Economic growth, trends in global flavors, and enhanced availability are propelling the food and beverage industry. But thriving demand coupled with a highly competitive labor market and business environment is making accelerated growth particularly challenging for businesses in this industry.
In fact, the Specialty Food Association’s annual State of the Specialty Food Industry Report states, “Fueled by increasing interest from both consumers and retailers, total sales jumped 9.8% between 2016 and 2018, reaching $148.7 billion.”
And specialty foods are at the forefront of this market growth. “Specialty food sales outpaced the growth of all food at retail – up 10.3% vs. 3.1%,” according to the same report.
Prioritizing Culture During Rapid Growth
As businesses set out to hire more staff in response to skyrocketing growth, one of the primary concerns leadership and long-term employees have is how they will maintain the culture and environment they’ve grown to cherish with the influx of so many new people.
In 2014, when Stonewall Kitchen’s success threatened to overwhelm its ability to maintain a unique culture in the face of growth, the company knew something had to be done. As a leading provider of specialty foods—including jams, jellies, olive oils, vinegars, pasta, and sauces—Stonewall Kitchen has always been as family-oriented and inviting as the products it sells.
Today’s employees are welcomed just as Jonathan King and Jim Stott’s nephews, nieces, and grandmother were when they helped the duo start the Maine-based company nearly 30 years ago. The company prides itself on being a close-knit family, providing premier products and treating others with respect.
Stonewall Kitchen was hiring 500 people a year to meet its seasonal demand in various areas, all on different schedules. The rapid growth stretched the capabilities of its five-person human resources department, which was running out of space to store all the paper-based employee documentation.
Stonewall Kitchen needed an HR solution that could replace its current system that was outdated, had limited integration capabilities, and was not poised to grow with the company’s growing needs.
Seeking an Innovative and Responsive Solution
HR Director Sharon Decato knew they needed a human capital management (HCM) vendor that could not only modernize operations for greater efficiency, but also help maintain the strong culture. Stonewall selected Paylocity for its automation capabilities, comprehensive HCM offerings, and commitment to relationship-driven partnerships. After a smooth implementation, Stonewall Kitchen’s HR team had an intuitive, online platform for nearly all essential functions. The solution was as varied as the company’s needs:
• Paylocity’s Onboarding module truly modernized the complex process of hiring hundreds of temporary, seasonal employees. Now, both new and returning hires complete and submit onboarding documentation on Paylocity’s secure, cloud-based platform.
• The easy-to-use, digital platform gives Stonewall Kitchen access to timely, data-driven insights via Paylocity’s dashboard analytics and reporting tools, for example, to access hiring data and better understand vital employee trends.
• Paylocity’s Learning Management System streamlines compliance. Now, assigning and notifying employees about required courses is a snap, and the HR team can easily view results and track incomplete assignments.
• Paylocity’s Peer Recognition component, Impressions, has become an integral element of Stonewall Kitchen’s employee incentive program, reinforcing its commitment to its family-oriented culture.
“We have uploaded all of our employee files, saving money, space, and time,” Decato says. “It is a dream come true to be at your desk and look at an employee file without a key or a pile of papers in front of you.”
Savings Show Up in Many Ways
With Paylocity, Stonewall Kitchen’s small HR team is able to manage the complexities that rapid growth brings while also delivering tangible time- and cost-savings in managing the seasonal workforce and paperless documentation of employment information.
“I have been in HR for over 30 years and have used many HR systems,” Decato says. “I have never had such easy access to key data to share with the executives and director team at my company. It’s been invaluable.” In fact, Decato estimates that Paylocity Onboarding alone has saved her department approximately 60 hours per week.
In addition to increased efficiencies and capabilities within the HR team, Stonewall Kitchen now offers a radically improved employee experience. Employees and management are happier, and Decato’s HR team can focus on more strategic initiatives, spending less time on menial, manual tasks. And, whenever they need help, the Paylocity customer support team has been ready to assist with insightful solutions. It’s the perfect recipe for success.
Learn more about how Stonewall Kitchen successfully partnered with Paylocity to scale its its business, optimize efficiency, and preserve its culture.