Haygrove is a profitable £100 million+ business with cherry and berry farming enterprises in the UK, South Africa, China, and Portugal. The business also has ‘growing systems’ equipment sale subsidiaries in Germany, USA, Mexico, South Africa, Poland, China and further afield, with sales in over 40 countries.
Listed in 2011 as in the ‘fastest 500’ companies in the EU in terms of growing employment; in 2012 in The Sunday Times’ ‘fastest-growing in international sales in the UK’; and in 2017 as Herefordshire and Worcestershire’s ‘exporter of the year’, this medium-sized practical business is exciting, complex, and in a fast fresh industry. Growing at 20-30% per year and with international breadth, opportunity in Haygrove is never scarce.
Haygrove selects its people carefully, and works hard to shape roles to individual talents, while encouraging people to always live the company values. The business defines success in human terms, constantly seeking to (as its mission statement says) “create opportunities for great people, particularly those who have drawn the short straw”, and measuring its results across three bottom lines: people, profit, and planet.
What was Haygrove looking for in a HR and payroll system?
Haygrove needed an HR software solution that could look after its field and office-based UK permanent staff, and a payroll system that could process pay for all their UK staff (and that was compatible with the bespoke time and attendance system used for its 1,100 seasonal staff). Haygrove needed to find an HR and payroll systems partner that understood the complexity of the business and the different types of staff who needed to use the HR system.
Like many businesses, Haygrove managed with paper-based HR records for many years before opting for an HR system provider five years ago. But they quickly realised that the HR and payroll solution they had chosen wasn’t fit for purpose, the system was to remain undeveloped, and it struggled to cope with the complexity of their pay runs.
“We were promised it would do the works, and it could manage the number of people that we had,” says head of HR Sara Roberts. “But the HR system was very clunky, admin heavy and unintuitive.”
“People just didn’t want to use it,” adds Louise Avery, Haygrove’s payroll manager. “Employees would end up emailing us if they wanted anything done. It was very admin heavy for us, and it meant that we needed additional resourcing to help us manage.”
Looking for the right solution
These problems – plus the supplier of their HR system ending support for that product – prompted Haygrove to reassess the market. Because of their poor experience implementing that HR system, this time around Roberts was keen to find a vendor that was committed to ongoing development of the product, and excellent customer service.
“The fact that the Ciphr consultants were all ex-HR, ex-payroll [people],” was a big plus point, says Roberts. “Everyone we spoke to who understood exactly what it was that we were trying to get from a supplier. We didn’t have to explain it in layman’s terms – they got it.” Ciphr’s decades of experience in people management software was also a major positive, she adds.
Haygrove’s previous systems proved to be complex for their users. “We’d had two systems that our end users had had to try to get to grips with and couldn’t,” says Roberts. So Haygrove was looking for a system that was easy to use – and one that could mirror its values and branding. “We’re not corporate in any way, shape, or form. We needed a system that would not be corporate,” says Roberts. “The great thing about Ciphr HR was the fact that we could brand it as our own and create a system that didn’t feel corporate in any way, because we’re just not like that. And the fact that we could name it ourselves makes it a system for Haygrove rather than just another HR system.”
Exporting pay data takes hours – not days
Since implementing Ciphr Payroll, Haygrove have noticed significant improvements to their payroll processes. Take a recent pay review, for example. Avery says she was able to export relevant data from Ciphr and provide it to the company directors in just a week, and was able to update Ciphr HR with the new pay information in a matter of hours – rather than it taking days, as it did using their previous system. “It was a breath of fresh air,” she says.
“Getting the data out of the system has become so much easier,” adds Roberts. “I report monthly on HR KPIs for the business, and it would have taken me hours to do it on our previous system. We have reports set up in Ciphr HR that enable me to pull information easily and quickly.”
Technology that connects HR and managers
The feedback since Haygrove implemented Ciphr HR has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly from managers. Previously, managers were unable to see employees’ salaries. Through Ciphr HR’s salary review process, it’s allowed them to visualise everyone’s paygrade. Roberts says that Ciphr HR and payroll has enabled a whole new level of thinking throughout the organisation, particularly when it comes to fair salaries: “It’s given employees an openness to see documentation, salaries, and various other things, which has helped a lot. It’s got them integrated with the system. So now they’re happy to use it for all the other basic functions because they can see it. Simple things, like the fact that they can see when everybody else in their department is off on holiday. It’s making them think about when they book holidays. So, I think it has made people feel more accessible to HR and payroll.”
She adds: “The systems are enabling people to understand better HR processes: they’re getting the notifications about probation periods. They’re getting notifications about people’s holidays. They’re getting notification that it’s been someone’s birthday, which they might have forgotten. Those little titbits that are now coming out, are really, really important to them.”
Saving time and increasing productivity
Implementing Ciphr HR has given Roberts time and space to focus on other aspects of her role as head of HR. “I do a lot of coaching and mentoring in the business now, and that takes a vast amount of time. To be able to save time on other things, means that I’m not doing 65 hours a week to try and fit it all in. Ciphr HR has taken away some of the admin tasks that I was doing, and freed up some of my time to really focus on proactivity rather than reactivity. I’d definitely recommend Ciphr HR and Payroll to other organisations.”