Leveraging Data Insights with St. Catherine University
Sarah Gasparini, Talent Manager in the Human Resources department at St. Catherine University, recently sat down with us to talk about her experience with PeopleAdmin. Saint Catherine University, or St. Kate’s, uses Applicant Tracking System, Position Management, and Employee Records, and recently started the launch of Performance Management. The university also has a data feed between Banner and PeopleAdmin.
Though St. Kate’s signed onto PeopleAdmin before she joined the institution, Sarah knows that they were still using paper processes before they launched the unified platform. For several years, PeopleAdmin wasn’t used to its fullest capabilities, so in 2019, with the help of their new customer success manager, St. Kate’s put together a plan to relaunch Position Management and Applicant Tracking System with new and improved workflows.
“When we rolled out the system the first time around, we didn’t have anyone who knew how to do an implementation, but the second time, we were in a much different place,” said Sarah.” Everyone on campus is using the system in ways they didn’t before, and our population is on board with the concept that online is better.” St. Kate’s previously only had one main user in each department—someone who was trained to use the system and would input information for everyone on their team. Now, everyone is using the system much more regularly.
Sarah has noticed some changes in her own department since launching their new version of PeopleAdmin. “The first year I was here, there were three separate times where a requisition paper never reached our office,” Sarah remembered. “Departments were calling us, asking for the status of their requisition, and we had to tell them we had never seen it! Paper just didn’t make sense. Since we implemented PeopleAdmin, we haven’t lost a requisition.”
The biggest benefit of PeopleAdmin from Sarah’s perspective, however, is the data. “When you see better use of the system, the hope is to benefit from the data,” Sarah noted. “Any institution with DEI initiatives has initiatives surrounding hiring. If we’re using the system as intended, we can see everyone who self-identifies as they apply and follow what happens during the application process. This data is incredibly beneficial to feed back to our customers across campus. We can have a conversation with them about their goal versus what we’re seeing. If you don’t have the data to back up those conversations, what can you really say? Now, we can pull reports and show users whether the data and the goal align. If they don’t, we’re able to discuss what behaviors should change to achieve results.”
As Sarah noted, that’s the true goal of any digitized system: to see things recorded over time that users can learn from. “Paper systems, particularly in recruiting, are tough because records are only supposed to be kept for a year,” Sarah said. “When you have a secure system in place , you can look back at that data over the years to understand what a candidate pool looked like, and analyze what might be done differently.”
It’s also very useful for Human Resources to have data to respond to the needs and asks of on-campus customers, Sarah noted. “Everyone has been trying to hire in the last few years,” said Sarah. “We have teams coming to us and saying they can’t hire because the candidate pools are too small. Previously, we’d have to take their word for it. Now we can look at the data and see if the pool really is too small—and then we can consider if it’s an advertising problem, or a salary and benefits problem, or something else. On the other hand, sometimes we look at the data and see that they had 30 candidates in the pool—and then we can ask them to re-examine why they rejected everyone.”
Shifting Norms in the Workplace
For St. Kate’s, the COVID pandemic and shift to remote work were a huge impetus for the successful adoption of an online system. “We launched in the midst of that, and in some ways, it increased adoption because people didn’t have a choice,” Sarah reflected. “They would have gotten on board eventually, but it happened much quicker because everyone had to learn fast. The system also re-focused a lot of HR efforts on hiring in completely new and different ways. We shifted to video interviewing, which we didn’t do before, and now we require hiring teams to do a video interview before they fly candidates in.”
Even though COVID was a big driver of technology adoption, the new ways of work have introduced new challenges for Human Resources teams. Sarah shared some more information about those challenges:
“One thing facing companies now that wasn’t as much of an issue in the past is remote work. In order to do business in a state or have employees in a state, you have to know the payroll laws, and you have to have unemployment insurance and workers comp insurance in that state. Now, during the hiring process, it’s important to understand from the get-go where that hire is going to work. Location also impacts onboarding—and that’s another critical reason for having online onboarding. With Employee Records, we can have different onboarding processes for employees depending on their state. Remote employees require different forms, and one state might need different forms than another state. That impacted our urgency around re-launching Employee Records, and we’re building all of that information back into our recruitment process by asking hiring managers and applicants if they’re intending for the position to be fully remote. With a digital system, we can make sure that things don’t move forward before we have the answers to those questions.”