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The HRIS Difference

17 July 2023


Onyx Insight is at the forefront of the clean energy revolution. However, its HR systems and processes were not in line with its size, geography or day-to-day work. In this case study we explore the difference Cezanne HR’s global HRIS platform made to the company.

An award-winning global, renewable technology business, Onyx Insight is supporting the wind industry on the path to net zero. It does this by providing cutting-edge software, hardware, consultancy and engineering services to the wind industry – meaning thousands of wind turbines can be optimised for peak energy efficiency and minimises downtime.

Based in the historic city of Nottingham, Onyx Insight’s workforce is spread far and wide across the globe. This, however, presented a problem for their small but mighty HR team. Their people operations were based on outdated manual processes. A lack of overall control meant vital information was hard to find, hard to maintain, and not able to support the organisation’s more strategic objectives.

It was obvious something had to change – and this is where Cezanne HR’s global HRIS platform came into play. We sat down with Hilary Rapinet, Onyx Insight’s HR Project Manager, to learn more about Onyx Insight, and how Cezanne HR has put them in total control of their own data and HR operations.

Q: What does Onyx Insight do?

Hilary Rapinet: We support the world of sustainability – specifically wind energy. Our primary goal as a business is to create a more sustainable attitude towards how countries generate their energy.

To do that, we work with third-party companies to improve the energy outputs from wind turbines, and develop sophisticated software to help do exactly that. Along with the software, we also provide maintenance and enduring engineering improvements for turbines both here in the UK and further afield.

Q: Are you based just here in the UK?

Hilary Rapinet: We have offices all over the world, but our main office is here in Nottingham and as a Company we have just over 140 employees. We call ourselves a ‘mini-global’ business, which I think fits quite nicely with what we are!

Q: What’s your role with Onyx Insight?

Hilary Rapinet: I’m an HR Project Manager, so I manage global projects for the HR team on a part-time basis. There’s a lot of coordination involved, making sure things go to plan and dealing with any potential project risks. But day-to-day, I dip into whatever’s required. One minute I can be working on payroll, the next I can be working on contracts for our China or Italy offices – it’s definitely a very generalist role.

More recently, I’ve been co-ordinating a new leadership development programme, working on gender diversity and the results of Onyx’s Great Place to Work survey. Lots of different projects that keep me busy.

Q: What were the original pain-points that Onyx Insight was experiencing that bought you to investing in Cezanne HR?

Hilary Rapinet: Our main issue was the time we [HR] spent trying to get to the root of workforce issues, answering questions accurately and providing speedy reporting of HR data.

We had no centralised place for people data, it was all managed through various unconnected systems or spreadsheets. This meant the accuracy of our data could be compromised. If we had two conflicting pieces of information, we had to check which was correct by going back to the source.

We also had no way of bringing different elements of data together to report on in a cohesive manner. With the company undergoing growth, it was a totally unsustainable way of doing things.

Accessibility [to core HR information] was also a big problem. We’re a relatively small HR team, but it was the case that only one person would have access to certain information. For example, one person would be dealing with recruitment and have details of people that were just starting. Another was managing data about pay and benefits, and someone else would have been dealing with leadership and appraisals.

It was at times disjointed and everything was stored all over the place; but those particular issues meant that, as a team, we were very less efficient and accurate than we wanted to be

Q: What are the key challenges for your HR team?

Hilary Rapinet: The fact we’re a global business, especially as we operate in the US, EU and APAC [Asia-Pacific region]. HR processes, like pay reviews for different countries, are one of those challenges. With South Korea for example, you’re dealing with vastly different currencies and the Korean Won has thousands of digits! This means you’re dealing with a huge variety of data inputs.

The ease of access to our people data I mentioned earlier was also a huge issue for us. With employees all over the world, it was always difficult to check things when they were kept in different, unconnected places. Then you’ve got the problem of time zones. Some records would be kept at local offices, and would be inaccessible due to their offices being closed during our UK working hours.

Take our South Korean office. We had an administrator that was responsible for looking after people’s employment details, we’d have their contract here [in the UK], but that was it. So, if you wanted any detailed information on that person, you had to ask that person in South Korea and then, due to the time difference, wait overnight for a response.

Now with Cezanne HR, the HR team have access to all our people data at any time. It’s ideal for a global business like us with employees based in multiple countries.

Q: Is there one benefit to having the Cezanne HR system that stands out for you?

Hilary Rapinet: We now have accurate and accessible pay data which is brilliant. We get lots of questions from line managers about annual salaries, benefits, that sort of thing… With the Cezanne HR system, you can just log on and find the information you need virtually instantly. It saves so much time. It also helps us keep our data all in one secure place – something we couldn’t do with confidence before.

Q: Has the Cezanne HR system also helped save on administration time?

Hilary Rapinet: Yes, it has. To give an example, we rolled out delivering pay review letters through the Cezanne HR system, rather than doing them manually. It was the first time we were able to deliver letters in such a way to everyone in the company at the same time. It was also the first time we could give managers access as well, so they could see what people’s pay was, meaning they didn’t have to spend time searching for specific pay information.

Another huge positive has been how it’s helped our organisational structures. They’re always accurate now, which is a huge timesaver for our HR team.

Before Cezanne HR, we used to have our org chart contained in a PowerPoint presentation that had to be updated every month. So, our HR team would be manually having to keeping notes of who changed roles, who changed line manager, all these different things. They’d then have to update the PowerPoint deck, which took time to do… only for it to often require changing within a few days!

Now our organisation chart is done through the Cezanne HR system, it’s always live and in ‘real time’. We have a more accurate picture of our workforce now, and we don’t need to be constantly updating a spreadsheet all the time. Any changes we make for employees in the [Cezanne HR] system are picked up, and the information contained within the org chart updates automatically.

Q: How has the Cezanne HR system helped with more strategic-level activities?

Hilary Rapinet: It’s certainly enabled us to do more reporting than we ever could do previously. For instance, we’re doing some work this year on gender; gender inclusion, gender diversity within the business, and the technology sector in general – a really big and important topic right now.

We’ll also be able to do gender pay-gap reporting for the first time. It’s something we’re not obliged to do at present, but we believe is incredibly important and will help us become a more inclusive and equitable organisation.

Q: How did you find the implementation process with Cezanne HR?

Hilary Rapinet: Cezanne HR’s implementation team were really very good. They were very responsive and did over and above what I expected. They would always come back and answer our questions promptly, and they would take the time to help and guide us when we were stuck.

Along with the regular progress meetings, they stuck with us way beyond the time scale that we thought we’d have an implementation team – that was excellent. It all meant we could trust them and felt we could rely on them to support us, which they certainly did!

Q: And finally, would you recommend Cezanne HR to others?

Hilary Rapinet: Yes, we would. Overall, we’re really pleased with Cezanne HR. It’s definitely delivered on what we wanted from a global HRIS system.





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