It’s game night. The parking lot’s full. There are orange and blue-painted faces everywhere. Kids on their dads’ shoulders are waving flags. Jumbo dogs are flying off the rollers. You hear the roar of the crowd as you walk out. Then comes the rush of excitement. You look down as the players take the field. These are your people. This is your team.
Forty-seven years. That’s how long the Denver Broncos’ home-game sell-out streak has been going. Rocky Mountain Region fans love their team, and with good reason. Since 1984, the Broncos have had the highest winning percentage in the NFL. Twenty-one winning seasons, 13 divisional titles, nine conference championships, seven Super Bowl appearances, and glorious wins during the 1997 and 1998 seasons, and most recently in 2015.
“The Denver Broncos bring this community together. Whether they’re talking about it on the radio, or watching it on TV, or attending other events in our community,” says Justin Webster, the team’s Chief Financial Officer.
The team does more than win on the field, they also win in the community. The Broncos have donated $30 million and thousands of staff hours back to the community over the years, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club, and helping out the Denver Rescue Mission.
“Yes, we have a football team that plays here and that's really, really good. But it's the people that make this place what it is,” says Ethan Honaman, Guest Relations Manager at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Taking care of its people has always been a top priority for the Broncos. The team’s workforce swells to 1,500 during the football season – a group of dedicated staff who work long hours to ensure the fan experience is top-notch. Building a good employee experience has been a focus for Nancy Svoboda since she joined the team as the EVP of Human Resources in 2013. But without the proper systems in place to support the team’s growth and the changing workforce, staying at the top of the game was proving challenging.
“We have a winning tradition at the Broncos. But when I joined the team, we weren't winning in our HR processes,” she says. “We had three legacy systems – payroll, HR, and a time recording that didn't integrate. It was creating a lot of errors and redundancies that, quite honestly, were very painful because of the time they were taking.”
When you’re dealing with NFL players payroll, even the smallest mistake can be very costly. They also bring other complicating factors, including multi-state taxation. Manually processing a payroll of the Broncos’ size and complexity was starting to take its toll.
There were other pain points, too, among them managing the influx and onboarding of hundreds of seasonal employees, and keeping track of staff availability and scheduling for games and events. “Imagine a spreadsheet of over 20 events that are taking place in the stadium over the course of a few months,” says Honaman. “Imagine hundreds of employees emailing in their availability, and I have to piece it together.”
Svoboda knew something had to change. “The moment that got me to realize that I needed a better system started when we were dealing with some compliance issues with the Affordable Care Act,” she says. “The players are handled very differently in that case. I was at home on a weekend entering it all manually. I left, came back, went into the file, and everything I had entered was gone. That’s when I thought, ‘I can't do this anymore. I have to have technology that really supports the needs of our business.’ That was the first thing that got me to the conversation with our CFO. Because what else is going to be out there from a compliance standpoint that we need to get ahead of?”
The team started scouting for an integrated solution that could help them increase efficiency, reduce errors, and manage compliance.
“We went out to five different providers and we chose Ceridian because we really felt they could meet our business needs,” says Svoboda. “We also felt the cultures of Ceridian and the Broncos were a great match. Yes, we need to get everybody paid, but it's a lot of work to get there, and we just felt like we could win with Ceridian.”
Honaman was a bit more reluctant, but learning how Dayforce could help him manage time and attendance for games and events, and improve communication between employees and managers through the mobile app, put his mind at ease. “It's going to make my life a lot easier. It's going to tremendously reduce the emails that I send which I'm very, very excited about.”
As the Broncos implement Dayforce and eliminate many of their time-consuming manual processes, they’re finding more time for reporting, analysis, and planning. “I'm looking forward to having more challenging things in my job than just processing a paycheck,” says Payroll Administrator Jennifer Brunetti. “Having Dayforce will allow me to have more time to be able to take on more challenging projects.”
For Justin Weber, Broncos’ CFO, having increased data visibility will mean better insights, and a better sense of where the efficiencies are.
Honaman started his career with the Broncos as an usher, and he likes to pay a visit to his old section once in a while. “We have a lot of the same people that come to the same exact seats every single game. I want to make sure they're still having a good experience.”
The unwavering commitment to their fans is something that hasn’t changed in the team’s 50-plus year history. But while tradition matters, the team knows it’s change and innovation that will keep them in front of the pack, living their values.
“What I expect to get out of using Dayforce is to have a winning employee experience," Svoboda says. “We really want people to feel connected and know and understand our mission and our vision. Hopefully, the technology can help with that. We want to make sure that any employee who chooses to make the Denver Broncos their home have that positive experience that goes back to the culture we're trying to create.”