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Fujitsu Services

Vital statistics

Number of employees: 16,000 (across Europe)

Annual turnover: 2.4 billion (end March 2002)

HR director: Roger Leek

Hard times in the IT market are demanding tough measures. Few can withstand the double whammy of intense competition and sagging demand. Fujitsu Services, better known in this country until March 2002 as ICL, is no exception. Headcount in Europe has fallen from 22,000 to 16,000 in the past year alone. But while there has been the unavoidable unpleasantness of compulsory redundancies, there is also the opportunity to get the company fit for the future, organised along more sensible, customer-focused lines.This is the opportunity that HR director Roger Leek has seized. Joining the firm in November 2001, Leek formed part of a new leadership team alongside chief operating officer David Courtley and CEO Richard Christou. The chance to take up a strategic leadership role was too good for Leek to pass up. 'I wouldn't have joined had it not been a job of this kind,' he says.

Learning the four Rs

Fujitsu Services has been through a four-stage transformation - rebranding, restreaming, restructuring and rationalisation - known, inevitably, as the 'four Rs'. 'First we had to adopt the Fujitsu brand,' Leek says. 'ICL was not a name that played very strongly outside the UK, and we are a European business. Then we had to restream ourselves into Fujitsu Services, a key element in the global Fujitsu corporation. We restructured our business model and have had to rationalise our numbers,' he adds. Four thousand staff applied for the 1,500 voluntary redundancies that were on offer. Clearly, it was an attractive package. In these cases a paradoxical situation often arises, where some 'survivors' may regret not being able to take up the redundancy package, even though they are being paid the ultimate compliment of being told that they are, in a sense, too good to lose. Leek admits that the firm now faces a major challenge to communicate the new direction to staff. The CEO, COO and HR director are getting out and about around the business to do this more systematically than in the past. 'My four mantras are communication, consultation, involvement and empowerment,' he says. 'There are three basic questions that each of us has as far as our jobs are concerned,' Leek adds. 'These are: 'What's happening to the business?, 'How does that affect me?', and 'How can I influence what is happening?''

Challenging managers to do a better job

But HR is not a mere passive listener in the change process. 'I don't like the word partner,' Leek says. 'I prefer to see us as 'business activists'. We are not doing the line managers' jobs for them, but challenging managers to do a better job. It's a very tough market and we have to be a high-performance organisation. That means rewarding high performance and, fairly but quickly, dealing with poor performance.

Fujitsu first acquired an 80% stake in ICL as long ago as 1990, moving to 100% ownership in 1998. Fujitsu is the largest IT company in Japan, and Fujitsu Services is the group's largest business outside Japan. So the European business will be squarely under the microscope in the months to come. The talent, enthusiasm and commitment of 16,000 Fujitsu Services staff will make the difference between success or failure.