Founded in 2005 by entrepreneur James Hutton, Hutton Forest Products Inc. is a leading distributor of wood products across Canada and the United States. The brand enjoys a reputation for high-quality material, reliable distribution, innovation and specializes in environmentally friendly products. It was featured in Profit 500’s Fastest-Growing Companies in Canada list in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
The company supplies products, such as particle boards, plywood, medium density fibreboards, and thermofused melamine to businesses that make laminate flooring, furniture, countertops, wall coverings, kitchen cabinets, door parts, etc.
Hutton Forest Products became a Peninsula Canada client in 2019. The company currently has under 25 employees.
Like most small businesses, Hutton Forest Products did not have a full-fledged HR department and signed up for Peninsula Canada’s HR outsourcing services.
“Being a small company, we all wear two hats here,” says Ellen Schaetzle, the director of logistics and HR support at Hutton Forest Products. “I’m the director of logistics but given my experience hiring and managing people, the company asked me to take on the role of HR support through Peninsula. When I first started, I didn’t know as much about HR management,” says Ellen.
“Whenever I’ve reached out to Peninsula with questions or for HR advice, I’ve found them to be very helpful and informative. It gave me a lot of confidence knowing that when I was doing the job of HR support, I was doing 110 per cent. If I ever have any questions, Peninsula’s advisers are available 24/7,” she says.
Ellen says Peninsula Canada’s support has helped free up her time to focus on her work. “If I have to take time out to write an acceptance of resignation or to write a contract for a new employee or to update manuals and policies, there is no way I could get all that done in a day and do my job,” she points out.
She says also appreciates the variety of ways in which professional HR support is available to her. “There are also opportunities where I could write my own letter, if I want to, and Peninsula will review it for me. And give me advice on improving it or rewording it. They don’t step over the line. They tell you what you should do, they can also do it for you, they can also review it for you. So, they give different options, which is really cool.”
Besides saving them time, Peninsula Canada’s support has also helped the company save money, says Ellen. “To have an onsite HR person dealing with all aspects of HR management is quite costly. But Peninsula’s affordable support is like having an HR department, only off-site,” she says.
Besides Peninsula’s 24/7 advice line and support, Ellen says using an online HR management software like Peninsula’s BrightHR has made their day-to-day HR tasks quick and easy.
“There are options in BrightHR to roll over vacation time with ease. There is unlimited cloud storage space that helped us go paperless. I can upload documents on BrightHR and notify the employee who can download and view it from anywhere. There is also a reminder feature for when employee probation periods are over, and a contract review is due. BrightHR keeps us on track,” says Ellen.
Health and Safety
Like most businesses, Hutton Forest Products, too, was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of their customers had to shut down. But being an essential business, their employees were required to come into work every day.
“We signed on for Peninsula’s health and safety service just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak,” recalls Ellen. “It was a life-saver.”
“In a situation like the pandemic that none of us was trained in, we worked through it well together as a team. We got our health and safety polices in place; we were kept up to date. It was great. Peninsula really stepped up to the challenge and handled everything with professionalism,” says Ellen.
“We did not have one pandemic outbreak in our office of 25 people. I think it was because we were proactive, we had Peninsula backing us and telling us what to do, what signs to post, etc. We followed everything. Peninsula’s due diligence and excellence saved us from being sick,” she says.
The Peninsula Service
Ellen says she has already recommended Peninsula’s services to other businesses.
“For small companies, it is a big overhead cost to have a full-time employee to manage their HR,” she says.
Ellen says having Peninsula Canada in her corner gives her peace of mind and the confidence that they are compliant with provincial law. “It’s a secure feeling when I’m handing a document to somebody who is leaving the company or joining the company. I know the company is protected because we have Peninsula’s support,” she says.