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Talisman Energy Charts the Course

It started when they realized the environmental impact they were having. But the benefits of going paperless ended up going well beyond that.

November 1, 1996
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Related Topics: Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS/HRIS)
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Elisa Hides, administrator of compensation and benefits at Talisman Energy, an oil and gas company based in Calgary, Canada, first remembers hearing the buzz in her office about going paperless three or four years ago. "We were starting to understand the [environmental] impact of everything we were doing... and that we needed to start thinking about it," she says.

Talisman's quest for the paperless office is now moving full steam ahead. HR's first step has been to bring its scattered databases together into one HR management system (HRMS)—HRVantage, a product of Denver-based SPECTRUM Human Resource Systems Corp. Some of the first projects that will be incorporated into the HRMS include a salary budgeting process, an HR interface with the payroll department, administration information for the company's fitness club and any shared interdepartmental reports.

Electronic communication was another early step. "Any way we can find of doing things by e-mail, we do. Ninety percent of all memos that we send within the department or outside it are e-mailed," Hides says. And the result? A reduction of 30 or 40 paper memos a day—just from HR.

HR's next project will be to launch its intranet site. Hides says that benefit updates and the development program book of course listings will be two of the first items available online.

And Hides is always looking for ways to transfer data electronically to her benefit carriers. "We're now transferring all of our data on our medical and dental coverage through a modem. It used to be just a report that we gave to them and they had to key it all in on their end.... So, we're not only thinking of ourselves, but also the paperflow on the other end."

A long-term goal is to scan everything in employee files into the HRMS. Storing so much data electronically requires some careful planning, though, because if it isn't easy to retrieve the information, then it would be better off in the old-fashioned file cabinets, Hides explains.

One of the least expected benefits has been the increased savings of time and money that is resulting from simply thinking through each step in an old process, looking for weaknesses. "We're actually doing a complete payroll-HR-process review and we've got a lot of questions as to why we're actually doing some things," she says. And answering those questions is guaranteed to lead to improvements.

Personnel Journal, November 1996, Vol. 75, No. 11, pp. 68-76.

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