Iggy Svoboda

Senior Manager of Payroll and Mobility , Clif Bar

Supernova Award Category: 
Future of Work - Employee Experience
The Organization: 

The idea for CLIF® Bar came in 1990 when Gary Erickson, an avid cyclist, realized he couldn’t eat another unappetizing, hard-to-digest bar. Experimenting with ingredients, Gary found a recipe for a tasty, nutritious bar to sustain energy. He named his creation Clif Bar to honor his father, Clifford, who introduced him to wilderness adventures and encouraged him to follow his passions in life.


Launching in 1992, Clif Bar is now a leader among health and lifestyle bars.

Headquartered in Emeryville, California, Clif Bar & Company employs 1,172 team members in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Prioritizing doing business in a better way, our CLIF Bar Family Foundation supports farmers and non-profits dedicated to sustaining the planet.

The Problem: 

Since 2014, Clif Bar & Company had been successfully using UltiPro from Ultimate Software for HR, compensation, onboarding, payroll, and time and labor management (TLM).

By 2016 we opened our doors to a state-of-the-art bakery in Twin Falls, Idaho. After 25 years of only using co-packers and running a business of mainly white-collar workers, we were faced with 24/7 production lines comprised of an hourly workforce.

While UltiPro’s Core HR and payroll services kept up with the launch of new bakeries, we needed a more robust timekeeping solution to meet the complex manufacturing demands of a global, traveling workforce.

Clif Bar brought me on board in 2016 due to my expertise in building operations that scale. When the company acquired another bakery in Indianapolis, we needed to find a more robust timekeeping solution. My challenge is that I did not come from a manufacturing background. Diving in to learn all I could about Clif Bar’s operations, I discovered that production managers were using spreadsheets, paper forms, and handwritten notes to manage schedules and attendance. Policies were being inconsistently followed, reporting was impossible, and records were often lost.

Therefore, production was suffering with labor costs not under control. With a top-of-the-line TLM system, the production managers would have the tools they need to effectively maintain production and control costs to achieve goals.

The Solution: 

In 2019, I began a year of research to find the best TLM solution. Being family and employee-owned, we needed to survey all employees to solicit input. We developed a team that grew from 25 to 40 people including our CFO as project sponsor, our payroll manager as project lead, and a cross-functional team of members and stakeholders. An RFP was sent to 5 finalists identifying the following criteria:

  1. Functionality-ease of use
  2. Security and privacy
  3. Scalability
  4. Ability for future integration and automation
  5. System integrity and stability
  6. Mobile capabilities
  7. ROI: quantitative and qualitative
  8. Customer service
  9. Technology vision & culture alignment
  10. Vendor stability and referenceable customers

Our team evaluation as well as the overall vendor experience showed that Kronos met every single requirement. They were the TLM leader in manufacturing, food and beverage, were family-founded, and had great cultural synergy. We decided on Kronos TLM.

The Results: 

In March 2020, Clif Bar signed a contract with Kronos to implement Workforce Dimensions. As I kicked off the implementation, Kronos and Ultimate Software announced their merger to become UKG, taking place amidst the growing COVID pandemic.

We were assigned an implementation partner, Workforce Insights (WFI), along with a customer success manager (CSM). With their help I was able to run the entire project remotely – key for keeping a project of this magnitude on-time and under-budget while the world of work changed, globally, overnight with COVID.

Clif Bar went live on September 28, 2020 with:

    • Timekeeping Hourly, Absence, Advanced Scheduling
    • Outlook plug-in
    • InTouch timeclocks

Key to our success was a change management strategy led by my team and developed in conjunction with our UKG implementation team. This rollout included:

    • ALL team members being mobile-enabled fostering early frontline engagement
    • Investing in extra adoption resources from UKG
    • A “Trainer-the-Trainer” program leveraging PowerPoint templates so everyone was thoroughly coached and prepared for go-live
    • Training just before go-live, a critical time to ensure successful adoption rates and reduce the number of questions or challenges
    • Leveraging our customer success manager to guide the implementation alongside me and our Clif Bar HR leaders

BEFORE: Managers were unable to anticipate schedule changes due to the use of spreadsheets, paper forms, and handwritten notes.

AFTER: We have already realized an ROI of 11% decline in overtime per employee, per week, over a 12-month period, due to more timely and efficient production scheduling.

BEFORE: Because we received time off requests on paper forms, policies were being inconsistently followed and reporting was impossible.

AFTER: Almost immediately, the number of employee time-off requests submitted via paper was eliminated, as employees could access Dimensions from anywhere, reducing the time and expense of manual processes and increasing operational efficiencies.

BEFORE: International teams were at a disadvantage with no convenient means to access their accrual data remotely.

AFTER: With self-service all employees were able to ask for schedule changes anytime from any device, fostering greater engagement from our growing global workforce and providing confidence that we could scale TLM for future global growth.

BEFORE: Reporting involved time-consuming manual processes.

AFTER: Attendance records were consolidated and configured with rules to generate automatic alerts. Payroll reports provided real-time data, reducing accounting workload with accurate financials for business leaders.

The Technology: 

Clif Bar utilized UKG Dimensions for self-scheduling, timekeeping, predictive analytics, and compliance.

Disruptive Factor: 

Most disruptive: the day after we signed a contract with Kronos to implement Workforce Dimensions, we learned of Kronos’ merger with Ultimate Software and had second thoughts.

Unfamiliar with what might lie ahead, I was worried that we might have jumped the gun in going with Kronos. What if the merger wasn’t successful? What would that mean for our implementation and ROI? It isn’t every day that an organization embarks upon a project as pivotal as our TLM implementation, taking place on the heels of a merger during a global pandemic. Yet this “best of both worlds” merger turned out to be a key ingredient in our success.

UKG’s combination of technology and serving people lies at the heart of this project. Our implementation team was comprised of partners who listened to our needs, strived to meet our business goals, and built a connection that balanced innovative technology with a people-centric culture. We delivered a TLM solution on-time and under-budget with immediate ROI to our organization. Equally important, we found a valued partner in UKG whose culture aligned with ours.

We measure our success based on Our Five Bottom Line Aspirations: Sustaining our PEOPLE, COMMUNITY, PLANET, BUSINESS, and BRANDS. Working with UKG, we have seen several upgrades to improve processes. These ROI efficiencies ensure we may re-allocate those savings toward programs that align with our mission to better our world.

Shining Moment: 

I am proud of what we have accomplished in partnership with UKG, especially being recognized as a 2021 UKG Innovation Award winner, an honor that recognizes customers leveraging UKG technology to add value to their organizations.

We define success by:

    • #1 nutrition bar company
    • 1,050 employee-owners
    • #1 private funder of organic research in the U.S.
    • $60 M cash donated to Do Good since 2000
    • 18 years climate-neutral business operations

About Clif Bar

For nearly 30 years, Clif Bar & Company has crafted nutritious and organic food for CLIF®, CLIF Kid®, and LUNA® brands. As a Five Aspirations, five-bottom line business, Clif Bar is committed to sustaining its people, community, planet, brands, and business. For more information, please visit www.clifbar.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,and YouTube.