The first phase of the launch of Dovetail’s HR Service Delivery software to Danone US’s 2,000 corporate employees has been a resounding success, with almost 100% positive feedback from employees and HR users. Dovetail’s solution was selected by Crystal Carter Danone US HR Shared Services Director to respond to a number of challenges the company was facing including under par operational efficiency and suboptimal employee experience, as well as to align the delivery of HR Services with Danone’s core values of humanism, openness, proximity, and enthusiasm. In the next phase, Dovetail Software will be launched to the remaining 4,000 manufacturing employees across 15 plants in the United States.
- An overall improvement in the HR and Employee experience as finding answers to questions and getting things done is easier, particularly for remote workers (as Dovetail tools enable better employee communications and collaboration for WFH employees)
- Better informed employees as HR is now able to share tailored content by type of employee
- A continual improvement mindset has developed among HR Services representatives as they see the potential of Dovetail’s capabilities for improving daily work activities and processes
- A smooth transition to a new Multi-tiered HR Shared Services operational model, improving efficiency and employee service management quality
- HR Reporting & Analytics are now available, helping Danone become a data-driven organization
- Time-consuming, manual processes such as onboarding and off-boarding employees streamlined and automated
Commenting on the success of HR Services transformation at Danone, Crystal Carter, HR Shared Services Director said:
“Dovetail's Employee Portal, Knowledge, and Case Management functionality surpasses anything that I've used previously! The site is intuitive and the search functionality is on point. I love how easy the site is to configure and that I was able to customize everything to support our processes and ways of working.”
So how was success achieved? In this case study, you will learn how Danone US, with the support of the Dovetail Software team, implemented a successful HR Case Management and Employee Communications solution.
Before going live with Dovetail Software, Crystal had identified a number of challenges HR, employees and the wider business were facing, including:
Suboptimal Employee Experience Contributing to Higher Than Expected Employee Turnover
Danone US’ HR function was experiencing a high turnover rate which Crystal believed was because senior level HR staff were frustrated with spending too much of their day on lower level, transactional tasks. One HRBP commented, “I'm so tired of doing the same thing over and over answering employee questions”. Crystal added:
“At the end of the day, good people will always be in demand. We need to make Danone US the most attractive place to work and align our employee experience with our core company values. I'm trying to help leadership see that there's a connection between the employee experience, employee turnover and our core values. If we can make HR jobs easier, we can avoid losing good people. Not only this, but we really shouldn't be remunerating Senior level staff to do low level tasks.”
Suboptimal HR/Employee Communications
HR was unable to share a lot of documents and other content with employees because there was no way to restrict access by employee type. If a document was shared online with employees, it would have to be shared with all employees. For confidentiality reasons this was not possible, which meant employees would have to contact HR directly to get the information they needed. An online communications platform, such as Dovetail's Employee Portal, that could restrict access to documents and other content by employee type was needed to solve this issue.
HR and Employee Experience Not Aligned With Core Company Values
Danone’s four core values of HUMANISM, OPENNESS, PROXIMITY, and ENTHUSIASM guide the way the company behaves every day, including the way employees work and progress the business, the way the company connects with its communities, and the way the company develops its people. It was felt that HR Services operations and the experience it was delivering for both HR and employees needed to be brought into line with these values, to create a more authentic Danone experience of work.
Lack of HR Services Data for Making Informed Management Decisions
Management lacked the data they needed to make informed decisions that would improve the employee experience and the quality of HR services. The company needed a system that could enable it to become a data-driven organization, capable of making the right decisions at the right time, ensuring continual improvement and innovation.
Time-Consuming Onboarding and Off-boarding of Employees
Onboarding and off-boarding processes were creating a lot of manual work for HR teams. An HR Service Delivery system that could automate these processes would free up time and make HR team members’ work easier and more efficient.
Danone US engaged Dovetail to create a complete HR and Employee Experience platform built on Dovetail’s Employee Portal, HR Case Management, and Knowledge Base software products.
