University Business Services has announced a new initiative that will make it possible for Ohio University faculty, staff and student workers to access their personal and pay information online.
The My Personal Information service, which went live Nov. 16, gives faculty, staff and student workers online access to personal, tax and earnings information through a password-protected site, according to Mark Hopton, assistant vice president of University Business Services. Employees can also view their available vacation and sick hours.
Because it’s electronic, My Personal Information makes it easy and fast for employees to update information, which in the past required them to contact either University Human Resources or the Payroll Department and fill out a paper form. As a result, the new program streamlines administrative tasks, saves money and, equally important, cuts down on paper consumption, Hopton said.
"This is an important initiative for Ohio University," Hopton said. "By offering My Personal Information, we’re improving convenience for faculty, staff and student employees, helping the university cut costs during difficult budget times and reducing our impact on the environment."
Last year, for example, Ohio University spent about $150,000 to print pay stubs and checks. The university also purchased $315,526, or 84,512 reams, of paper from Office Max, the preferred supplier.
As part of the new service, an employee’s earnings from the current year as well as the past two full years will be available online. Because pay data will be available electronically, the university in January will stop printing and distributing pay stubs to employees who are paid through direct deposit.
Currently, more than 90 percent of Ohio University employees are enrolled in direct deposit.
Sonia Marcus, sustainability coordinator for Ohio University, welcomed the institution’s efforts to reduce paper consumption through electronic paychecks as well as implementing personnel and payroll systems to cut down on paper forms.
"The Office of Sustainability recommends that departments make use of recycled-content paper whenever possible, but our main focus is on reduction," Marcus said. "To us, the best paper is the paper that was never used."
Hopton noted that other features would be added to My Personal Information as the program grows, including, for example, electronic submission of vacation or leave-of-absence forms for salaried employees. Classified staff, however, will continue to use Workforce for these requests.
Hopton also said it was important for users to know that the system is secure. Connections to the Web site are encrypted, and users can access their information only by using their Ohio University OAK ID and password.
Matthew Dalton, OIT's director of IT security, says that the system is secured in accordance with industry best practices, including "defense in depth" and "least privileges architecture" models.
Employees can access My Personal Information at www.ohio.edu/ebiz/myhr.html. Employees without home computers or access to a computer on the job can use any Internet-equipped machine on campus or at their local library, he said.
To ensure that the My Personal Information system was easy to navigate and use, Hopton said the project team held focus groups in August, inviting employees to test the system and help identify potential problems.
The focus groups included input from interim Payroll Manager Sari Bailey, Assistant Vice President for Advancement Services Juan Cueto, Accounting Associate Shelia Curtis, Administrative Associate Jill Estep, Senior Associate Vice President of University Outreach Steve Flaherty, Project Manager, Information Systems and Business Processes Tanya Hire, Chief Human Resources Officer Luis Lewin, Faculty Senate Chair Joe McLaughlin, Manager of Employee Relations and Academic Liaison Brenda Noftz, HRMS Lead Cheryl Sickels, Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to the President Becky Watts, Assistant to the Vice President for Finance and Administration Dawn Weiser and Administrative Associate Traci Winchell.
"We listened and took feedback from future users of the system," Hopton said. "Their input was invaluable in making sure My Personal Information becomes a valued service."
Additionally, Hopton said the department plans to hold open houses throughout the month of December at University Human Resources where employees can ask additional questions about My Personal Information. Dates for the workshops will be announced soon via Outlook.
Lists of frequently asked questions about the new service as well as a training manual are posted on the Payroll and University Human Resources home pages.