An HR System That Speaks the Language of K-12
How Chatham County Schools fosters collaboration between Human Resources and Finance with Frontline HRMS.
Teachers & Staff
Product & Solutions
A Position Management Predicament
With 20 schools and just over 9,000 students, Chatham County Schools is a rural district about 30 minutes from Raleigh, North Carolina. The district may not be enormous, but it’s large enough that the need to find a better way to manage HR information was becoming clear — especially when it came to position management.
“We were having a lot of problems tracking our positions and keeping up with who was in the position, who left the position, who was moving into the position, how many positions we had,” said Chelsey Mason, an HR Information Systems Specialist at the district. “Keeping that information straight in HR and then trying to match it with what our finance system had, it was becoming a nightmare.”
Chelsey is responsible for anything data-related in HR. She also orchestrates employee onboarding and offboarding and administrates the Frontline systems used by the HR department. “Departments had their own spreadsheets. HR had a spreadsheet, Finance had a spreadsheet. Nobody’s spreadsheets ever seemed to match.”
“Departments had their own spreadsheets. HR had a spreadsheet, Finance had a spreadsheet. Nobody’s spreadsheets ever seemed to match.”
– HR Information Systems Specialist
This led to mistakes, like hiring permanent staff members into positions that were supposed to be filled by contractors. “We were spending a lot of time that we didn’t have, trying to track back these positions and where they came from. And it was costly monetary-wise because we were paying for positions that really should not have existed.”
The HR department knew they needed a better way to collaborate with Finance and ensure the right communication and approvals were happening.
A System that Speaks K-12
Chatham County Schools began looking at HR systems to keep track of employee information — and position management was the can’t-do-without feature. But as they began looking at available options, it became clear that systems built for the business world couldn’t give them what they needed. “There’s a language barrier. K-12 language and business language are very different. K-12 is very different from the business world in general,” said Chelsey.
For example, districts have loads of money coming in and out of schools each day. Administrators need to track and account for every dollar. When it comes to position management in school districts, technology needs to understand the nuances of compensation and contracts and provide a clear view of how funds are being allocated to account for various positions throughout the year. Without a system built with the needs of K-12 education in mind, this process becomes impossible to stay on top of.
Because the district already used Frontline Education in other areas, it made sense to explore Frontline’s offering for position management and keeping employee records. “We had purchased so many of the products through Frontline and we loved the support that you get. You can’t compare it with any other vendors.”
They settled on Frontline HRMS because it was built specifically for K-12 school districts. Chelsey said, “The language that Frontline speaks to us is just what we need.”
“The language that Frontline speaks to us is just what we need.”
– HR Information Systems Specialist
The HR department at Chatham County Schools set an aggressive implementation timeline, and with help from their Frontline implementation specialist, they met that goal. “I loved our specialist and our project manager. They were great. We got to work with another district from North Carolina while we were implementing. We bounced ideas off each other. What we didn’t do in our district, we saw some things that they were doing in their district that helped us.”
A Better Hiring Process
One of Chatham County Schools’ strategic goals is to maintain a modernized system. “Frontline has done just that,” said Chelsey, noting that since they purchased their first solution years ago, “Frontline has helped us modernize over the last 10 years.”
Hiring is faster and more organized. Paper-based hiring processes are a thing of the past and information is easy to find, not just for HR but for teachers and staff as well. “The hiring process from start to finish has greatly changed, going from a fully paper district to everything housed online now. It makes it a lot easier for staff to get into the system and do their forms and just know ‘Okay, anything dealing with HR or any type of documents, I go to this system and that’s where I’m going to stay, and I know where all of my documents are.’”
Chelsey said that it also cut down on the number of questions that HR fields from staff. “They can easily ask their neighbor and say, ‘Hey, where do I find this?’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, just go to Frontline. Everything is in Frontline.’”
“‘Where do I find this?’ ‘Just go to Frontline. Everything is in Frontline.’”
– HR Information Systems Specialist
That’s no small thing, and makes life much easier for Chelsey and her colleagues in HR. “We could technically use about three extra HR staff members, but because we were able to implement the system, it has cut down on a lot of the time and a lot of the tiny stuff that you have to do in a system to get a new hire from A to B.”
Collaboration with Finance
Information flows in both directions between Human Resources and Finance. When a new hire is requested, it’s tied to a position that has already been created and approved, so there’s no question whether there are funds to pay for that position. And when the new hire begins their role, employee information in Frontline keeps Finance in the loop.
When Chelsey needs to pull information, gone are the days when she had to maintain spreadsheets to track employee contact information or other data points. Now, she simply runs one of the ad hoc reports she has created and can send it direction to the department requesting it.
“A couple of weeks ago, the superintendent asked me to run an employee demographics report, and he wanted to see the different races and ethnicities that were in the district, how many we had of each. Simple. Go into HRMS and run that report. I had to compile a couple of things because it wasn’t a full report, but it took me less than two hours to do something like that, whereas before, it may have taken me a whole day…or two.”
When Chelsey needs help with the system, she knows she can get it from Frontline’s client success team. “Any time, any email, any tickets, any chat how, no matter how they’re contacted, it’s always positive. Everything gets answered. If it doesn’t, they will say, ‘Hey, we’re going to research this and get back to you.’”
“You can never go wrong.”
Chelsey and her team are glad they chose Frontline HRMS. From faster hiring to the ease of finding and distributing information, the HR department is better equipped than ever to meet the challenges facing schools today.
“You can never go wrong. Never go wrong. It’s just the best system that we’ve had. We’ve been with Frontline since 2013, and anything that we’ve had has always been positive. So yeah, you can never go wrong.”