Workplace pensions’ provider NOW: Pensions are using Cezanne HR to streamline their people processes and support rapid company growth.

NOW: Pensions aims to take the headache of introducing a company pension away from employers with its simple, cost effective and systematically risk-managed auto-enrolment solution. It entered the UK market in October 2011 with four employees and over the past 18 months has quickly expanded to a team of 65 staff. The business is supported by established Danish pension fund ATP and has ambitions to become the leading workplace pensions’ provider in the UK.

In the early days, HR processes were managed manually, but this soon became impractical as staff numbers grew. “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,” explains Business Development Associate Christian Strand. “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.”

Cezanne HR appealed because of its self-service element and the fact that the product is hosted in ‘the Cloud’, which means companies don’t have to invest in their own hardware or software or worry about constantly updating the system. Users simply log in from wherever they may be and get immediate, secure access to the information they need.

“We have a field-based sales team, so it was important for them to be able to update their own personal data and manage their holiday entitlement remotely,” said Christian. “The pay-as-you-go pricing model was also a significant factor in our decision. Most products out there have a very high implementation cost and the fact that we would be paying a predictable amount per employee, per month, helped to convince the directors this would be cost effective as well as adding value.”

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 and 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 – although in fact only four people asked for extra support.

“The reaction from line managers has been really positive. They’ve found the ability to keep track of people’s holidays and get an overview of what’s 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. “Everything 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 more on the strategic HR decisions.”

Christian has also been impressed with the on-going support service that comes with the product. “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. He is currently taking part in a group who are testing the product for use on mobile applications – a feature which will be particularly beneficial for NOW: Pensions when it is introduced later this year.

“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,” he says.