Close inspection: Royal Canadian Mint polishes HR, payroll system

Corporation came up with 400 criteria for new HRMS to modernize HR technology

When the Royal Canadian Mint was looking for a new human resources management system (HRMS), it wanted a system that combined tasks that used to be completed separately. Until that point, the HR and payroll departments had been operating time and attendance, payroll tasks and human resource functions independently from one another — which led to an inefficient use of employee time.

The Mint also wanted to have up-to-date, strategic data and information for its 1,270 employees that was readily available, so management decisions could be based on solid facts.

“It’s very important for management to be able to access information quickly and that they’re able to make strategic decisions after that,” says Julie Sylvestre, senior HR director at the Mint.

“At the time, management was asking questions (of) HR and it could take us hours to provide them with the information. The integrity of the information was questionable too.”

So Sylvestre and her HR team developed a set of more than 400 criteria the new system would need to support for the Mint’s 935 employees in Ottawa and 335 employees in Winnipeg.

“Imagine developing 400 criteria,” she says. “It was a lot of work, but it was necessary.”

One key criterion was the service provider needed to not only be an expert in IT software but have extensive experience in HR.

“Most of the problems you have are not always IT problems, they’re more about HR,” says Sylvestre.

“We wanted to make sure that if we have to phone the supplier — even if we have a problem at eight o’clock in the evening — we want to speak to someone who has the HR expertise.”

The Mint ultimately chose the latest version of V.I.P. from Montreal-based HR software provider D.L.G.L.

“We cover the big areas, like HR, payroll, pension administration, workforce management, scheduling, talent management, learning management, health and safety and a series of portals for the manager, the employee and even the pensioner,” says Brian Stuart, director of D.L.G.L.’s client ROI maximization program.

With the new HRMS, most of the transformations were completed in less than one year, says Sylvestre.

“Now, managers can see the professional data on each of their employees through their manager portals and an employee can have similar access through the portal and have information on their own file,” she says.

“It’s really to ensure that the Mint can operate on a modern, up-to-date, integrated system that will support decision-making for years to come.”

Modernizing the Mint

While most people might not think of the Royal Canadian Mint as modern or up-to-date, the needs of the organization are similar to those of workplaces across the country, says Sylvestre.

“We do business with more than 25 countries,” she says.

“We have lots of management staff that need to travel on a regular basis, so just being able to approve their timesheet through their BlackBerry or iPad was key for this project.”

The mobile capability of the software allows the Mint’s managers greater freedom. Employees can access the system from almost anywhere, says Sylvestre.

Integrating mobile access was an essential component, says Stuart.

“What we’ve done now with our application is to ensure every part of our application — whether you’re the paymaster running pay or just the employee consulting information — it’s available on a mobile device.”

Moving to a new system also provided an opportunity for the Mint to move its entire time and attendance system online. However, this also posed a problem because many employees are not computer-based.

Sylvestre estimates 200 employees in Winnipeg and 550 in Ottawa do not have consistent computer access. They work in factories where coins are minted or the workers are out on the road making deliveries.

To solve this problem, the Mint created two computer areas in the cafeterias at both the Ottawa and Winnipeg locations. Employees who need access to those computers are given access cards so they can review and edit their accounts from remote locations, including in the cafeteria or at home.

“That was a big change for this organization,” says Guylaine Cadoret, senior manager of total compensation and HRMIS at the Mint, and project lead of the V.I.P. implementation.

“We also had people that were still receiving paper paycheques — they were not receiving pay stubs, they were actually receiving their own paycheques every two weeks.”

Another key benefit the Mint has found with the new system is its ability to speed up the salary review process.

“It used to take us six to seven weeks to do the whole process of salary review for non-unionized employees and, with the implementation of the automated features in the V.I.P., we’ve got it down to three weeks,” says Cadoret.

The success of the implementation is largely because of the commitment made by HR and payroll, says Sylvestre.

“When we’re talking about assigning people to work on this project full-time, other employees had to take on additional responsibilities during that period,” she says.

“That played a key role in the implementation of the system.”

She recommends any organization looking to implement a new system dedicate a team solely to the project. That team will then train the rest of HR and payroll on the system so they are prepared to field questions from employees at every level.

“It was important to make sure HR was equipped with an understanding of the change management plan before we informed management and before we informed key (stake)holders,” says Sylvestre.

“Every time we had an information session, they were the first ones to get the information so that they understood and could communicate to others all of the impacts.”

The team at D.L.G.L. also acknowledges the Mint’s decision to dedicate a four-person team strictly to the implementation had a real impact on the success of the project.

“They put the people who were most expert in the business knowledge on the (implementation) team and then backfilled those positions to make sure they were dedicated to it,” says Stuart.

Support from senior management also contributed to the smooth implementation, say Sylvestre and Stuart.

“There are always things that you run into with a project, things that need to be addressed,” says Stuart. “Without having the senior management behind them and supporting them, things can be a lot more difficult. So this was a really good group that was really dedicated to the project.”

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