Fast growth at Burton's Biscuits' and a significant merger, meant the former manual HR case handling process was no longer fit for purpose. Implementing a centralised system, with Workpro as the cornerstone IT solution, has resulted in increased efficiency, better service for employees and reduced risk for the business.
Tracking HR issues across a diverse, growing company
Before Workpro, the HR team at Burton's Biscuits used emails and spreadsheets to keep track of HR enquiries and cases. HR Assistants in offices at each site acted as the initial point of contact for any employees or line managers needing HR support. This meant that, on payday for example, there could be a queue of people at their door looking for help. Despite the HR team’s best efforts to keep track of it all, there was the risk of individual cases slipping through the cracks. Visibility of the types and numbers of employee issues across the business was lacking and there was a concern that action taken depended on who an employee went to or emailed.
Moving to a Centralised System
Burton’s Biscuits wanted to move away from this outdated process. In building their new structure, the HR team identified the need for an HR Support email which feeds into a centralised system. Now, if anyone across all their sites has an issue, they can email HR Support directly, and enquiries can be quickly triaged and directed to the right team for handling.
The HR Shared Services (HRSS) team at Burton’s Biscuits are responsible for all the employee life cycle admin, from new starters and leavers, to changes in contracts of employment, payroll enquiries and other general queries. They triage all HR issues, dealing with 80% of them at this stage. Cases that need more in-depth investigation are passed to the ER (Employee Relations) team; cases like disciplinaries, grievances and long-term sickness which are open for a longer duration.
Burton’s Biscuits considered building the system to support this new structure internally but found through their investigations that Workpro already provided the key features they needed for success.
"We chose Workpro because you can make it your own, we could tailor it to exactly what we needed.”
Lisa Thompson, Head of HR Shared Services
Internal Cultural Challenges
As Burton’s Biscuits moved across to the new system, they encountered some cultural challenges with adoption. They have an ageing workforce who were used to speaking to someone personally about their issues and were reluctant to embrace the change. Manufacturing colleagues do not have work emails and many had no personal email account.
The HR team initiated a campaign to address this reluctance, supplying wallet cards with the new HR Support e-mail and supporting individuals to build their own e-mail address. They also offer the option of receiving cases via mobile for people who cannot use the e-mail address.
Ultimately, the change has been a success. The HRSS team has been able to track adoption of the new process (using data from their Workpro system) by monitoring the month on month increase in the use of HR Support. They can now offer employees a faster service and have assurance that every issue is being recorded and actioned.
Efficiency Enhancing & Risk Mediating Features
Workpro is used by both the Burton’s Biscuits HRSS and the Employee Relation team. The system is integrated with their main HR system so contact information is automatically pulled across, saving time, and ensuring data accuracy.
Lisa Thompson, Head of HR Shared Services, highlighted some of the features that the team find most useful:
- Tasks and Alerts: Risk is inherent when handling employee cases which are liable to employment law or tribunals. When the ER team receive a grievance or disciplinary case, for example, they now have built in tasks that guide them through the steps they need to take. Workpro’s alerts and reminders maintain focus on what needs done next, highlighting cases that are most urgent, and helping to minimise business risk.
- Audit Trail
“When you have those emergency moments with 100 enquiries at your door, you can’t give everyone the same level of service without a case management system. Workpro gives us the confidence that if someone has emailed through needing support, we have the audit trail to make sure they get the support they need, and it is not forgotten about.”
Letter and e-mail templates in Workpro save time and ensure responses are consistent. A real-life example of this came when Burton’s Biscuits launched their new payroll system. A group of people couldn’t access their payslips, but the HRSS team were aware of the issue and knew the steps that each employee needed to follow to resolve it. With a Workpro template in place, the team were able to quickly and effectively respond to everyone who needed the instructions.
- Document PDF Bundling: Cases like disciplinaries come with a huge volume and range of evidence including e-mails, notes, letters, and pictures. The ER team frequently need to collate this and find Workpro’s option to bundle this evidence into a PDF extremely helpful.
- Case Views: HR Business Partners at sites have access to the system, so if someone comes to their office they can view the relevant case, along with any documentation. If, for example, a union representative or employee needs an update on a case, this can easily be provided.
- Team dashboard: Lisa can see the workload across her team, giving her visibility to spot if someone has too many cases, for example, and needs some work reallocated. Team members appreciate the ability to cover for and assist another:
“Another great benefit of Workpro is holiday cover. Previously you would have one HR Admin person on site. If that person went on holiday, all those tasks would stall. Now with the case management system, I know that if one person goes on holiday, I can pass their cases on to somebody else and colleagues are still getting the service that they need.”
Insights for Continuous Improvement
A huge benefit of introducing Workpro for Burton’s Biscuits is the statistics and analysis that can be pulled from the case data, now it is being consistently captured and categorised.
Workpro gives the HRSS and ER teams reliable reports that show exactly how many cases have been closed, the average time to close and other useful metrics. The HRSS team can track their performance against SLA (Service Level Agreement); for example, they aim to close all general enquiries within 48 hours.
“I can confidently say to the business, we are providing an efficient service and we are well within our SLA. That is something we didn’t have before.”
The team consistently handle around 1000 queries every month, and they can break these down into types of enquiries. One of the big benefits is for continuous improvement, with the ability to spot trends and analyse root causes. Having identified the spike in issues related to the new e-pay system, for example, the HRSS team were able to investigate the causes and schedule appropriate training.
“It allows us to work smarter. We can analyse what is coming in, do a training session and provide a better service.
"I don’t think the transition of the new HR structure would have been as successful without Workpro. It has been key to the success of that. We would be lost without it now!
Ready for a customisable and efficient HR case management system?
About Burton's Biscuits
Burton’s Biscuits is a biscuit manufacturer operating across multiple UK sites. Their brands include household names such as Maryland Cookies, Wagon Wheels and Jammie Dodgers.