Gail Hairston

HR Office Takes Challenge to Heart

Published: Jul 16, 2013

See video

Video by UK Public Relations & Marketing

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 16, 2013) — The Paper Beast is starving where it once flourished in a suite of offices tucked in a basement corner of University of Kentucky’s Scovell Hall. Every day, as they maintain UK’s employee files and respond to community requests for verification of employment, the staff of Compensation and Employee Records celebrates that fact in their quiet, unassuming way.

 

The office has gone from being totally dependent on university funds to becoming nearly self sufficient in two short years. Two key elements were needed to accomplish this goal — a reliable online management of all employee records and a way to capitalize on the service the office provides to banks and financial institutions.

 

“Banks and financial institutions call us when an employee applies for a loan. We used to provide that information at no cost; now, we charge a nominal fee,” said Deborah Carwile, director of Compensation and Employee Records (CER). “In the last calendar year, we collected more than $100,000, enough to pay some CER employees without university funds. As the economy improves, particularly the housing market, I see that total growing.”

 

The office does not charge for agency, such as the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, or individual inquiries, including an employee’s inquiry into their own records.

 

When Carwile first heard the university’s challenge to find innovative, resource-saving ways to achieve the university’s goals, she took it as a personal mission. But with virtually no disposable budget, how could her department answer the university’s challenge? As supervisor, she had a vision, but no tools at hand to achieve her goal of a paper-free environment. Carwile’s relatively small staff of records clerks was virtually encased by five-foot tall, double-wide walls of filing cabinets, full of paperwork recording the daily changes to the careers of UK’s more than 12,000 faculty and full-time staff employees and thousands more part-time employees. Even in the digital age, fax machines clattered incessantly with requests coming in and confirmations going out. She knew going from on-paper to online was the answer, but how to break the paper chain?

 

Then, she met Neeharika Ilavala, a young IT specialist, recently hired by UK Human Resources. A native of India, Ilavala had earned her master’s in computer engineering at UK, then took a job in California. But Kentucky, specifically the University of Kentucky, had her heart, and Ilavala returned to UK, this time as an employee full of ideas. One of her first projects was in Employee Records. 

 

“This was exactly the kind of project I wanted. I love manipulating data, making work with it more efficient. It was perfect,” Ilavala said.

 

They started with a whiteboard and markers, mapping the personnel files and evaluating the dozens of daily requests from banks, financial institutions, government agencies and individuals seeking verification of university employment. Because the department’s work was done in notebooks and post-it notes, no one even knew how many requests the department received.

 

Scanning all the employee records into a manipulative database was step one. “After working on that every day for a year, we have scanned about one-third of our personnel files. In a couple of years, every UK employee’s file will be digital,” said Carwile.

 

Because the program was custom designed for UK by UK, little training was required when the system went online. In fact, it fit like a glove with virtually no adjustment period. The following highlights illustrate the department’s accomplishments from this pro­cess improvement:

·       Since inception in mid-2011, the Verification of Employment fee has generated over $175,000 in new revenue

·       Based on recent data, the department should see ongoing annual revenue of between $95,000 - $100,000

·       With the new system, internal and external customers receive more timely communication and follow up than with the previous paper-based process.

·       Internally, Employee Records team members can more easily communicate and collaborate with one another because of the shared online dashboard, increasing efficiency and ultimately enabling the team to do more with less.

 

“As we continue to strive for greater efficiency and higher levels of productivity, using digital and online tools will be key to meeting our goals,” Carwile said. “Over the next year, our HR team will help lead the university’s effort to bring virtually all aspects of the hiring and performance management process online, in a way that will make these processes simpler and easier to manage for everyone at the university.”

 

Several HR offices have initiated similar self-improvement programs. Below is just a sample. Learn more at Human Resources.

 

Creation and leadership of the multi-employer KYRX Coalition
Chief Benefits Officer Joey Payne and his pharmacy benefits team have organized and are leading a multi-employer (mainly universities and colleges) governmental purchasing coalition that is generating very significant savings for all member organizations over time. In addition to leading this effort, our institution also provides a unique additional benefit for coalition membership – free phone counseling for all member organizations’ health plan members, provided by our UK pharmacists (who are part of the Employee Benefits team here at UK). The UK-led KYRX coalition also provides a forum for member organizations to learn about best practices in pharmacy benefit management, to support plan members health and well-being. Get details at http://kyrx.org/.

 

New, free financial counseling

The Employee Benefits office recently introduced a free financial counseling service for UK employees. Learn more at http://www.uky.edu/HR/benefits/financial_counseling.html.

 

New technology-enabled smoking cessation counseling

The HR technology team recently developed custom software that supports the UK tobacco cessation counselor position. It has made the counselor's job much more efficient, by creating a database of all cases, tracking employee/client milestones, setting outreach "triggers" and more. It has also improved efficiency and increases timely communication with tobacco cessation clients.