Employee Portal: Genie and the Employee Experience
Dovetail’s Employee Portal technology would serve as the main communications platform between HR and employees for all communication needs. It would provide Danone with a range of capabilities including:
- Sharing of tailored information by type of employee
- An internal website for all HR-related documents, guides, videos, and FAQs
- Google-like knowledge search functionality for finding documents and answers to employee questions
- Employee case creation and tracking functionality, enabling employees to create and track their own cases (questions, inquiries, and requests)
During the design phase of the Implementation, Crystal and her team brought to life the Genie-branded Employee Services Portal.
Genie Employee Services Portal Content, Design & UX
Creating a powerful brand name with an attractive design, and an ‘easy-to-use' intuitive interface (based on UX design methodology), was key to creating a great user experience that would engage employees. Crystal and her team pulled Genie out of the bottle:
”I feel like the way that the site is built, and the way that we designed it, is very intuitive. It has the look and feel of a smartphone. It has little touch points and if you hit one of those buttons it takes you straight to the page you want. Basically, I really love the way Genie and the Dovetail platform are set up. I really think it's super easy to navigate.”
Employees agree, with one employee commenting:
“I love the Employee Genie! It is super informative. It has everything on it and it’s foolproof! I love it so much. And when I have needed help with something and didn’t see the answer, someone gets back to me quickly. I got mad love for the Genie! Thank you so much for creating this wonderful tool for us! Appreciate all your efforts!”
Genie Employee Portal Content
Great branding, attractive design, and a phenomenal user experience are half the story of creating a successful Employee Portal. The other half is producing the right content.
Crystal employed a specialist content developer, who reviewed every single piece of content to make sure that it had the same look and feel, that all fonts were the same and that content was presented on Genie in a similar fashion. Employee feedback on content has been excellent, with one employee saying:
“The portal looks great, very comprehensive, with all the content I need in one place”.
Dovetail’s Employee Portal allows employees to access Knowledge Articles that contain answers to employee questions, requests, and inquiries. These answers can include attached files such as images, videos, tables, and rich text, as well as guiding employees through specific HR processes or downloading documents.
The search functionality enabled Danone to enrich the employee experience by allowing employees to search and find answers to their own questions. Crystal said:
“I love Dovetail’s Employee Portal Search feature. It’s exciting and so easy to use. I've seen search features before and quite frankly they are not up to the job. They come up with all of these search results that are not related to anything, and Dovetail does so much of a better job. It's crucial to be able to find what you're looking for quickly and effectively. When we have 1000 pieces of content in the system, ideally I only want one piece of content to be returned. I’ve told employees to think of the Dovetail search feature in Genie as Google for Danone HR Services, and that is not an exaggeration.”
Employee Personas: Enabling Tailored Employee Communications
Danone is using Dovetail’s Employee Persona feature to tailor and restrict access to content by employee type. In total, Danone has identified 12 types of employees that need content that is customized to their specific needs (also restricting access to content by type of employee). Describing the benefits of this feature, Crystal said:
“I have set up 12 different personas in the Dovetail system for 12 different types of employees. While I have designed each one to offer a similar user experience, each employee can only see content they are allowed to see. I feel very much in control of what employees can view which was something that we were completely lacking as a company before because we didn't have any way to filter information. This meant that we just didn't publish information to our people. It was so crazy. I used to think how does anybody find anything and do anything without access to important documents? It wasn’t an effective way to manage day-to-day, but now with Dovetail and its Employee Persona feature that’s been resolved.”
The Employee Persona feature has put Crystal and her team in control of what employees can see and enabled the dissemination of important employee communications, a capability that wasn’t available prior to the implementation of Dovetail.
Genie Employee Services Portal Launch: Getting Employees Engaged
The successful introduction of any new technology and new processes into a business hangs on user engagement. The history of software implementations is littered with failures due to employees not getting onboard. Being well aware of this, Crystal planned activities that would educate employees on the new Genie Employee Services Portal and case management solution, and get employees engaged prior to launch. They included:
- Hour-Length calls with employees - Crystal held four hour-long overview calls for employees over a course of a week, where she introduced the new Genie portal and HR case management technology to Danone US corporate staff. Crystal had a presentation deck that explained how the new technology would work and carried out live Demos to showcase the software’s capabilities and benefits. Employees were able to ask questions and Crystal was able to get a lot of employee feedback from these calls.
