How Gumbaya World is managing business growth with HR3

Gumbuya World is Victoria’s newest theme park. Less than an hour from Melbourne, it promises visitors a fun day out with 52 species of animals and rides in the middle of the Australian bush.

What most day trippers don’t think about is that Gumbuya World is also a fast-growing business, and behind the scenes, it’s the people that make it tick - and that result in complex payroll needs.

“We had 200 employees at Christmas in 2017 - which we’ll exceed this year - and also have a vision to grow to 500 plus employees in three years ,” head of people and culture Michelle Jacobs says. 

“Our workforce includes full-time and part-time workers, contractors, seasonal workers and volunteers, so we need a payroll system that can stay on top of that growth and complexity.”

Image by Gumbuya World via

Image by Gumbuya World via

Image by Gumbuya World via

Image by Gumbuya World via

A scale and time problem

Gumbuya World recently went to market looking for a new payroll and HR administration system.  Previously using Xero, Jacobs says its capacity to scale was limited to about 200 employees.

Adding in an extra challenge to the search for a payroll provider, Gumbuya World also needed to source and implement a time and attendance system that met its needs at the same time.

“We wanted to find new payroll and time and attendance software to cut down on administration and free up time; we basically wanted to streamline every admin process we possibly could.”

“We also needed to be sure that our payroll and HR administration software could keep up to date with compliance changes and changes to the tax system, like Single Touch Payroll,” she said.

Michelle Jacobs, Head of People and Culture. Image via LinkedIn.

Michelle Jacobs, Head of People and Culture. Image via LinkedIn.

Searching for and selecting HR3

HR3 was selected as Gumbuya World’s new cloud-based payroll management partner after an extensive search involving all major players in payroll management in the Australian market. Jacobs says HR3 met requirements for two main reasons.

“Firstly, we felt HR3 was big enough and dynamic enough to make changes as required, to implement changes based on regulations, and stay on top of those in advance,” she says.

“While everybody said they did those things, we spoke to people who had implemented a number of different systems, and HR3 was one of the few that actually delivered on what they promised.

The other reason was also important, and very simple. Service. “HR3 was also the right size to provide more personal service, and it was the support and after sales service that it came down to.”

Implementation, the right way.

HR3’s service impressed Gumbuya World during the software implementation process.

“The accessibility of our HR3 implementation person - Michael Sena - really impressed us. I’m sure he had a lot of other competing priorities, but we never felt that way - it was like we were his only client during that time, and I know what wouldn’t have been the case,” Jacobs says.

Gumbuya World management also felt like HR3 was focused on outcomes, not hours.

“Rather than counting the hours spent on implementation - what was budgeted for and paid for - HR3 was all about making sure the product met our needs and partnering with us as a client. 

“They were more focused on making sure the implementation of HR3 was a success; they weren’t about hours, they were about getting the job done right.”

Rating the results of HR3

HR3’s usability has made it easy for Gumbuya World’s HR and payroll team to adopt. Jacobs says the software’s wizards help to make tasks simple and the reporting function is very good.

“It’s been very user-friendly. I personally use the time and attendance software more often, but for small administration tasks even for a non-finance person I find it very simple to use. I could run payroll very easily myself using the system and I have no exposure to that.

There have also been immediate bottom line results for the Gumbuya World business.


“The main thing would be the efficiencies we have gained from HR3. In tandem with the new time and attendance system - Riteq - we have gone from delivering payroll in three days, to half a day, and we expect in future to reduce that further to only a couple of hours.”

The time savings and efficiency gains don’t end with payroll processing.

 “If there are after pay queries, it’s very easy to have a look and see what’s happened - you don’t need to rely on a finance person. Also, HR3’s accuracy means we are not getting those after pay queries, so that’s probably saving us another day on an off-pay week because we got things right the first time.

Image by Gumbuya World via

Image by Gumbuya World via

All things to all people

Jacobs says she would recommend HR3 to other businesses and it can be “all things to all people”.

“I would definitely recommend HR3 to anybody looking, and not just for organisations that are looking to implement a time and attendance system at the same time,” Jacobs says. “While we needed time and attendance because we have staff clocking in, clocking out and seasonal workers doing five hours here and five hours there, HR3 is a solid stand-alone payroll system.”

“If you have a business, a not-for-profit, or any business with more standard working hours and you don’t need a time and attendance system, then HR3 is really all things to all people.”

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