The Five Steps to Restructuring HR

When Joe Capp turned his HR team’s focus toward engaging with other employees, he breathed new life into a lagging department

Integrity, excellence, accountability, and initiative: these are the values that Joe Capp brings to the office every day and the ones echoed as core values for Meriéux NutriSciences. But upon entering his role as vice president of human resources – North America, Capp found that his values were not as readily shared by other members in his department.

When Capp was first hired, Meriéux’s HR department didn’t focus enough on employee development. “They had neither the plan nor the people capable of driving and influencing the initiatives and behaviors required to accomplish Meriéux NutriSciences’ goals,” Capp says. “As a result, employee engagement was low and turnover was high in our laboratories. This constant churn of people led to service errors, which disappointed our customers.”

Assess Everyone’s Needs

Rather than balking at the lagging department, Capp rolled up his sleeves and immersed himself in the task at hand. To find the root of the problem, he conducted independent research and face-to-face interviews with employees at all levels of the organization.

Joe Capp, VP, HR – North America at Meriéux NutriSciences

Capp credits his successful track record in sales as the key to this step. “The best salespeople don’t talk,” he says. “They listen.” Many of the issues Joe recognized in Meriéux NutriSciences’ culture resulted from a lack of communication between HR and employees and employees’ ignorance of how to handle HR issues. Breaking down those communication barriers helped Capp gain a thorough perspective on what programs were working and what could be improved or removed.

“When you’re trying to develop a solution, you should never go into it thinking, ‘I know what I’m doing. Let me handle this,’” Capp says. To effectively solve pain points, he says that it’s important to know why a solution is needed in the first place and then see how the products and services you offer can directly improve on those issues.

Set a Solid Strategy

Capp’s observations have allowed him to do just that. He was able to get a clear snapshot of what employees generally liked or disliked. Capp used this information, along with Meriéux NutriSciences’ objectives for future growth, to develop a new HR strategy within forty-five days, and the company’s leadership responded with sweeping approval.

Restructure and Repair

Capp knew he needed to prioritize restructuring the HR staff if the plan he’d outlined was going to get real traction. To reevaluate the department, Capp had to combine human interaction with data-driven tests and analyses. He is a proponent of psychometric testing for this purpose because it allows an unfiltered glance at an employee’s abilities and comfort zone, which is weighted in the pool of information collected throughout the entire application process.

The usefulness of these data points does not end when the individual gets hired. Rather, it is retained and referred to throughout the employee’s career. “Psychometric testing is just one data point that we use to evaluate an individual during our selection process,” Capp explains. “It is extremely helpful in understanding team dynamics and establishing a development plan for the individual.”

Assign, Design, and Align

With the company’s short- and long-term goals in mind, Capp invested in an HR team that shared that vision. To lead effectively, he first communicates objectives, team member roles, schedules, budgets, keys to success, and risks to his team. The duty that he prioritizes above all in his role is to secure the tools and resources that best empower his team to achieve the end result they envision.

In the early days of the new HR initiative, one of the key changes Capp made was to replace the company’s payroll system with Paychex. Capp recalls that the company’s existing system was so outdated that the vendor no longer supported maintenance services for that model of the product. Payroll errors created significant stress for employees, which prevented them from delivering their best work in the office or lab.

“The transition to Paychex has impacted the quality of life of our employees significantly,” Capp says. “We reduced the number of payroll errors each pay period by 80 percent within weeks of implementation.” Paychex also provided a streamlined onboarding system for new hires. Now, employees can focus more time and energy on getting acclimated to the company.

And once his team has the appropriate tools, Capp makes sure they feel empowered to use them. “I get out of their way,” he says with a laugh.

Build Up and Branch Out

Capp’s leadership has prepped Meriéux NutriSciences for further growth and achievement. Today, he builds programs and provides administrative support for his HR team as they work to impact profit, revenue, and operations. They continue to develop and test programs to enhance employee engagement by improving the day-to-day work environment. This includes moving away from the standard five-day, forty-hour work week parameters; creating systems to facilitate shared work across Meriéux NutriSciences’ largely remote workforce; and a host of other projects. The ultimate goal is to eliminate complications and frustrations that impede employee communication and collaboration.

Capp finds that the higher he moves within an organization, the more he becomes responsible for both strategy and people. Businesses are their people, he notes, and when an HR department is failing, the company suffers as a whole.

“Our HR team is leading the charge to ensure employee engagement is maximized,” Capp says. The difference is palpable, both within and beyond Meriéux NutriSciences’ walls.


When Joe Capp, vice president, human resources – North America, Mérieux NutriSciences, wanted to drive HR and business transformation, he considered and reviewed leading HCM companies. He selected Paychex for our robust HCM technology platform and our ability to manage the relationship long term. He was confident that our technology and support fits their current needs and scales with ease as their needs change.


Paychex, Inc. is a leading provider of human capital management solutions including payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services. By combining our innovative SaaS technology and mobility platform with scalable human resource solutions, Paychex empowers businesses to focus on their growth.