AgDevCo is a specialist investor in early-stage African agribusinesses, structured as a permanent capital vehicle.
Established in 2009, AgDevCo’s vision is a thriving commercial African agriculture sector that benefits people, economies and the environment. The organisation contributes to this goal by providing investment capital and technical assistance to grow sustainable and impactful businesses across the agricultural value chain. In doing so, it aims to promote resilience, gender equality and the production of better-quality, more nutritious food.
With a multi-national workforce operating out of London, and across South, West and East Africa, AgDevCo needed all their employee operations to run as smoothly as possible. However, an over reliance on manual processes, spreadsheets and paper-based procedures were beginning to take their toll on the company’s hard-working HR and operations teams.
So, they decided to adopt the Cezanne HR system to support their global workforce and free their HR and operations teams from endless admin.
We sat down for a chat with their Operations Administrator Charlotte to discover what effect the change-up has had on the organisation…
Hi Charlotte, tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
My name’s Charlotte Haynes and I’m the Operations Administrator for AgDevCo. I’ve been with the business for just over 5 years. I look after everything to do with the company’s operations: this includes working alongside our global HR function, IT, completing general day-to-day admin, internal comms and helping to run the business. It’s a very busy and varied role!
What modules do you have with Cezanne HR?
We have the core People Management module (including Training and Development) along with Absence Management, Time Tracking and Performance Management. We’ve recently started using Onboarding, too; this is because we have a very large number of recruitment this year.
Do you use the Cezanne HR system on a day-to-day basis?
Yes, generally every day. One part I do use quite a lot and find very helpful is the timesheet function within the Time Tracking module. Cezanne HR lets us manage timesheets and absences in a single system, that means any time that’s booked off thorough the Absence module automatically appears in the timesheets. This makes things so much easier for me – and for our HR team.
The Onboarding module is also something I’ve started to use quite regularly. I’m in the process of onboarding new starters from multiple areas of the business. It’s really saving me time.
What were the problems your business was experiencing before you chose Cezanne HR’s system?
There was no system in place before Cezanne. We were using manual spreadsheets for things like booking holidays and completing timesheets. Managing timesheets was a very clunky job before [Cezanne HR].
When the business was looking for an HR solution, they wanted something that was Cloud-based, had global capabilities and also included timesheet management. Cezanne HR had all those things and allowed us to automate a lot of manual admin processes, so it really ticked all the boxes.
How has Cezanne HR helped with your HR team’s day-to-day operations?
Day-to-day activities have become much less admin heavy. To give an example, the system [Cezanne HR] has been set up with all our timesheet codes for different parts of the business and associated jobs. This means our staff can complete their timesheets with the appropriate codes without having to ask HR for help – it’s really intuitive!
Our finance team also have a login to the [Cezanne HR] system and it’s helping them with their regular activities. They can now pull off the reports they need really easily – so I don’t have to. It’s saved me so much time.
For me, the system came into its own during the pandemic. There were a lot of travel restrictions because of COVID-19 and travel was very much ‘up in the air’. As a business, we needed to manage this carefully. The form builder function meant our staff could easily raise travel requests themselves so they could be submitted for approval, checked and signed off by the business. I didn’t have to step in to raise these types of requests at all.
Has the Cezanne HR system helped you to simplify performance management?
The system has really had a positive effect on our appraisal process. Before, it was all very manual: employees were just downloading a Word document, sending it to their line manager and then having the inevitable disjointed back and forth between them and HR.
Now it’s completely different and much simpler for everyone involved. It’s made the whole appraisal cycle more intuitive and straightforward. It automates the process of sending and tracking appraisal forms, it’s all done in the one place, and everyone can see everything involved in their own appraisal. It’s definitely solved an issue there!
You mentioned earlier that added the Onboarding module. How have you found using it so far?
We added it quite recently as I found that always having to use spreadsheets to tick things off just wasn’t a good use of mine – or anyone else’s – time at all. I was all for using a system that could automate as much of the admin as possible and could allow you to assign tasks to people all from the one place. The automation of essential admin is something the Cezanne HR system does really well and has really improved things for us.
The Workspaces also help with this too, as that’s where we can host important company and new starter documents. They’re always available and easily accessible when needed.
We have a new starter checklist that automatically sends out notifications to everyone involved in the onboarding process. I can see the status of where things are at-a-glance, rather than having to open up and scroll through spreadsheets, which is a time-consuming process in itself. With Cezanne HR, once a task has been ticked off by the person it’s been delegated to, it’s done, and you know it’s done!
Would you recommend Cezanne HR to others?
Yes, definitely! In all my previous roles, I’ve never used a system that has literally everything you need all in the one place. It had always been a separate system for annual leave, a separate one for timesheets… with Cezanne HR, it’s all integrated and the information is right at your fingertips.
Charlotte Haynes, Operations Administrator