NODE4's HR success story
About the company: Node4 is a managed service provider with a thirst for innovation. By combining the most advanced technology with a vibrant and passionate workforce, they empower private and public sector organisations by delivering positive outcomes through technology and innovation. From providing secure digital services to insurers or using apps to improve the interactions between police officers and victims of crime.
The Problem: Lacking adoption and flexibility
Exceptional Service as a Standard (ESaaS) is Node4’s mantra and permeates the whole business, including HR. Back in 2020, a poorly-implemented system that people didn’t use certainly wasn’t living up to their mantra. There was no self-service, so updating something as small as an employee address meant approaching their HR team. Managers weren’t able to sign-off holidays within a central system and recording sickness was sporadic. Payroll took longer than it should, with errors feeding into other parts of the organisation and a separate reporting module caused even more challenges. Newly promoted to Chief People Officer, Dave Birchall knew things had to change.
“Our previous HR system didn’t work well for us. The interface was poor, and it was so complex. People just didn’t use it and I couldn't advocate its use as we grew through acquisition.”
Node4 wanted a flexible, scalable solution that could work well with their growth strategy. It also needed to be able to deliver accurate data for decision making and enable self-service for their entire organisation.
Deciding on Personio
As CPO for Node4, Dave's role is all about enabling employee experience and ensuring that people can deliver on promises made to clients. “As part of this, it’s important to have systems and processes in place that make employee experience enjoyable and motivating.” Their existing system was up for renewal, which presented a great opportunity to make a change – so, Dave and his team started considering their options.
The selection committee had several criteria on their wish list including flexibility, scalability, plus a way to easily connect with other systems and applications in support of data analysis. To help with employee experience, self-service and easy navigation became top priorities and, of course, they had a keen eye on the budget too. “Because of our growth by acquisition, we needed a solution that would work well when integrating new businesses. Scalability is easy with Personio, and the additional costs are transparent which helps with our planning.”
Personio’s approach to customer service management was a big driver for choosing Personio. That’s because Node4 actively seeks out organisations that mirror their ESaaS culture. “Having the resources and services clearing mapped was a real benefit for our planning and budgeting. Personio seemed to be a partner that wanted to deliver exceptional service like we do.” A fast-approaching renewal deadline meant timelines were already tight. Then, at the eleventh hour, Node4 realised that, for business reasons, their original plan regarding a sub company wouldn’t be possible. “A week before go-live it became clear we needed to unexpectedly create a separate instance of Personio for a new acquisition. Incredibly, the Personio team paused, came up with a plan and got it done.” Dave explains that implementation is continuous because of the way Node4 is growing, which makes Personio's model even more important. “The implementation project management, communication cadence and super reliability is a real differentiator. Even when someone goes on holiday there’s a plan to avoid stopping and starting. Personio’s responsiveness was and is brilliant, they really accommodate our needs.” "Our Personio CSM was amazing. She moved heaven and earth to get us a system that worked for the business."
“We wanted a very clean, easy to use and intuitive user interface that would also give us exceptionally clean data we could access with Microsoft Power BI.”
Gaining deep data insights
The combination of Personio’s flexibility and people workflow automation has brought significant benefits. Instead of forcing acquired teams into a rigid HR system, Personio allows for the creation and uploading of attributes and data, “We’re always adding new teams into our tech stack so integration via API has been priceless.” For example, an integration with Microsoft Power BI, via the Personio API, means Dave and his team now deliver customised, live-data dashboards to everyone: “Microsoft Power BI is one of Node4’s key business tools. Everything - from employee profile, geographic location, service dates, retention, churn, even our annual gender pay gap reporting - is built into a dashboard and the data comes straight from Personio.”
It has also revolutionised data access and reporting: “Integrating Personio with Power BI has taken away 90% of our reporting tasks.” Dave and his team have been given significant time back and can instead present and analyse comprehensive insights across various HR metrics and from other business sources.
Additionally, Dave values Personio reporting capability for the remaining 10% of reporting. “It’s very quick and easy to use. Other HR systems operate like a database, you need to connect fields and do a lot more work for a report. With Personio, you type in an attribute and out it comes.” The team recently looked at the hot topic of talent retention: “In just 20 minutes, we generated insightful statistics on retention and turnover, breaking down the data source company and resignation reasons.”
Integration with Node4's applicant tracking system also streamlines the onboarding process. Once candidates have a start date, their profiles are automatically transferred to Personio. “We now have a streamlined onboarding experience for new joiners and saves us huge amounts of time, maybe half a day per new starter.” Plus, despite having different employee terms and conditions across their sub-companies, Personio's flexibility ensures consistency and efficient management: “One system, with different workflows managing the difference in T&Cs – it means phenomenal efficiency and the employee experience is the same across Node4.”
Being able to easily connect Personio to business systems and applications has revolutionised HR processes and reporting. It removed tedious admin and spreadsheets from the equation, provided important consistency across the group which is especially valuable as Node4 continues to grow through acquisition. Personio has fostered confidence in the team’s data and made data-driven decision-making possible for Node4’s leadership and investors.
“Personio massively exceeded what we were looking for. I could not recommend it enough as an HR platform.”
What does Node4 appreciate most about Personio?
It’s Personio’s simplicity that really stands out and has changed the lives of people at Node4 the most, helping shift the culture towards self-service and saving everyone time: “Our people experience has been transformed, it’s so refreshing for everyone – from new joiners to experienced managers – to see how simple things are. People are shown the system and away they go. Personio allows our people to focus on what matters and to do their jobs more easily and better.”
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