Workday to Bring New Look to Benefits Enrollment
Employees can expect a different look to open enrollment this year because Cook Children’s will be utilizing the new Workday platform for the process.
The period for open enrollment – when you’re able to make updates to your elections for health savings accounts and other benefits – always occurs in August. Cook Children’s has used a third-party vendor for this annual process in the past. But we’re moving to Workday as our tool for electing 2023-2024 benefits, which will start Oct. 1.
Open enrollment is one example of the changes coming to Cook Children’s after Workday goes into effect July 1, replacing Lawson and other platforms. Workday will also change the way we view our paychecks, submit expense reports and much more. Human Resources (HR), Finance and Supply Chain areas will be especially impacted by the new business processes.
Beth Schmidt, Vice President HR, encourages all employees to take advantage of the training courses available on ULearn. “Workday is going to be a significant change for every single employee in this organization. Everybody gets a paycheck, so everybody's going to have to interact with Workday,” she said.
For perspective, here’s some history … More than five years ago, leaders at Cook Children’s began talking about switching to a new performance management system. Their discussion widened to include the possibility of an entire HR software suite that could encompass Supply Chain and Finance too. Cook Children’s needed to either install a major upgrade of Lawson or go a different route. Workday won out.
“Workday is a much more intuitive system. It's logical. It's built like people work and think,” Beth said. “And that's one of the things that was attractive about Workday is that it feels much more user-friendly, much more interactive.”
Some current processes are clunky (as Beth puts it) because they’re done manually. The quarterly turnover report, for instance, takes a week or longer to assemble. Beth says her team in HR will be able to create the same report at the touch of a button in Workday. Managers can go to the Workday dashboard to directly access information they need for job transfers or promotions.
“Rather than asking HR or IT to do something, our managers are going to be able to do much more reporting on their own rather than waiting for HR or IT to run a report for them,” Beth pointed out.
Workday is designed for storing and accessing data in a more management-driven model, she said. Another advantage? Cloud storage means that information on Workday is always up to date.
Preparations to get Workday up and running have been underway in her department for about two years now. While all the various aspects might not initially be perfect, Beth said, the implementation team will make any tweaks necessary. “We’re going to make it right.”
In her 29-year career at Cook Children’s, Beth has always seen major decisions made with employees in mind. Leaders showed that same sensitivity in picking Workday; they consider it the best platform for Cook Children’s and our workforce, she said. “Always in the forefront of our thinking is how is this going to impact our staff? We never want to do anything we don't think is ultimately in their long-term best interest.”
Listening Skills and Problem Solving
Beth, who started at Cook Children’s in 1994, recounted that she interviewed for Employee Relations manager shortly after passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. “I was one of the few candidates who could answer questions about the new law,” she said. “I think I got the job just because I read a lot.”
The area of Employee Relations appealed to Beth because it involves resolving issues usually between the organization and one or more people. Beth said she enjoys trying to come to some sort of resolution acceptable to all the parties.
Over the years she worked her way to assistant vice president overseeing about 75 employees in Compensation, Human Resource Information System, Benefits, Talent Acquisition, Employee Relations, Occupational Health and Employee Wellbeing. In October 2022 she began her current role as vice president.
She’s a good fit for HR because she asks lots of questions. And she’s a good listener. “Sometimes you have to make a decision based on the information you have,” she said. “I tend to like the ‘why’ and the story, which I think is important to understand and make as good a decision as we possibly can make.”
More about Beth Schmidt
During her teen years in Amarillo, Beth’s first health care experience was when she volunteered as a candy striper assigned to the hospital gift shop. Give her the administrative side of things. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Texas Tech University and her Master of Business Administration from West Texas A&M. She likes to read novels, travel and meet new people. She’s a wife, the mother of two adult daughters and grandmother to a 4-year-old grandson and a granddaughter to be born in October.