Having started with just the core People and Absence modules, the business has now adopted the Performance Management module of Cezanne HR and is making use of the mobile applications, too.
Keeping employees personal data up-to-date and managing annual leave for a growing number of staff was becoming a particularly onerous task. As the sole person managing day-to-day HR processes in the company, business development associate Christian Strand was finding the admin was taking up valuable time that could be more usefully devoted to managing strategic HR issues. “A paper-based system is fine when there are only five or six people, but once you get beyond 20 it becomes very time-consuming,” he said. “We recognised that an HR software solution would help us manage processes like absence and annual leave more efficiently and started to look around for a product that would be both cost- effective and easy-to-use.”
Finding the right solution
NOW: Pensions had a number of priorities in mind when it began the search for an appropriate HR software solution. The business had limited internal IT resources, so wanted a product that could be hosted in ‘the Cloud’ and would not require it to invest in its own hardware, software or support services. The ability for employees to access the product on a self-service basis from wherever they might be was also important for the business, which has a field-based sales team. Affordability was also a big issue. Christian’s initial research showed that most products on the market were aimed at larger companies and came with high up-front implementation costs.
After investigating a number of products, Christian came to the conclusion that Cezanne HR ticked all the company’s boxes. The solution is provided on a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) basis, which means clients don’t have to use their own IT infrastructure or worry about installing updates. Once they’ve subscribed to the service, they are able to log in via a secure server and access all their HR data in one central place. Updates are installed automatically so that users always have access to the very latest version of the product.
Making the business case
NOW: Pensions’ senior management were receptive to the idea of an HR software solution and could see the benefits it would bring in terms of streamlining processes and reducing administration. They needed reassurance, however, that whichever product was chosen would be cost effective as well as adding value. Cezanne HR’s pay-as-you-go pricing model made it easy for Christian to make a sound business case.
Users only pay for the number of staff being managed at any given time, with fees being adjusted on a monthly basis to reflect any changes. The pay-as-you-go pricing model was a significant factor in our decision,” said Christian. “The fact that there were no up-front costs and we would be paying a predictable amount per employee per month helped to convince the directors it was the right choice.”
Getting up and running
Christian decided to by-pass the training offered by Cezanne HR and taught himself how to use the system. He familiarised himself with the product, uploaded all employee data over a weekend and was ready to roll by the Monday morning. “It is very intuitive and easy to use, especially if you are used to using standard web-based applications, so I was able to set it up myself and go live very quickly,” he said. Managers and their teams were issued with email instructions on how to log in and use the system, with an offer of one-to-one help from Christian if needed. In fact, the vast majority of staff managed to get up and running themselves with only four people asking for extra support.
Cezanne HR has been well received in the business with reaction from line managers overwhelmingly positive. “They have found the ability to keep track of people’s holidays and get an overview of what is happening in their team really useful,” said Christian. “I had one line manager who wasn’t sold on the idea beforehand, but as soon as we sat down and he saw the analytics that would be available to him, he fell in love instantly.”
Christian himself has also found the fact he can get metrics live from the system really useful when it comes to looking at the wider HR strategy. “All the information you need is just there in plain sight, there’s no need to do any manual calculations,” he says. “It’s so much more time effective for me and means I can focus on the more strategic HR decisions.”
In the early days, HR processes at NOW: Pensions were managed manually, but this soon became impractical as staff numbers grew.
Christian has been very impressed with the on-going support he has received. “I always get a really quick response and if I have a request for an additional feature they are always really positive and willing to add it to their future development list,” he says.
NOW: Pensions say they have been delighted with the solution and are looking forward to taking full advantage of the wide range of features as the business continues to grow. “The people I speak to at Cezanne HR seem really passionate about their work and I feel as a business they are very similar to us in that they are genuinely trying to make life easier for people working in HR,” says Christian.