Wednesday, November 28, 2007

R.I.M.S. - Part 4

A long journey culminated yesterday in the launch of the final major feature of our new RIMS, Virtual Edge. A year ago this month, I started my new job, and in the first week became involved with the efforts to identify and implement a new RIMS for the firm. We made our selection in late Spring, and after a fast-tracked and tumultuous implementation, finally went live at the end of August. When we went live however, it was with several pieces still yet to be launched. I wanted to wait until the last of those pieces was in place before I put up this post.

The implementation process was indeed a challenge for a number of reasons. The ADP-Virtual Edge merger had resulted in a large number of simultaneous implementations, of which we were caught in the middle of. We had a hard deadline to get the RIMS in place before college recruiting season began for obvious reasons. When we went live, it was with the core VE Professional product, providing us with the core RIMS functionality. Although there were a few bumps early on, we were able to get the system operational and everyone trained relatively quickly, which offered a tremendous improvement in technology for us compared to where we were before.

There was still more work to be done however. At the end of September, we trained our recruiters on VE's CRM tool, Pilot, and launched this in early October. We are still in the early stages of using this new tool, but I am convinced that our recruiters will find this to be a valuable and powerful tool to help them better communicate and cultivate relationships with our prospects and candidates.

Also at the beginning of October, we rolled out the Employee Referral functionality through our Employee Referral Intranet Portal. We have had the intranet site up since May, but the process was still relatively manual. The launch of this feature enabled our employees to access our job postings internally and easily submit their referrals directly into the RIMS for the first time. With this feature employees can also provide us additional information about their referrals, and we also have automated email notifications set up to notify referring employees as to the status of their referrals. New referral features that will be made available with VEs next release will make this feature even more powerful. On the downside, employees are still slow to take advantage of this self-service functionality. This is a major process change however, and one that we will hopefully continue to convince our employees the value of in the coming weeks and months.

The final piece of the puzzle however was launched yesterday. Up until yesterday, the process for our employees to pursue internal job opportunities was a challenging and convoluted one to say the least. The simple fact was that we did not have the ability to post jobs internally across the organization through our intranet. Yesterday, we went live with our Internal Career Center, which offered a direct link into RIMS for our employees to explore and apply for internal job postings easier than ever before. We expect that over time, this will greatly improve internal mobility, therefore ultimately improving our employee's career growth initiatives and reducing turnover. We realize that there are some cultural barriers to cross here, but this new functionality alone will go a long way to get us where we need to be.

Whew! It was alot of work to get us to this point. The key factor that delayed the launch of the employee referral functionality and internal job postings was the challenges that came along with providing our employees Single Sign On (SSO) access. Once the issues related to this were resolved, and we were able to set up/revise our intranet sites, we were finally able to get these important pieces into place. My boss, my teammates, our intranet and corporate communications teams, and our outstanding IT Project Team are all responsible for moving us lightyears ahead of where we were just a few months ago. RIMS is not the silver bullet, but this tool will make our recruiters more effective and efficient in what they do and how they do it, and we will now be able to tap into talent pools that were previously underutilized.

There is still more work to do with reporting, furthering usage of Pilot and employee referral self-service, and improving the data integrity particularly related to Source. It is a huge relief today though to be where we are. Thanks again to everyone within the firm and at VE for their efforts, we are in a much better place today than before without question.

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