At CASS, we truly believe that the world and our industry are made better by People Supporting People. That phrase reflects our values both in the way that we deliver frontline support, and the way that our agency operates internally. In order for the people of CASS’s frontline staff to support people, it is important that our Coordinator, Administration and Senior Leadership teams also hold that value. In all of our tasks, we aim to support frontline workers with the creativity and empowerment they employ themselves.
I started working with CASS as a frontline support worker 11 years ago. In those 11 years, I have been empowered to learn and grow both personally and professionally, and have had the chance to hold many exciting and challenging positions throughout the agency. While doing CPI training and Resource facilitation, I had the pleasure of meeting most of our amazing staff. Now that I am in administration, I feel strongly that knowing the faces, successes and struggles of our frontline staff is key to delivering the administrative support necessary in helping those workers do what they do best.
Years ago, CASS took on the task of modernizing our administration to ensure that we can continue to deliver services efficiently and effectively to our staff. Many of these recent changes have revolved around partnering with Sparkrock to build and maintain an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that can store our administration and financial data in. In the past, we used multiple information systems which created data ‘silos’ that did not communicate with each other, resulting in confusing and inflexible administrative systems that required duplicated efforts to maintain and made reporting challenging.
CASS went live with the finance module of this new system in April of 2018. CASS staff are most familiar with the Employee Centre—the portal by which end users can interact with the system to submit expenses and payment requests. We appreciate that getting used to a new system always comes with challenges, and CASS staff have been incredible at learning the system, pursuing training, asking questions, and supporting each other.
Along with the day-to-day administrative uses of this ERP, it has also enabled us to act quickly to ensure that we are able to track expenses related to Covid-19, report data to our funders to communicate our frontline needs, and has generally supported our organizational resilience in this difficult time.
CASS is currently in the process of implementing the Human Resources/Payroll (HRP) module of the Sparkrock ERP system, which will further enable our organizational flexibility and efficacy. These implementations bring with them a lot of challenges, especially for not-for-profit organizations, but we have excellent support from Sparkrock, and a dedicated, hard working administration team who are up to the challenge. They will be keeping an eye on how to structure our system so that it works just as well for our end users as it does for our administration and sets the stage for future growth.
This HRP module will allow frontline staff to use scheduling if they are hourly employees, and base calendars if they are salaried employees that are directly tied to payroll (making timesheets a thing of the past). When this module goes live, you will be able to view pay stubs and T4’s, submit absence requests, make employee information changes and more directly through the Employee Centre (as a head’s up, the Employee Center will be called ‘mySparkrock’ once the implementation goes live). On the administration end, bringing our HRP systems in line with our finance system will allow for automated (but still flexible) processes and well-structured data flows.
Much like the finance implementation, the HRP implementation will take some getting used to for everyone at CASS. To make sure this transition goes as smoothly as possible, a lot of consideration has gone into data and workflow structuring, and we will be putting this system through robust testing before it goes live. Over the past 11 years, I have seen the CASS staff bring to bear a great deal of creativity and problem solving. I am confident that all of us will support one another to work cooperatively through the technological changes needed to keep our internal processes robust and ready for anything that comes our way.