite podcast player, and learn more about Smith & Nephew's employee experience focus below.