Manufacturer Transforms HR into a Strategic Function with Paylocity

May 12, 2023

Learn how Wagstaff is using Paylocity to revolutionize the role of HR across their business.

In most manufacturing businesses, the production line is the center of the world. Everything revolves around the process of turning raw materials into finished products. As a result, the value of functions like HR, which don’t have a direct link to production, is often underestimated.

Wagstaff, a specialist in casting technology for the aluminum industry, used to have that mindset. Wade Larson, Chief Human Resources Officer, recalls: “Before I came on board, the HR department was never seen as a strategic function. The HR team spent most of its time on processes and paperwork and had little input into decision-making.”

Wade wanted to change the perception of HR within Wagstaff—and the first step was to modernize the team’s systems and processes. “We had about 15 systems handling different HR processes, and we did a lot of work in spreadsheets,” he says. “One of my goals was to integrate and automate everything. That was the only way to free up our team to do what HR does best, which is take care of our employees.”

The company’s first attempt at HR transformation wasn’t a success. “Oracle painted a good picture of their HR solution, but it really didn’t work for us,” says Wade. “The costs were too high, and we needed an additional IT consultant to keep the system running. So, I went shopping again—and this time, I found Paylocity.”

“My best estimate is that with Paylocity, we’ve reduced our total HR workload by 50%.”

Wade Larson, Chief Human Resources Officer, Wagstaff


The Challenge

Feeling the Impact of Manual HR

Prior to moving to Paylocity, Wagstaff’s labor-intensive HR processes weren’t just impacting the HR team—they also had follow-on effects in other parts of the business.

Slow Processes Weaken the Recruiting Pipeline
As a manufacturing company, Wagstaff faces fierce competition for skilled labor. Any delays in recruiting increase the risk of losing good candidates to competitors—and since the whole recruiting process was manual, that risk was ever present. Onboarding was another obstacle, as new employees typically spent their entire first day filling out paperwork.

Performance Reviews Undermine Efficiency
In manufacturing, every moment that an employee spends away from the factory floor has a negative effect on productivity. At Wagstaff, whenever an employee needed to see their manager for a question or speak with HR, they had to leave the production line and walk to another building—a loss of 15 to 30 minutes of productive work time.

Clocking and Pay Changes Make Payroll Complex
Employees used old-fashioned punch clocks to clock in and out, and errors such as missed punches were common. Checking and correcting data created significant extra work and frustration for HR and employees alike. Pay changes and bonuses were also managed manually in complex spreadsheets. As a result, Wagstaff had to devote nearly two full-time employees (FTEs) just to run payroll.

“When we were struggling with Oracle, a sales rep showed me Paylocity on their phone. And that was it. I saw straight away that with Paylocity, I could get rid of 10 other systems.”

Wade Larson, Chief Human Resources Officer, Wagstaff


The Solution

HR Workflows that “Just Work”

Paylocity has transformed the way the Wagstaff HR team works, while making life easier for employees and managers, too.

More Candidates, Fewer Clicks
Paylocity’s Recruiting capability has fully automated Wagstaff’s hiring process— everything from job descriptions and placing ads to making job offers can all now be done with a few clicks, saving at least five hours per week. The system also sends automatic reminders to HR and managers if an applicant hasn’t been seen within 48 hours. “Those touchpoints save us potential candidates,” says Wade.

Onboarding is automated too, with integrated Video, so new employees can now complete all their onboarding tasks and training before their start date. As Wade puts it: “Nobody likes spending their first day with HR. Having no wet signatures and no paperwork on day one is a big win.”

No More Missed Punches
Wagstaff now uses Paylocity for Time and Attendance, allowing employees to punch in, manage sick time, or make vacation requests with the Paylocity Mobile App. “The missed punch issue is just gone,” says Wade, “That’s hours and hours of time that we’ve saved with Paylocity.”

Paylocity’s Compensation module also helps automate pay changes and bonuses, simplifying the payroll process. As a result, payroll processing workload has gone from nearly two FTEs to just 25% of one FTE’s workload — a saving of almost 87.5%. Or as Wade puts it: “When my payroll person can run payroll on her tablet from anywhere, and it just works—that’s pretty cool.”

Productivity Without Distractions
With Paylocity’s Performance tools, managers can manage reviews on their phone or tablet without taking employees away from the production line and impacting productivity. And as employees are now accustomed to using the mobile app on a daily basis, the HR team can send out Surveys and promote Employee Self-Service—further reducing the need for lengthy detours to HR.


The Results

Transforming the Role of HR

By automating and integrating Wagstaff’s HR processes, Paylocity has helped free the HR team to become strategic partners for the business.

Halving HR’s Workload
Looking at the positive impact of Paylocity on Wagstaff, Wade comments: “My best estimate is that with Paylocity, we've reduced our total HR workload by 50%. And because my managers aren’t spending so much time on performance evaluations, I’d estimate we’ve saved at least 10% of their time too.”

The time-savings aren’t just improving productivity—they are liberating the HR team. Wade comments: “We had a qualified accountant stuck doing payroll full- time. Now she’s able to take on much more interesting work. That’s good for morale, and good for her career too.” The extra time allows HR to be a strategic partner to other business units. In addition, there’s additional time to focus on culture and employee engagement.

Simplifying IT in the Cloud
From a technical perspective, Wagstaff has been able to retire around 10 legacy HR systems and hundreds of spreadsheets. Better yet, as Paylocity is a cloud-based system, it only needs a fraction of the support as before from Wagstaff’s internal IT team. “Paylocity works so well because it was built on cloud technology from day one—it’s not a legacy system that’s been dressed up for the web,” says Wade. “I think it’s the most stable and secure system in the company.”

Earning Trust for HR

In the bigger picture, Paylocity is helping Wagstaff’s HR team earn trust as a strategic partner for the business. “Today, HR is a fully integrated and highly trusted function,” concludes Wade. “The CFO, the CEO, and the President all rely on HR. We’re now in the right place to deliver what our organization needs—and that wasn’t the case before Paylocity.”

“I’ve always wanted a single system that I can use to integrate and automate everything in HR. With Paylocity, I’ve finally got the system I was looking for. It's like finding ‘HCM Zen’.”

Wade Larson, Chief Human Resources Officer, Wagstaff


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