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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

HR Automation

Over the past five years we've made great progress from mostly a pencil & paper system to something that resembles modern automation. This year we're working hard on two initiatives that we believe will make our work more efficient and help turn about one position from clerical work to more value-added work such as training administration. Our two projects, both on the verge of full implementation, are the Rrecruiting and Automated Employment system (RAE) and ADP iPay.

RAE is a home-grown, full-blown recruiting solution written by Ray Ritz, an outside programmer, under the direction of Nick VanMaarth in IT. The project was shepherded in HR by Jack Leichty and Kristie Cantrell who do the majority of the company's recruiting. Several months in development, the system quietly went live last Friday. We're cleaning up data from the conversion of our old database to the new system, but soon applicants using our on-line employment application will see pre-screening questions and receive automated responses within 24 hours acknowledging their application and telling them if they qualify for more screening or not. The screening questions are customized for each opening, and free recruiters to more thoroughly screen fewer and more qualified applicants. Qualified applicants' applications are emailed through the system to the hiring supervisors for review, and the successful candidate's new-hire information, captured during the screening process, is automatically uploaded into ADP payroll, eliminating a time-consuming manual data entry task. Unsuccessful candidates deemed unemployable are archived in a non-active archive; and candidates deemed employable for some future position are maintained in an active archive. Managers and candidates will see more of RAE as we move forward.

ADP iPay is our automated payroll system that makes direct deposit more robust by eliminating all paper from the payroll process. Employees signed up for direct deposit can designate "paperless option" through iPay and never receive a paper check or check stub again. Instead, you'll receive an email at noon each Thursday of pay week letting you know that your pay information is available on-line from ADP's secure server. Imagine, no more lost checks, checks waiting for you after vacation or a long business trip, and deduction or W-2 information available to you or your spouse 24/7. Once fully implemented, not only will direct deposit and iPay improve the flow of payroll information to employees and their families, but it will also free up 20 hours of staff time per month used to handle and distribute paper checks and check stubs.

Here's a prediction (not an announcement); we'll be 100% on direct deposit and 50% on paperless iPay by the end of this fiscal year. Only 45 employees still receive live checks, and 30 of those are in the warehouse. We're set up already to pay employees without bank accounts via rechargeable debit card, and the warehouse participation in direct deposit is increasing rapidly. Call you Payroll section and see how your life improves with direct deposit and iPay.

Once automation of these processes is complete, we believe that 3/4 - 1 HR position can be converted from clerical work to that of Training Coordinator. This position will champion company training for all positions, schedule training sessions, secure trainers and materials, reserve rooms, and update employee files once training has occurred. We may also revive on-line organizational charts as part of this position's responsibilities.

So, there you have it. We continue to innovate and try to return more value for the same or less overhead money each year. You can help by agreeing with us that your affection for a paper paycheck is not as important as improving our skills and competitiveness across the workforce through better training. Call or email Robin Amon or Amy Lindsey to kick the paper habit.

Jim

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