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November 20, 2020

How Harris Farm stays fresh as its family-run grocery business turns 50

Harris Farm Markets’ CFO James Williamson joined our INSIGHTS virtual event to explain how the family-owned grocery retailer is using Dayforce to support its business growth and resilience ahead of its 50th year.

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Harris Farm Markets is an Australian family-owned and run fresh food retailer. Primarily based in Sydney, Harris Farm Markets operates from 24 locations. The company, which marks its 50th year in business in 2021, also operates stores in regional New South Wales in Barrow, Orange, and Bathurst.

“We’ve got 2,500 staff growing rapidly with our expansion, with more stores opening in the next few months,” Williamson told the INSIGHTS audience. The company has around 1,200 employees who access Dayforce every day.

Harris Farm recently acquired its first store in the neighbouring state of Queensland and was able to rapidly onboard 70 to 80 employees who moved with the acquisition. With Dayforce, everyone was able to quickly get new contracts, be onboarded, and set up their bank details — all despite the historically Sydney-based company being unable to send its employees to Queensland, due to state border closures for COVID-19.

“It went pretty much without a hitch. By the time we opened for the first day's trade, staff were all able to clock on using the Dayforce app, get paid in the new system and be welcomed to the Harris Farm family. It's been a really good process,” said Williamson.

“We’re confident as we scale, and as the pay environment changes, that we can make changes within Dayforce to stay compliant.” – James Williamson, CFO, Harris Farm Markets

Staying compliant with retail employment rules

Australia has complex employment laws, with detailed industrial relations legislation operating at federal and state levels that include award agreements for different industries. In retail, businesses must adhere to set ‘penalty rates’, for weekend, overtime, and public holiday shifts.

Harris Farm Markets’ two-person payroll team pays its 2,500 staff weekly, under three such awards. And different people work across all 24 hours of the day. The only day that the company closes down is Christmas Day. “Only about 200 of our employees are salaried. Everybody else is based on the award with different calculations. It’s been really good to have that transparency in the system – you can see all the rules and how they’re generated,” said Williamson.

Managing retail shift availabilities on-the-go via mobile

Because the vast majority of Harris Farm’s staff don't have a work computer or Harris Farm email address, Dayforce’s mobile app has become a key asset to food production, floor, and warehouse staff. Williamson said Harris Farm staff are using the app to set which hours they’re available for work, so they can balance any school, university, or family commitments.

“They can check their rosters at any time to see when they're set to pay, set to work next. Checking their payslip all into the one system with one login is a huge thing as well, as is applying for leave through the mobile application,” said Williamson.

Watch now: Harris Farm Markets harvests a fresh take on operational efficiency

“We can review each day to see if we need extra staff in, or if we need to cut back There's no surprises at the end of the week. That’s important when you manage a business in the grocery industry.” — James Williamson, CFO, Harris Farm Markets

There is a clear payoff to operational efficiency too. “We can clearly see what hours people are working. We can drill down. And there's no question about what happens after it generates the calculations in workforce management — because it's not a separate system. The ability to drill down back into actual shifts and see the calculation of how people are getting paid is a really powerful tool,” said Williamson.

Driving long-term employee engagement

Harris Farm has reported an increase of more than 100% in employee engagement with Dayforce, since completing implementation in August 2020 for payroll, workforce management, recruiting, onboarding, learning, performance, compensation, and succession planning. Before the retailer went live with all the modules, 400 to 500 staff accessed Dayforce each day. “Since we’ve gone live [across all modules], you can see an immediate spike, that’s gone up to about 1,200 unique logins every day,” said Williamson.

For brand new staff, Harris Farm has also been using Dayforce to help them feel confident and prepared for their initial shifts, Williamson told virtual attendees at INSIGHTS. Through Dayforce, staff are able to access their contract, sign it, and read employee manuals and training guides. “All of these things used to have to be done on paper,” said Williamson. “Now by the time they actually start, they’re more prepared for their first shift. We've got a process in place to follow-up and make sure that they're settling in. Over time, that's really going to help with staff engagement across the business too.”

Watch now: A smarter approach to pay and workforce management

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