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City of St. Cloud (FL) Modernizes HR to Maximize Value for Taxpayers’ Money

April 25, 2023

The City of St. Cloud (FL) wanted an HCM platform that could act as a one-stop-shop for all HR functions that its legacy systems couldn’t provide. That’s why city leaders turned to Paylocity.
Case Study

When city governments face challenges with people management, they don’t have the same options as private sector businesses. Budgets are tighter and scrutiny is much more intense. Even a small investment in technology may need to pass a vote in city council. And rightly so: if you’re spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars, your investments need to deliver outstanding value.

That can be a problem because many HRIS vendors price their products for corporate clients, not government agencies. As Donald Rose, Organizational Development and Training Manager for the City of St. Cloud, Florida, puts it: “There are some nice options if your organization is the size of The Walt Disney Company—but they have a slightly different budget than a municipal government.”

As with many government agencies, the St. Cloud’s personnel records and payroll still live on decades-old green-screen systems. These systems lack the functionality to support other HR processes, and they can’t easily be extended. As a result, St. Cloud’s HR team relied heavily on paper-based processes—leading to a fragmented organizational culture, significant duplication of effort, and a lack of transparency.

Donald and his team wanted to find a platform that could act as a one-stop shop for all the HR functionalities that its legacy systems couldn’t provide. And critically, it needed an affordable solution that would deliver the maximum value for taxpayers’ money. That’s where Paylocity came in.

“We needed an HR solution that would give us all the tools we needed in one place, while still being affordable enough to fund with taxpayer dollars. Paylocity was the right option.”

Donald Rose, Organizational Development and Training Manager

 

The Challenge

A Government That Works on Paper

Decentralized, paper-based processes were undermining HR’s ability to manage its people efficiently and effectively.

City leadership knew that its legacy payroll and personnel systems were outdated and clunky, but replacing them completely would be a major, long-term initiative. Instead, St. Cloud decided to address a more immediate issue: the huge amounts of paperwork that its other HR processes generated each day.

Training Lacked Transparency
Training was a huge pain-point, as Donald recalls. “Before I joined, St. Cloud didn’t have a city-wide training manager. Each department organized their own trainings, and there was no system or standard for tracking attendance. We would literally have to root through boxes of paper to check if someone was up to date on their mandatory trainings.”

Time Collection was Time-Consuming
Managing shift workers was another labor-intensive process. For example, lifeguards at the aquatic center had to fill out paper timesheets, and supervisors spent hours chasing up on missed punches and correcting errors. Scheduling shifts was time-consuming too, as requests to swap shifts or take time off were all handled manually.

Culture wasn’t Collaborative
More generally, the heavy reliance on paperwork led to a lack of standardization between departments, which made it difficult to take a strategic approach to HR decision-making. The result was a disconnected culture, with minimal cross-functional collaboration or teamwork between different departments.

 

“The social aspect of Paylocity’s Community brings people into the platform, and they start to connect with each other. Instead of 10 departments that are totally siloed and independent, we’re bringing people together.”

Donald Rose, Organizational Development and Training Manager

 

The Solution

Less Bureaucracy, More Democracy

Paylocity is helping St. Cloud not only cut paperwork, but also empower its employees with tools for communication and collaboration.

One Hub for Learning and Training
Paylocity’s Learning platform gave Donald the ability to merge all of St. Cloud’s training programs into one hub. “With Paylocity, I can track attendance easily and share data with the department directors regularly so they can see their employees’ progress,” he explains. “And when they request new trainings, I have one consistent system—so I can build a course once, and all departments can benefit.”

Light-Touch Time Collection and Scheduling
For the aquatics department, Time Collection in Paylocity has virtually eliminated the problem of missed punches, while Scheduling is making it easier to ensure that every shift is fully staffed. “The supervisor on our aquatics team is a big fan,” says Donald. “Her workforce tends to be a younger demographic, and they love the fact that they can clock in and out with their phones using the Paylocity Mobile App.”

A Community that Grows Organically
Within a month of switching to Paylocity, St. Cloud employees started using Paylocity’s Community platform to communicate and build relationships. Donald comments: “Community is bringing people together across departments. It’s great for diversity and creating space for people to connect.”

Paylocity’s Employee Self-Service portal also provides a single hub for employees to access information and tools. “As soon as you log in, you have links to everything you might need,” says Donald. “That’s so much easier than having 400 different bookmarks in your web browser!”

 

The Results

A City Government that Puts People First

Paylocity brings HR at the City of St. Cloud into the modern world, unlocking huge time savings for the HR team, departmental managers, and employees alike.

A Revolution in HR Efficiency
Now that they’ve experienced Paylocity, St. Cloud’s HR team can’t imagine life without it. Donald reflects: “Paylocity has revolutionized the way I work. I’m creating way more trainings now than I was two years ago. I’m currently working on five projects at once; before, I only had bandwidth for one thing at a time.”

Saving 1,500 Hours Across All Departments
The benefits extend beyond the HR team too, because centralizing HR functions has taken a huge burden off departmental managers. “Departments aren’t planning trainings on their own anymore,” says Donald. “They can just ask, and I can implement the whole thing through Paylocity. We’ve completely taken that responsibility off everyone’s shoulders, and it’s saving hundreds of hours for them.”

Building a Collaborative Culture
Employees are enthusiastic about Paylocity too, and there’s already evidence that a more collaborative culture is growing organically across the organization. “After just the first month, I saw a huge uptick in the likes and comments and reactions to work anniversaries posted in Community,” says Donald. “People are building relationships across departments, discovering common interests, and sharing ideas much more than they ever did before.”

A Platform for the Future
City leaders see Paylocity as a platform for the future. “Paylocity gives us more options for how we evolve our HR services,” Donald concludes. “For example, say we wanted to modernize our performance management. We could go live with that in Paylocity in a matter of weeks—versus months or years if we had to implement a whole new system.” As a city government with limited resources, that ease, speed, and cost-efficiency of deployment is priceless.

 

“In the first six months, we saved around 1,500 hours for our 10 departments on organizing trainings. As a team of one, I’m able to serve all the training needs of our 585 employees thanks to Paylocity.”

Donald Rose, Organizational Development and Training Manager

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