Customer Stories

Buford City Schools

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From manual mail merges to dynamic e-forms and automated workflows, Buford City Schools made life much easier for its Human Resources and Payroll departments.

Quick Facts

  • Softdocs customer since 2004
  • Implemented in Human Resources and Payroll

Challenges

  • Paper-intensive employee contracts
  • Frequent calls for reprints on payroll and tax form information

Solutions

  • Electronic forms with electronic teacher contracts
  • Softdocs’ Self Service

“The time we would have spent on the contracts was probably cut down to an eighth of the time.”

Angela Adams | Director of Finance | Buford City Schools

Getting Rid of Paper

Buford City Schools’ superintendent wanted to eliminate paper-based employee contracts after hearing the amount of time it saved another district in Georgia. He presented the idea to the administrative staff and asked them to research vendors.

“He did not specifically have Softdocs in mind. It was just one of those things where he wanted something to happen, so we made it happen,” said Angela Adams, Director of Finance. When evaluating vendors with products that best fit their needs, Softdocs’ integration capabilities with PC Genesis, the district’s finance and payroll solution, became a deciding factor.

Within two weeks of purchasing, Softdocs had implemented their electronic contract management system. The tight deadline of issuing 500 contracts to all district employees meant automation for additional forms in HR and other departments would be brought on board to the system shortly thereafter.
 

Contract Management System

Prior to working with Softdocs, Buford City Schools was manually processing each employee contract through a mail merge with Microsoft Excel.

“Angela and I would go through and verify the stats, years of experience, Social Security Numbers, etc. and do a mail merge per school,” explained Amanda Grannon, Director of Personnel. “Then I’d come in and take over a printer all day and mail them all out.”

Now, employee information is imported into the Softdocs contract management system and auto-populates template fields for each individual. Since the contracts are dynamic e-forms with built-in workflows, employees receive them instantly. According to Adams, the contract creation and distribution processes have been cut down to an eighth of the time it used to take.

With such a quick implementation, HR did not have time to go to the schools and explain how the new contract process would operate. Instead, they created a reference document with screenshots describing how the system worked and distributed it to the teachers.

“It was a simple process for them... They like being able to go in and have it electronically on the computer,” said Grannon.

Once contracts were sent out, Grannon received her first one back in less than three minutes. As each contract is received, she reviews it for accuracy and answers any questions in the comments area. Any changes can be made quickly and routed back for approval. In the past, Grannon had to physically sign every contract, but now signatures are applied digitally.

“It was much quicker, and her arm was not completely dead by the end of the day because she was not manually signing every single contract,” said Adams.
 

Additional E-forms and Self Service

After successfully transforming employee contracts within HR, the district focused on converting frequently used paper forms to e-forms. They started with the demographic change request form, direct deposit sign 
up, Georgia’s tax withholding document, the G4, and the federal W4 form.

These e-forms are accessed through Softdocs’ Self Service, allowing employees to view, complete and submit forms from anywhere with an internet connection and their secure credentials. The information is then stored in the corresponding employees’ electronic folder and can be viewed whenever needed.

Direct Deposit Forms

Prior to working with Softdocs, if an employee wanted to change their direct deposit information, they would have to go to the front office and get a direct deposit form, attach a copy of a voided check and send it through interoffice mail.

“They would bring it right before the pay date thinking we could change it immediately. If they changed banks, we would have to work out all those details. It created a lot of headaches,” said Adams.

Now, employees simply sign into Softdocs’ Electronic Forms solution, fill out the direct deposit form and click submit. Established workflows have set notifications to alert users throughout the process. Employees now know when forms have been received and how far along it is in the process.

Demographic Change Forms

Employees who need to edit existing contact or personal information must submit a demographic change form to HR.

“We participate in open enrollment for state health insurance in the fall and address changes have to be in when we submit our file to our health insurance company to make sure their insurance card is sent to the right location,” explained Grannon.

Edits made to the demographic change request form are automatically time stamped after submission and when the form is archived. This audit trail helps provide evidence on whether they met the deadline.

Tax Withholding Forms

The state of Georgia requires every employer to have a G4 form in addition to the federal W4 form for each employee. Before having Softdocs for employee self-service, both HR and Payroll would receive numerous calls on a daily basis from employees needing reprints.

“We’d get calls about anything and everything under the sun and it was a daily ‘I lost my pay stub,’ ‘I don’t know where it’s at,’ ‘I washed my pay stub,’ ‘I dropped it in the mop bucket,’” said Adams.

The administrative time spent taking calls, searching employee files, making copies and getting the information back to the employee has been eliminated with the use of Softdocs’ Self Service functionality. Employees no longer have the lag time between requesting the information and receiving it. Whenever an employee needs approval for a mortgage or they are refinancing, everything they need is immediately available to them.

Future Plans with Softdocs

As Buford City Schools continues to maintain its vision of accountability and focus on efficient and effective processes, they plan on implementing additional Softdocs’ solutions in areas such as Purchasing, Onboarding and other HR-related procedures.

“Any process improvements and paper forms I can change to e-forms with Softdocs would be an extra benefit,” said Grannon.

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