Five years ago, I was wearing lots of hats at North Eastern Services (NES), a company that focuses on taking care of disabled people, providing more than 400 individuals with group homes, work opportunities, and after-school programs, among other things. One of my responsibilities‚ training compliance, was falling through the cracks.
At NES, our employees are required to take many levels of mandatory trainings and they must keep up on their certifications. They have to be ready at any time to help a customer in need. For us, the trick was trying to stay on top of our hundreds of employees to make sure their information and records were current, all while not spending a lot of money doing it. In 2008, we were only 51 percent compliant for employee trainings using Microsoft Access and fax machines —our systems simply were not cutting it.
That’s when we decided to make a change. Instead of chasing around expired trainings and certificates, we wanted to try a new system. We decided to turn to an online HR software experience, BambooHR, that offered us the capability to keep an eye on all of our employees’ trainings and didn’t require us to spend a lot of time or money.
With the new service, we were able to give hiring managers and each employee the ability to check their own training statuses. We could send out automatic e-mail alerts to remind employees when it was time to renew certificates such as CPR and first aid. Managers could see at a glance which employees were up to date and who still needed to get things done.
We embedded training videos onto the BambooHR site, so our employees simply could log in and take care of their training from home. It wasn’t necessary to travel to headquarters or the office to stay current with trainings.
Because we have eight locations scattered across Utah, keeping paperwork together was difficult. We now can store all employee documents online, using online signatures, without having to travel or store bulky folders of paperwork. Since employee data is stored in the cloud, we can access this information from anywhere we have an Internet connection, including from mobile phones and tablets.
We have seen the paper in our employee files shrink by probably 90 percent as virtually everything is now online—something we never could have dreamed of doing on our own. Our old employee file reviews now have been automated—we know when required documents are complete and archived, and state audits and reviews have gone from creating worry and work to being a chance for us to showcase that we are leading the way in our industry for compliance. Paper, printing, and storage costs are disappearing as everything now is completed online.
Within one year of using the new automated system, we were up to 95 percent compliance. That was a huge jump for us, and most of my training worries were eliminated. The state of Utah has been “blown away” with our most recent compliance, which hovers at 99 percent! When the state comes for training audits, it doesn’t take much time at all, and it is confident our records are accurate.
Now all of our employee data is easy to monitor, especially all of those trainings and certificates that need to be constantly updated. Transitioning from spreadsheets and fax machines to a cloud-based Human Resource Information System (HRIS) helped turn a feat that was once thought to be near impossible into a process that’s easy to maintain.
John Faragher is currently an accountant for North Eastern Services (NES), a company that specializes in helping more than 400 individuals and families throughout Utah become more independent and live better lives.