Harmless Harvest is a food and beverage company that envisions a world where nutritious, clean, organic and healthy food and beverages are the standard rather than the exception; where all people involved in creating the product are treated with fairness; and the planet is treated harmlessly.
Throughout Kelly’s career, he has worked for companies at various stages of growth and in different industries. He started his career in financial services, hospitality, and now the consumer packaged goods industry. For him, it’s not about the size of the company or the industry—it’s about the mission and purpose of the organization.
Kelly has alternated between HR and operational roles, giving him an unique perspective on the impact that people can have when there is a shared mission and purpose. With his B.A. in Education and a M.A. in Servant Leadership, it’s no surprise that Kelly eventually found his calling in HR leadership roles.
“My purpose is to help individuals unlock their own potential and find pride in their work,” says Kelly.
When Kelly arrived at Harmless Harvest, he found that the company already had a strong mission-based culture. First and foremost, “I wanted to continue the great stuff that was already happening, not create change for change’s sake,” Kelly explains. At the same time, as with any start-up organization that is maturing, there was an opportunity to strengthen the HR team’s infrastructure and foundation. He saw this as critical in preparation for growth and to deepen how employees experience the company’s mission and purpose.
Throughout his career, Kelly had seen inspired employees drive the success of a company. If he could automate the basic payroll, benefits, and HR tasks, his team could focus on the human interactions that have a huge strategic impact on the business. He just needed the right HR platform to support his vision.
Kelly knew he needed to nail down some basics before his team could focus on strategy. They had a paper-based benefits enrollment process. Performance reviews happened in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. It took his payroll admin three days to process payroll on another payroll processor’s system, which they found to be inflexible and cumbersome.
Harmless Harvest already had a premium brand externally. Kelly and his team saw an opportunity to strengthen the employee brand and internal communication. As the company evolves and experiences rapid growth, it’s important to ground the team in a shared culture, mission and purpose. Kelly explains, “The hope is that employees experience our brand and culture in a positive way, every day.”
Employees logged into the PEO’s system to check their paystubs, and not much else. The company had no central hub to share company updates with employees, celebrate milestones, or publish company policies.
In his 15+ years in HR, Kelly had evaluated HR platforms many times, for organizations of all sizes. He knew Harmless Harvest’s evaluation would be a little bit different. Things moved faster, budgets were a little tighter, and employees expected a great experience.
Kelly had three primary evaluation criteria: speed of implementation, cost, and ability to support the end-to-end employee lifecycle. He wanted to save time and save money, and he hoped he’d be able to quickly refocus his team on delivering an exceptional employee experience.
Kelly was on a trip in Denver when he first saw Namely’s TV commercial. It was good timing. “The message of ‘HR for Humans’ immediately resonated. We shouldn’t be fearful of technology. We should use it to enable more human interaction.”
As he evaluated Namely, he found a new approach to HR that fit his needs far beyond what legacy providers could offer. But he admits, there was one additional factor that was personal for him.
“As a Gonzaga alum, I’m a huge fan of the underdog.” Kelly admires determination, scrappiness, and continual improvement. In Namely, he found a kindred spirit.
With Namely’s technology, “employees can make smarter benefits decisions,” says Kelly. They can also go in any time there’s a life event and make the updates themselves. The process is easier for everyone, and employees have the self-service they prefer.
It used to take three days to process payroll. With Namely, it takes Harmless Harvest just half a day. “I measure the success of payroll based on the time and frustration I see from my payroll admin. Both have gone down noticeably!”
Employees’ number one complaint about performance reviews? They didn’t feel managers took the time to read and truly consider the detailed self-evaluations they wrote. Harmless Harvest has automated performance reviews with Namely, and they require managers to read all the employees’ answers first. With Namely, the people team solved the top complaint, plus they now have time to train managers so every employee walks away from their review feeling valued. The most common feedback Kelly has heard is that the process is “night and day from anything we’ve ever experienced previously.”
“We’ve always been a company that celebrates each other’s wins,” says Kelly. “For example, our sales team is constantly fighting for shelf space in a competitive retail environment. Sales reps now post pictures of displays that are working to the Namely feed, and it inspires the rest of the team.” Harmless Harvest leverages the feed to share awards, customer feedback, upcoming events, and PR successes. Namely has become the place to find out what’s happening in the company. Posts come in daily, and the team is now using the appreciation feature to celebrate each other’s great work.
“Our founders created Harmless Harvest to be an ‘ecosystem-based business,’ benefiting consumers, producers, employees, and the planet alike. That’s a big, challenging mission for employees to rally around, and Namely helps us bring it to life.”
“I love that Namely is simple, user-friendly, and captures every important life moment and milestone for our team. I applaud the fact that this technology actually improves the human experience at work. From celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, to appreciating someone’s hard work, to simplifying the annual review process. Every little thing within Namely helps us all leverage technology to interact more personally.”
The Fair for Life certification, which Harmless Harvest has proudly achieved since 2014, is exclusive due to its rigorous standards. Harmless Harvest must provide fair wages and benefits for everyone in its “chain of custody” from US-based employees to producers in Thailand, and it must show continual year-over-year improvements in its impact to retain certification.
As a result, Harmless Harvest must find great employee benefits that are sustainable cost-wise, both today and in the future. It’s a challenging benefits problem, but Namely’s employee benefits team has helped Kelly find solutions. As a result, Kelly feels confident that Harmless Harvest can continue to evolve to meet the certification’s stringent standards without losing control of its costs.
On the practical side, Namely has improved the entire end-to-end employee lifecycle. Plus, “you could implement it with one person if you needed to,” says Kelly.
He then turns to the bigger picture. “I always look to change and disrupt in every role,” says Kelly. Kelly had worked with the big HR software players before and knew what they had to offer. With Namely, he rethought what he really wanted in an HR solution and then worked with Namely’s team to make it happen.
Says Kelly, “Namely is growing leaps and bounds, like we are. It makes me think hard about what I really need. When I share it, Namely’s team is responsive and makes the vision come to life.”
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