IBC Systems is a company that employs approximately 5,000 employees throughout the United States. The company provides leading edge technologies, communication, and consulting services. The company currently operates in six different sites, as follows:
New York, NY (Headquarters) – 1500 employees
Miami, FL - 1100 employees
Boston, MA – 700 employees
San Francisco, CA – 500 employees
Las Vegas, NV – 400 employees
Austin, TX – 800 employees
Each site is responsible for servicing and supporting the customers in its region as well as its internal employees.
During the 2008-2009 recession the company had to fire about a third of its labor force. Sales went down by 35% and it presented losses for three years. After changes in the top leadership, the company was able to recover. Revenue is going strong and the company has become profitable again. The company is even considering opening another site in Chicago. In addition, IBC has experienced a 20 percent increase in employees over the past couple of years, and long-range projections show that trend continuing for the next five years.
Information Systems Facilities
The information architecture for IBC uses the following standards:
• Desktop PC— IBM ThinkCentre S series
Pentium 5 processor
512 megabytes of RAM
80 GB disk drive
22 or 19 inch monitors
Operating system — MS Windows 8
Standard Tools — MS Office suite (2010)
Internet Browser — IE 8
Virus Protection — Norton AV
E-mail — MS Outlook
• Servers — IBM xSeries 336
Intel Xeon processor
4 GB of RAM (16GB in New York)
500 GB in hard disk storage (via RAID 5 configuration)
Operating system — MS Windows 8
Database Management System — Oracle 10g
• Printers — Hewlett Packard LaserJet and PaintJet classes.
• LAN – Each office employs a wired and wireless Ethernet LAN
• WAN – A VPN connects each office to the main office in New York
Many employees, including most managers, use notebooks with docking stations as their desktop computer. Each notebook is comparable to Gateway desktop specifications. In addition, many employees use tablet computers.
Due to the tremendous growth the company has experienced in recent years, it has recognized that to ensure the continued success of servicing internal as well as external customers, it needed to develop a strategic plan and vision for the use and modernization of its computing resources. The challenges of creating centralized systems across all six sites to support business practices that are common if not identical across the sites further emphasize the need.
In January 2013 a strategic plan to modernize the company’s resources was presented to executive management. This document included a multi-phased plan to reengineer the current systems to use state-of-the-art technology and to provide a showcase of systems that eventually could be delivered across the whole corporation.
Phase 1 of the plan consisted of reengineering all systems related to Human Resources, which included employee information, time and attendance, and payroll. Task 1 of this phase is the development of a system that will house the repository of employee master data. This system would provide the capability for each employee to maintain his or her own information regarding address and telephone numbers, emergency contact information, payroll deduction options, and savings bond purchases.
Current practices now have each of these changes being processed by an extensive manual effort in which Human Resource administrators fill out forms and input the data. This manual effort often results in a time lag of several days between the time the employee submits the forms and the update of the information in the computer. This delay has caused several problems, including unacceptable lag time in implementing payroll deduction changes and company mailings (including pay checks) being sent to the wrong address. Another problem of the present system is the employee directory, which is printed every six months. It seems to be out-of-date as soon as it arrives with missing information on new employees, and incorrect information on employees who have changed addresses or been transferred.
The plan for the new system is to provide the capability for an employee to update data themselves in real time, the problems mentioned above can be reduced, if not eliminated. The printed employee directory will be replaced by an intranet-based online directory that will be driven by the system database and always up-to-date.
Interviewing Mr. Sean Smith
The following is a copy of the transcripts of an interview between Mr. Sean Smith of IBC and Shira Besser, who has just started with IBC as a systems analyst.
Scene: Shira Besser is meeting with Sean Smith, Vice President of Human Resources for IBC, at his office. Ms. Besser scheduled the interview with Mr. Smith in response to his request for developing a new system to house employee information.
Sean: Good Morning! You must be Shira Besser.
Shira: Yes, I am sir. Are you Mr. Sean Smith?
Sean: Yes. Please call me Sean. I’m glad we could get together today. Things are quite chaotic around here.
Shira: What do you mean?
Sean: Our executive steering committee is very anxious to set in motion our plan for reengineering and modernizing our systems and computing resources. The first phase of that plan concentrates on Human Resources, and that is why you are here.
Shira: That’s sounds like an enormous task, but I love challenges.
Sean: It is monumental, but we tried to simplify the task by breaking it up into smaller pieces. The first piece deals with the tracking and management of employee information.
