BayCare Health System is a leading not-for-profit healthcare network that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. An important component of their ability to attract highly skilled workers is providing tuition assistance to their employees.
Manager of Organizational Development & Learning
One of the major problems that healthcare organizations face is finding qualified people. Even though the organization may be in an area
that has an ample workforce, there may not be enough highly skilled workers to fill highly technical positions.
"Today, we manage a budget of nearly $5 million worth of tuition assistance for our employees," explains Will Davis, Manager of Organizational Development and Learning. "Our challenge is to maintain a system that will allow us to manage all of those transactions efficiently."
The program started out with 1,000 employees requesting assistance. In just a few years, that number ballooned to more than 2,500, roughly 10% of BayCare's workforce. It's an understatement to say that Will's department was drowning in paperwork. There were application forms, receipts, and a lot of other documentation required to process a request for tuition assistance. And, it was all handled with paper.
The system that BayCare had in place was not up to the task. At one point, they had a backlog of nearly 4,000 assistance requests. The burden was so heavy that they resorted to hiring contractors to help process them. That meant that employees had to wait as many as three pay periods to get the money they needed to register for a course or to be reimbursed.
"Our goal was to find a solution that would get rid of all of the paper and speed up processing," says Will. "For us to make our workflow efficient, relevant, and consistent with our policies, we needed to put it all in the digital world."
After a quick Internet search, Will found HostedHR's TuitionManager which automates tuition reimbursement workflows by electronically routing
applications and supporting documentation through a pre-defined approval chain.
Able to seamlessly integrate with any HRIS system, TuitionManager is a zero-waste solution that eliminates the need for paper documentation. Also, because TuitionManager is a web-based solution, employees can access the system from any computer or mobile device.
Will is happy with the decision to move from their paper-based system to TuitionManager. The results his department experienced far exceeded their expectations.
With TuitionManager, Will achieved his goal of transitioning into a paperless system. "TuitionManager has allowed us to get out of the paper world and into the digital world," says Will. "On top of that, I was able to reduce the number of staff it took to handle reimbursement requests. That's a great outcome for us."
Under the paper-based system, employees were always waiting on Will's department to process their requests. "That's no longer the case,"
Will explains. "The amount of time it took us to do our job has decreased by more than 70%. It's just unbelievable."
Someone in Will's department accesses each request for the first time within two days of it being submitted. Before TuitionManager, it could have taken as long as four weeks before processing began.
TuitionManager has been a hit with BayCare's employees. "You would think that the efficiencies we've experienced would mean that we are
spending less money. The reality is that we are spending more money," says Will. "We are spending more money because more people are
utilizing the system. They are getting their money faster, and without errors."
The efficiency and the popularity of BayCare's tuition reimbursement system has also helped the healthcare network maintain a competitive advantage in their area when it comes to hiring highly skilled employees.
BayCare also experienced an unexpected benefit. They were able to modify their tuition reimbursement policies to achieve even greater efficiency.
"For instance, in the past we allowed employees to fax us information," explains Will. "Now that employees can access the system
on their computers and mobile devices, we don't allow faxes anymore."
Additionally, Will's department is now better able to enforce other important policies.
"TuitionManager has allowed us to be a lot more firm when it comes to deadlines," says Will. "We can confidently enforce deadlines for turning in documentation because we are doing our part. And, the system is doing its part. So, now it is up to the employees to do their part."
When asked if he would recommend TuitionManager to other organizations, Will replied "I recommend TuitionManager all of the time!"