A typical day for Prab Brinton, Vice President of Human Resources at Covia, is anything but typical. From tracking performance and overtime costs to managing turnover, her seven years at Covia has taught her that data tells the real story of what’s going on at the heart of an organization. So when Covia wanted to update their HR system to have gobs of data at their fingertips, they called in Katie Griffith, Founder of Bright Solutions, to help weed through the endless vendors and options.
In today’s article, we’ll learn about the problems Covia aimed to solve and how they worked with Katie to find the right software for their ever-evolving business.
Covia is a nonprofit organization that has been helping people “live well and age well – anywhere you call home” for over 50 years. Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, Covia provides housing and programs for seniors, primarily in California, with some programs reaching seniors nationwide. Covia’s mission is to promote positive aging by cultivating healthy and engaged communities with a continuum of innovative services that actively support intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. It’s not only a great organization for the seniors they serve, but a fantastic place to work as well. In fact, Covia is consistently named one of the Bay Area’s “Best Places to Work” and recognized by Fortune Magazine as a Best Workplace for Aging Services.
Prab loves being part of such a wonderful team of employees, leaders and residents. When she answered the “wanted ad,” Prab realized right away that she had hit the goldmine of jobs! There’s a sense of purpose at every level, and she feels “extremely connected to the employee population” at Covia. With an HR team of 13, seven in the office with her, plus five located at different sites across their geography, they handle all things HR including talent acquisition, compensation, benefits, employee relations, employee turnover, and all that is involved in the employee life cycle.
Problems they were trying to solve
With approximately 1300 employees located throughout California, Covia needed to know the answer to questions like:
- Are our salaries and benefits packages competitive with the industry?
- Why aren’t employees taking advantage of benefits?
- Why are certain groups of employees turning over more often than others?
- How are applicants getting from the application stage to their first day on the job? Is there something we can do to make their experience better?
- How many hours of overtime did employees work last week or last month in each location? And how does that compare to the same time last year? Can that be tied to changes in the community?
- How are employees performing across locations and does that have an impact on turnover and employee satisfaction?
The systems they were using could give some of this data, but they had to dig for it. It was not easily accessible, and it could not be easily manipulated to tell a bigger story. In a job where data is key, they felt like they were missing access to important information that would help them make decisions. So they decided it was time for an upgrade. However, the task seemed daunting.
Working with Katie
Prab was referred to Katie by the COO of Covia. He had worked with Katie in the past and said she was just the person to help Covia find and implement a new HRMS. According to Prab, “In the beginning, it was helpful to talk peer to peer about strategy and ideas. She had a logical and methodical way to figure out exactly what we needed the system to do for us.” Katie asked questions like, “What is the system doing for you on a day to day basis that is giving you more time and information every day?”
Once they had a vision for what the software needed to do, Katie was able to approach vendors with a list of requirements from Covia. The HR team and Katie vetted vendors together to make sure the software did what they said it would and more importantly, look at the culture of the organization to ensure a good fit. Coming from a high-tech background, Prab admitted it was easy to get wrapped up in all the bells and whistles of a particular software. “Katie reminded me that while technology is amazing, cost and ease of implementation are equally important pieces to consider. She was an excellent right hand person through the process, and because she was not wedded to any vendor in particular, she could look at them from an objective perspective,” says Prab.
Covia made the decision to go with ADP. The software checked all the boxes, and the company was a great fit culturally. Prab chose to engage Katie further to help with the implementation process. Katie had been involved with dozens of these decisions and implementations, so she was a natural fit to help them move from closing the deal to project managing all the pieces. She implemented one piece in particular, an advanced scheduler, and got it to a nice hand off place for Prab’s team to take over. Along the way, Katie also helped Prab with employee and management communication. Keeping employees and management in the know and training them can get overwhelming, and Prab was thankful for Katie’s experience communicating these kinds of changes to the organization.
The result was a smooth process from deciding on a solution to implementing the software. At the first quarterly meeting, Prab says, “ADP pulled information directly from the system and showed us how we compared to the market.” It was exactly what they wanted.
When asked if Prab would recommend Katie to another senior community, she said, “Absolutely, in a heartbeat. She is a really good project manager, and she’s able to put aside feelings and emotions to get the job done.”
Prab has accomplished a lot in seven years, but there is always work to do. She “wants to be THE benchmark for HR in their industry.” We have no doubt that this goal will be reached with Prab leading the way. Congrats to Covia for a successful HRMS implementation, and cheers to gobs of data!
Author: Brittany Darling
Brittany is a freelance writer based is Ponte Vedra, FL. She has been writing for five years about all sorts of things from lawn care and puppies to hot dog eating contests and tennis.
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