Shira: What is your current system like?
Sean: My Employee Relations manager, Diana Carton, who by the way will be your key user contact, explained the process in detail to me yesterday. I don’t interact with it myself, but it appears there are a lot of inefficiencies and its operating costs are exorbitant. The system itself is a combination of manual and automated processes. The automated processes reside in both microcomputers and legacy mainframe systems.
Shira: Will this system replace all the legacy systems?
Sean: Not all of them initially. That is too big and risky of an effort unless we were going to install an SAP or Peoplesoft product and we can’t currently afford that. Right now we are concentrating on reengineering the current employee information system to meet our needs. If that means new interfaces have to be built for the legacy payroll and time and attendance systems, for the time being that’s fine.
Shira: Could you please describe for me the business processes that will be included in the system?
Sean: I think the best way to explain the process is to start from the beginning. The first day employees report to work they go through an orientation program. During that program they are required to complete some personnel forms that include information such as addresses, phone numbers, emergency contact information, and beneficiary information. They can also elect to have various things deducted from their paychecks, including United Way donations, parking, extra life insurance, and the pre-tax medical reimbursement plan. This data is then input into the legacy mainframe system by one of my administrators. This is a COBOL-based system using, in my opinion, obsolete database and file technology. I say that because every time another system needs employee data, we have to send them a sequential file sometimes daily, weekly, or monthly. So we have multiple copies of employee information throughout our systems, which may or may not be in sync.
Shira: What do you mean by that?
Sean: If employees need to change any of their personal information that we have on file, they must complete a form and submit it to us to be input into the system. Currently, it could be weeks before that change gets distributed across all the necessary systems. This is especially critical for payroll. People aren’t very happy if they don’t receive their checks on time because they have moved and the payroll system doesn’t have their current address.
Shira: I can understand that concern. You mentioned a micro application. Where does that come into play?
Sean: Oh. On a quarterly basis we produce and publish an employee telephone listing, sort of a company telephone book, which consists of the employee’s work telephone number and work location. This information resides on a microcomputer that is maintained by Alice Cockran, an administrator, who works for Diana. Because we are such a dynamic and growing company, Alice spends 30 percent of her workweek maintaining the information. Each quarter we produce 5,000 copies of the book and distribute them across the company. Currently this process costs the company $27,000 a year. The sad thing is, the book is probably already out of date the day it is published.
Shira: What do you mean?
Sean: We are a large and growing company with sites all over the nation. Every day at least someone is hired or transferred, moves offices, or is terminated. These events all trigger a change to the listing.
Shira: It sounds like a losing battle.
Sean: We do our best. Besides you are going to help us win it, right?
Shira: I’m going to do my best! Why doesn’t the mainframe system produce the telephone book instead of the micro system?
Sean: Good question. The mainframe system doesn’t have all the necessary employee information to produce the listing and I am told that to add that capability to the mainframe system would be quite an undertaking and costly.
Sean: Because it would require changing the current file structures, which then requires changing all the programs, and so on. What a nightmare! I know every time I ask to do an ad-hoc report my IS rep cringes at the thought and gives me some excuse. You would think that a system that costs over $300,000 a year just to maintain and operate could produce reports when I needed them. But the system’s current technology doesn’t support that type of functionality. That’s why we need a new system!
Shira: Is there at least an automated interface between the mainframe system and the micro system?
Sean: I wish there were! Currently we have to input the data twice, once into the mainframe and then into the micro application.
Shira: Let’s switch gears and talk about the people that use the systems. You mentioned that Alice is responsible for the telephone listing system. Who are the other people involved?
Sean: If you really think about it, everyone is affected or uses the system in some way, whether directly or indirectly. Currently only Human Resources employees can directly use the systems. But I would like to see that changed. There is no reason each employee cannot be responsible for maintaining his or her own information. I mean why can’t the employee get on the system and input his or her own address or telephone changes? The data would be more current and it would reduce the labor support in my organization. Currently, to process each change in employee information costs me $15 in labor and computing costs. We processed 11,500 changes last year alone! That adds up to some substantial costs.
Shira: Before I forget to ask, who of your organization besides Diana will be working with me on this project?
Sean: Like I said before, Diana Carton will be your direct contact. Her phone is 216-1040 and she sits in office 1016. But, I don’t have a problem with you talking to anyone in the HR department if it will help you. By the way my phone number is 216-4456.
