Nestled in the scenic Lake Sunapee region of central New Hampshire, Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive baccalaureate college that integrates liberal arts and science with professional preparation. The faculty is known for their focus on teaching and a strong commitment to students’ education. In 2012, Colby-Sawyer College celebrated their 175th anniversary. Additionally, Colby-Sawyer College was named one of the “2010 Great Places to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Colby-Sawyer College’s human resource department had been using the payroll module of an accounting system to track HR-specific information on employees. “Over the years, we needed to track more and more information on employees,” said Sharon Beaudry, Colby-Sawyer’s HR Director and now Assistant Professor of Business Administration. “Unfortunately, the perception was that the payroll module should be sufficient to use for a human resource system. We started using spreadsheets to track information that could not be tracked in the payroll system. This was inefficient for our staff and led to inaccurate data. We also had to have more people do the work because everything was such a manual process. When you don’t have good systems in place, you end up spending money on other resources.”
“Our turning point came during an audit of retirement plans,” said Sharon. “The payroll software we had been using did not possess systematic financial controls. These issues were brought to the attention of our administration by the auditors. We started to look for a true human resource system.” In addition to reviewing HR solutions available, Sharon and her team considered customizations to the current payroll system. Sharon had worked with and implemented Sage HRMS in past roles working for non-profit organizations. Sage HRMS was selected for its tight controls and functionality.
“The key to a successful implementation is really great consultants,” said Sharon. “I worked with CS3 Technology in the past and knew that their consultants were knowledgeable about software and had professional HR, payroll and IT expertise. This is essential as they understood what we were going through. We reviewed all of our processes and made changes where needed. CS3 tailored the software to meet our specific needs.”
“It’s night and day how we operate,” said Sharon. “Previously, I could not look up basic employee information and just accessing the system was difficult. Reports were cumbersome and all requests were funneled through one person. Not to mention, reporting data was pulled from a variety of spreadsheets, which was time consuming and error prone. The depth of our Sage HRMS system is fantastic. We have access to the reports we need to do our jobs and not just one person can put together a report. The time it takes to do things has been reduced and the amount of work we are able to accomplish with fewer people has increased.”
For their 650 employees, payroll was a complex task. Employees were paid on a variety of pay cycles. There are hourly and salaried employees as well as employees who work at varying times during the school year. Once payroll was complete, pay stubs were printed, hand sorted and stuffed in envelopes. Today, using Sage ESS, employees can log in and choose to view or print their pay information. “We’ve saved half a day plus the cost of paper and envelopes,” said Sharon.
“Salaried employees would request time off either for sick or vacation using a Word document,” said Sharon. “The requests would be manually keyed into a spreadsheet and tracked against earned time off. Employees never knew exactly how much time they had available. It was difficult to maintain and could be inaccurate. Now, employees can view the time off they have available through Sage ESS and it is reliable. This has saved us two days a month.”
Another area that has significantly improved is compensation increases. “It would take us three to four weeks to pull together the information needed,” said Sharon. “Often the numbers needed to come from multiple spreadsheets. CS3 helped us write a Crystal Report and now the information is available to us at the click of a button.”
“One of the philosophies that CS3 has is that they teach you while they implement. We were able to review all of our processes and make changes where needed. This gives us ownership of our system and we can maintain it going forward,” said Sharon. “Our HR department is much more centralized and effective now. We are able to handle triple the workload without adding people to the HR department.”
“I believe the success of an implementation is based on who helped you with it,” said Sharon. “CS3 offers great support, education and has helped us build good habits. I know their end goal is for us to be happy with system and self-sufficient. During our most recent audit, the auditors could not find one thing wrong with our system. Problem solved!”
New London, NH
Business Issues that Led to Need for
Results of Implementing Sage HRMS
Impact of Relationship with CS3
“I believe the success of an implementation is based on who helped you with it. CS3 offers great support, education and has helped us build good habits.”
– Sharon Beaudry
Assistant Professor of
Client Service Center
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