The New Forest Hotels Group is a collection of four classic country hotels, each one with its own setting and character. Although these hotels are radically different – they span the full range from contemporary townhouse to quiet forest retreat, they share one thing in common – they are all in and around the New Forest National Park in Southern England.
Jacqueline Henshall, HR Administrator and also PA to the Managing Director, has been working with Horizon since it was first installed early in 2009. She said Horizon takes a change of mind-set at the start, but that “once you understand it, everything suddenly clicks into place”.
As Jackie pointed out, If you’re using a manual system, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of Casual Staff.
New Forest Hotels has approximately 200 staff, split more or less equally between contracted and casual employees, and it was Horizon’s “efficiency with holidays and casual workers’ wages” which convinced New Forest to pick Horizon over several other competitors.
As Jackie pointed out, “If you’re using a manual system, it can be extremely difficult to keep track of Casual Staff.
But with Horizon, zero-hours-contracted team members are easily tracked — no matter how varied their shifts and pay-rates – and especially if they are asked to work at the last minute.”
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The initial setup for Horizon was pretty straightforward, according to Jackie, who continued, “we had a very comprehensive day’s training, during which we were shown what we needed to know in order to setup and maintain the system.
Then, before we went live, our trainer let us play with the configured system and get used to it before beginning to start processing Payroll officially. The confidence we gained made it much easier once the system went live, and both the Hotel Managers and the Head Office Accounts team picked up on how the system can work for them.”
Jackie was hard-pressed to pick her favourite Horizon Report, but finally settled on 2 which make a special difference to her: the Planned Slots vs. Actual Punches Report, which highlights lateness and unauthorised overtime, and the Contracted Hours Status Report, which shows how employees are working (or not!) their agreed contracted hours – this last one is especially important, and Jackie said it had saved the New Forest Group a fortune in unnecessary overtime.
The full effect of Horizon was visible quite quickly – having gone from time-consuming paper-based timesheets to an easy-to-manage “real-time” system, the New Forest team found that they could seamlessly link Horizon to Sage Payroll for further savings in admin time and increased payroll accuracy.
And Jackie’s overall impression – “Horizon is a really important part of our business, and we’d recommend Thinking Software to anybody in our industry – they’ve really helped us.”
Horizon is a really important part of our business, and we’d recommend Thinking Software to anybody in our industry – they’ve really helped us.
Jackie says, “The link to Sage has made a huge difference to us – we save hours every week by not having to manually key-in payroll data, and the staff have much greater confidence that their pay is right the first time.”