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Waxie cleans up with human capital management software

Waxie Sanitary Supply stopped wasting 20,000 sheets of paper each year and became more efficient when it implemented Oracle human capital management software.

When Waxie Sanitary Supply chose Oracle HCM Cloud, the company assembled a small implementation team and decided...

to take a phased approach to replace its largely paper-based HR system.

The company now is cleaning up with the human capital management software.

Waxie's 800 employees are spread among about 20 locations in nine states in the western U.S. from California to Alaska and east to Colorado. The company, which services customers in 12 states, implemented the human capital management software one module at a time, one region at a time, starting with supervisors and managers in each office, said Melissa Halverson, benefits and HRIS manager for Waxie, based in San Diego.

The company lacked the internal support to go live with all the modules at once while managing the significant change that accompanied the new human capital management software, she said.

"It may have been a long time coming to get where we are but I think that is why we are successful today," said Halverson, who led a session at Oracle HCM World outside Washington, D.C. "We took it one phase at a time."

Waxie picked Oracle HCM Cloud in May 2012 over ADP and Workday, the other two main contenders.

"It was a complete solution that was able to integrate with payroll and benefit vendors and grow with the needs of our business," she said. "Oracle has really stood by the product and a commitment to make Waxie successful."

The global HR module, which includes employment actions such as new hires, promotions, transfers and terminations, went live in January 2013, starting with corporate HR in San Diego and HR field representatives in the offices. Employee and manager self-service was activated in phases by mid-year. The company needed additional time to test complex configurations in the benefits module, such as eligibility profiles and plan offerings, but self-service access was ready in time for Waxie's first online open enrollment in November 2014. 

"We demonstrated the product, showed them how they could use it and how their employees would use it," she said. "We gave them time to develop some comfort in the system and then we had our managers meet with their employees and show how to navigate within the system, and give them training materials."

Performance management went live about March 2014. Continuing the phased approach to deploying the human capital management software, workforce compensation, which will be used to calculate and pay bonuses, will go live later this year.

The company spent time identifying lead users in each location who traveled to San Diego for a couple of days of training and then participated in follow up biweekly Web sessions.

Halverson said she talked employees through regularly occurring issues largely caused by a lack of following directions in training materials.

She said Waxie developed elementary, step-by-step training materials and frequently asked questions about the human capital management software.

It was "a huge milestone" when employees completed open enrollment in the system. It went smoother than she expected, considering a simultaneous change in a carrier for health insurance, she said.

"It was a major accomplishment to roll out employee benefits self-service and see it be successful," Halverson said. "For years, we had been requiring paper forms every year and most of those forms would require handholding and assistance for them to even be completed."

Human capital management software eliminates huge amount of paper

Before becoming an early adopter of Oracle HCM Cloud, Waxie largely used an archaic paper system, so the change was dramatic. Because Waxie is committed to being a leader in sustainable business practices, she said, it was important for HR to reduce the use of paper. With the move to Oracle HCM Cloud, she estimated that the company has already eliminated 20,000 sheets of paper each year.

Previously, files for all 800 employees were stored in the corporate office, and there was no system for managers to access.

The company also operated a Sage Abra on-premises system that only allowed five users at a time to be logged in, she said. Those five users were only in the corporate office, which meant that field HR representatives couldn't access information.

All benefit enrollments, promotions, transfers -- basically any employment actions -- were handled on a piece of paper and required multiple signatures for approvals. That paper then was sometimes mailed to two or three different states to be finalized. After that, it was mailed back to the corporate office and went through multiple hands, leaving room for multiple errors, she said.

When global HR went live, all managers for the first time could log in and obtain basic information on an employee, such as employment and salary history and a home phone number.

It may sound elementary, but Halverson said HR received a great response when photos of employees were loaded into the system.

Deployment of human capital management software often hits a speed bump or two even when it is deliberate and done in phases. Waxie's process was slowed somewhat when it split with its first implementation partner.

The company switched to KBACE Technologies in time for the two-month implementation of performance management.

"They evaluated the setup that had been done, made any necessary changes and took us all the way through to go live," she said. "They came in and did a full health check of our system."

Before Oracle HCM Cloud performance management, supervisors worked in a Microsoft Word template that was signed by both supervisor and employee.

Now, the entire process is in the cloud, including rating the employee, providing feedback on competencies and creating development plans. The supervisor and employee can share the document and both can access it from home. No one has to pull paper files anymore.

Halverson added that a big advantage in performance comes from the reporting function. Reporting capabilities come with all the modules in Oracle HCM Cloud, she said.

"The nice thing is that as an HR department and as managers, we have the ability to track the status of these reviews," she said. "We know who is late. We know who is on time and we know where they are currently at in the appraisal process. We can run reports to show what percentage of the workforce meets or exceeds expectations. Before, this was a very manual process. The reporting capability that we've gained has been the most valuable."

Looking back, Halverson said, the implementation might have gone smoother "if we involved more resources and users from the start." Waxie's IT department was not involved, for example.

"We chose to go with a small implementation team and it posed many challenges for us when we were ready to roll out self-service," she said.

That made the phased approach an especially important, maybe even necessary, decision, she said.

"If you haven't allocated realistic resources to the project, consider a phased approach to your implementation," she said. "Don't try to solve every business problem you have in one phase. It takes time, and preparation and planning, to do this right."

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