When does HR Service Delivery matter? When it impacts HR employee turnover, HR operational efficiency and the employee workplace experience. These are some of the reasons why Danone US chose Dovetail HR Services technologies to support the HR Shared Services team in delivering high quality HR Services to 6,000 US based employees. Dovetail applications selected included HR Case Management, Employee Portal, HR Knowledge Management, Advanced Reporting & Analytics and Live Chat.
Background & Challenges
In 2019 Crystal Carter joined Danone North America as Director, HR Shared Services, HR Compliance & Domestic Relocation, having previously worked in a corporate, high tech business. Upon taking up the position, Crystal realized that the HR Services function was running sub-optimally, with around 40 senior level HR Business Partners (HRBPs) supporting between 2 and 800 people each (including employees, managers, directors and VPs). They were spending too much time answering repetitive employee questions (that could be dealt with by HR Generalists), delivering inconsistent answers to employee questions, and had a lack of HR/employee data collation and reporting, which was needed for making effective management decisions. For example, employees were sending all their questions to their HRBP for the support that they needed, whether it was a manager requesting an employee performance plan, or an employee asking where to find information on their benefits. This resulted in high level strategic HRBPs' time being ‘eaten up’, answering the same questions over and over again. Additionally, fellow HRBPs were answering identical questions, without any visibility on the answers their colleagues had already given to the same questions. Crystal knew things could be better:
“I knew that we could put all of that administrative level support under my HR Shared Services function, using an HR Service Delivery system.”
“I also knew that so many employee questions are the same over and over again, and an Employee Portal with a knowledge base would be the solution.”
Senior HR leadership were also aware of the issues facing HR and the wider business operations, but needed the right expertise in-house to solve them.
Fortunately, Crystal had a wealth of experience in HR Service Delivery and employee communications technology from her previous position, and a vision for how HR Services could be delivered, that would remedy the current challenges Danone US was facing.
Crystal also realized doing nothing was not an option, as risks to the business were accruing, such as:
- Senior level HRBPs felt their jobs were too admin heavy, and therefore may look elsewhere for roles that let them spend more of their time on what they love doing; strategic HR work that brings maximum value to the business
- Lack of data on how employees felt about the organization meant HR leaders could not address the needs (and possibly frustrations) of employees effectively
- The cost of service delivery was excessive, as higher paid HRBPs were doing lower paid work
She decided to transform the HR Shared Services operation model and deploy the latest in HR Services technology to support it. This would free HRBP time for more strategic activities, improve HR Service delivery efficiency, and enhance the employees’ experience of the workplace. HR Services would also be delivered more cost effectively. No longer would HRBPs receive low level, repetitive admin questions, as these would be dealt with by the centralized HR Shared Services team. No longer would the same question need answering twice. No longer would senior HR management lack the data they needed to understand how their employees felt about the business.
But to achieve her objectives, Crystal would need the right technology in place.
Getting the Right HR Services Technology
Crystal kicked off an RFP process and began the search for providers of HR Case Management, Employee Portal, HR Knowledge Base and Advance Reporting and Analytics technology. A simple Google Search using keywords "hr case management" led Crystal straight to Dovetail Software’s website. From there, Crystal reached out to Dovetail to ask whether we would be interested in taking part in the RFP. We were delighted to be asked! And, after a thorough evaluation process, Dovetail was selected by Danone US as their HR Services technology partner. But why Dovetail?
A few weeks into the Dovetail Implementation, we asked Crystal what she liked about Dovetail. Her response “Quite honestly, I think I love everything about it!”. For us at Dovetail, it doesn’t get better than that! But we wanted to discover more about the “why”. Crystal gave more detail about her reasons:
- Superior Interconnectivity with Danone US HR Systems, Easy to Use and “HR in Control”
For Crystal, interconnectivity and the user-friendliness of the system were key:
“Overall, it’s Dovetail’s ‘ease of use’ and how everything integrates, connects and talks to each other that I like the most about Dovetail. For example, the case ticketing system and my knowledge article solutions talk to each other. I had never had this functionality before, so that's really exciting. None of the other systems I evaluated had as much deep level intuitive connectivity as Dovetail.“
Explaining how easy Dovetail is to use and how it puts her in “control”:
“Dovetail is so user-friendly that I don't have to depend on HRIS for support, which I really like, as I am very independent, and I don't like to wait on other people - the fact that I can drive this myself is awesome. Plus, I'm not technical, and so I like how easy it is to navigate different sites, but also to build sites. Also, writing content is not my field, but it’s so easy to use the Knowledge Content Editor - it's great.”
