resources

Engineering Firm Builds Trust with Fair Market Pay and Automated HR

July 25, 2023

Learn how Paylocity’s Market Pay tool is building a solid data foundation at Crafton Tull.
Case Study

All successful construction projects begin with planning, design and surveying — disciplines that require not only professional skill and practical experience, but also local knowledge. The best buildings, highways, parks and public spaces harmonize with their surroundings, reflecting the influence of local geology, climate, communities, and culture.

So, if you’re developing real estate or infrastructure projects in Arkansas or Oklahoma, you couldn’t find a better partner than Crafton Tull. For 60 years, the firm has been delivering planning and design that improves communities throughout the region, one project at a time.

Yet, despite its outstanding reputation in the South-Central states, Crafton Tull is facing increasingly tough competition to recruit the best and brightest engineers. Courtney Guppy, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, explains: “When Congress passed the infrastructure bill, a lot of national engineering firms started moving into our region. That has pushed compensation up, and it’s been a real battle to figure out whether we’re ahead or behind the market on pay.”

As a 100% employee-owned company, Crafton Tull must compete for talent while also ensuring that compensation remains fair for its existing employees. However, the firm’s HR team had neither the time nor the data to perform market pay analysis. Manual processes and an outdated HR system meant they spent almost all their time on routine transactional tasks. That’s why they turned to Paylocity.

“Paylocity’s Market Pay helps us make more informed decisions about what we’re paying our employees and supports data-driven decisions around compensation. This saves us time when we’re working to keep pay competitive for various jobs—and of course helps us retain our best talent.”

- Courtney Guppy, Senior Vice President of Human Resources

 

The Challenge

Laying New Foundations for HR that Employees Can Trust

Outdated HR systems and error-prone manual processes had undermined employees’ faith in HR at Crafton Tull.

Rebuilding Trust in HR
For several years, Crafton Tull had used an HR platform that had been customized heavily. By the time Courtney joined, the system had become overcomplicated, unreliable, and almost impossible to maintain.

As a result, Courtney explains: “It was like the wild west of HR. Employees were using spreadsheets to calculate their own PTO because they didn’t trust the system. All the essential HR functions were broken and there was no faith in the team.”

When the firm’s new HR leadership asked Courtney to help, she jumped at the chance: “The idea of coming over and helping this company turn things around was an exciting challenge to get into.”

Automating Manual Processes
One of the first priorities was to find a way to automate manual processes. One employee was fully occupied by processing payroll, while others spent hours rekeying benefits data into vendors’ systems. “I said, that’s not the way this HR department is going to work,” recalls Courtney. “I don't want you to pay us to sit there and do data entry. I want you to pay our team to be out amongst our employees.”

Becoming Data-Driven
Automation would be the first step in helping the HR team pivot away from transactional processing and towards more strategic activities — but Crafton Tull also wanted an HR platform that could give them more insight. For example: “To recruit new graduates, we need all these different data points to figure out if our compensation is going to be competitive,” says Courtney. “So, we need real-time information on what people are being paid.”

“If you know how HR works and you know what you want to do, Paylocity makes it simple.”

- Courtney Guppy, Senior Vice President of Human Resources

 

The Solution

Building a Modern HR Function from the Ground Up

Starting from scratch with a new platform from Paylocity enabled Crafton Tull to rebuild HR on firmer foundations.

Simple, Automated HR
Crafton Tull decided to make a fresh start with a new platform, and chose Paylocity. “Paylocity seemed very user-friendly, which is what we needed at that moment,” says Courtney. “If you know how HR works and you know what you want to do, Paylocity makes it simple.”

One of the first steps was using Paylocity’s Benefits Administration and Integrations to exchange data automatically with the firm’s benefits providers. This instantly eliminated hours of manual data entry work for HR, as well as reducing errors to almost zero. Introducing Employee Self Service has also streamlined open enrollment and puts employees in control of their own HR records.

“We used to have phishing incidents where someone would impersonate an employee and ask the HR team to change their direct deposit details,” says Courtney. “Now we ask employees to log into Paylocity and make those changes themselves, which is much more secure.”

Gaining Insight into Market Pay
Paylocity’s Insights & Recommendations module has also dramatically improved the firm’s insight into its HR data. “We have a lot of faith in the data in the platform,” says Courtney. “And we really like the dynamic reporting. I can start with a template, adjust the columns, and very quickly get the information I’m looking for.”

Market Pay, which provides real-time access to data on average compensation for relevant job roles in the firm’s industry and region, is another key feature. “Paylocity’s Market Pay helps us make more informed decisions about what we’re paying our employees and supports data-driven decisions around compensation,” says Courtney. “This saves us time when we’re working to keep pay competitive for various jobs — and of course helps us retain our best talent.”

Streamlined Recruiting and Onboarding
Once Crafton Tull has decided on the right level of compensation, Paylocity streamlines the entire Recruiting and Onboarding experience. Courtney’s team can post a new job ad in five minutes and use Paylocity to send offers to good candidates by email and SMS. If the candidate accepts, they receive all onboarding documents up front, so they don’t spend their first day in their new job doing paperwork. Crafton Tull also uses Paylocity’s Learning module to create custom trainings and push them out to new hires as part of onboarding.

 

The Results

High-Functioning HR that Plays a Strategic Role

With a platform that simplifies and automates core HR processes, Crafton Tull’s HR team can focus on helping employees and supporting executive decision-makers.

HR that Works for Employees
With Paylocity, Crafton Tull now has a platform that makes life easier for employees and the HR team alike. Courtney gives an example: “When we started using Paylocity for open enrollment, our employees just breezed through it. So as an HR team, we're not worrying about whether they know where to go or which buttons to click. We can focus on talking through the benefits they elected and the programs that we're offering.”

Saving Time and Money
The firm has seen significant efficiency gains, too. Previously, running payroll was a full-time job for one employee. Now, with Paylocity, it takes about an hour to check the figures, and three minutes to actually run the payroll. “We've reduced our workload, but what’s more important is that we're a lot more efficient and high-functioning as a team,” says Courtney.

Transforming the Role of HR
By automating processes and eliminating data entry, the platform not only saves the company time and money — it also changes the role of HR. “We used to be a completely transactional department and now we’re not transactional at all,” says Courtney. “With Paylocity, we've come into more of a strategic partnership. I spend every Monday morning with my CEO talking about what's happening in the industry and how we can continue to compete for the best talent.”

She concludes: “I always say an HR department is doing a good job if nobody is really worrying about HR. And with Paylocity, we have a platform that our employees believe in. They trust us. And that has been a huge change from where I started.”

“With Paylocity, we've come into more of a strategic partnership. I spend every Monday morning with my CEO talking about what's happening in the industry and how we can continue to compete for the best talent.”

- Courtney Guppy, Senior Vice President of Human Resources

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