“What Altamira was offering, and what we chose as opposed to other systems, was the possibility to give all our colleagues more visibility into HR processes, and offer them the opportunity to manage themselves, both in small matters and in more important ones.”
HR Manager & Management Assistant, Zenit Group
Zenit is a company with a history of over 60 years in the field of water treatment technologies. Its core business is the design, production and distribution of submersible electric pumps for domestic, municipal and industrial use.
Headquartered in San Cesario (Modena region), Italy, where it employs around 130 people and where its various corporate activities take place, the Zenit Group also has offices in Luxemburg, China and Singapore, and boasts a strong international presence.
Zenit has always placed its human resources at the center of its vision. As a result, it has managed, among other feats, to recover from the 2008 global crisis without any layoffs, permanent or temporary. Zenit’s professional approach works first and foremost on a human level, giving constant attention to the employees’ needs, whether these are family-related, financial, medical, etc., and featuring ongoing efforts to cover, wherever possible, any gaps in the public welfare system.
The company’s HR department is under the leadership of Domenico Ronga: “I have been working for Zenit for twenty years, during which I have dealt with so many things, putting to use everything I learned for my Master’s degree in management and staff development. I switched from the production-focused division to the sales division, where I initially had the role of head of Human Resources and Sales Management Assistant. Since 2003, I have been the head of development for Human Resources and Management Assistant. As an authorized representative, I have the regular delegated powers which allow me to work as the HR manager in this field.”
At the end of 2014, the company’s guiding idea, shared by the members of its board, was to further develop their approach to the relationship with employees and join the “open desking” world.
Their goal has been not only to increase the efficiency of HR processes, but also to empower managers and employees and to ensure greater transparency and traceability for activities.
The solution Zenit found was to implement the Altamira platform for the management of employee data and documents, for organizing the vacation plan and for performance evaluation.
This change required extensive training work, which the company undertook with the proper attitude and determination.
They started with the basics, training employees on the proper use of the browser and e-mails, given that online access to information such as payroll data represents a form of processing of personal data.
The introduction of a self-service system allowed for a heightened level of autonomy and independence for all the company’s resources.
For example, before that point, employees would write their absence requests on paper using a printed form, and no longer had any visibility into the approval process afterwards, except for what they could see the following month on their pay slip.
Now, they can file their applications online at any time—even from home—and the status of their request, whether approved or denied, is displayed in real time. They are also able to see the vacation time and absences approved for their colleagues, which improves the organization of the teams.
This change has empowered not only employees but also managers, who work under the imperative to be quick and efficient in their approvals—in order, for instance, to prevent the approval of unexpected requests for absence after an employee has already left the company’s premises.
Finally, the HR management now have all the tools and reports at their disposal to monitor the rate of absenteeism in the company and to evaluate the performance of the managers.
One factor that proved crucial for the success of this project was the availability of Altamira’s technical and support team. “I had a very good relationship with all their staff. I never had any problems that made me think I was not being listened to, taken seriously, or that the things we were proposing didn’t get through. I always felt that our exchange of ideas was going to lead to continuous improvement.”
The next challenge: to join the world of the skills matrix
For Domenico Ronga and Zenit, the next step will be to implement the processes of assessment and self-assessment for employees, which will represent a true path for growth and career development, as well as a further step forward in the company’s relationship with its employees.
Once again, employees will have a central role: “Thanks to the new system, an employee will know about the activation of a specific evaluation path (at their request or by the decision of their manager), will know what the evaluation parameters set by their manager are, what skills are required for the role they individually play, and which of these skills they are lacking in; they will know that training activities can be organized to fill these gaps, at their own initiative or at the initiative of the manager or the HR department; and they will know what courses they will be enrolled in, and will have the assurance that they will receive feedback at the end which will certify their professional growth.”
Compared to traditional methods, which only call for a private “chat” with the manager every six months or every year, which discussion does not have a clear connection to the awarding of bonuses and promotions, using Altamira Performance increases the level of transparency and awareness on the part of employees. Furthermore, it makes possible a merit-based development process for human resources.
The most important requirement for putting together the skills matrix for such a diverse workforce as Zenit (where performance management will apply to everyone, from low-level workers to middle management) has been the ability to fully customize the evaluation platform.
“The start of this project will represent another historic transition for Zenit.”
Other Case Studies
Find out how other Altamira’s clients have successfully updated their HR management processes.