Shira: Thank you. For this project to be a success we must work as a team and you, the user, certainly must be involved. Now let’s talk about the technology you are currently using. Does everyone use a PC?
Sean: Yes we do. We supposedly have the latest and greatest personal computers that come with the standard word processor, spreadsheet, and database. If you need detailed configuration information, I’m sure Diana can provide that to you.
Shira: Do you have electronic mail and do you use the Internet?
Sean: We are heavy E-mail users. I think we use Microsoft Exchange. There are volumes of HR-related information on the Web that have proven to be quite valuable, especially on legal issues.
Shira: Should employees be able to access and change their information from home using the Internet?
Sean: I`m sure they`d like to. That way their spouses could be involved with the process. But we provide the parent company with IS solutions; we can`t afford to have an incident of identity theft. I`d like you to pursue something state-of-the-art for security – maybe some biometric device that can be used in the office and at home easily and cheaply.
Shira: You mentioned that employees fill out forms to provide their information. May I get samples of those forms?
Sean: Sure. I will have Diana get you some of the blank forms.
Shira: If you don’t mind Mr. Smith, samples of completed forms can be quite valuable, plus they may indicate other opportunities where I can help.
Sean: I don’t have a problem with that. But, you realize you will be dealing with sensitive data and you must make a conscious effort to respect that.
Shira: I am fully aware of the ethics involved, Mr. Smith. I will be professional.
Sean: No doubt you will.
Shira: I have just a few more questions so hopefully we won’t be much longer.
Shira: You stated earlier that multiple sites existed; will all those sites be using the system?
Sean: We have six sites currently. We are considering opening another one. All of those sites will use and currently use the system. Each site has a satellite HR staff that processes the transactions for its respective employees. All sites use the same type of equipment. When you buy in large volumes you get big discounts.
Shira: I see. Which site currently is responsible for technical support of the system?
Sean: New York.
Shira: Will that still be the case for the new system?
Sean: I have every reason to believe so unless the technical people tell me differently. Right now all production employee data is housed in New York.
Shira: Can we talk a few minutes about the employee data on the mainframe and some of the problems associated with it?
Sean: Sure. First of all we have multiple copies of the same employee data across multiple systems. Whether it is the employee information system, payroll system, time and attendance system, or even the labor system, each application has its own database of employee data. Shouldn’t we have just one integrated database that all applications could access? This would eliminate the problems of the data being out of sync across the applications, excessive interfaces among systems, and current data not being available real time.
Shira: Yes it would and that is definitely something I will look into. Mr. Smith, what is your vision of the new system?
Sean: Good question. I envision a system that is easy to use, intuitive, with a graphical user interface. It should be accessible from every desktop in the company (and, as I said, from home using the Internet, provided that it is extremely secure). The interface should be consistent no matter what platform you are using. I have long had the idea that the interface should have a folder metaphor. In other words, if you were an employee entering the system, you would be presented with a series of folders or tabs. Each folder would consist of a certain type of information, such as emergency information, beneficiary information, deductions, and in the future benefits, training, and so on.
Shira: That’s a good vision. What else can you tell me?
Sean: Only HR administrators and the employee’s manager should be able to access the employee’s information, other than the employee herself. Also, the system should contain an online company telephone book, containing phone numbers and work locations, so that every employee can easily locate and contact another employee no matter where he or she is located. This would eliminate the need for the hardcopy phone books and the labor required to maintain the micro system. The system should also allow managers to view organization structure data, meaning, the system contains information about who the employee’s manager is, and other employees who report to the same manager.
Shira: Very good. Do you have a budget set for the development of this new system?
Sean: Yes, I do. The executive steering committee has allocated me a budget of $225,000 to complete this phase of the project. I don’t want to put any more money into it than is absolutely necessary. I expect this budget is more than enough to get the job done. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it can be done for less money.
Shira: Are there any timetables I should be aware of?
Sean: The executive steering committee and I would like to have the first phase of this project completed in six months. The success of the overall strategic plan is dependent on us meeting that date.
Shira: We will certainly see what we can do. We will know more once we have completed a detailed analysis and design, of course. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about the system?
