Not only has Phase One saved a great deal of resources and taken processes to a new level since it switched to Sympa, it has also drawn its global business operations together.
“Our biggest challenge was having offices in several countries following different rules. It wasn’t always just about the head office in Denmark being notified that an employee in Japan had had their salary adjusted or that a new employee had been appointed in Israel. It created general uncertainty in my work,” explains Karina Bruhn Bach, who has held various HR roles at Phase One for 27 years.
Currently, she is People Operations & Payroll Specialist at the Denmark-based company which manufactures camera equipment for professional use. Phase One has its head office in Denmark, but employs 280 people across the world at its offices in the USA, Japan, China, Israel and Germany.
The structure of local offices spread across the globe previously created some challenges for the HR department.
The fact that our numbers never tallied was extremely challenging. If our managing director asked how many were employed in the manufacturing operations in Japan, I could never give him an exact answer. So a system that could gather data for the entire organisation and create some common guidelines was much needed,” says Karina Bruhn Bach.
Karina Bruhn Bach
People Operations & Payroll Specialist
Everything done in a large spreadsheet before
Previously, separate HR systems were used in the different Phase One offices and were created by the local managers themselves. This made it difficult to make major adjustments across the whole organisation.
“Having so many sites, but not having one overall HR system was extremely challenging. Everything was done in a large spreadsheet which we tried to update every month as best we could. So we were really in need of an HR system,” explains Karina Bruhn Bach.
Fortunately, the days of large spreadsheets and manual processes are over. Phase One introduced Sympa as its new HR system at the beginning of 2022.
“We began by introducing Sympa in Denmark where most of our employees are located. It was a painless experience and reactions were for the most part very positive. Shortly after this, we rolled out the system area by area and soon the whole of Phase One was using the same system,” says Karina Bruhn Bach.
Karina Bruhn Bach and the rest of the HR department noticed the difference straight away.
“The biggest difference for me is that there is confidence in what I do and certainty that things tally. When I handle payroll, I really like things to be in order. I never had that sense before, but I do now,” says Karina Bruhn Bach.
Costs due to missed holidays and sick days are a thing of the past
First and foremost, Sympa has made day-to-day life at Phase One easier, where the individual managers in particular save a lot of time. Karina Bruhn Bach also explains that moving over to Sympa has brought an economic advantage.
“We had a big problem before with employees not registering their holidays. There were times when employees were paid a week’s salary even if they were on holiday. This was simply because we didn’t have an overview,” says Karina Bruhn Bach.
It could have ended up being a huge expense for the company. Now, it is up to the employees themselves to remember to record holidays and days when they are off sick.
“It has taken managers a little while to get used to Sympa and the individual employees now record their holidays and sick days themselves. It’s really easy and saves managers a lot of time. Alongside this, we have a complete overview. I can retrieve data quickly from all our offices if our managing director needs the information,” says Karina Bruhn Bach.
As a side benefit, Sympa has actually been instrumental in bringing Phase One together as a company.
“As a global company, creating a team spirit is a challenge. Now we have a system that unites us as a company. We are no longer a series of satellite organisations forging their own path. We have become an integrated company with a shared channel for all our employees,” explains Karina Bruhn Bach.
“It’s not their Sympa, it’s ours.”
Phase One is generally keen to take advantage of the many options in Sympa for internal communication and employee development. It will do so when managers plan ongoing appraisals with individual employees, for example.
“We hold regular employee appraisals every 30, 60 or 90 days. We have entered them in Sympa for the first time and the system sends out invitations to appraisals and reminders to attend. It is an exceptionally useful tool. Managers often used to forget about these appraisals. That doesn’t happen any more,” says Karina Bruhn Bach.
Going forward, Phase One will start using the bonus and payroll module in Sympa which will save a great deal of resources when adjusting salaries, she says.
All in all, Karina Bruhn Bach is very impressed with the way Sympa has managed to adapt its platform so that it fits exactly with Phase One’s requirements.
“The most amazing thing about it has been that it’s our Sympa. It suits us and our requirements. Sympa has provided a platform, but it’s not theirs any more, it’s ours. They’ve really managed to make it our system,” concludes Karina Bruhn Bach.
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