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The biggest capital budget priority within the Roanoke Rapids Human Resources Department is a citywide software upgrade project.

Tuesday HR Director Christina Caudle presented her request during a city council budget work session held in the first floor conference room at city hall.

“If funded, both items will drastically improve organizational efficiencies across all departments,” she said in a memo to City Manager Kelly Traynham and Interim Finance Director Tammy Fahey.

Highlights of the programs include:

Open Gov Citizen Services which she said would provide seamless integration to fully digitize and automate interactions from building permits to park rentals. The technology is designed to save time, build customer satisfaction and make processes easier to complete.

The Open Gov Budget and Planning system is a cloud-based budgeting solution which Caudle said is designed to improve workflow and reduce time spent on creating a budget by 30 percent to 50 percent.

Open Gov Financials is the only cloud financial suite designed exclusively for government use.

The Open Gov Reporting and Transparency platform improves strategic decision-making by showing a complete and accurate picture of the organization as well as achieving transparency objectives and broadening constituent engagements.

Caudle said the platform is expected to also improve operating efficiencies.

By using Open Gov Procurement Caudle said the platform helps government gain more insight into better purchasing decisions. It also helps to improve efficiencies and the quality of the procurement process in addition to realizing cost savings.

Incorporated into this is NEOGOV Onboard which she said ensures day-one readiness for new employees. She said the platform also helps to accelerate productivity and helps to keep new hires longer.

The NEOGOV Perform platform launches employee performance management software that Caudle said nurtures communication, identifies and promotes employee strengths and establishes a fair performance review process for all departments.

The NEOGOV platform for core HR functions, benefits, payroll, time and attendance simplifies management and visibility of benefits, time and attendance, payroll and administrative data for managers and employees.

The NEOGOV eForms platform is an employee document and workflow management software system that allows for the creation of online forms, managing documents and building seamless workflows in minutes.

Cost estimate and justification

Depending on the selection of products, Caudle said the range for the upcoming fiscal year is between $96,000 to $510,000. She is also requesting up to $15,000 to purchase various hardware items such as tablets and laptops to ensure digital program access for all employees.

“Although costs appear high, these transformative web-based applications will yield high returns on our investment year after year,” she said. “Each program allows our operations to be accessible 24/7, realizing efficiencies and cost savings within each department.”

As an example, Caudle said the life cycle of getting an employee onboard currently includes a process in which six people, 64 pieces of paper and roughly 20 hours of labor are involved. “Depending on availability, it could take up to one week before a new hire completes all required paperwork.”

With the NEOGOV Onboard product all paperwork becomes digital and the process is automated. “The new hire will have the ability to complete all necessary paperwork before (their) first day, resulting in a tremendous time and cost savings to the hiring department, human resources department and (the) finance/payroll department.”

Full time administrative support employee

The top priority in Caudle’s proposed expense budget is a full time administrative support employee, a position which is currently frozen.

The position has been frozen since the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The cost estimate is up to $60,000 per year which reflects the annual salary and benefits package.

“The city of Roanoke Rapids currently serves 245 full and part-time active employees plus retirees (as of March 1),” Caudle said.

Her request is based on the following benchmarks:

The Society for Human Resources Management 2017 Human Capital Benchmarking Study shows that the average HR to employee ratio is 2.60 per 100 employees.

The HR Department Benchmarks and Analysis 2017 report by Bloomberg and the Bureau of National Affairs indicates that the median HR staff ratio remains at 1.4 HR employees for every 100 workers served by the department.

“In 2020 Gartner published a Human Resources and Staffing Survey white book that states government organizations average (one) full time HR employee per 43 employees,” Caudle said. “The ratio across all industry types was (one) full time HR employee per 69 employees.”