Case study: Non-profit uses HR software to keep personnel information
Volunteers of America Alaska is a non-profit organization with several different departments. They run a Youth Residential Treatment Center and have Out-patient substances abuse treatment, as well as programs for Prevention/Intervention, Juvenile Justice, Retired Senior Volunteers who volunteer in local schools reading programs, food banks, and other non profits, a support program for grandparents who are raising their grandkids. They also run two camps each year: one camp for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and their caregivers, and camp HOPE for children who have parents experiencing one form of substance abuse. Volunteers of America is a national program with several offices across the United States. They offer support to chartered branches like this one in Alaska.
Volunteers of America Alaska typically has about 100 full- and part-time employees working in their organization. They’ve been using Staff Files for approximately two years and have around 150 employee records entered in the software. Teri Hansen is the Director of Human Resources and Administration and is the only user of Staff Files at their location in Anchorage.
Prior to using Staff Files, they used Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to keep track of personnel information. They would have a separate spreadsheet for each type of information they tracked, such as when employees were hired, when they stopped working at the organization, their education, and training.
She looked for a time-saving solution for a long time before finding Staff Files. It took awhile to find HR software that was affordable and wasn’t cumbersome. During her initial search for a program, she found many human resource applications that required a lot of training, a complicated installation process, and costs lots of money. Teri said she “has never used a system that was so easy to use.” She found Staff Files through TechSoup, which is a resource that helps non-profits, find technology at a reasonable price.
Even though Teri uses nearly every aspect of Staff Files, she does have a couple of favorites. She uses the Reminders system to remind her of employee benefit eligibility dates, background checks, state clearance expirations, fingerprint renewals, auto insurance renewals, performance reviews, and license expirations for therapists and counselors. She uses the Current Reminders View to email managers about upcoming performance reviews. And, she uses the Reminders by Date report to show a list of certification and license expirations one month in advance, so they have plenty of time to renew them and make sure none of them will lapse. They have both state and industry training and license requirements to adhere to. Employees must have a certain amount of training and the records need to list the class name, as well as the instructor and type of training, and the length of the training. Teri said “Using Staff Files, it’s so easy to print or email reports to managers or state auditors to show them employees’ training records.”
Teri also loves the Separation tab, especially the Separation Reason field because she can code former employee files with the reason they stopped working there. This shows a trend of why people left the organization. She also uses the Separation tab to keep track of COBRA details.
She uses both the New Hire Checklist and the Separation Checklist to make sure processes have been complete for new and former employees. And, she likes that there is no save button in Staff Files. “One of the wonderful things about Staff Files is that it saves automatically, so I never lose information I’ve already typed in,” she described.
In the past, Teri would have to pull a paper file folder, manually write employee information into it, and then type it into a spreadsheet. Now, she only adds that information once directly into Staff Files. She still keeps a paper record, too, but she just prints a report once a year to add to the file. Even though she wears lots of hats and has lots of different responsibilities, Staff File has freed up her time, so she can do more to help her coworkers. When supervisors need help with personnel situations, she can jump right in without having to worry about a mountain of paperwork that’s left back at her desk. “It’s phenomenal,” Teri said. “It used to take an entire day to prepare federal and state EEO reports. Now it only takes an hour.”
When Staff Files was first implemented, she was able to utilize it right away because it didn’t require a lot of training. “You don’t have to have massive computer know-how to install or use Staff Files,” Teri explained. “I like the tabs. They’re intuitive, so you don’t have to remember where you saved information.” Teri has found Staff Files to be so helpful that she’s already recommended it to two of her friends who are beginning to implement Staff Files in the organizations they work. Teri said, “I simply told them it’s extremely affordable and easy to use. It’s a huge time saver!”