The City of St. John's, NL metropolitan area has a population of 200,000 as the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's
economy has been continuously connected both to its role as a regional/national/provincial capital and to the ocean. Today, its continued growth is as much tied to what lies beneath the ocean – oil and gas – as what
swims in or travels across the ocean.
City Hall, City of St. John's, NL, Canada
The economy is growing quickly, and the city has been identified as having one of the
highest proportion of scientists and engineers per capita of any city under one million
population in North America. Economic forecasts suggest that the city will continue its
strong economic growth in the coming years not only in the "oceanic" industries mentioned above, but also in tourism and new home construction as the population continues
to grow. As the city grows, so does its need for increased staffing within government and
more sophisticated HR Information Systems software that can deal with payroll complexities.
St. John's, NL, Canada
Every two years, St. John’s conducts a needs analysis for their information technology needs. The 2005-2007 strategic plan indicated that the city needed new financial software. They selected Great Plains and hoped that their payroll vendor would be able to give
them the self upgrade they were looking for. Great Plains’, (now known as Microsoft Dynamics GP) has a standard payroll module
that is not able to handle complex payroll calculations.
When the current payroll vendor was unable to provide an upgrade path, the city
of St. John’s went in search of an HRIS system that could provide a suite of features that would complement Great Plains. Bonnie Arns, the HRIS manager undertook a review of 22 software systems that could be compatible with Great
Plains and then selected three candidates that might be able to give them the full
functionality they were looking for.
“We selected StarGarden because they were the only Great Plains/Microsoft partner that could handle the complex calculations we have to do just to get a payroll
out the door because of the variety of contracts we pay under.” Notes Neil Martin,
City Clerk. “StarGarden has a great reputation for service and upgrading which
we will need as we grow. The fact that they have employee self service and a great web-based user interface got them in the door.
Their ability to understand our integration challenges is what got them the contract.”
St. John’s wanted to reduce the time, errors and redundant entries involved in payroll processing and find an HR/Payroll and Scheduling solution that would accommodate complete integration with Great Plains as well as ROE web. The finance director wanted
managers to be able to calculate job costing by dollars and by percentage, track dollars to Scheduling and use the workflows to generate more employee and manager self-service. These changes have resulted in better reporting and budgeting.
“Most importantly, we want to ensure we are paying accurately without a ton of manual intervention. We want real-time information
for reporting and budgeting purposes,” says Bonnie Arns, head of the project implementation team. “It had been a time consuming
and frustrating exercise where we had to use spread sheets to determine calculations. It was a relief to finally have StarGarden do the thinking for us. We put in the rules, it does the calculations. We are able to budget
with the new automatic feed from payroll and most importantly, accurately and efficiently pay employees.”
Adds Martin, “We are like being able to schedule our resources and accurately track
employee costs by role, not just by the person. StarGarden also provides us with workflows to track recruitment, who has had training and who hasn’t as well as statistics and
reporting on employees that our old vendor could not deliver on. My life is a lot easier
when it comes to tracking how we are spending our resources.”
StarGarden 4.1 Enterprise Solution is an ‘industrial strength, web-based HR/Payroll
product designed for government. It is not your garden variety standard payroll program. “It’s payroll on jetfuel.” Says Microsoft’s Dynamics GP partner, Tectura. StarGarden provides the robust dependability required
by demanding government payroll and HR environments.
Rules Set the Structure
St. John’s is able to rely on the fact that the core system maintains their entire history of all roles, not just individuals. The table based
system keeps the rules straight about the organization and its structure, compensation and benefit plans, accruals/balances, employees and, of course, the complex relationships between these elements. StarGarden’s database goes further; it effectively simulates
St. John’s actual structure and processes with start and end dates for every piece of information.
This system design protocol provides a necessary foundation for effective reporting and forecasting demanded by St. John’s municipal executive while at the same time providing the accuracy required for payroll and accounting functions.
Historical and Trend Reporting
St. John’s is able to customize over 150 standard reports designed specifically for Canadian government reporting in StarGarden’s
HR/Pay which delivers multiple options for selecting and sorting information.
Reports output to PDF and Excel formats. In addition, there is an embedded ad-hoc report writer to create on-demand reports.
The StarGarden system has been designed to deliver critical government management information as a by-product of the day to day
The system is event-driven, recording and managing data for each event that takes place in the organization. As events occur, they
are classified by category so they can be viewed as a time-series for trend analysis. Trends in compensation, turnover, employment
equity, labor costs, job-related injuries and other data can be easily accessed for executive reporting which is vital for Bob Bishop, the
Director of Finance & City Treasurer.
Bonnie Arns was impressed with StarGarden’s management of pay codes. The need for hundreds of pay codes is dramatically reduced by the position-based method used by StarGarden which gives it the versatility and industrial strength needed by a growing city
like St. John’s.
The ‘Position’ and the ‘Employee’ are separate. Each has their own attributes, which are then ‘married’ within the data and called
“Employee in the Position.” The result of this methodology is the ability to schedule and plan the right resources with the right budgets.
When employee #1 works as a welder in shop #2 – the system will automatically pay him $X and give him certain benefits associated
with this position. When the same employee works as a Laborer in shop #1, the system will automatically pay him $Y and give him
another set of benefits as determined by the union agreement and role responsibilities. “Having this capability gives us incredible savings of time and decreases errors as we aren’t running and updating these calculations in spreadsheets, paper and the payroll system.”
The StarGarden Group has been supplying public sector clients with a fully integrated Human Resource, Payroll, and Scheduling system for over 20 years. Prince William County of Virginia rated StarGarden their best vendor for the company’s ability to service the
government effectively 24/7.
The StarGarden solution is designed to meet the needs of governments with less
than 5000 employees. Governments are structured, position-based organizations.
U.S. and Canadian municipal and county governments select StarGarden because they have complex pay and benefit issues that no other payroll program
can manage. This powerful system can be installed with little or no customization
which shortens the implementation time and reduces the cost so that functionality
does not have to cost a fortune. At StarGarden, our implementers know government, know payroll and know how to help make the transition from legacy to employee self service painlessly. See and hear a demo
by visiting www.stargarden.com.