Staffing firm goes high tech

Erasing the paper trail of time sheets

One of the biggest challenges for staffing agencies is keeping track of workers, how many hours they’ve worked and making sure they’ve been paid for that work.

Vancouver-based The Personnel Department has found a way to streamline this process and virtually erase the paper trail associated with time sheets.

“We were looking for a way to ease the process for our people out in the field,” said Leslie Meingast, president and CEO of The Personnel Department.

The Personnel Department provides temporary staff, permanent recruitment, HR management and executive recruitment in Canada, the United States and Australia.

Last September the company, which at any given time has between 5,000 and 8,000 employees and temps, paired up with Recombo, a small technology firm in Vancouver that provides electronic agreement technology.

The technology allows the staffing firm to work with its existing computer systems. When the initial order for an employee comes in, an electronic time sheet is generated and e-mailed directly to the employee. The employee is then able to fill out the time sheet from anywhere she has e-mail access and enter a legally binding electronic signature by entering a user ID and password. Once the time sheet is completed, it is automatically forwarded to the employer for verification and another legally binding electronic signature. The verified time sheet is then automatically e-mailed back to The Personnel Department and is automatically entered into the payroll system.

“Our payroll people are just thrilled with this,” said Meingast.

Because the electronic time sheet looks just like the old paper version, both employee and employer can easily fill it out.

“There’s a small learning curve,” said Mike Gardner, president and CEO of Recombo. “And the efficiencies are obviously huge.”

The electronic nature of the time sheets allows The Personnel Department to track them at any given moment and payroll knows exactly who has the time sheets — be it the employee, the employer or the staffing firm.

Even more importantly, it’s a technology that can be used in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

“When we started this process, it had to be a technology that we could adapt to those countries,” said Meingast.

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