- Data and Analytics
Manufacturer Drives Accuracy & Insights with HR SoftwareApril 01, 2020 Case Study
GT Midwest relies on Paylocity to connect the systems and provide valuable data that employees, managers and the business depend on. That reliability gave GT Midwest leaders the confidence to turn to Paylocity for assistance during a critical time.
Convenient Communication Minimizes COVID-19 Confusion
As the world felt the effects of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, GT Midwest Corporate HR Manager Amanda Kreutzer seized the opportunity to leverage tools to communicate and connect her teams. No one at GT Midwest worked remotely, but within a week of the national social distancing guidelines and many statewide stay-at-home orders, the majority of office staff spanning all 10 locations was working remotely. GT Midwest worked quickly to get employees laptops and VPN access, but Amanda had to keep everyone engaged and motivated without the usual daily face-to-face contact. She decided it was the perfect time to launch Community, Paylocity’s social collaboration tool. Taking historically in-person communication and making it virtual was easier than Amanda imagined! She also leveraged video for the first time.
“My plan is to give them an update every day, whether it centers around COVID-19, or information about insurance, the company or whatever they need to hear,” says Amanda. “We are in the middle of benefit renewal and open enrollment, so our benefit meetings this year will be virtual via the Community Page along with 401k education meetings. We are getting a great turnout and our employees are loving being able to interact with one another.” Amanda plans to post messages from their President on Community to keep employees informed. Additionally, she plans to use the Community poll function to obtain employee feedback about remote work and any struggles they have encountered.
GT Midwest manufactures a wide variety of industrial parts and supplies—key components for aerospace, construction and agricultural equipment, outdoor power equipment and recreational vehicles. The company is dedicated to a discipline of continuous improvement and a philosophy that, if the company takes exceptional care of its people and its customers, the business will be successful.
"At the end of the day, if I am having a problem with my HR system, employees are probably having a problem too.”
– Amanda Kreutzer, Corporate HR Manager
Amanda is a one-person department for all people-related issues—from recruiting and onboarding to payroll, benefits, performance management, and succession planning. She is tasked with ensuring that the company’s ~160 employees have an exceptional work experience. This can be challenging with 10 sites spread across three states.
Amanda makes HR decisions while weighing factors like labor costs, operational efficiency, and an increasingly competitive recruiting market. So, an effective HR system is critical to her success. “It’s my lifeline,” she says. “If the system isn’t working 100%, I can’t support the company or our employees. It has to be dependable and it has to evolve with the needs of the business. And you absolutely need strong customer support.”
In 2017, Amanda started having some problems with her existing HR and payroll management system. It was too complex; new capabilities weren’t functioning as promised; systems were sending information to each other incorrectly; and HR wasn’t getting accurate payroll data. This meant distribution managers were manually punching in employee hours. Amanda was unable to pull data for legal reporting. At the same time, support from the software vendor was increasingly hard to come by. This created all sorts of manual rework, reconciliation and compliance problems for Amanda and started to impact employees and their paychecks. It was time to make a switch.
GT Midwest needed a lot of capability—a turnkey solution that would manage the entire employee lifecycle from recruiting to retiring, but Amanda didn’t want a system that required a PhD to operate. She needed a solution that was easy to use and delivered what it promised.
In her own words, Amanda prefers “to be shown rather than told.” So, she decided to attend Paylocity’s annual user conference to get a closer look. She saw how customers used the system, spoke with specialists about each of the different product modules, and learned directly from users about their experience. The end-to-end capabilities in one product suite, intuitive functionality and Paylocity’s ability to evolve with GT Midwest solidified her decision.
The switch wasn’t going to be easy, though. GT Midwest had a lot of processes running on its existing HR and payroll system. Amanda needed everything up and running from day one so nothing was disrupted. Working together, Amanda and Paylocity created a plan to switch everything over all at once, including Time Reporting and Payroll Processing, 401(k) Integration, Mobile and Self-Service Access for Employees and Managers, Recruiting and Onboarding, Benefits Administration, Reporting Data Insights, and Performance Management. The entire implementation took just six weeks, with Paylocity handling year-end payroll taxes.
“It was a big ask—switching everything over at once the way we did. But we didn’t have any other choice,” she said. “The Paylocity team was totally on top of it. We had multiple meetings per week and every detail was accounted for. When we needed additional resources to move something along, they were there on demand. It couldn’t have gone better and we saw big-time savings and operational efficiencies immediately.”
Significant Improvements Across the Board
Amanda was able to tick the boxes quickly for each of her core responsibilities. Time reporting, payroll processing and tax reconciliations are now accurate and on-time. Employees have multiple ways to clock in and out and managers have the flexibility of real-time, remote access for approvals. Plus, geofencing ensures accuracy. Most importantly, employees know they are getting accurate paychecks. Every time.
