Customer Story

Buena Vista University Improves HR Processes, Streamlines Timekeeping and Payroll with UKG Ready

  • Streamlines and improves the onboarding process, ensuring tasks are completed efficiently while enhancing the new-hire experience

  • Delivers payroll processing efficiencies that have reduced processing time from two weeks to three days, freeing up HR/payroll staff time for other tasks

  • Provides reporting tools that filter multiple data fields to quickly and easily create reports with the precise information requested

Buena Vista University, a private university in Storm Lake, Iowa, has approximately 2,000 students and more than 1,000 employees, including faculty, staff, and student workers.

By partnering with UKG, Buena Vista University has achieved remarkable results, including:

time savings in processing payroll
time savings in creating reports

The university had been relying on manual, paper-based processes to manage timekeeping, payroll, and HR tasks. Applicants for open positions completed paper applications or applied via email, creating stacks of paper and volumes of emails to sort through. The onboarding process also heavily relied on paper forms. With 250 to 300 student workers on the payroll each academic year, in addition to other nonexempt staff, managing paper timecards was a time-consuming chore open to error, as was manual leave of absence tracking. The payroll process also took two weeks for HR/payroll staff to complete.


Wishing to streamline these processes with a single automated solution, Buena Vista University implemented the UKG Ready® suite of workforce and human capital management solutions. Faculty, staff, and student workers use the solution, with about 500 of these employees being active users who use it daily or frequently. Nonexempt employees track their time by punching in and out using the solution’s mobile app or at a PC, while employee supervisors approve timecards and time-off requests in the solution.

“UKG Ready’s functionality has made our lives easier, so we can get away from the computer and the desk. We can interact with people and see what’s really going on and get a better vision of what the culture is and what we can do to change and improve.”

Katie McKibben

Human Resources Director at Buena Vista University


The application process has been streamlined with UKG Ready. “Having our HR platform in one location, not having to go to a separate site to find our applicants, is a big benefit and time saver,” said Katie McKibben, Human Resources Director at Buena Vista University. A supervisor logs in to the solution and views applications, as does the hiring manager. HR is not involved in the process until hiring decisions are made.

Onboarding used to consist of applicants handwriting their information on forms, which an HR staffer then reviewed. Automating this application process with the UKG® solution has made the process smooth and consistent ― and is earning rave reviews from new hires and HR.

“I’ve gotten feedback from multiple new hires who say, ‘This is the easiest onboarding process ever,’” said Casey Negrete, Assistant Human Resources Director. “All I have to do is just click through, and everything is automated and stays right in the system. I don’t have to worry about papers getting shuffled around, because we even have custom forms to be completed that are in the system too. I can just add those to the checklist, and we go right through the checklist and complete everything on the first day. It makes the process much smoother.”

Many nonexempt employees, especially student workers, punch in and out using the solution’s mobile app, while a few employees complete this task at a PC. Supervisors also can use the mobile app to approve employee time and respond to time-off requests.

Using the solution’s self-service tools, employees can update their address, change their direct deposit information, and make benefit changes. HR receives a notification when a change has been made, eliminating HR time spent making these updates and reducing potential keying errors.

“We don’t have to make time for them to come in to meet with us to do the paperwork,” said McKibben. “They are just making changes when it fits into their life, during the workday or at night.”

Efficiencies have been realized with the automated payroll process too. Processing payroll previously required lots of manual work and consumed two weeks of HR/payroll staff time. Payroll now takes only three days.

“With this system it’s quick and a lot easier,” said Negrete. “You snap right through it.”

“I think the reporting capabilities are what really speed up the process,” added McKibben. “We can filter for columns and data. Before, it was a very manual process in Excel.”

Now, when someone requests a report, HR can quickly and easily pull a report with the exact information requested. Typical reports requested include information on missed punches, salaries by department, names of full-time faculty members, and a custom field so each of the vice presidents can see who reports to them. With data at supervisors’ fingertips, they can make informed decisions faster.

Gathering information from various sources to create reports used to take weeks. “Now, I just click a data report and most of my data is there and I pull the fields that are needed,” said Negrete. “So what probably was a month project is now probably whittled down to an afternoon project.”

UKG Ready also tracks the work study awards of student workers and sends a warning during student payroll processing about any students who have exceeded their award during that pay period. Following payroll, a report is emailed to supervisors about their student workers’ work study awards relative to the budget. This reporting helps ensure that students don’t exceed their awards.

The time savings realized with the UKG solution will enable the university’s HR team to now focus on higher-value HR tasks.

“UKG Ready’s functionality has made our lives easier, so we can get away from the computer and the desk,” said McKibben. “We can interact with people and see what’s really going on and get a better vision of what the culture is and what we can do to change and improve.”

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