Typically, Crystal had between 150 and 300 users on each of these calls. In total over 700 employees participated. Crystal commented:
“I was shocked I got that much participation, but it demonstrated to me how interested in the new platform employees were”, adding “We saw over 900 individual employee signings to the portal in the first month.”
- Scavenger Hunt - Crystal and her team came up with the idea to have an online scavenger hunt, where those that participated would be directed around the Genie site, learning its benefits and capabilities as they went looking for the treasure. Crystal commented, “I think we ended up having around 50 people complete the Scavenger Hunt, which is pretty awesome.”
- Surveys - Feedback on how Genie was performing during the first days and weeks of its launch were crucial for helping Crystal understand whether the new technology was having the desired impact. Crystal carried out a number of surveys with employees, HR Services Representatives, and COE HRBPs to obtain a full picture of how company staff felt about Genie. Feedback was almost 100% positive. Employee comments can be seen in the image below.
Employee Survey Feedback on Genie, the Danone US Employee Services Portal
- Sign-ins: A Measure of Employee Interest - Clearly employees were responding well to the new service, which was also indicated by over 900 employees' sign-ins to the portal within a month of the new system going live.
Knowledge Base: Enhancing Both the Employee and HR Experience
“I think that the part of the solution I love the most is the knowledge base and all its functionality. Prior to employees having access to a Knowledge Base they had to go to their designated HRBP for every single question. Now they can find the answer themselves, which is so much more effective for them and the business.”
Crystal Carter, Director, HR Shared Services at Danone North America
We all know the old adage, “knowledge is power”. In the case of HR Services, the effective use of HR Knowledge is the power to eliminate hundreds of hours of wasted time in answering the same questions over and over again. By introducing Dovetail’s Knowledge Base capabilities, Danone US HR Services representatives and employees now have access to answers to the most common questions. Both HR Services representatives and employees can access the Knowledge Base, meaning HR can find answers to questions more rapidly, while employees can self-serve and find the answers to their own questions.
To achieve this, Crystal’s team created 735 Knowledge Articles, each one containing answers to employee questions and easily searchable, using Dovetail’s Search feature. The majority of content came from the COEs with a content developer, Crystal, and her team reviewing and “polishing” it to ensure a consistent look and feel. Inconsistent answers to employee questions had become a thing of the past.
HR Case Management: Improving HR Processes and the HR Experience of Work
“We had a ton of opportunity through launching Dovetail HR Case Management to really optimize some of our ways of working, as well as improve some processes, decide who opens up a ticket, and automate some of the notifications that we send. This has been a pretty big game changer for us because the system has so much functionality that I can leverage to help with our everyday processes. So that's been truly amazing.”
A specific example of how Dovetail HR Case Management has helped Danone is by automating much of the onboarding and off-boarding processes. Features such as templates, child cases and automatic links to Toolkits (generated by Crystal and her team) have streamlined work between teams and removed much of the hassle of these processes. Template checklists for terming employees have been particularly helpful, while child cases used for new employees that need an I-9 have also helped. Crystal commented:
“I love the template feature, and the fact that you can do links and can really set everything out nicely has been a game changer. We're not having to do so many things manually and we can also track better.
HR Case Management technology has also led to a positive change in the HR Services team’s collective mindset. A new “continual improvement” approach has developed. Crystal said:
“Everyone in the team is now leveraging the technology to improve processes and make their work better. This is really exciting, as this was not happening before we had Dovetail. Basically, a new ‘continual improvement’ mindset has emerged among my team, which is great”.
Danone’s New HR Services Operational Model
To get the best out of the new technology and generate the improvements in the quality of HR Services required to meet the company’s challenges and improve the employee experience, Crystal introduced a centralized HR Services Operational Model to Danone US, structured in the following way:
Tier 0 - Genie Employee Services Portal
Employee self-service through the Genie Employee Services Portal. Employees could now resolve their own questions, inquiries, and requests.
Tier 1 - HR Shared Services Team
3 HR Service Representatives in Crystal’s team carrying out Tier 1 support for questions related to payroll and benefits. HR Services Representatives often point employees to information on Genie.
