Modernizing HR to Streamline Seasonal Hiring

July 31, 2019

Stonewall Kitchen’s small HR team saw time and cost savings in managing the seasonal workforce and enabling paperless employment information.

The Challenge

Maine-based Stonewall Kitchen has always been guided by its founder’s commitment to family since its earliest days in 1991. A sharp diversification strategy has grown Stonewall Kitchen from homemade and locally sold jams and jellies to numerous premium, award-winning brands, more than 8,500 wholesale accounts, a thriving catalog and online business, two cooking schools, cafés, and retail stores throughout New England. This explosive growth led HR Director Sharon Decato to seek out a solution that could replace its antiquated paper-based system, streamline operations, and save time and money.

The Approach

A Comprehensive Solution for A Blended Workforce

By 2014, Stonewall Kitchen’s five-person HR department was hiring and rehiring hundreds of seasonal workers each year for the various divisions, each with its own cycle and unique, fluctuating needs. The fulfillment center ramped up during the holidays, the cooking schools were on an annual cycle, and the distribution and corporate units on yet another rotation. The team was running out of office space to store all the paper-based employee documentation.

To keep pace, HR Director Sharon Decato needed an HCM solution that could not only improve efficiencies but also fit in with Stonewall Kitchen’s family-friendly culture. Supporting the fun, casual workplace was essential, even in the face of pressure for rapid growth and the need to modernize. After a months-long search and thorough vetting process, Stonewall Kitchen selected Paylocity for its automation capabilities, comprehensive HCM offerings, and commitment to relationship-driven partnerships. After a smooth implementation of HR & Payroll followed by other modules, Stonewall Kitchen’s HR team had an intuitive, online platform for nearly all essential HR functions.

Taking Seasonal Onboarding Digital

For the company’s most complex HR challenge—hiring and separating from hundreds of seasonal employees—the addition of Paylocity’s Onboarding module has taken its paper-based process digital. Now, new and returning hires complete and submit onboarding documentation on Paylocity’s secure, cloud-based platform, eliminating piles of paper documentation and the security risks that come with manual filing.

The easy-to-use digital platform gives Stonewall Kitchen access to timely, data-driven insights via Paylocity’s dashboard analytics and reporting tools. Recently, the team was able to answer a pressing question about whether the expected levels of seasonal turnover had crept into its full-time professional roles. Decato and team were able to use actual data on hiring patterns to confirm this was not the case. 

Stonewall Kitchen streamlines compliance using Paylocity’s Learning Management System. Now assigning, and notifying employees about required courses is a snap, and it’s easy to view results and incomplete assignments. 

Paylocity’s Peer Recognition tool, Impressions, offers a perfect fit for Stonewall Kitchen’s commitment to familial culture. By making it easy to show appreciation for colleagues, Impressions is integral to Stonewall Kitchen’s employee incentive program. Today, every Town Hall includes recognition of employees identified by their colleagues for living the organization’s core values.

“Paylocity’s peer recognition tool is integral to our recognition program. Employees can nominate colleagues all right from the Paylocity portal. It has made a huge contribution to nurturing our positive work environment.”

Sharon Decato, HR Director, Stonewall Kitchen

The Payoff

A Simple, Future-Proof Solution

With Paylocity, Stonewall Kitchen’s small, yet mighty HR team is able to deliver tangible time and cost savings in two primary areas: managing the seasonal workforce and enabling paperless documentation of essential employment information.

As the company continues to expand—including the recent acquisition of Tillen Farms—the complexity of its seasonal hiring continues to increase. “In the past, because we were hiring so many seasonal employees, we were creating mountains of paper,” says Decato. “Often we’re hiring the same person again and again—we’ve hired one woman more than 15 times. Now she can do everything online, and she’s ready to work.” Decato estimates that Paylocity Onboarding alone has saved her department approximately 60 hours per week.

Today, the Stonewall Kitchen HR team offers a radically improved employee experience while enabling them to manage increasing complexity with ease. Employees and management are happier, and Decato’s HR team can focus on more strategic initiatives. 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.


The Tools You Need to Attract and Retain

Embed employee experience features from recruiting, onboarding, and beyond with tools built for the modern workforce. Kick off day one with a welcome message using video. Connect your employees with collaboration tools and peer groups. Develop your team with relevant and interesting training. Keep the conversation going with surveys. And do it all while automating and collecting data to proactively make improvements.

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