Sean: Yes, there are a couple more things. This company is very proud of its contributions to the communities in the way of supporting United Way charities. In fact our company president, John Johnson, is the United Way campaign chairman this year. He has made it clear that he expects no less than 99 percent employee participation in the United Way. It is my intent that this system should support that goal by making it easier for employees to participate. Plus it should provide management a tool to review and monitor the contribution and participation levels of the employees. Last year we had 75 percent participation in the United Way program. Obviously, we managers have our work cut out for us. This system should enable us to see which employees may need some additional encouragement to get with the program, so to speak.
Shira: I see.
Sean: And one last thing, which should be held in the utmost confidence. By the end of the year I need to reduce my organization by five administrative positions because of pending overhead reductions. The only way that is remotely feasible is if this system achieves the goal of allowing employees to maintain their own information online. I hope this stresses to you the importance of this project.
Shira: By all means it does. This has been a very informative and productive meeting. I’m going to review this information and give you my report early next week. Thank you for your time today, Mr. Smith.
Interviewing Ms. Diana Carton I
The following is a copy of the transcripts of an interview between Diana Carton, Manager of Employee Relations, and Shira Besser, a systems analyst working on the project. Diana is the key user contact for this project.
Scene: Shira Besser is meeting with Diana Carton, Manager of Employee Relations, at Ms Carton`s office. Ms. Besser scheduled the interview with Ms. Carton to talk about the problems that exist with the current system.
Diana: Good morning, Shira. How can I help you today?
Shira: I wanted to ask you some questions based on what Mr. Smith and I talked about a few days ago. He told me that you would be able to provide me with the additional information that I needed in order to understand how you use the current Employee Information system and the problems you have been experiencing.
Diana: I will help all I can.
Shira: That’s great. Mr. Smith mentioned the problems you are having with the employee directory — that it is always out of date and that it consumes a great deal of Alice’s time to maintain. Is there anything else that you can add?
Diana: Well it definitely should be online and integrated with our E-mail system. In this day and age it is ridiculous to put that out in hardcopy. It changes too much and it requires too much effort from our end to maintain. Alice’s time could be better utilized elsewhere. In fact I want to see that micro system go away.
Shira: What should replace it?
Diana: Something that everyone can access via the Web from any location.
Shira: But wouldn’t Alice still have to maintain the data that is viewed via the Web?
Diana: In some cases, but if we provided a mechanism to allow employees to update their own data and their data alone it would cut down on the amount of time Alice would spend from 12 hours per week to probably 1 or 2. And what is great is she would only have to enter the changes into one system and the changes would be available real-time. Which means all the other systems would have access to the employee’s latest, most current information.
Shira: What happens if the system went offline? Wouldn’t people still want a paper copy for back-up purposes?
Diana: I don`t think the company directory part of the system would be so crucial that minor downtime would be a problem. Aren`t there ways to have backup websites or something? What is crucial, though, is that the system be secure. Could you imagine what would happen if a headhunter got into that web site? It would be like going to a smorgasbord.
Shira: Mr. Smith indicated the current mainframe system was too costly to operate and maintain. Can you explain what he meant?
Diana: Sure. I’m sure you know that mainframes, although very powerful and useful, are extremely expensive computers. In order for the company to recoup the cost of the machine, it charges for the use of the machine in terms of computer cycles and data storage. We had over 11,500 change transactions alone last year and that doesn’t account for transactions to correct errors in the data, plus the transactions to initially input new employee data. And since the current system is over 10 years old, it requires a significant amount of IS labor to support it in terms of enhancements, fixes, backups, and so on. All of those costs come out of our budget since we are the owners of the system.
Shira: Wouldn’t you have the same types of costs in a new system?
Diana: To a degree, but the new servers and software, I am told, cost almost 300 times less than mainframes and therefore the operating cost is significantly cheaper. Also, the IS support to maintain a high-quality new system should be cheaper. That is if we develop it correctly to be flexible and easily adaptable to changes. I expect we could save up to 50 percent of our operating costs.
Shira: Mr. Smith mentioned that reports were a problem with the current system. Can you elaborate?
Diana: For one thing the system does not have an ad-hoc query and reporting facility that we as users can use. Currently, if we need a new report we have to submit a request to IS. Depending on the backlog and the priority of the request, IS may not have time to work on it for months. By then we may not need it anymore. I am positive if we had such a facility it would not only make our job easier but it would also cut down on IS’s workload also because we wouldn’t have to bug them as much.
Shira: Who should have access to the ad-hoc reporting feature? All employees?
Diana: No. Employees should see only their own data except for the online directory. So they don`t need the ad-hoc feature. Just managers.
