Saint-Gobain Distribution Denmark

It used to take Saint-Gobain six weeks to adjust their salaries. With a new HR system, they can now do it in just a few hours. 

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A strong focus on IT security had kept the Saint-Gobain HR department shackled to an outdated system. They now have a new HR system that does not compromise security. 

“In the past, when adjusting staff salaries, I used a large Excel sheet where I had to manually divide all 650 employees into various departments and then send it to the managers. This process easily took six weeks,” says Malene Hulkvist, HR & Payroll Manager for Saint-Gobain in Denmark.

Saint-Gobain’s Danish distribution department is Denmark’s leading wholesaler for heating, sanitation and drains, and supplies everything from sinks to toilets. The Danish division is behind companies like Brødrene Dahl, a plumbing, water and drain wholesaler, and ventilation supplier Øland. Saint-Gobain has over 166,000 employees globally. The company has a goal of becoming CO2 neutral by 2050. They have invested hundreds of millions in improving their environmental footprint in Denmark.

In 2020, Malene Hulkvist spent too much time on administration and payroll. But due to the size of the company and fears of a security breach, switching to a new HR system was not straightforward.

“Saint-Gobain was severely disrupted by a major hacker attack in 2018. This meant that everything became very security focused. At the same time, we needed a modern HR system that did not cost many hours in updates and maintenance. Thankfully, Sympa met all our needs without compromising on security,” says Malene Hulkvist.

HR had become a dead weight

Before Saint-Gobain implemented Sympa for their HR and payroll administration, they used a system based on a physical server in the office. This meant a lot of wasted time and overtime for the IT department. 

“Our last system was clumsy and hard to use. If the server was down we had to contact the IT department. We were always dependent on others in order for HR to function. It had become a dead weight. We spent hours doing things that we can do quickly today,” says Malene from Saint-Gobain. 

Sympa has eased the burden. It is fully cloud-based, with all data stored in the cloud. 

“We no longer have a daily struggle with IT problems. Everyone can access the system, from home or in the office. In the past, we had whole days where the system was unavailable. But that never happens now that it’s all cloud-based. It’s a huge improvement,” notes Malene. 

Adjusting salaries used to be particularly time-consuming for Malene and her department.

Six weeks' work saved with Sympa

Once a year, Malene Hulkvist has to adjust the salaries of the 650 members of the company’s Danish team who work under a collective agreement. The process used to be a real pain, and took her about six weeks. Sympa has dramatically reduced this time.

“I now set up the adjustment easily in the system, and can send it out to the managers within a few hours, without having spent much time on it. When the managers receive it, they can easily tune the adjustments for each employee directly. It has made the whole process so much easier,” says Malene.

Saint-Gobain wanted a system that could digitalise all processes, but was also simple to use.

“People who are unfamiliar with the system learn to use it quickly. Our staff are often not IT specialists. We therefore wanted a system that is not too difficult to navigate. We definitely got that with Sympa,” says Malene.

“It's as easy as using Facebook“

An international company like Saint-Gobain has strict requirements for handling GDPR and compliance. But for a manager like Malene Hulkvist, the new system also makes many daily tasks easier.

“Sympa has a great approach to GDPR. You initially build the system jointly with a Sympa consultant, which makes it easy to separate things. If you have three different roles in the system, you can easily separate what you can and cannot do in relation to GDPR,” says Malene.

She praises the good overview that Sympa offers. In relation to challenges such as GDPR, but also from the user’s point of view. 

“All our staff have access to Sympa’s employee portal. If they change their address or bank, they can go in and modify it directly. They can access payslips and contracts from home if they need to do a salary check. Many have said that it’s as easy as using Facebook,” says Malene Hulkvist. 

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