By Tim Wacker
Shortly after the Human Resources department at Breckenridge Grand Vacations installed a state-of-the-art electronic records management system, it was recognized by Perspective, Colorado Biz and the Denver Post with accolades of “Top Workplace” and “Top Company”.
So, is information technology in HR the secret to workplace happiness at this provider of luxury residences in the heart of Colorado ski country? The HR department says Breckenridge’s terrific Developers/Owners probably play a bigger role in the awards as far as the rank-and-file employees are concerned. But speak to any of the dozens of managers responsible for BGV’s roughly 450 employees and they are quick to credit the new records management system for making their jobs a lot more pleasant.
Responsible for running close to a thousand timeshare residences, BGV is one of the largest employers in Summit County, which is also home to global names in the hospitality business like the Hilton, Westin, and Marriott to name a very few. Managing employee paperwork across multiple locations and hiring managers was a challenge.
For BGV’s HR and Management staff this meant handling several personnel related forms from both employees and managers, which included overseeing the accurate completion of those forms, manually distributing those forms to department managers, then on up the chain of command for final approval and eventually back to HR. When a candidate was hired, other paper-driven processes settled payroll, benefits, and other employee records keeping requirements.
When staff moved on, more paper shuffling was needed to close down the employees’ personnel file.
The HR department at BGV realized it could dramatically simplify the process by eliminating the paper from much of the work involved in employee management. The answer was expanding BGV’s Laserfiche enterprise content management (ECM) system, which was purchased in 2006 as an electronic records repository for the corporation’s contracts department.
In its 30 years, BGV has grown to where it maintains just over 20,000 vacation ownerships, which at point of sale, involved contracts documents detailing complex ownership agreements. Laserfiche allows the contracts department to store those paper records as electronic images, eliminating filing cabinets full of paper folders which formerly served as the archive. Having the records in electronic form also meant any one document could be instantly pulled up on computer screens, saving dozens of hours spent each week retrieving them from the filing cabinets when those contracts were changed.
When work started on “Grand Colorado on Peak 8,” BGV’s fourth timeshare resort , the HR department spoke with Laserfiche reseller Peak Performance Imaging Solutions about expanding the system to include employee paperwork. Peak solutions specialist Jen Harris suggested expanding both the size and role of the system within the corporation.
Turning paper records into electronic images allows BGV to eliminate much of the manual handling involved in processing employee records. Handling paper records can be enormously time consuming as they are delivered from desk to desk of the people involved in maintaining the workforce. Electronic images can be automatically moved through computer systems by means of Laserfiche’ s ECM software.
Harris suggested using Laserfiche to automate the processing of paperwork in HR. Employee documents are now electronically whisked through the various offices and authorizations in minutes instead of hours, leaving the managers and senior staff to focus on running the residences, Harris says.
Where new hire paperwork was once driven miles between the different offices in paper form, they now show up instantly in HR’s email in-boxes , which allows for timely input in the HRIS system.
“We have cut tons of time off our HR processes,” says Irina Garner, HR Technician with 7 years of tenure in BGV’s HR department. “There is no calling, writing stuff down, or returning paperwork needing corrections. All those time consuming administrative tasks have been automated. All of us can now focus on people, which matter much more to the company as a whole.”
After building the workflows, the next step Harris recommended was using the ECM software to build electronic versions of the paper forms driving so much of the employee management process. Now, 29 forms that previously were completed on paper and sent through the company’s interoffice mail system are available for employees and managers to access and complete online.
Peak trained BGV staff in building the first few forms, Harris says, but it was not long after that Garner was able to build forms on her own, and had the ability to tweak forms and preferences based on user feedback.
“We see so often that customers content themselves with the records repository aspects of Laserfiche and don’t make the next step into ECM,” Harris says. “BGV gets it. They understand that Laserfiche can move business process management light-years ahead with comparatively little investment of time and money.”
For BGV, the expansion into ECM has been an IT adventure with a staff synergy now fueling the expansion of the system throughout the corporation, Garner says. As staff see how the software works, they take ownership of the process and soon the innovations come more from BGV department leaders and less from Harris and Peak.
Even the best reseller does not understand a customer’s needs as well as the customer,” Harris says. “I know that when my customers are able to start expanding the system on their own, I’ve done my job as a reseller.”
With nearly the entire HR department operating paper-free and automated, BGV is now considering expanding the ECM concept to the contracts, reservations and the accounts payable departments. However, information technology systems are not the only expansion plans at BGV.
Grand Colorado on Peak 8 is set to open in 2016, and it set a corporation record for opening day sales in December 2014, earning another award for “Best Marketing Campaign”, from Perspective magazine. As the resort rapidly sells timeshare weeks, BGV will be hiring again, but the managers and HR staff are ready.
As a critical support department of the BGV organization, it was important to bring in a product that helped our managers save time and resources, Laserfiche was the solution”, Garner says.
Now, everyone is focusing on people, not paper. Whether it is co-workers, guests, timeshare owners, front line employees or managers – The people are what make BGV a GRAND place to work.