Shira: Mr. Smith was extremely sensitive about the United Way program having less than desirable employee participation. Is that really a fault of the current system?
Diana: I don’t think so, but you know us users. If something is not right it must be the system’s fault. What Mr. Smith is really saying is that he wants the new system to provide a facility that makes it easy for employees to sign up and manage their deductions from their desk. Also, he wants to provide managers with the tools to monitor the participation activity in case they have to provide encouragement, if you know what I mean.
Shira: I believe I’m getting the picture.
Diana: Right now the process to sign up is cumbersome and time consuming for the employees. And there are no reports for the managers to monitor participation.
Shira: I think that covers all my questions – for right now, at least. I may have to bug you again, though.
Diana: Anytime. Shira. I`m glad to help if it leads to a system that solves our problems.
Interviewing Ms. Diana Carton II
The following is a copy of the transcript of an interview between Diana Carton, Manager of Employee Relations, and Shira Besser, who is serving as systems analyst for the project.
Scene: Shira Besser is meeting with Diana Carton, Manager of Employee Relations, at Ms Carton`s office.
Shira: Good morning, Ms. Carton.
Diana: Hi. How can I help you today?
Shira: The next step is to prepare what are called use cases. These detail out the interaction between users and the system to accomplish user goals. They help us document the requirements for the system so that we build what you really need.
Diana: Well, I`m all for that. How do we proceed?
Shira: What I want to get out of this meeting is an understanding on everything the Employee Self Service System needs to do and who will be using each part of that functionality. Why don`t we talk about the employee directory part of the system first? As I understand it, any employee can view the phone numbers for any other employee. Would they just get the whole list, or would it be searchable somehow?
Diana: First, it would be more than just phone numbers. It would have the employee`s office location, department, job title, and supervisor. I think it should be driven by some sort of search screen. In my experience, one might want to search by first or last name, department, location, job title, or supervisor. Or combinations of them. Can we do that?
Shira: Sure. We can give the user a screen to enter any or all of that. When the user clicks OK, the system would first show the user a list of everyone who matches that criteria and links on each person to go view the complete information. Does that sound good?
Diana: Absolutely. But only after they do a successful logon. This is confidential information that can`t be open to the public.
Shira: Right. Now, we have to think about where that data comes from. You said in our last meeting that you wanted employees to be able to update their own information from the web.
Diana: Right. But the key word there is "update." When we hire a new employee, we initially collect that information with paper forms to comply with government regulations. Our staffing department would then enter the new employee profile.
Shira: What all does that profile consist of?
Diana: All the data we have spoken of so far – name, job title, supervisor, etc. – plus emergency contact information and all the options for payroll deductions and United Way contributions.
Shira: What kind of payroll deduction options are there?
Diana: United Way, parking, extra life insurance, and the pre-tax medical reimbursement plan.
Shira: All of those are things are deducted from pay checks, right?
Shira: Refresh my memory on the pre-tax medical reimbursement plan.
Diana: Employees can set aside money from their gross pay before taxes to go into a special fund for paying out-of-pocket medical expenses – things that the medical insurance doesn`t pay.
Shira: Does the system need to also track the medical payments that come out of that fund?
Diana: No, that`s handled by the insurance company. It`s like federal tax to us. We collect it and turn it over to the insurance company and don`t have anything to do with it after that.
Shira: How do the United Way contributions work?
Diana: Employees have several options. They can make a one-time contribution, a contribution of a fixed amount, or a contribution of a percentage of their gross pay. All the contributions come out of their paycheck.
Shira: And employees can change their participation level at any time?
Diana: Right. That would be part of the update profile process that employees can do online. They can change their phone number, emergency contact info, and any optional payroll deduction. And don`t forget that Mr. Smith wanted the system to provide some kind of report to allow managers to monitor the United Way participation of employees they directly supervise.
Shira: What would that process look like?
Diana: After a user logs on, can the system automatically know if that user supervises anyone?
Shira: Sure, we`ll be keeping supervisor information.
Diana: Then the system can give supervisors that option. The report just needs to list all employees that the manager supervises and whether or not they participate. We don`t care about the level of participation. We just want to get as many people as possible to participate at some level.
Shira: OK. And if the user doesn`t supervise anyone, we can even have the system hide or disable that option.
Shira: I have a question. If an employee changes jobs or gets a promotion, is the employee responsible for updating the job title and supervisor information?
