The organizational development (OD) department used a tedious, paper-based
process to reimburse employees who used their tuition reimbursement
benefit, wasting staff time in both OD and accounts payable (AP).
In addition, OD staff had to field constant inquiries from employees
about current benefit amounts.
As always, it was first necessary to understand the full process
and decide which parts would benefit from automation:
verifies eligibility (review of policy or union contract) and
current balance of funds (call or e-mail to OD).
Employee submits written form, signed by manager, together with
other documentation, to OD.
verifies eligibility and current balance, completes check request
and sends to AP.
inputs payment to payables system to produce check.
can be automated?
and current balance are calculated using defined rules and formulas.
These can be combined with employee data for automated calculations.
actual request cannot be automated because various bits of paper
must be sent to AP. In theory, this could be automated by scanning
documents, but it would not be worth the effort.
verification of eligibility and current balance can be streamlined,
and submission to AP can be automated.
inputting can be eliminated.
and balance (for employees)
To reduce the volume of inquiries from employees and managers to
the OD department, we built an employee self-check tool for the
intranet. Any employee using this tool is automatically shown their
personal status, including any courses submitted and any remaining
funds for the current period (shown below).
OD staff can look up any employee to check eligibility and fund
balance, and submit reimbursement requests for payment. The employee
lookup process starts as shown below.
of matching names is displayed and the correct employee is
selected (shown below).
relevant details for the employee are
displayed (shown below).
longevity < 6 months, displayed in bold
scheduled hours < 20, displayed in bold
courses submitted during the current period are displayed in the
"Add Course" (see above) displays the Add Course/Conference
screen (shown below).
staff can then input details from the paper
request submitted by the employee.
"Submit," the details for this employee are refreshed
(shown below). More courses can be added until funds are exhausted.
OD staff can run summary or detail reports
using any combination of the variables shown below.
of the detailed report for a nursing
unit is shown below (click the image to see the entire report).
the image above to see the full image]
Reimbursement limits for each contract in each payroll must be set
at the beginning of each fiscal year. This can be done one at a
time (see below).
limits and period start date can also be updated in a batch
process. A form listing all payroll/contract combinations
(shown below) is used to select the items to update.
same batch process has a shortcut for global
updates, which is especially useful for updating Period Start
Date at the beginning of a new fiscal year (shown below).
Once OD has input the reimbursement request, an automated process
Friday morning, a scripted process inputs all reimbursement requests
into the Meditech accounts payable system for processing by AP
the same day.
of counts and dollar totals for the week are simultaneously e-mailed
to AP for audit purposes. If there are no new reimbursement requests,
an e-mail is sent confirming this.
are printed as part of the weekly batch, with no additional work
can easily verify their eligibility and current balance.
staff verify eligibility and current balance in one place instead
of looking up partial data in two systems.
staff input reimbursement requests using a very quick, simple
staff no longer input anything. From their perspective, the process
is fully automated.
no attempt was made to quantify savings, it is clear that staff
time is saved at every step in the process.
in collective bargaining contracts were a bit more complicated
than expected, but we were able to adjust the process.
was an ideal process to automate: clearly defined with solid rules
and logic; everyone in the process gained from automation; and,
manageable in scope.
Posted 18 November 2008