Family-owned dairy, Dairy Partners, supplies quality British cheese and dairy products to retailers, food service networks, manufacturers and distributors both in the UK and overseas. In fact, they’re the UK’s largest family-owned mozzarella producer!
The company’s growing portfolio of foodstuffs include branded and own-label products that offer total flexibility to their customers. As well as having generations of experience, they are also National Dairy Farm Assured – a huge sign of quality for their customers.
Their rising reputation coupled with a growing demand for their products meant that workforce expansion was a necessity. However, their HR practices were struggling to keep pace, with manual procedures and paper-based processes hampering overall efficiency.
HR Partner Jackie Tribbe and HR Officer Jennifer Morgan joined us for a chat to discuss their HR journey with Cezanne HR and how the software has helped Dairy Partners streamline every aspect of their HR operations.
Tell us a little about yourself and your roles
Jennifer: We run the HR team here at Dairy Partners and look after all aspects of the company’s HR function – there’s not much we don’t do. I’ve been here for three years while Jackie has been here for just over four years.
What were the problems your business was experiencing that prompted you to invest in new HR software?
Jennifer: When Jackie arrived, there were no systems in place to help manage the day-to-day HR activities. Everything was done on Excel spreadsheets and forms which had to be filed manually and information was not always recorded correctly.
That’s why when Jackie joined, the first thing she did was look for an HR system and Cezanne HR really impressed us – it’s changed the way we work for the better… in fact I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say it’s changed our lives!
Jackie: Yes, I’d agree. For me, it was vital to have HR information system. I’d come from a background where I’d always had some sort of HR system. The last one I’d used was Oracle, but I found it incredibly clunky if I’m honest. It was a system you had to fit into, rather than one that we could tailor to our own needs.
Because the Oracle system was developed by our HQ in the United States, we also had to make do with American terminologies that weren’t quite right for the HR function in the UK. You couldn’t amend or change any fields within the system, which was incredibly frustrating.
Did you consider any other platforms?
Jackie: We had a look at HiBob, Bamboo, Sage and a few other options, but Cezanne HR was the one that met all our criteria. It seems to have really captured all the good stuff that many HR platforms do, but none of the bad. It’s both really user friendly and flexible.
One of the things that put us off a few of the other platforms we looked at were their styling and general designs. Some were very gimmicky and would not have fit in with our culture.
Which of Cezanne HR’s modules do you have at the moment?
Jennifer: Oh, and we also have Onboarding, which is probably my favourite one!
Before we had it, our new starter process was just checklist, upon checklist, upon checklist… and then we had people forgetting to complete the checklists so the onboarding process was quite disorganised. Onboarding has automated, streamlined and simplified all our new starter actions and the feedback from new hires has been really positive. It sets a great first impression of the Company.
Jackie: I think part of the issue was that Jen and I job share. It was really hard to keep abreast of what had been done, what needed to be done etc… when everything was being done manually. With the [Cezanne HR] system, it’s now simple for us to keep track of our entire onboarding process.
Jennifer: It’s also shifted some of the work to the employees and given them a large degree of ownership. Before, we had to get everything from them, such as their bank details, address… all the usual new starter admin. Now they can enter that information themselves. It’s saved so much time for HR and for our recruiting managers, and that’s been great.
How has Cezanne HR helped with your HR team’s day-to-day operations?
Jackie: When I joined the company, it was very difficult to keep track of our employees, their shift patterns, working hours etc. This is probably a similar story to other SMEs that, like us, have grown really quickly and have had to prioritise production.
Just getting HR information out is so much easier. In most cases, you just press a button and there it is. It gives us so much more confidence as well that all the personnel information we have is accurate.
For example, we recently went through a big process of checking all our workforce’s settled statuses. Before, that would have involved trawling through document packets and random bits of paper. This time, everything we needed was all centralised, easy to find and up to date.
Jennifer: Yes, it would have also taken us hours to get HR data and statistics from our old spreadsheets, now everything is just simple and straightforward. We can pull up everything we need virtually instantly.
Another thing that’s gotten a lot easier for us is managing employment contracts. We used to send paper copies, and this involved finding the right files, printing them, chasing down managers to sign them, posting them out… it was time consuming! Now we use the document management feature in Cezanne HR to send contracts out virtually instantaneously and get them back from employees within minutes. They’re also a lot more secure now that they’re stored electronically, and this helps with our GDPR compliance, too.
Jackie: For me, the Cezanne HR system has given us total confidence in our personnel data and I can report on any aspect at any time.
Have your original issues been resolved?
Jennifer: Oh, yes – definitely. On the whole it’s made things a million times better.
Jackie: I think that’s it really. We’re now able to move on to the next phase, which is making the most of the data we can pull from the system. I’ve just requested some training from the support team on how to use the people analytics feature. As we now have access to HR data and management reporting that weren’t possible before, we can start analysing patterns and trends. We definitely want to make the most of it!
Are there any features you find particularly useful?
Jackie: Well, everything really! The Onboarding is particularly good, but in general everything is just so much more joined up. Now we have an integrated HR system, there’s very little chance of errors occurring, so I have real confidence that our HR data is accurate, which is just great.
Our operations and production managers also love it, mainly because the holiday booking process is really easy for them.
Jennifer: We’ve all said at one point how much we love that Cezanne HR can adapt to our ways of working. I like that you can change the pick lists, the field settings and the headers – the fact you can choose how to name things is brilliant. It lets us reflect the way we speak as a business and the terms we use. It’s really nice to be able to do it.
Recruitment is a good example of how we can tailor the system to our way of working. We’re still learning aspects of the module, but before we’d be sending out loads of emails to each other, to arrange interviews, screen candidates etc… and emails would inevitably get lost or accidentally deleted as you got loads of responses back.
Now it’s all centralised in one place and the hiring managers can log in and see everything they need to within our recruitment process. It’s honestly made recruitment so much quicker as we’re not having to chase stuff all the time – I just love it.
What do you think about the support offered by Cezanne HR?
Jennifer: The help and support offered by Cezanne HR is excellent. The support portal is really good and I like the fact that if you raise a support ticket it’s pretty much always resolved that day.
Jackie: Compared to the service of other software providers, it’s in a different class.
Jennifer: Yes, in contrast, when I was setting up Onboarding, I got into a little bit of a pickle and needed some help. The support team at Cezanne HR were brilliant! At one point they setup a MS Teams chat to guide me through how to set up what I wanted, and that really was brilliant. The support is second to none. I also like the fact they include screenshots when responding to a question, it really does make a difference.
Jackie: One other thing I quite like is that we can put forward our ideas [via the Cezanne HR support portal] and can also vote on other ideas on how the system can be improved. That’s really nice to see as well.
How has the system been received with your staff?
Jackie: Actually, a production manager has just walked in, let’s ask him!
Jennifer [to production manager]: How would you say Cezanne HR has been received by factory?
Production manager: It works really well, it’s great!
Jackie: There you go!
Lastly, would you recommend Cezanne HR to others?
Jennifer: We already have!
Jackie: Yes, definitely. We’re actually on a Facebook group called HR Ninjas where a lot of HR professionals go to collaborate and ask questions around HR topics. There’s always a lot of HR people who are not sure about HR software options, so we always mention Cezanne HR and how it can help them.
Jackie Tribbe and Jennifer Morgan, HR partner and HR officer