And in the future, Crystal is looking to adopt Dovetail’s AI Chatbot capabilities:
“We haven't yet started with Dovetail’s AI chat feature, but in a demo, I saw how that was so much easier than other AI chat software I had used in the past.”
- Best-in-Class Search Capabilities
Search is a key capability of any HR Services system, enabling employees and HR alike to find the right answers to questions fast. Crystal describes her experience of Dovetail’s Search functionality:
“I love the Search capability, that’s one of my most favorite things about Dovetail. I've used search in the past and usually the search results are poor, but Dovetail actually does a really good job, and it’s great, both within the HR Case Management system and Employee Portal! So, a ‘pat on the back to your developers’ for that!”
- Game Changing Data Management & Analytics
It was clear that without the capability to collate and report on data, senior management was never going to be able to gain the insight into what employees are feeling and need, to get their jobs done well and be happier in the workplace:
“I think that the metrics and analytics that Dovetail gives us is going to be a game changer for us. It's going to be something that my leadership team is going to be like ‘holy smokes, why didn't we have this all the time!?’ So, I’m really excited about this capability we’re going to have!”
Danone US HR data is currently siloed across different HRBPs. For example, one area only deals with benefits questions, and another with payroll and so on and so forth. Dovetail is going to allow Crystal and her team to bridge the gap between all this siloed data. Crystal explains:
“We've been using lots of separate mailboxes and so it’s very difficult for the leadership team to look at across-the-board metrics to understand how we are supporting our employees. So, what I'm really, really excited about, is giving HR leadership the ability to be data driven; to not just say ‘hey we're getting a lot of questions’ but also say something like ‘these articles don't seem to be giving employees what they're looking for’, and from that, understand we need to change them or create something different to support our employees better.”
- Price & Value for Money
“In our evaluation of HR Services technology systems, price was a factor for the US region, because we're much more controlled as far as our budget and finances are concerned.”
Part of the ethos of Danone US is to manage and monitor budgets effectively. This meant finding the right solution at the right price. While price was not the deciding factor, it was important to Crystal that she could demonstrate ROI, even if the main objectives were to improve HR Service Delivery efficiency and the employee experience of consuming HR Services. Dovetail’s cloud-based solution, user-friendly features, data security and reporting and analytics capabilities, combined with a price that justified Danone US’s investment in Dovetail.
Crystal was also concerned that with other HR Services systems, expensive third-party consultancy services would be required:
“I thought we may need an HR management consultancy to help set up the system with one of the other vendors I was evaluating because their solution is just so high level and not super intuitive. So that was another big factor for me when evaluating systems; not having to use additional consultancy services. That would not only have increased the complexity of the implementation, but also the price of the overall solution. With Dovetail we have been able to implement without outside help, making a big difference to the overall cost of the solution.”
In May 2021, Danone US kicked off their implementation of Dovetail. To find out how they’re getting on, read Danone US - Dovetail Implementation Q&A with Crystal Carter, Director, HR Shared Services (Part I - Kick-off and Design Stages).
Danone is one of the most successful food and beverage companies in the world and the Danone US division is the largest by sales. Due to facing a range of HR Service Delivery challenges including inefficient allocation of HR resources, lack of employee data visibility, and wasted time due to the same questions being answered multiple times by different HR personnel, Crystal Carter, the HR Shared Services Director, determined she needed a new HR Service Delivery model and the right technology to support it. This would enable HR to improve HR Services operational efficiency, free up senior level staff time for higher value-added activities and enhance the employee experience. To achieve these aims, Crystal chose (from a competitive field of providers) Dovetail’s wide range of HR Services applications, including HR Case Management, Employee Portal with Live Chat, HR Knowledge Management and Advanced Reporting & Analytics. Deciding factors for Crystal’s decision were Dovetail’s ease of use, intuitive system interconnectivity, game changing data reporting and analytics, and good value for the money. As a result, Danone US is in the process of modernizing its HR Service Delivery, making it fit for the 21st century.
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.