How the State of Connecticut Swapped Paper Files for Automated HR Processes
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
When Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont took office, he had a daunting task on his agenda: centralizing and modernizing the state’s administrative operations. Like many public sector entities, the State of Connecticut hadn’t exactly kept pace with technological advancements. A number of its processes, including those in HR, were outdated, uncoordinated, and inefficient — costing the state money and its employees valuable time.
To bring Connecticut’s HR functions into the 21st century and unify its agencies under a single system, Governor Lamont’s administration called upon Nick Hermes, chief human resources officer, and Jeremy Kushin, statewide HR program manager. With 100,000 files that needed to be digitized, 25 executive branch agencies to accommodate, and over 30,000 employees statewide to account for, Jeremy and Nick knew they’d need help with the undertaking.
“The State of Connecticut…had a very traditional HR structure,” Nick explains. “It was highly decentralized. We intuitively knew that in order for us to change that model — aside from the massive planning and change management efforts that it would take — we needed a tool to help us.”
Here’s how Nick and Jeremy led the gargantuan effort to centralize the State of Connecticut’s HR processes, with a little help from UKG HR Service Delivery, formerly PeopleDoc.
Digitizing 100,000 employee files — during a pandemic
To get a better sense of the challenges ahead, Nick and Jeremy met with fellow HR professionals and agency leaders across the state. These meetings revealed a few major obstacles. First, every state agency had different HR processes and policies, so the new centralized system would need to take each into consideration. Second, all employee files across the state — from personal documents to workers’ comp — were in paper format. With most employees working remotely due to the pandemic and everyone scattered across the state, digitizing these files posed a significant hurdle.
To overcome this, the team contacted Scan-Optics, a partner of the State of Connecticut, to help with the heavy lifting involved in scanning thousands of documents. They then coordinated with UKG to organize the now-digitized files into a single HR document management system that encompassed all state employees.
“We really had no expertise in this realm,” says Jeremy. “We needed a provider who could, for lack of a better word, hold our hand throughout the process…that’s one way that UKG really separated itself from its competitors: the full-scale HR solution.”
Confident that UKG’s vast experience with HR transformation would help them devise a winning solution, Nick and Jeremy dove into the next challenge: creating an HR service delivery platform that would work for everyone.
Building a customized HR solution on a statewide scale
To kick-start their search for the perfect solution, the State of Connecticut’s HR administrators met with UKG for demos and Q&As. Subject matter experts across the state then convened with UKG for functional unit case management meetings to ensure their ideas were incorporated into the final workflow. But these meetings were only the beginning of the state’s relationship with UKG.
“We spend a lot of time with [UKG], whether it’s meetings with them, emails, etc.,” Jeremy says. “They’re always so helpful. One thing is, we’re working with some older processes. They always find a way to take what we need and make it happen. They’re always thinking outside the box — there are no cookie-cutter solutions.”
Today, the state’s newly designed Benefits and Leave unit is live, with five other units launching in spring 2021. Plans are also underway for a new employee portal, which will provide employees with a personalized landing page for important news and updates. Ultimately, Nick and Jeremy plan to automate and integrate as many processes as possible and make every document digitally accessible. According to Nick, UKG has been instrumental in guiding these changes.
“Countless times, we’ve been able to rely on UKG’s recommendations and suggestions on how to improve the business in places we would have potentially never thought of,” he says. “It’s that partnership and the specialized nature of the product that we felt — and continue to see — is the difference-maker for us.”
Freeing up time and money
While some employees were initially hesitant about such a big change, they quickly came around once they saw the State of Connecticut’s new HR solution in action. Specifically, they loved the scope of the solution’s capabilities, like the ability to upload documents in batches and easily merge or split them.
“People that I never would have expected to embrace the system have loved it,” Jeremy says. “It’s good to see that people are going to take advantage of the system and all it has to offer.”
The solution is also anticipated to free up significant time for HR employees. Rather than being bogged down with repetitive administrative responsibilities, HR professionals like Nick and Jeremy can focus on helping state agencies meet big-picture goals.
Of course, this large-scale overhaul wouldn’t have been possible without strong support from leadership. According to Nick, it’s thanks to the governor and his administration that this major undertaking not only got off the ground, but soared.
“A major transformational project in government is always very difficult,” says Nick. “We could easily have seen this project derailed by many, many different factors if it weren’t for that guiding light of leadership.”
Ready to take your HR processes to the next level? Download our HR Service Delivery Platform overview to learn more about how a digital solution can augment your existing systems and make file management a breeze.
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About Laura Zifchak (Poggi)
Laura leads the marketing team for the PeopleDoc by Ultimate Software products in North America. She joined PeopleDoc in January 2015 to help HR teams learn about HR Service Delivery technology, understand how it benefits their existing business strategies, and become expert users of our platform as customers.
Laura has experience with bringing technical software solutions to market with prior leadership positions at both IBM and RTTS. She has an MBA from CUNY Baruch Zicklin School of Business, and a BS degree in Marketing from Siena College.
With years of practice managing teams through rapid growth and constant change, Laura is passionate about employee and manager experience, and using technology to help scale and improve operations.