StarGarden helps a growing City meet their HR and Payroll demands

The City of St. John’s staff count had been growing. They were using Microsoft Dynamics for finances and needed a payroll solution that can not only integrate with Microsoft Dynamics but also be able to handle complex payroll calculations.

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HR and Payroll Challenges of a growing city

The population of the City of St. John's, NL has been growing. As the city grows, so does its need for increased staffing within government and a more sophisticated HRIS software that can deal with payroll complexities. Every two years, St. John’s conducts a needs analysis for their information technology needs. . The 2005-2007 strategic plan indicated that the city needed new financial software. They selected Great Plains (now Microsoft Dynamics GP) and hoped that their vendor would be able to give them the payroll upgrade they were looking for. Microsoft Dynamics GP however has a standard payroll module that was not able to handle their complex payroll calculations. Bonnie Arns, the HRIS manager undertook a review of 22 software systems that were compatible with Great Plains.

Life before StarGarden:
  • Payroll was a time consuming and frustrating exercise as they used spreadsheets to determine calculations
  • Tracking schedule and costs by employee was difficult
  • Lacked visibility in reports for financial planning and budgeting
  • Errors caused due to duplicate entries in different systems were prevalent
St. John’s requirements for the HRIS:
  • Ability to integrate with Great Plains/Microsoft Dynamics
  • Ability to handle the complex payroll requirements and calculations from their multiple contracts and agreements
  • Employee and Manager Self Service
  • Web based interface
  • Provide reporting capabilities
St. John’s objectives for the onboarding of new HR system:
  • Reduce the time, errors, and redundant entries involved in payroll processing
  • Ensure they were paying employees accurately without a ton of manual intervention
  • Have a HR/payroll and Scheduling solution that would accommodate complete integration with Great Plains as well as ROE Web
  • Enable managers to calculate job costing by dollars and by percentage, track dollars to schedules, and use the workflows to generate more employee and manager self-service
  • Get real-time information for reporting and budgeting purposes
Life after StarGarden HCM Implementation at the city of St.John’s:
  • St. John’s is able to utilize and adapt over 150 standard reports designed specifically for Canadian government reporting
  • An adhoc reporting tool is available to allow the City to design whatever additional report they require
  • The StarGarden system allows for events driven reporting that is classified by category so they can be viewed as a time-series for trend analysis
  • StarGarden’s definition and management of pay codes reduces the need for hundreds of pay codes which gives it the versatility needed for a growing city
  • St. John’s is able to schedule and plan the right resources with the right budgets
  • StarGarden’s scheduling and resource planning functionality saves time and decreases errors as they don’t have to run and update these calculations in spreadsheets and then enter them into the payroll system
Role StarGarden’s Integrated HR system plays at St.John’s:
  • StarGarden maintains St. John’s entire history of all positions, not just individuals
  • The table based system keeps the rules straight about the organization and its structure, compensation and benefit plans, accruals/balances, and employees, while respecting the complex relationships between these elements
  • It effectively simulates St. John’s actual structure and processes with start and end dates for every piece of information
  • It provides a necessary foundation for the effective reporting and forecasting demanded by St. John’s municipal executives
  • Provides the accuracy required for payroll and accounting functions.
In their own words:

We selected StarGarden because they were the only Great Plains/Microsoft partner that could handle the complex calculations we have to do just to get a payroll out the door because of the variety of contracts we pay under. StarGarden has a great reputation for service and upgrading which we will need as we grow. The fact that they have employee self-service and a great web-based user interface got them in the door. Their ability to understand our integration challenges is what got them the contract.

Neil Martin

City Clerk at St. John’s



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