HR Software Demo

 Human Resources Hot News

People-Trak Reviewed in Credit Union Technology


Opposites Do Attract – We successfully united human resources with technology

By Billie C. Marney
Vice President of Human Resources
Chocolate Bayou FCU

Increasing demand placed on human resources (HR) by coworkers, internal organizations, external organizations, – and sometimes I even think extraterrestrials – are making manual systems of HR management completely inadequate.

We were losing valuable time fulfilling all the requests we were getting from management, employees, vendors, Uncle Sam, and others for employee information. And to increase the frustration, the requests usually contained several constants, such as name, social security number, date of birth, date of hire, etc., with an additional four to six variables, each in a different format.

Employees and supervisors wanted regular vacation and sick leave reports. Department managers needed routine information such as performance review schedules, salary histories, and probation reports. Senior management wanted to know which managers conducted their performance reviews on time and how to maintain external and internal equity in pay. Vendors – including our benefits coordinator, payroll service, and retirement plan administrator – needed a census each year. And since these vendors report to Uncle Sam, accuracy and timeliness is critical.

Of course, this constant demand for information does not void the need to recruit, hire and train, counsel, oversee benefits, meet other daily challenges, and set and attain goals.

It was time to apply our proactive philosophy to the HR function. And in doing so, we became one of the first among mid-sized credit unions in the Houston area to purchase a Human Resource Information System (HRIS). People-Trak LT, a powerful software designed especially for the needs of small organizations, provided the answer for us. People-Trak piqued our interest during a demonstration of the LT version of its software, so we requested a demo disk. Having never actually worked on an HRIS, I immediately called my personal HR guru and long-time friend who has worked in the HR field over 20 years and is currently employed with an organization of more than 2,000 employees.

After carefully scrutinizing and manipulating the demo database built into the software, her final comment was, "This is a tremendous program considering the cost. It compares well with the finest available used by large corporations." So we purchased the software in July, 1997 for $500, a one-year maintenance agreement for $295 (which included all updates and unlimited technical support) and a two-day on-site training session for $1000 plus expenses.

At the time I thought I could become proficient on my own with the assistance of a manual. Having tutored in a college computer lab, I’m not exactly a novice to software. About three weeks later, however, I knew I would not have the time needed to achieve the level of proficiency I desired within this century!

So I set up a training session with People-Trak’s Judy Brannen in September. Judy was patient and thorough, but it was two of the most intense and challenging days I have ever spent in training. Upon completion, I was absolutely thrilled with the potential of this product and expected to have all the personnel records completely loaded in the system and be up and running by January 1998. Wrong again!

First, our physical records proved to be incomplete. The software have eleven screens in each record, from personal data to job and salary history to attendance, training and education screens.

Second, an usual period of higher than-average turnover placed extraordinary demands in recruiting, hiring, and training. This meant I was able to work on entering data very infrequently, and all the while forgetting many of the details covered in training.

Third, coupled with the turnover was a lack of consistency in maintaining the already incomplete personnel files. My target date of full utilization of this system was postponed. Fortunately, our president and board were well aware of the issues I faced in the HR arena and were understanding and supportive.

At this point you are probably wondering, "Is it worth all the hassle?" Absolutely! The ability to generate reports in minutes is exciting, and I’m amazed at the amount of time it saves and the positive impact it has on decision-making. Although I am far from using People-Trak LT fully, the benefits are wonderful to behold. I can easily track both individual and organization-wide job and salary histories, benefit participation and costs, attendance histories with available vacation and sick leave, training histories, performance reviews, and other data useful for controlling, reporting, and decision making. The program has more than a hundred reports built into the system, including Benefits, Attendance, Performance Reviews, Compensation, and Skills – all of which can be customized easily to meet individual needs.

These reports take seconds to complete. The software has the capability of creating an unlimited number of uniquely designed reports, incorporates mail-merge features, and has import/export features compatible with word processors and spreadsheets.

It is incredibly exciting to have our CEO make a request for specific data and be able to generate it while he waits in my office. And it becomes invaluable when needing support for a request or suggestion. On one occasion, I could see the need for increasing an employee’s salary. By creating and presenting reports including job history, performance review ratings, salary grades, and current salary with range penetration on both the individual employee and the department, I was able to sufficiently document my request and influence the decision- which, by the way, was favorable. Facts are difficult to ignore, and People-Trak provides the ability to quickly retrieve relevant facts without having to physically review all the irrelevant data.

In spite of the benefits, implementation could have been much easier. I would advise anyone contemplating the purchase of an HRIS to realize the importance of having (1) the physical personnel files complete and in good order, and (2) a realistic estimate of the time needed to build the tables and enter the data.

Although Judy stressed during training the need to build the tables prior to entering data in the individual records, I underestimated the time required to complete this process. Some table can be created easily in minutes, other take hours. Anxious to see results, I did not complete all the critical tables as instructed and ultimately had to re-enter data.

Additionally, I would recommend follow-up training, which could reduce the need for technical support. I question whether the unlimited support was exactly what People-Trak had in mind when I was on the phone with Susanna at Technical Support for an hour or more at a time on numerous occasions. In order to customize the accrual table, she requested that I send a copy of vacation and sick leave policies so she could help design it to match our policy. Fortunately, she continues to exhibit both patience and thoroughness with my calls, a rare and valued trait in a vendor.

Finally, I am very pleased that we have implemented the program. I believe it will be virtually impossible to grow and remain competitive without this technology. I’m aware now that it is far less time-consuming to build a database when you have a few employees with a short work history than when you have a large number of employees with long work histories.

I encourage every credit union to include an HRIS when planning its technology needs to meet growth goals. Just as the HR manager has become an equal partner in senior management, the technological needs of the HR department are equal in importance to those of every other department.

Billie Marney is the Vice President of Chocolate Bayou FCU in Alvin, Texas.

Reprinted from Credit Union Technology, March/April 1999.


| Home | Hot News | Products | Sales | Support | Training | Opportunities | About Us |

People-Trak and the People-Trak logo are trademarks of Technical Difference, Inc.
Copyright © 1998-2000 Technical Difference, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.