Diana: No. In fact, employees should not be able to change their own pay rates or job title or supervisor. That`s what we call secure data. All promotions, job changes, and relocations have paperwork that go through HR. We already have someone in the staffing department enter those changes to the present system, so I think it would be best if that continued with the new system.
Shira: What should that interaction look like?
Diana: In the present system, the user types in an employee ID or name. That looks up the employee profile. Then we just change any data that needs to be changed and submit it.
Shira: We had talked about ad-hoc query and reporting functionality.
Diana: Right. Managers need to see more information than what will be in the employee directory. They need to see salary or wage information. They may need to see emergency contact information. They may need to see a list of all the employees located in a given building or all the rooms in a building that don`t have employees in them.
Shira: It sounds wide open. If the managers know the SQL database language, we could provide some read-only views and an SQL interface.
Diana: Well, I don`t understand most of what you just said. I have heard of SQL, and I think that would be a good idea. I wouldn`t know how to use it. But I think some of our managers could - or else have people on their staff they would trust to use it. But for us mortals, I`d like to also see a way to pull some general information with a lot of customization.
Shira: Can you give me an example?
Diana: In a lot of cases, managers need to look something up on a single employee. They could see a list of employees, pick one, and then see the complete profile on that employee. The manager could then pick the kind of information they need to see – name/address, salary/wage, location, emergency contact, deduction options, etc. Let`s call it an employee detail lookup. In other cases, managers need to see groups of employees that fit some criteria – job code, building, department, salary/wage range, home city or phone exchange, employment status, etc. It would be nice if the manager was given a place to enter any or all of that information and then the system would display a list of employees that match the criteria. Let`s call that an employee group lookup. They could just print the list or maybe the system would also let them select any one employee on the list and it would drill down into the complete profile I was talking about for the employee lookup option.
Shira: That would be great. It sounds like you`ve been thinking about this.
Diana: I have. I`m really excited about it.
Shira: Would managers be able to lookup any employee or just those that they supervise?
Diana: All employees in HR need to access to all employee data. But we don`t want managers to look up the salary of other managers. So for people other than HR, the system needs to limit access to employees that a manager directly or indirectly supervises.
Shira: What do you mean by "indirectly?"
Diana: For instance, Mr. Smith is my direct supervisor, so he should be able to see my data. Mr. Smith reports to Mr. Johnson, the president. So Mr. Johnson indirectly supervises me and should also be able to see my data. In fact, Mr. Johnson should be able to see anyone`s data because he`s at the top of the organization chart.
Shira: I get it. But if HR people or high-level managers have access to all or many employees, I don`t know if it would work for the employee detail lookup to view a list of employees and pick one. There would be too many employees in the list.
Diana: You`re right. I suppose even the simple employee detail lookup should have a mandatory selection by department. Then they could view employees of any one department and drill down to view the employee profile on any one employee. The employee group lookup would display more selection options and then view a list of employees with the same option to drill down to view an employee profile.
Shira: Would they then have an edit option.
Diana: I don`t think so. I could get overruled on this, but I don`t really want managers messing around with the data. We`ll have employees update their own non-secure information and leave the rest of it to HR.
Shira: OK. Well, I`ll get back to work. I`m going to write up what we call use case narratives that describe the scenarios and interactions we`ve discussed. They aren`t anything techie – just the steps of how users will interact with the system. You`ll be getting them for review in a few days.
Diana: Great. I look forward to seeing them
Interviewing Ms. Diana Carton III
The following is a copy of the transcripts of an interview between Ms. Diana Carton of IBC and Shira Besser, a systems analyst working on the project.
Scene: Shira Besser is meeting with Diana Carton, Manager of Employee Relations for IBC, at her office, room 1016, building 16. Ms. Besser scheduled the interview with Ms. Carton to obtain sample forms containing employee information.
Diana: Good morning, Shira! How are you? I would like to show you some forms today.
Shira: I am Fine, thank you. Can we start?
Diana: Yes. The first form is the Employee Information Form [Exhibit 4.2]. Employees complete this form on their first day of employment. (Diana hands the form to Shira.) It is mandatory that the employee completes the employee profile block, but the emergency contact information is optional. The date on the form reflects the day the employee was supposed to start working. That hire date is important to us. It is used in calculating vacation and sick days and other things. The form is filled by three different employee groups: salary, hourly and contract.