Tier 2 - Centers of Expertise HRBP Teams
If Crystal’s team is unable to resolve the employee’s question or request, it is routed to Tier 2 teams consisting of 40 COE HRBPs managing Benefits, Payroll, Compensation, Learning, and Culture.
An Example of a Multi-tiered Approach to HR Service Delivery (Note: Danone US has adopted Tiers 0,1 and 2)
Case Creation in First Weeks of Dovetail and New HR Services Operational Model Launch
Within the first few weeks of the new multi-tiered HR Services Delivery model supported by Dovetail’s software, Crystal was able to get useful data on the types of cases coming into her team. From a total of 1,964 cases created, 1,328 were created by HR and a further 636 created by employees through the Genie Employee Services Portal - employees were taking full advantage of the new self-service case creation feature. The top 9 most common case types* (48% of overall case volume) created in the first few weeks of operation were:
- Termination Request
- Job Change Request
- Payroll Other
- Complex Manager Corrections
- Miscellaneous Data Correction Request
- Comp Change Corrections
- Employee Service Genie General Questions
- New Hire Request
- Request for HR Access in Ceridian Dayforce/sHaRe
Management now has complete visibility on case types managed by Crystal’s team, which is providing leadership with the data they need to make better decisions.
Dovetail ROI and Cost Savings
It was important to Crystal to find the right solution at the right price, in order to maximize value for Danone US. Commenting on cost savings and describing the value that Dovetail has offered, Crystal said:
“The cost savings of choosing Dovetail Software were astronomical compared to other providers that need an additional developer and global management consulting services in order to build the final solution. Not only that, but I believe Dovetail solves our challenges better than those other tools and services.”
Post Launch Comments on the Success of Dovetail HR Service Delivery Software
(By Crystal Carter, Director, HR Shared Services at Danone North America)
Centralized Accessible Data
“I think that having all of our information in one place has been amazing. Not only for our employees who now have self-service but also for our HR teams. That was something where everything was either on one drive or sent via email. It was so difficult to find the latest version of a document. We’ve also been able to create an HR toolkit and HR team pages as well, so each one of the teams can go and put all of their processes in one easily accessible place.“
Improved Employee Experience
“I’m sure we're going to have more employees and HR satisfied with their jobs, and I feel that the Employee Persona feature that has enabled us to share tailored and ‘filtered’ content to employees by role is a game changer for us. It's changing everything in the way that we work, how we document employee information and how we share content with employees and it's improving the overall experience in so many ways.”
Creating a Responsive Data-Driven Organization
“As well as the Employee Portal, Dovetail’s HR Case Management tool is the next big benefit that we are leveraging. In the past, we didn't have the ability to see what kinds of questions our employees were asking to determine whether we needed to respond with training etc. Knowing and having the metrics for the types of questions that are coming in will allow us to become a data-driven organization, which up until now we haven't been. So I think this is one of the biggest changes in the way we work and it’s going to have the biggest impact.”
“I think that being data-driven our employees will be more satisfied and we will know that we are spending time on the right things. For instance, by knowing what types of questions employees are asking, we can proactively go and create more Knowledge Articles or do training where needed. Or if somebody doesn't understand their benefits and we're seeing a lot of people asking the same question, we can create and host webinars on that topic. The result is we can give a better level of support. I think that's going to be huge for us.”
Aligning HR Services with Company Brand Values
“Our company is very employee focused while our HR organization until now hasn't been set up to be that way. So I think Dovetail and the new way of delivering HR Services really allow us to align with our brand and the way that we like to do things, as well as the environment that we like to create for our employees.”
Modernization of HR Services Delivery
“I've been telling a joke to people, that we have taken HR from 1992 to 2022. With Dovetail’s technology, we are now a modern HR Services operation, built for the 21st century and beyond and that’s a really good thing.”
The Future of Genie and HR Case Management at Danone US
The future of Genie and HR Services at Danone US is bright with a number of ongoing activities and projects that will continue to improve the quality and delivery of services to employees. They include:
Continuing Centralization of HR Shared Services Delivery
Danone US is still transitioning to the new centralized HR Shared Services Delivery model from that of a decentralized one. Crystal is in the process of managing this change, redirecting more and more of the Tier 1 type support questions from the COEs to her team. With every step towards a centralized model, more COE time is freed up and less low-level transactional work they have to complete. This process of change will lead to more cost and efficiency savings while making HR employees happier and more satisfied with their work. Employees too will reap the benefits from faster and more consistent responses. Crystal said, “In the future, we’ll see even more benefits from moving to a more centralized model.”
