Tellepsen Builders is a commercial general contractor serving the greater Houston area. The fourth-generation, family-owned company was founded nearly 110 years ago and over that time has built a solid reputation and long-lasting relationships with its Houston-area clients. Tellepsen has four divisions. Its commercial division handles projects ranging between $15 million and $200 million, including schools, hospitals, churches and parking structures. Its industrial division handles engineering, construction and fabrication predominantly in the chemical and petrochemical arena. A concrete division and interior build-out division round out Tellepsen’s offerings.
With so many key projects around the Houston metro area, the company maintains a stable of 1,000+ employees. However, as projects come and go, hundreds of more employees can be added at any given time, depending on needs. That means Tellepsen’s HR and payroll professionals have their hands full, consistently onboarding new hires — up to 3,000 per year — processing paperwork like I-9 forms and company policy agreements, setting up wages and payments and much more. And, up until recently, they were handling these critical tasks via manual processes like paper, pen, spreadsheets and email.
“We were doing all of our onboarding manually,” said Maryanne Henn, Tellepsen’s HR director. “Then, we would scan all those documents and manually enter a new hire into Vista. You’d have to populate each field manually, from eyeballing the piece of paper and then typing it in, which, of course, creates many data entry errors — human errors, mixing up numbers, mixing up dates. So that was a big challenge for us.”
Henn said that HR staff would sometimes have to sit with new hires for a half-day or longer just to make sure all of the paperwork was correct and that all tasks needed to effectively onboard the employee were carried out. If larger groups of workers needed to be onboarded together for projects, the process could take a full day or longer.
Users of Viewpoint’s Vista ERP solution for more than a decade, Tellepsen knew it needed to modernize its employee onboarding processes. “When I started here a couple of years ago, I saw the process here and thought: ‘okay, we need to look for something to help us with this,’” Henn said, noting that she had been working for a long time in automated HR management solutions with previous companies.
“We were doing all of our onboarding manually … so that was a big challenge for us.”
The company looked for a solution that could digitize and streamline HR processes, while integrating with Vista. After evaluating several other solutions on the market, the company chose Viewpoint HR Management (at the time provided by Keystyle Data Solutions). Tellepsen took advantage of the easy-to-use features of Viewpoint HR Management, which allowed employees to complete their onboarding through digital documents, streamlining these once cumbersome processes buried in paperwork with simple steps via the online portal. It allowed new hires to fill out a majority of their documentation ahead of time, so that their first days on the job could be focused on the projects ahead of them.
“One of our other divisions was using it for other processes, so we already had it available to open up and practice with it,” Henn said. “And it integrated with Vista so seamlessly so that our employee information was right there in our system of record.”
Henn said the Tellepsen team worked with Viewpoint to customize the Viewpoint HR Management solution to fit specific needs, including setting up unique workflows. And with the Vista integration, it helps with other employee-related processes throughout the company.
“We can run queries quickly for any kind of audits or year-end, especially on employees and payroll through Excel or Crystal Reports, depending on the need,” said Kendall Pouland, Tellepsen’s director of professional development. “It allows us to be really flexible, which is nice.”
“When someone creates a document in HR Management, it automatically converts to a PDF and we upload it to our paperless file system.”
Henn said Viewpoint HR Management significantly cut down on paperwork in the office and time that the HR team spent on facilitating new hire processes — saving between three and four hours per new hire. “It’s really helped us,” she said. “It allowed us to have more quality conversations with new hires. At the same time, it shrunk down the time to input in Vista because it populated the fields for us. But the biggest time-saver is the scanning and indexing. When someone does a document in HR Management, it automatically converts to a PDF and we upload it to our paperless file system.”
Viewpoint HR Management also helped dramatically reduce errors and missing data that occurred in previous onboarding processes. “So much time was spent on the paperwork that we’d speed through everything because we were trying to be quick,” Henn said. “There were a lot of hours spent correcting things like incorrect bank account or social security numbers in the system.”
Pouland added that Viewpoint HR Management has also helped bring a level of consistency to projects that was missing before. In an era where projects are moving faster and skilled labor is harder to find, having a simplified, automated onboarding process helps to provide a standardized process that keeps employees and projects moving. She said adding Viewpoint HR Management was well worth the investment.
“I think the ROI is pretty easy to see — especially when it’s turning something from paper and people time to software,” Pouland said. “Once you start adding up time spent on (manual processes) it becomes so expensive.”