Diana: We have IT consultants, management consultants, and other kinds of employees on loan to us from the corporate office. We also have some independent consultants working as contract employees. We want everyone included in the employee directory.
Shira: Okay. Can employees have more than two emergency contacts?
Diana: Not with this form. But we would like the employees to be able to enter even more than two contacts.
Shira: I`ll see what I can do about that.
Diana: Next, we have the Employee United Way Contribution Form [Exhibit 4.3]. (Diana hands the form to Shira.) New employees complete this form on their first day of employment. Current employees complete one of these forms every October for the following year. This gives them the opportunity to change their deduction or keep it the same. We want the system to keep record of all the different amounts each employee has filled up during the years.
Shira: What do you do with new employees?
Diana: We know ahead of time what department new employees will be working in, plus the manager they will be working for. That information is part of the job offer letter that is sent to prospective new employees. Once they accept the offer, by signing the letter and returning it, we assign them an employee ID. So when they report for the first day of work, we have already captured information about them.
Shira: I see. How are employee ID’s assigned?
Diana: Sequentially. We never want to reuse an employee ID. That’s how we track employees. Even if they leave the company, they might one day come back. And, quite possibly we might owe them medical, pension, or retirement benefits. Does that make sense?
Shira: Yes it does. Are department ID`s also assigned sequentially?
Diana: No. Each of the digits in the department code means something. Each department also has a department name. For instance, 6410 is web services.
Shira: And each department has a manager?
Diana: A given department could have multiple managers in a tiered arrangement. One person would supervise 5-7 people. Another person would supervise others. Both supervisors would report to a common supervisor. All in the same department.
Shira: Is this form used by all employees: salary, hourly, and contract?
Diana: Not contract employees. Some of them are independent contractors. We don`t want to bother them, and they don`t count in our participation percentages. Now, let’s move on. The next form is the Employee Misc. Deduction Form [Exhibit 4.4]. (Diana hands the form to Shira.) New employees complete this form on their first day of employment. Current employees complete one whenever they want to change their miscellaneous deductions. Like with the previous form, we also want to keep record of history here. We want to keep track of all the miscellaneous deductions each employee performs over time.
Shira: I see that various deductions are based on monthly, yearly, or per pay period deductions.
Diana: That`s right. Some employees are paid weekly, others bi-monthly, and a few monthly. We need to note and distinguish between the different payment methods.
Shira: Is this form used by all employees, even contract employees?
Diana: Just salary and hourly. Contract employees have a special guest lot. And they are ineligible for life insurance or medical insurance.
Shira: Any other differences among the three types of employees?
Diana: Well, you don`t see it on these forms, but HR keeps track of pay rates. We need to have that in the new system. Salary employees are paid based on an annual salary. Hourly employees are paid based on an hourly rate, plus we track a maximum hours per week that is scheduled for each hourly employee. Contract employees are paid on an hourly rate without a maximum. For contract employees we also track their permanent employer, either the home office or the employees themselves in the case of independents.
Diana: Finally, we have a copy of part of a page from our Employee Telephone Listing.
[Exhibit 4.5]. (Diana hands the form to Shira.) I believe it is pretty self-explanatory. You notice it includes employees from all our six sites, plus the building and room they are located in. I would like to have the option to update each item once, and all the records in the database will be updated.
Shira: What do you mean?
Diana: If we change a name of a building, for example, I don’t want to update that in each and every employee’s record. I want to make only one update. That goes to site, building, room, department and Mail Stop.
Shira: What is a Mail Stop?
Diana: Think of it as a zip code for an in-house post office. Every employee’s mail is delivered to one of several centralized locations identified as mail stops. Usually it’s located in a little room or an area of an office. There the employees can go and retrieve their own mail. We have too many employees to provide mail delivery to each individual office or cubicle. It wouldn’t be very cost effective.
Shira: Can employees choose their mail stops?
Diana: No, they are automatically assigned based on the room numbers.
Shira: So the room really says it all, doesn`t it? That determines the mail stop, the building, and even the site.
Diana: I guess you`re right. If I know the building, then I know what site it must be.
Shira: Do employees ever share offices with other employees?
Diana: Absolutely. But every employee has some office or room where he or she works.
Shira: Okay. That gives me plenty to work on. Diana you have been a big help.
Employee Information Form
Employee United Way Contribution
Miscellaneous Payroll Deductions
Employee Telephone Listing