Modernization Moves Down the Line from Production to HR

November 25, 2019

Learn more about how The Kennedy Group successfully streamlines processes and maximizes efficiency in their business using Paylocity's solutions.

Blog Post

Modernization is a core requirement for almost every business today. No matter the industry, company size, or employee makeup, companies have to invest in updating both the physical (e.g., facilities, equipment, computers) and non-physical (e.g., business processes, R&D, training, finance, HR) to stay relevant and competitive to their target markets as well as prospective employees.

We see evidence of physical modernization all around us today, but the non-physical is there as well. According to recent research by industry analyst Capterra, 91% of SMB leaders view HR technology as critical or beneficial to their business. 

Even in capital-intensive businesses like manufacturing, where updates to plants and equipment take up a lot of budget, HR has taken on increasing importance and investment as companies look for new ways to increase productivity, streamline operations, and appeal to a younger workforce.

According to Capterra, in 2019 SMB manufacturers budgeted more for HR software than other industries with an average planned spend of $33,000, and a high of $50,000.

With many businesses struggling with employee retention and engagement, according to Gallup, a comprehensive approach to HR modernization that can support a better employee experience, increase convenience and promote ongoing development is even more vital.

Case in Point: The Kennedy Group

The Kennedy Group, a product labeling manufacturer based in Willoughby, Ohio, is a good example of HR modernization. When it was founded back in 1974, the company was one small print machine in the founder’s garage. Today, the company is a multimillion-dollar business with three manufacturing sites and nearly 100 employees. Whether making products stand out on store shelves or keeping track of them through the supply chain, The Kennedy Group helps its customers make their mark in industries ranging from automotive to food and beverage and beyond.

As the company has grown, it has consistently reinvested to modernize the physical part of the business, upgrading to state-of-the-art plant equipment and embracing the latest technology to streamline manufacturing operations to stay ahead of customer needs.

The same was not necessarily true when it came to some of the non-physical aspects of the business. Antiquated HR and payroll processes such as physical punch cards, manual entry of employees’ hours in logs and spreadsheets, and manual exports of that data to the payroll and 401(k) systems contrasted sharply with the emphasis on modernization and innovation across the rest of the business.  Each payroll run could take the accounting team up to three days, ending with hand-delivered paychecks. Managers and supervisors were spending two or more hours every day simply tracking and logging employee time reports.

Embracing the Latest Technology and Best Practices

When Peter Chen took on the role of Vice President of Finance in 2015, he wanted to take the company’s focus on modernizing the physical parts of the business and apply that same thinking to areas like HR and finance. 

“Just because we’re a small- to medium-sized manufacturing company does not mean that we can’t embrace the latest technology and process to run our business,” he said.

As The Kennedy Group grew, the burden on the HR and finance teams grew as well. Chen wanted to use modernization as a way reduce that burden while also improving service levels for employees. He was also dealing with a younger workforce and wanted to ensure a more relevant experience for the company’s employees.

Chen had experience with a number of HR and payroll solution providers on the market and after carefully evaluating his needs, he opted to go with Paylocity. He found that, like The Kennedy Group, Paylocity embraced innovation and proven best practices and was focused on continuously driving new improvements and efficiencies.

The Paylocity HR & Payroll solution enabled Chen to automate everything from onboarding and time reporting to open enrollment for benefits. Paylocity’s modern open architecture also worked well with the company’s existing systems and centralized all its HR processes on a single platform. Seamless integration with the company’s 401(k) and insurance systems also delivered important efficiencies.

Chen’s team also installed computer stations throughout the company’s manufacturing facilities—in break rooms, central areas, and at employee workstations—that functioned as Paylocity kiosks. Rather than having to waste precious time walking across the plant to punch in and out, employees now had a convenient way to clock-in, check company news, review schedules, payroll data, and more.

Next, the company rolled out Paylocity’s Performance Management and Journaling module, which helped managers engage their staff and provide productive feedback on a more regular basis than the old annual review model. This new cadence takes the emphasis of these conversations off of annual compensation reviews and focuses them more on ongoing development.

Recently, Chen rolled out Community, a social collaboration and communication hub for employees to stay current on important company updates and connect around specific projects, interests, and initiatives. Community maximizes productivity by enabling the company to share the most timely, relevant content and encourages open dialogue while also helping to track employee engagement, attitudes, and needs.

Automation and Data Drive Efficiency and Agility

The impact of Chen’s modernization efforts is being felt in multiple areas. Running payroll has become significantly more efficient, now taking just one person 90 minutes. Paylocity’s Data Insights dashboard provides the latest data and trends on payroll, benefits costs, retention, turnover, and hiring, enabling Chen and the rest of the executive team to make smarter, more informed decisions.  In Chen’s view, Paylocity’s modern technology and best-practice approach has helped The Kennedy Group reinforce its emphasis on innovation and efficiency across the business. “Our organization is stronger, more agile, and more competitive as a result,” he says.

Learn more about how The Kennedy Group successfully streamlines processes and maximizes efficiency in their business using Paylocity.


Date Published: November 25, 2019