Willamette to update its Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

by University Communications,

The new system will help streamline processes and provide stronger security measures.

After next summer the university’s important processes related to human resources and payroll for staff, faculty and student employees will be supported by a new Human Resource Information System (HRIS). The switch is due in large part to concerns raised by community members regarding errors in pay and benefits and changing laws and regulations.

“As we initiated conversations around an upgrade or replacement of our HRIS system, I was surprised to hear how many faculty and staff members have their own personal stories of being paid incorrectly or frustrations around our systems that support the recruitment, onboarding and reviewing of employees,” said Monica Rimai, senior vice president for finance and administration.

During a recent University Council meeting, Rimai noted that Willamette is supported by three primary systems — a financial information system, a student information system and a human resources information system. The consulting firm CampusWorks visited Willamette last year and identified serious risks with the HRIS and recommended a complete overhaul or replacement.

The current HRIS is based on the Colleague system, which Willamette purchased in 1979. Though modifications and workarounds have occurred through the years by Willamette staff members, the basis of the system remains intact and has become outdated. The university also relies on a number of paper-based processes that don’t represent best practices in data safety or sustainability.

Rimai called on a cross-functional team that included representatives from human resources, accounting, financial operations and WITS to review the university’s current processes and recommend a solution. The group determined that a replacement system would best serve Willamette’s needs and selected Workday Human Capital Management (HCM).

“Workday HCM was selected because of its high data security, flexible software to respond to changes in laws and regulations, information saved in ‘the cloud’ that doesn’t rely on physical servers,” said Shana Sechrist, associate vice president for human resources. “It also has a proven track record of success at other higher education institutions similar to Willamette.”

Updates on the implementation will be shared via the Bearcat Bulletin and through in-person training sessions for staff and faculty throughout the implementation process. There will also be opportunities for employees to provide feedback on the system during the testing and implementation period, which will take place during the spring semester. Unit fiscal officers will be updated on the system implementation during their regular meetings and will serve as liaisons to their functional areas.

The HRIS is scheduled to be fully deployed in July 2017, before the start of the next academic year. More information on the system is available on the project website.

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