Reporting & Analytics, Metrics, and Management Reports
“Prior to having Dovetail and the new HR Services delivery model, my team was unable to fully demonstrate its value to senior management. So I would really like to have metrics to show the difference we’re making. For example, a report that today may show we’re handling only 5% of Tier 1 questions, but over time shows, let’s say 35%. That would help me explain the value of what we do to the leadership team. Because the more Tier 1 questions we can take off the hands of the HRBPS, the less they are bogged down in work that is below their pay grade, and the more value they can add to the company by spending time on more strategic activities. Determining the case deflection rate is also important.”
Case Deflection Measurement
One of the most significant benefits of Dovetail's Employee Portal is its potential to ‘deflect’ cases from the HR Services team. A deflection is when an employee is able to find the answer for themselves on the portal, negating the need to contact HR. Dovetail customers generally see a 50% case deflection rate, meaning that after the adoption of a Dovetail Employee Portal, customers experience a 50% reduction in cases coming into their HR Services team. Crystal will be working with Dovetail to determine Danone US’s case deflection rate in order to demonstrate to senior management Dovetail’s added value and ROI.
Continually Staying Responsive to HR Needs
Crystal has introduced ongoing monthly and quarterly meetings with COE HRBPs to obtain their feedback on the new operational model and technology to ensure the HR Shared Services team is responsive to changing needs and requirements. This will not only strengthen the relationship between HR Shared Services and the COE audience but also maintain the integrity of the Genie Employee Services Portal and HR Case Management brand among key internal audiences.
Crystal is evaluating Dovetail’s conversational AI chatbot as a way to continually improve the experience for employees. AI chatbots not only offer employees the consumer-like digital experience they have come to expect but also increase HR Services efficiency by enabling immediate and automatic responses to employee questions. Crystal commented:
“In a recent demo of Dovetail’s AI chat feature, I saw how much easier it was to set up than other AI chat software I had used in the past.”
This year Crystal Carter and her team successfully launched the Genie Employee Services Portal and HR Case Management Dovetail Software solutions with the support of the Dovetail Implementation team. Feedback from employees and HR staff has been overwhelmingly positive. Employees are not only satisfied but engaged and happy to use the new Employee Service Portal, Genie, creating over 600 cases through the portal in the first few weeks of the launch date. Senior level HR staff are dealing with less repetitive employee questions, freeing up their time for higher value-added activities. HR Shared Services representatives are content too. Their work activities have become easier to complete and they’ve become active practitioners of continual improvement, willingly making improvements to HR processes on a daily basis. The future looks bright too. Crystal continues to move Danone US to a centralized HR Shared Services model which she believes will maximize efficiencies and revolutionize how services are delivered to employees, improving service quality in the process. At Dovetail, we’re proud to have played our part in supporting Crystal and Danone US, and confident that the new approach to HR Service Delivery will help align HR Shared Services with its core company values.
Danone is the world leader in fresh dairy and plant-based products with Euro 23.6 bn in global sales and products sold in 120 countries. It has over 100,000 employees in over 55 countries. Its four key businesses include: Essential Dairy and Plant-Based Products, Early Life Nutrition, Medical Nutrition and Waters.
Danone Europe and Noram (US and Canada) account for 57% of global sales, with the US being the top country by sales in the world.
Danone takes health, social and environmental performance very seriously with KPIs including:
- 90% of volumes of products sold are in healthy categories
- 1 million tons of carbon emissions avoided vs. 2019 in absolute value
- 81% of Danone packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable
Danone’s commitments and achievements regarding its sustainability priorities are externally assessed by organizations like the FTSEGood, an Index Series designed to measure the performance of companies that demonstrate strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices. Also, in 2019, Danone received a AAA rating in the MSCI ESG Ratings assessment. Danone is one of only 10 companies that achieved (in 2020) a place on the A-List for the three environmental areas covered by CDP, the gold standard of environmental reporting.