Building on the foundations of a thriving business, Theisen’s move to a cloud HR and People system for recruitment, benefits and performance is sowing the seeds for success.
Since its founding in 1927, retailer Theisen’s has always looked for ways to improve the customer and employee experience, whilst embracing new technology. From humble beginnings as Theisen’s Battery and Electric, today, along with the corporate office and distribution center in Dubuque, IA, the organization has 24 stores across Iowa and Wisconsin with more than 1,100 employees, affectionately referred to as ‘associates’.
With the company striving to provide the highest levels of customer service, Theisen’s is well aware of the value its people bring to the company through hard work, dedication and commitment. Improving processes and reducing administration is a continual focus so that the company can spend more time on their most important asset for growth: their people. “We really wanted to look at three key areas to improve associate employee relations and to boost productivity,” says Cindy Burdt, HR Director at Theisen’s. “These were recruitment, benefits and performance.”
Until recently, Theisen’s had been managing these three core activities manually, something which was proving to be cumbersome and time consuming, and an administrative burden for managers to process. “Our process for recruitment was lengthy, and we also had the added headache of storing paper resumes for a year after an applicant had applied, to comply with regulations,” Burdt says.
“If we needed to provide paperwork for a specific situation, in some cases we would spend days sifting through boxes and boxes of resumes and applications, trying to find what was needed to support the issue at hand,” says Burdt ruefully. “Retail does have an unavoidable attrition rate, and that means we deal with lots of applicants on a regular basis, which carries a high degree of paper-based admin. It’s not the most efficient process,” Burdt recognizes.
Improving experiences for people
As a retailer in a competitive market, Theisen’s is always looking for ways to improve the customer experience–having free popcorn for shoppers is just one example. This focus on experiences also applied to its employees, especially as the company saw an opportunity to transform their approach to benefits and performance. “There were so many factors involved in the process of performance reviews it resembled a production line!” jokes Burdt. “For example, we would prepare paperwork for each month’s upcoming reviews at least two weeks in advance, and then send them to our stores,” Burdt continues.
“When they arrived, the review needed to be completed by the manager, approved, reviewed with the associate, signed and returned back to us. We would then verify wage increases and enter them manually in our systems, and file the paperwork. The whole process could take up to six weeks-and that’s if it all goes smoothly.”
As an existing Sage HRMS user, Theisen’s were already aware of the value Sage was providing to the business, and with a clear need to improve productivity and transform existing HR and People processes, the company saw an opportunity to look at Sage Business Cloud People.
“We have a small team here, so it was crucial we made the right decision on platform choice,” says Jesse Strittmater, Director of IT at Theisen’s. “As part of our due diligence we looked at other solutions including Workday and Talent Reef, but we chose Sage People not only for the breadth of capability, but also because it’s built on Salesforce, it gave us complete peace of mind for security and availability,” he says.
Additional considerations for Theisen’s were simplicity and functionality, and to be able to configure the system as Theisen’s HR team became more confident with Sage People. Equally, the integration between Sage People and HRMS was of particular importance, meaning there was no disruption to existing payroll arrangements.
“There were a number of issues we wanted Sage People to address,” says Burdt. “We wanted a system that provided the backbone for our HR and People needs, something that was built around the associate experience and their increasing need for access anytime and anywhere, and a system that could provide critical people data at our fingertips,” adds Burdt.
From hire to retire–a 360-degree view
Theisen’s are using Sage People to create a real buzz within the company. “Sage People has revolutionized the way we manage our associates; from the start of their career, right through to when they leave our company,” says Burdt. “Managers get alerts of forthcoming performance reviews, can retrieve most things they need electronically, complete the review online with a digital signature-and once evaluation scores are calculated, new pay rates are automatically sent to the payroll system. It’s seamless,” says a smiling Burdt.
As well as performance reviews, Theisen’s has moved the recruitment process and benefits enrollment online too. Candidates can now apply online, track their progress and complete forms digitally which also keeps the company compliant with state requirements as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Positive feedback from employees
Theisen’s has received positive feedback from moving its benefits enrollment online. Employees now have the capability to review benefits, comparing the differences, and select their chosen product, all from one screen. According to Burdt, the employee and manager response proved they were heading in the right direction.
“We received lots of positive feedback around how quick and easy online benefits enrollment was,” she says, “which meant we could completely eradicate a paper-based system.”
Next, Theisen’s intend to decommission their company intranet in favor of using Sage People. They’re already building comprehensive dashboards that allow Burdt to get instant workforce visibility of all their people data, at any time.
“Sage People has delivered on our vision for HR. We intend to do so much more with the platform. Associates find it is easy to use, managers are saving time and effort, so they can focus on customers and their experience in our stores, and there’s no longer a need for our people to call HR for things such as address changes, benefit questions, review dates, and more,” says Burdt.
“Everything our people need is available instantly as it’s completely self-service, and that has transformed our approach. We’re enjoying many efficiencies that have resulted from becoming a paperless department. We couldn’t be without Sage People now,” she concludes.