“I can’t afford to hold up payroll waiting a couple of days hoping someone will get back to me with an answer. Every time I call Paylocity, I speak with a qualified person who has the answers I need. It makes a huge difference.”
– Amanda Kreutzer, Corporate HR Manager
Amanda has similar peace of mind with benefits, compliance and recruiting. A two-way integration simplifies 401(k) integration. Paylocity’s Compliance Dashboard provides the latest tax and compliance law updates and tracking for Equal Opportunity and Affordable Care Act data. And for recruiting and onboarding, everything flows digitally through one system—no pen and paper involved. Online documents reduce errors and the set-up arranged during implementation allows her to basically set it and forget it when new hires get entered into the system.
Integrated Expense Reporting
In 2019, GT Midwest turned on Paylocity Expense Reporting for its outside sales team. Originally the process was entirely paper-based. Now expense reporting is fully digitized and saves time for all involved. Employees simply take a picture of their receipts, upload the pictures to the Paylocity app and create the expense report, which the system routes for approval. No more receipts stapled to paper or messy Excel files. Plus, expense reporting is more accurate because Paylocity is integrated with GT Midwest’s accounting system.
Amanda also uncovered valuable data insights into mileage costs for the sales team as GT Midwest assessed the option of leasing fleet vehicles. Amanda found that mileage costs as a percentage of sales revenue weren’t aligned—some salespeople were driving more miles but selling less. Armed with this type of information, sales leadership examined territories and processes to right-set the organization.
Forward-Looking Performance Management
Beyond the day-to-day, GT Midwest is also reframing the way it conducts performance reviews. “There is plenty of research out there that clearly shows that annual performance reviews don’t drive real performance improvement,” says Amanda. “We needed to change the conversation so it could focus more on development and growth where employees and managers could have an ongoing collaborative discussion about how to improve performance.”
Amanda made that shift possible with Paylocity’s Performance Management and Journals. GT Midwest managers now keep online journals with employees via mobile or desktop to make notes, capture agreed upon goals and document conversations. The information is attached to employees’ records for easy reference throughout the year, enabling more informed development and performance discussions.
Data to Help Guide the Business
Amanda and the GT Midwest management team use Paylocity’s Data Insights module to view a single dashboard with important HR metrics including headcount, hiring, turnover, overtime pay and benefits costs. These ‘people analytics’ help GT Midwest better understand what’s happening with its workforce and make more informed, strategic decisions.
GT Midwest managers use Paylocity’s Overtime Report tool to run regular reports to identify when specific employees may be approaching overtime pay requirements so they can quickly adjust schedules as needed.
Amanda recently completed a full assessment of GT Midwest’s employee referral program using Paylocity’s analytics capabilities. She found that employee referrals had a 10% higher retention rate than other recruiting methods and, as a result, was able to make the case for increased investment in the employee referral program. Next she plans to look at the program’s impact on the numbers of applications and the time it takes to fill positions.
In addition, the ability to compare compensation by position and region empowers Amanda in her recruiting and retention efforts. “As we compete for employees in a tight job market, that’s really valuable information. Paylocity is really good that way—always looking ahead at what’s happening in the market like workforce availability and compensation.”
Ease of Use = More Business Value
For Amanda, Paylocity’s intuitive functionality enables the company to get a lot more value out of the system. She and others can use the entire suite without getting overwhelmed. As a result, HR processes—from recruiting and onboarding to payroll and benefits—are more efficient and effective. With much of her day-to-day running more smoothly and with easy-to-access data, Amanda makes more strategic HR decisions and provides guidance to leadership about overall business decisions.
This user-friendliness extends beyond the software to the people as well. “Paylocity seems to really understand its clients and they tailor the team and the relationship to the client’s needs really well. It makes a big difference and really contributes to the overall ease of use with the company and the software.”
Accuracy & Reliability Drive Confidence
Amanda and the rest of the GT Midwest management team have a lot more confidence in the information that comes out of its HR system. She knows that payroll and tax rates are correct and that GT Midwest is meeting all compliance requirements at any given time. “Today, we only have electronic files for HR. For a company that used to depend entirely on paper that requires an awful lot of trust in the system you are using.”
With such vital business processes at stake, Amanda needed a system she could trust – a system that delivered on its promises. In her view, Paylocity performs exactly as advertised and everything is built into the price, including product integrations and upgrades. That wasn’t true before Paylocity.
That same reliability is key when questions come up. “I can’t afford to hold up payroll waiting a couple of days hoping someone will get back to me with an answer. Every time I call Paylocity, I speak with a qualified person who has the answers I need. It makes a huge difference.”
“Paylocity is always looking ahead at what’s happening in the market like workforce availability and compensation.”
– Amanda Kreutzer, Corporate HR Manager