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0209 Best Software

August 30, 2002
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Peace River Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PRECO) – a not-for-profit distribution cooperative providing electric service to 24,000+ families and businesses – has a common business problem: Geographic dispersion. But PRECO takes this problem to the Nth degree with 100 employees – the bulk of which in the field – reporting back to 10 remote locations across 10 Florida counties!

So how did they integrate the widespread HR, payroll and training data that’s so critical to their business? By choosing Best Software’s Abra® Suite solutions to:

  • Centralize key HR and payroll data in a single database
  • Empower employees and managers with online self-service access
  • Streamline reporting and analysis, strategic planning and workflow

PRECO specifically chose Abra HR® and Abra Payroll® – core components of the industry-leading Abra Suite HRMS – to save time and money for their troubled HR department and to easily track their complex training requirements.

The bulk of PRECO's employees are "line technicians" in charge of maintaining the consistent flow of energy to its rural customer base. To accommodate such a wide area with limited staff, PRECO technicians use an increasingly complex array of tools and technologies – becoming more mobile with the use of two-way pagers and laptops.

Today, more than ever, HR Director Roberta Harrison and her staff emphasize the importance of continuous technology training.

ABRA Lights The Way
In response, PRECO partnered with a local community college to train its line technicians in electrical distribution technology. Paying employees to obtain a degree, the Cooperative challenges employees to display a working knowledge of more than 270 skill sets specific to the line technician job function to graduate.

And they count on Abra to track and audit skill sets performed successfully by individual employees based on testing by PRECO and the college.

"We believe employees should not be regarded as overhead, but as capital assets worth an investment in time and technology," said Harrison. "We use Abra to help realize a return on that investment."

The program has already seen success. All 16 students in the Algebra class passed the final exam, marking the college’s first 100-percent pass ratio! Plus, PRECO notices:

  • Employees are more productive! They’re manage their time better to juggle field work and time to attend classes.
  • Employees are more motivated and professional! We’re helping them earn a sense of accomplishment by helping them obtain a degree.

It’s a real win-win situation for both parties involved.

Make the most of your investment in your workforce. Use Abra HR to easily manage employee information, administer benefits, maintain government compliance and more. Visit bestsoftware.com/StayCompliant with priority code AAAFI for a FREE Compliance Guide and more pertinent information about our industry-leading Abra HR solution.

Taking The Shock Out of Succession Planning
Offering such innovative benefits, the HR department has already received requests from other employees wishing to move into utility management. By tracking every employee's unique skill set, Abra is helping with the organization's succession planning requirements.

PRECO is able to monitor employee progress and match appropriate skills and capabilities with job descriptions for optimum workforce efficiency. This is increasingly important as Harrison estimates nearly 25 percent of PRECO's workforce will retire in the next five to seven years.

However, Harrison’s fear of insufficient knowledge transfer is quickly put to rest with Abra’s help. PRECO is actively building a new group of experienced line technicians and management.

Abra is even helping enroll students in the program! Not only must technicians demonstrate their knowledge of 270 skill sets, they must also be taught in a certain progression. Using Abra's online enrollment functionality, PRECO can ensure each individual is working along the correct track and efficiently building upon their daily training.

Powering Up For Growing Needs
Outside of training, PRECO is using Abra to recruit technicians to compensate for growth in both the industry and region. The organization culls hiring and applicant pools using Abra's sophisticated database, and then matches resumes with open job requisitions.

All of these capabilities are in addition to Abra's use as a back-office system for compensation, benefits, and payroll administration. Harrison hopes to have PRECO operating in a completely paperless HR environment within the next three to five years.

Today, PRECO is implementing Abra Employee Self-Service™ to provide employees with online access to their training and educational progress. Thanks to Abra, Harrison and her staff are maintaining consistent, real-time dialogue with each of the organization's 100 employees.

"With Abra, we're better able to connect with all employees and provide even more strategic counsel and training recommendations," she added.

You, too, can improve the level of service you provide your employees with Abra Employee Self-Service™. Call 866-425-6404 with priority code AAAFJ to receive a FREE ESS White Paper -- Developing a Winning eHR Strategy with Employee Self-Service -- and to learn more about this innovative solution.

 

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