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Retaining key people while your company is growing at 175%

Nick Stanley
by, Nick Stanley

Epicurean Dairy are a New Zealand-based gourmet dairy company, marketing their products under The Collective brand.

Started in 2009 by two entrepreneurial chefs, Angus Allan and Ofer Shenhav, Epicurean first quest was to create extraordinarily tasty yoghurt and within 10 months, they had NZ’s best-selling gourmet yoghurt.

Their range has since expanded into cheese, dips, and other fermented products, and The Collective can be found in stores and restaurants in NZ, the United Kingdom, Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East.

With such rapid growth, Epicurean needed a comprehensive HR system to help their in-house team.

“We realised we needed additional support,” says Epicurean's HR Coordinator, Jane Coulter. “MyHR was pitched at the right time as we were growing. We didn’t need to look at other offerings.”

That was two-and-a-half years ago. In that time, they’ve grown from a business of 80 employees solely in NZ, to having an office in the UK, and over 140 employees in the two countries.

“MyHR’s efficient administration and on-call advice has eased our growing pains and ensured the business keeps running smoothly,” Jane says.

Staying compliant

One of the major benefits of MyHR's service is the ability to keep Epicurean up-to-date with any changes to NZ's employment law landscape, so the business is always compliant with current legislation.

“We’re a food exporter, so it’s really important that we dot our Is and cross our Ts when it comes to compliance,” says Jane.

Driving employee retention

Epicurean recognise that the strength of their business relies on hiring and retaining talented people.

“MyHR's service helps the company make good recruitment and performance decisions and it encourages diligence and consistency in decision-making,” Jane says.

Since Epicurean signed up, MyHR has provided them with key employee retention strategies as well as over 170 employment agreements for new and existing workers.

“MyHR’s ability to quickly and consistently produce tailored employment agreements means we have peace of mind, knowing that this is taken care of,” says Jane. “It also means we can move quickly when we spot a good candidate in the market.”

She says Epicurean are constantly promoting and expanding people’s responsibilities, and MyHR’s intimate knowledge of the business means they can give accurate documents to communicate with their team.

“Our people are our biggest asset,” says Paul McCarthy, Epicurean's HR Manager. “We need to make sure that they're working in a safe environment and feel comfortable raising their concerns with us.”

MyHR's experience has helped us make the people decisions that are best for the business and best for our team.”

Helping with staff issues

In any large business, issues with staff performance and behaviour are bound to crop up.

MyHR has helped Epicurean with many disciplinary procedures, on issues ranging across the spectrum of poor performance to serious misconduct.

Paul says this support has helped them align employees' behaviour with company expectations and has enabled the HR team to hold people to account if their performance falls below par.

“With MyHR’s help, we’ve fairly and safely removed non-performers from our business,” he says. “There has not been a successful personal grievance against a MyHR process with Epicurean.”

On-call support and advice

Being able to discuss important employment issues with MyHR's team of experts has been crucial.

“Professionally, we appreciate the ability to discuss these issues with the MyHR team. It seems there’s nothing they haven’t seen before,” Paul says.

“Being able to call up and talk to another professional, who knows our business like we do, is invaluable.”

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