Meeting complex global needs with Cezanne HR’s flexible and sophisticated HR system

Chris and Toby recently explained how Cezanne HR has helped them meet their wide-ranging business needs and dramatically speed up their reporting capability. Chris is the Director of Global Operations and Toby is the Customer Solutions Executive at Portas Global.

Portas Global offers their customers an alternative to direct hiring when they’re looking to recruit people in countries other than their own. As a global Professional Employer Organisation (PEO), Portas Global provides outsourced employment services that encompass all key post recruitment elements: local working rights checks, employment contracts, HR compliance, payroll calculations and salary distribution, and local employer tax contributions.

The business works across more than 80 countries, primarily focussing on Europe but with partners in Asia and Latin America and employs in excess of 300 people on behalf of their customers. Portas Global uses Cezanne HR to administer the HR and payroll records for all of these employees, plus their own internal staff.

Can you tell me why you chose to work with Cezanne HR over other HR software providers?

Not long after we’d [Chris and his business partner Carlos] established Portas Global, the team had grown to the point where we knew we needed a professional HR system. We previously had our own system in place. After researching a variety of HR software providers, Cezanne HR stood out due to its global capabilities; we were very impressed with its flexibility and the multiple language options for our employees that Cezanne HR had on offer.

We rolled Cezanne HR out internationally from day one – 15 countries across Europe! A key selling point for us about the system was not being bound by one set of rules. The flexibility of the system was important to us so that we could use it successfully for our internal employees as well as the employees we have on behalf of our customers. A lot of other systems that we researched just weren’t up to the job.

I understand you have a number of Cezanne HR modules, can you explain how they benefit you?

Yes, we have the People, Onboarding, Absence, and Time modules.

The People module is really great – it helps us no end. We’re able to benefit from it in terms of insights about our own staff and the employees we have on behalf of our customers. Being able to easily find information, such as when an employee has commenced, is really helpful, as is the option to download data into spreadsheets. We’ve also started using the compensation functionality, reporting on each employee and monthly variable salaries – this information has now become our payroll dataset for our use in the UK and for our global payroll teams.

For us, the Onboarding module is often an employee’s first point of contact with our customers (the company the employee has been hired for). The flexibility within this module means we’re able to provide different portals for different customers, and it presents a very professional first impression. With the business world now fully embracing remote work, this module is great in establishing a communication link between the employees and our customers.

We’ve also found the Onboarding module to be very helpful with GDPR compliance. The security of sensitive data is imperative when we interact with our internal employees and our customers’ employees, and Cezanne HR ensures we can record and share this data compliantly.

Managing employee leave and expense approval is an important part of our work. Cezanne HR’s Absence Management module allows our customers to be more involved in the process and have full transparency of employee activity.

The other aspect of the Absence Management module that was critical to us was being able to have different leave plans. It means that our employees (no matter what country they’re in) see ‘their plan’ and feel like the system is tailored to them – because essentially it is. We’re able to reflect different legislative environments and working practices, and because the system automatically calculates holiday entitlements based on different leave plans, it saves us a lot of time.

We’ve recently found the Time module to be very handy for tracking the time our HR department spends on consultancy work for our customers. The module is also important for us in other countries, such as Spain, where we’re required by law to track hours worked.

On a monthly basis, we ask our employees to submit their contracted hours that they have completed that month, using a custom-built timesheet plan within the Time module. The module also allows us to create our own activities and therefore we can ask the employees to record their time against a specific project or piece of work they have been working on.

Can you please tell me about how Cezanne HR has helped you with reporting?

As our business has grown, and we’ve better understood our needs, we’ve had to rethink our reporting to achieve a more holistic view of our employees. Cezanne HR had helped us with a custom-built report in the past, so when we identified a need for a more sophisticated solution that pulled multiple reports together, we went back to the support team for help.

Our new Power Query report that Cezanne HR created for us allows us to look at an employee record across the month, and see all the changes for that employee in one place; we can find everything related to leave, benefits and payroll. We can also break the report down by country.

We’re now also able to gather information from our customers that we can then feed back into this new process. Using Cezanne HR, we generate a template to send to our customers requesting any payroll changes, our customers send it back and it is uploaded into the system, ready for us to report on as needed.

Because of the Power Query, reporting that used to take 1 ½ days, now takes 2-3 hours – it has organised, streamlined and automated the process for us.

Have you been happy with the Cezanne HR customer support team?

The Cezanne HR customer support team is impressively responsive.

When we first chose Cezanne HR, we wanted everything set up very quickly, and they made that happen. The initial training provided [or in Toby’s case, when he started with the business after the system was in place] was really good. Since then, when we’ve had queries, the typical response time has been half an hour which I consider very fast.

Working with the customer support team on the Power Query was a great experience too. We simply exchanged a few emails and had a conference call, and 2-3 weeks later, most of the work on the solution was complete. The team was excellent, and when we wanted some tweaks after the Power Query had been put in place, this was done within a matter of hours.

How have you found the new user interface?

We really like the recent update. Some of our customers and employees have commented that the interface change has been fantastic, with less clicks to find things now. For example, it’s much easier to find the documents folder. We particularly like that we can change the skin on the UI to match our corporate colours.

Would you recommend Cezanne HR?

We’d definitely recommend the system because of the changes you can make – the flexibility is brilliant.