BenefitsEnabling TechnologyEngaged WorkforceMulti-process HRSourcing

Cleaning up HR’s Back Office

California Waste Solutions turns to Emportal’s HRMS solution for automating services.

by Ruth Liu

California Waste Solutions
Address: 1005 Timothy Drive, San Jose, CA 95133
Phone: (408) 292-0830
Fax: (408) 292-2654
Web Address: www.calwaste.com
Number of Employees: 300
Description of Primary Products or Services: Recycling and waste management
Date of Outsourcing Commencement: July 25, 2007
Provider: Emportal

Please describe the circumstances that led to your company turning to HRO.
Being that we are striving to pursue additional city contracts for growth and development into a larger organization, we felt Emportal would help us automate and streamline HR processes so we can concentrate on our HR core competencies, meet the challenges of business change, and add value from a strategic standpoint. We were using an HRMS that wasn’t working for us (no integration with our payroll application), and, therefore, it can’t be relied on as the HR system of record. We use the payroll system as our data source and prepare HR reports manually. With payroll in our finance organization, HR didn’t have the support to manage HR effectively.

What were your initial concerns and worries about engaging external services?
That we might experience what we have currently from a service provider—a pattern of poor or inconsistent service, resulting in lack of training and support, drawn-out implementation time, inadequate vendor follow-up/ follow-through, and two-way communications. As a result of this experience, we had a set of criteria that needed to be met: integration of our existing payroll system, application usability and availability (i.e., user-friendly, intuitive, and web-based), and an application that is cost-effective for our company.

How did you decide on these services?

Ideally, entries of HR information would begin in the HRMS with appropriate fields populated in the payroll system. However, we followed manual processes that resulted in entries made into the payroll system first and then duplicated entries of data entered in our current HRMS application. This caused discrepancies, which resulted in our abandoning the HRMS. It did not link to other systems (e.g., payroll, accounting). When Emportal first met with us, we liked their approach and worked together with them to determine our business requirements.

Can you describe the current steady state of your HR department?
We have an HR director, two associates (for benefits, workers compensation, employee and union relations, etc.), and an assistant. There isn’t a formal HR generalist. Given the state of our HR staff and the fact that we use members of our finance staff (assistant controller and payroll clerk) as “informal” support in our efforts, we want to consolidate HR generalist administration into one resource for efficient HR information management. All processes are manual and require streamlining for automation and efficiency.

In retrospect, would you have changed the tactical or strategic approach you took? If so, how would it differ?

HR data is a critical component of what HR needs to support and deliver to the organization. Since collecting and managing it manually has been a challenge, we would have liked to have chosen best-of-breed, point solutions for all desired HR services that would, from the start, have automated our processes completely and comprehensively. But at this point, given our need to focus on operations, this is neither cost-effective nor practicable for our business. In time, we will review our cost savings and future organizational goals to introduce point solutions into the Emportal application.

What advice do you have for other companies of a similar type and size?

Our industry is labor intensive, with much of the labor being organized by the unions. As a result, more emphasis is placed on operations than business administration processes. Knowing other companies’ HR administrative processes are manual and systems disparate, I’d encourage my counterparts to follow suit. Doing so would add value to their employees and organizations alike; they would benefit from advantages such as HR systems integration, data collection for reporting and business analysis, and business process automation, which facilitates HR efforts to add more corporate value.

Tags: Benefits, Enabling Technology, Engaged Workforce, Multi-process HR, Sourcing

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