The Allegory of the HR Cave

Not too long ago, in a rural area about 50 miles north of Kansas City, there was a cave that played an important role in the lives of thousands of people. You may have never heard of it, and you won’t likely find it on any map—at least, not as anything you might expect. It was located in the center of an office building, and it was made entirely of paper.

The cavernous challenge

“We hire about 1,000 people per year, and the plethora of paper involved had become overwhelming. Our HR department was operating from excel spreadsheets and file rooms that were as large as a high school locker room.” That’s Trudie Diaz-Farmer, Compensation/Benefits Manager at Triumph Foods, a top exporter of premium pork products worldwide. With a dedicated workforce of 2,800 employees, Triumph Foods has positioned itself as one of the leading pork processors in the United States.

Their sizeable influx of new employees year over year made those file rooms begin to feel like an enormous cave. “Everything was a paper process, and we were probably working at a much slower and more costly rate than we needed to be,” Trudie reflected. Paper-stack stalagmites made it difficult to move. Entering the grotto day after day, administration was virtually reduced to groping about in the dark. They did the best they could, but business was moving slowly. They needed a change.

Could they find a way out? Would the HR department ever feel the warmth of the sun again?

Of course!—and where better than sunny Orlando, Florida to catch some rays?

Trudie joined Steve Schnoll, VP HRIS & Analytics Solutions at SuccessFactors (an SAP company) on the Benefitfocus One Place. 2015. stage to discuss their companies’ relationship and mutual success with Benefitfocus. But Trudie and her team had been enjoying the sunlight for quite some time before her conversation with Steve here today.

A way out

As Steve pointed out, “Triumph Foods knew that if they wanted to keep leading their industry, they’d need to run a leaner operation in which managers and HR staff could instantly access data on applicants and employees.” Basically, they needed to get rid of the cave—replace spreadsheets and paper files with electronic data, saving time and resources and granting them the ability to cater to an increasingly mobile-savvy workforce.

SuccessFactors® Employee Central provided exactly what Triumph Foods was looking for: “Core HR in the Cloud.” That sounds much better than “Core HR in the Cave,” doesn’t it? The SAP/SuccessFactors solution provided cloud-based delivery that allowed them to go live without placing a burden on their lean IT staff, integrating easily with previously installed products. “Employee Central gave the company its first intranet with a single sign-on,” Trudie gleamed, “SAP helped us run simple.”

Almost there

But if they were to leave the cave behind for good, they had to carry their momentum into revamping as much of their administrative processes as possible. “We began to branch out into ancillary products that integrated with Employee Central, like payroll and time & attendance, and we were thrilled with Benefitfocus for their benefits portal.”

Triumph Foods’ workforce, Trudie explained, is built up of local and immigrant employees, and many had trouble understanding their benefits. In addition to the language barrier, with many Spanish and Burmese-speaking workers, Trudie noted that a large portion of her workforce had little to no basis for understanding benefits. Where they came from, they may not have even been provided benefits. It was a big challenge for their administrative team. But it was a challenge that could be overcome.

As Trudie touted, “Benefitfocus revitalized that process. Our team is very much engaged with helping our employees get the best value out of their benefits. We were impressed not only with the ease of enrollment through the Benefitfocus portal but also with its language capabilities and educational tools.”

Made it!

Through the seamless interface between BENEFITFOCUS® Marketplace and SuccessFactors® Employee Central, Triumph Foods had won a truly end-to-end HR and benefits management solution. They freed themselves from the cave and are now operating with ease in the cloud!

Trudie closed the session with a last bit of praise for both companies: “We were the ultimate paper pushers for a lot of years. Benefitfocus and SuccessFactors have helped us tremendously!”

Benefits are good. Benefits can be even better with an end-to-end HR solution! Learn more about how you too can ease your administrative burden, trim costs and truly engage your workforce with an end-to-end HR solution from SuccessFactors, a leading provider of cloud HCM solutions, and Benefitfocus, a leading cloud-based benefits technology company.

Hear more on this topic from our thought leaders at the Health and Benefits Leadership Conference, April 8-10 in Las Vegas.