Zavida is a Canadian coffee roasting company, with its headquarters and manufacturing plant based in Concord, Ontario, and an additional site in Montreal from a recent M&A. As a traditional company employing factory workers—some of whom have been with the company for 30 years—everything was paper-based and manual. They had paper-based employee files and time off request sheets, did performance reviews on paper, and posted announcements on a bulletin board. With a one-person HR team managing all things HR across two sites and the company in a growth phase, it was clear they needed to modernize and streamline their HR processes. Zavida’s HR Manager, Brittney Sim, had used Bob at a former company and understood the value it could bring to Zavida, so she made her case to the CEO. Implementing Bob transformed Zavida’s HR processes and company culture, and their people love it too.

Founded in
Ontario, Canada
What they do
Coffee roaster and wholesaler
In a nutshell
Zavida is a specialty coffee roaster and wholesaler. Since 1980, Zavida has been manufacturing premium roast coffees, including harvesting, processing, and roasting the beans to create a variety of bold blends and flavors that they sell around the world.


What they do
Coffee roaster and wholesaler

Introducing an HR software solution to a traditional workforce

Zavida’s workforce has corporate employees who run the business and traditional workers who work on the factory floor. Zavida’s factory workers didn’t have computer access during the workday, and several didn’t own a computer or have an email address. How could Zavida engage their people to embrace a digital HR platform as part of their daily work?

Brittney understood the challenges of implementing an HR platform for their factory workers and took a slow and steady approach that ensured everyone received training and support. Before implementation, she trained the management team on how to use Bob. She gave them access to the platform two weeks before launching it company-wide to ensure they felt comfortable using Bob and could answer questions from their teams. 

To get their factory workers started, she set them up with email addresses and filled out their profiles with basic information taken from payroll. Then, she invited them to a meeting where she explained more about Bob, showed them how to add their superpowers and hobbies, and explained how it will help them to get to know each other better. She also showed them how to use Bob to request time off in place of the paper-based forms they had used before. 

As part of rolling out Bob, the company made WiFi, laptops, and tablets available for their people on the factory floor and encouraged them to also use Bob’s mobile app for easy access on the go. An incredible 80 percent of their people downloaded the app and use it regularly to engage with each other, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and request time off. 

After a short learning curve, Zavida’s people have embraced Bob. Brittney explains, “We had this one employee over 60 years old who didn’t know how to use a computer. He didn’t even have an email address. We gave him an email and set him up on Bob, and now he’s on Bob the whole time! He comments on the pictures and wishes everyone a happy birthday. He loves Bob and was just so thankful that someone took the time to show him how to use it.” And as for the rest of their people, Brittney added, “Bob just makes it fun for our employees. It’s like their own social platform for work.”

“That’s why I chose Bob. I was used to it, loved the platform, and never wanted to work without it. One of the first things I said to the CEO was that I need Bob, and it was an easy sell.”
Brittney SimHR Manager Zavida

Streamlining HR processes from onboarding to payroll

With just a one-person HR team responsible for the welfare of employees on two sites, manually running HR using emails and spreadsheets took up too much time. Zavida needed a solution to help them automate HR and ramp up their processes in line with their growth. 

Using Bob, Zavida has streamlined their HR processes across the board, from onboarding to performance management to payroll. Now, when they have a new starter, rather than HR needing to write an email to IT, an automated notification is sent that informs IT to contact the new hire’s manager to see what equipment they need. They’ve also set up their task lists in both English and French so that their people in Montreal can keep working in their native language. 

Zavida has also upgraded their performance reviews from a paper-based system. They created a custom review using the same questions they had used in their paper-based reviews, as they wanted to keep it as close to the previous process as possible without introducing too much change. However, rather than just the top-down review they had before, they added self-reviews to give their people a voice for the first time. The company ran a training session on how to fill out the self-review in Bob and gave their people time to work on it during working hours so they wouldn’t have to invest their own time. Zavida has also introduced KPIs and goals as part of the performance management process, which managers and employees define together. Goals can include learning a new skill, such as how to use a new machine, or taking a course in computers or Health and Safety. They’ve seen a great response to this initiative, with their people feeling appreciated and empowered to learn new skills. 

Bob has also helped Zavida to stay compliant, providing an easy way to send out updates to their people and a single source of truth for employee data. Brittney explains, “In the last couple of months, new policies have been released in Ontario, and it’s easy to send those out to our people using Bob. There’s also compliance when it comes to payroll. In the past, I had to keep files of everyone’s timesheets, but now we can just refer back to Bob. Also, Bob has a trail, so I can go back and see the changes if I delete something. And, when we are audited, they are happy with Bob and the data it provides us for compliance purposes.” 

Bob has helped Zavida to modernize their HR processes, engage their people to become more computer-savvy, easily communicate company-wide in English and French, and stay compliant with new policies and legislation. And they look forward to using even more Bob features as the company grows.   

Main takeaways

  • Bob helped Zavida modernize their HR processes and save time.
  • 80 percent of Zavida’s people have downloaded the mobile app and love using Bob as a social platform for work.
  • Zavida moved from paper-based performance reviews to running performance reviews in Bob and introduced self-reviews in addition to manager reviews, giving their people a voice.
  • Using Bob, Zavida can create tasks and send comms easily in English and French for their Ontario and Montreal offices.
  • Bob provides an easy way for Zavida to update their people about Ontarios’s new policies and stay compliant.