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New HR System confusion continues

September 23, 2011

The verdict is still out on the new Human Resource System (HRS) that was implemented at UW-River Falls this past spring. The new HRS is software, which was customized for use by all institutions within the UW-System that contains several modules in which employee data is managed. HRS works by organizing employment data into several major components and links the key data elements together to form an employment record.

“Each campus is a little different” said Wendy Helm, a senior institutional planner, who has worked on the HRS team, “but we all need to work within the same shared HRS system in order to keep technology costs in line.”

Human Resource processes have had to change in order to work effectively with the new HRS system. This has meant new forms, some shift of responsibilities between people, and training campus on changes. Most team members are keeping day-to-day operations running while learning an almost entirely new job.

“The workload has been much higher during this time of transition,” said Helm. “primarily because we are transitioning from systems that were designed in the 1970s to a 2011 platform; that is almost a 40-year leap in technology.” “I heard one person make the comparison in ‘video game speak’ that it is like going from playing ‘Pong’ to playing Xbox 360 games.”

According to Helm, another area where workload has changed is with the approximately 65 individuals who enter and manage student payroll in the academic and administrative departments.

There is a learning curve to understand how the new system works, and it does require more screens/keystrokes to get information into the system.

Any students who have an hourly employment on campus will now need to enter their time worked into an online timesheet instead of paper and their supervisors will have to approve it online, reducing the need for paper. They can do this from anywhere that they have access to the Internet. There is also an employee and manager self-service capabilities on ‘My UW System.’ Any employee can go to https://mywisconsin. edu to view and manage their personal payroll, time, and benefits information through the employee self service.

As far as how the program affects work study and student employment, the biggest impact is probably the learning curve for department student payroll coordinators on how to properly enter a student assistant or work study student into the HRS system. “The HRS team is providing as much training and support as they can to these individuals, but it does take some time to get comfortable with it,” says Helm.

“We expect that most students are happy to use technology instead of paper to submit their time worked,” said Helm, “but as for the staff, some are getting comfortable with it and some are unhappy, change is hard, but the old system was not sustainable, change was inevitable.”

“The UWRF HRS team is working hard to support our campus, and there is a great support team in Madison, at the UW Service Center,” said Helm. “They are available to answer our technical questions and help us resolve problems as they arise.”