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
November
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
Sat
2
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Sun
3
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Mon
4
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Tue
5
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Appalachian Forum with Dr. Fran Ansley
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Wed
6
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
Thu
7
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Circle of Love Name Distribution
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Fri
8
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
Sat
9
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
Sun
10
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Mon
11
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Tue
12
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
#UKEDTALKS: International Opportunities for Education Majors
Leadership Assessment
Wed
13
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
Chili and Pie Cook-Off Supper
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
Thu
14
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Fri
15
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
16
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
Sun
17
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
UK Rep Bands Concert
College of Agriculture, Food & Environment 2014 Celebration of Land-Grant Research
Amanda Rogers, "Black Flags, ISIS 'Swag' & Jihadi Rap: Marketing Militancy after the Arab Spring"
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
Mon
18
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
Education Abroad Open House
CatWatch Party
Appalachian Forum and Film Screening of "Up the Ridge"
Tue
19
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
International Games Day
Global Design with Phil Duncan
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Wed
20
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
International Education Week Keynote Speaker: Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education at USAID
Tobacco-free Tailgate 5 Year Anniversary
Bollywood Night
Thu
21
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
MEAT.
Fri
22
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
23
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Sun
24
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Mon
25
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Multicultural Student Thanksgiving Dinner
Tue
26
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Wed
27
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thu
28
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Fri
29
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas
Sat
30
 
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 

Repeats every week until Sat Nov 29 2014 except Sat Sep 20 2014, Sat Oct 18 2014.
Sat, 11/29/2014

Sat, 11/29/2014

Mon, 12/01/2014

Tue, 12/02/2014

Reset Page