 

New online time entry/leave requests/online performance evaluations/online hiring processes 

These are very timely and touch virtually everyone. First, the HR/myUK/SAP team recently launched online time entry (for hourly-paid employees) and leave requests (all employees) on the campus side (non-UK HealthCare). This moves all of those paper-based processes entirely online. This is a huge transition that is ongoing as we speak. 

 

Other significant paper-to-online "upgrades" will occur over the next six to eight months. Online performance evaluations and new online processes for virtually all aspects of the hiring process are in development.

 

“It's not just about getting rid of paper. Moving online also will equip decision makers with much better and more timely reporting,” said John Buzzard, HR communications officer.

 

see20innovation207-16-13.jpghr_records_0017.jpg
August
 
 
 
 
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Wrapped Art
Sun
4
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
5
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
6
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
7
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
8
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
9
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
10
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
11
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
12
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
UK Working Moms Connection
Tue
13
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Wed
14
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
15
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
16
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
17
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
18
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
19
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Tue
20
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
Wed
21
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Thu
22
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
Parent and Families Reception
Residence Hall Floor Meeting
Off-campus Freshmen Check-in
K Team Meeting: K Week Kick-off
Death By Chocolate
Fri
23
Employee Educational Assistance Award
A Parent's Guide to Life after August 23
Campus Safety Information Session
Donut Avoid The Study
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 1
See Blue...See Community
Succeeding in A Large Lecture Classroom
Horses, Bluegrass, Basketball, and More: Welcome to Kentucky
Success at Any Age: College Tips for Adult Learners
Write Right: Tips for Writing Well in College
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 2
How to Graduate in Four Years
Parental Involvement in Fraternity and Sorority Life
Parents Watch for Warning Signs: Suicide Prevention for College Students
Preparing to be a Pre-Professional
Presentation U!: Where YOU are the Ultimate Presentation
Religious Life at UK
Successful Off-Campus Living
The Transfer Student Cruise: Navigating your way through UK
UK Parking & Transportation 101
You Heard It Here First: Tips From A Faculty Member
New Student Induction Ceremony
Minority Student Welcome
Transfer Student Cookout
K Team Meeting: K Week Overview
Men's Soccer vs. Georgia State
Big Blue U
Campus Ruckus
Campus Ruckus
Sat
24
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Jackass 3
LNFS Presents: Godzilla
Pedalpalooza
K Team Meeting: Lunch and Campus Tour
Center for Community Outreach: Do Good, Start Here.
UK Lex-Mart
Alternative Service Breaks: See the World, Change the World
From the Real World to the Amazing Race, Don't Wipeout: Your Advisor, Advising, and You
Blackboard Basics
Student Government Association Information Session
EMPOWER: Women’s Leadership Retreat Interest Session
Student Center Spectacular
Student Center Spectacular
Sun
25
Employee Educational Assistance Award
UK FUSION
UK Parking & Transportation 101
University of Kentucky Association for Transfer Students Interest Session
Candy, Condoms, Coffee
Cleaner, Healthier, Cheaper, Faster: Why Bicycling is the Best Way to Get Around Campus (and how to do it safely)
Working on Campus
K Team Meeting: Dinner with your K Team
Meijer Mania
Mon
26
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Last Day to Drop a Course with 100% Refund
Chem at UK Cafe-N-OJ with the Student American Chemical Society
Coffee (or Coke), Cookies, & Communication!: Come see blue. at Presentation U!
Don't Blow Yourself Up: Surviving Chemistry
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
OMG! Did I Just E-Mail That to My Professor???
Surviving Your First Year and Beyond: Strategies To Do Well in Your Classes
Sustainable UK: Exploring Environmental Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (CAFE)
A User Guide for Your Mathematics Class
Discover the UK Art Museum
K Team Meeting: Common Reading Experience Discussion
Common Reading Introduction for International Students
Transfer Student Meet and Greet
We Are UK
Rec 'N Roll 2014
Big Blue Bingo Night
Mic Check
Tue
27
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
LNFS Presents: Jurassic Park
First Day of Classes
Open House - Special Collections Research Center
King Cookout
Campus Outreach
Opening Act: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Wed
28
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Her
LNFS Presents: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Student Involvement Fair
OrgSync Info session
LGBTQ* Welcome Back
Dive Into Diversity!
CATalyst's Dive Into Diversity Session
Residence Hall Floor Meetings
Thu
29
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Sea of Blue
One Last Beach Bash: RSA Block Party
LNFS Presents: Team America: World Police
Pills and Pizza
K Week Event: Pills and Pizza
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Wichita State
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Francis Marion
Fri
30
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Neighbors
The Tailgate "Kick-Off"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Butler
Kentucky Football vs. UT-Martin
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Virginia Tech
Sat
31
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ohio
Men's Soccer vs. Belmont
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aug 30
LNFS Presents: Neighbors 08/30/2014
Reset Page