Why Quickbase’s HR Department Runs on Quickbase

Written By: Jessica Hawley
February 5, 2019
8 min read

Read how Kelly Marek, Quickbase’s HR Operations Analyst, and the entire HR team, relies on Quickbase every day to improve efficiency and drive positive impact across everything from onboarding to the “Quickbase Cares” program.

I came to Quickbase not long after I graduated from school and started out in recruiting. My current role as an HR Operations Analyst addresses our department’s need to manage a growing number of systems including improving HR processes and analytics. I also help oversee onboarding and manage immigration aspects especially around U.S. work visas.

The Quickbase builders of HR

The entire Quickbase workforce is encouraged to give Quickbase app building a test drive, especially new hires. And while there are many resources and training programs employees can now take advantage of, back when Kelly first started it was more informal and self-guided.

She was an end user of HR’s original Employee Central app, but it wasn’t until she sat down and interacted with it on a developmental level and saw what it could do, that everything changed for her.

“I had one of those ‘aha’ moments. Once I knew what Quickbase was capable of, I began to think up all these ways we could make our app even more useful,” says Kelly. “There’s really no reason for someone who doesn’t have experience building apps to be intimidated by it. It’s so easy. They should just get in there and try it.”

Now whenever there’s an app update that needs to be made, or the team wants to get a new process into Quickbase, Kelly is usually the go-to builder for it.

That said, everyone on the HR team contributes in some form or fashion to app builds and updates. Amy Cohn, the SVP of HR, has her Quickbase app builder certification and is instrumental in guiding the department’s ongoing app building initiatives.

Solutions created for HR by the HR team

Like many HR departments, we’re a small team with a lot of work that must be done as quickly as possible, so we need to be efficient and agile in everything we do. We can’t afford to be stuck in manual paper and spreadsheet-based processes from the past that tie up lots of time, especially given how fast our company is growing. That’s where Quickbase comes in.

Our HR team doesn’t have a lot of coding experience, but with Quickbase we can easily build and customize our own no-code tools exactly to our needs and specifications. And with so many things changing all the time, being able to quickly update our own apps is a definite advantage. Instead of working with a vendor and waiting weeks or months for a solution or critical update, the power is in our hands to optimize the way we work now and adjust whenever we need to.

Building out “Employee Central”

When I first started, we had one Quickbase app called Employee Central. It began as a simple employee management tool, but it has really evolved and grown over the years into a multi-app platform. It’s now one of our core HR enablers, allowing us to easily track and manage all of our onboarding and offboarding activities as well as changes and internal moves across departments, managers, and employees.

Employee Central links to other departments and teams like Finance, IT, Security, and Facilities so everyone has access to the information they need. So, for instance, when IT sees that someone is joining the company, they can just log into the app and Quickbase provides them with an online checklist of onboarding action items to complete, along with alerts and notifications to help them monitor progress. It’s so much faster and more efficient than using spreadsheets and emails.

And because we’re all plugged into Employee Central, everyone on the team has visibility into the parts of the process for which they’re responsible. We can quickly get the information we need, like a new hire’s start date, and there’s less follow-up required by HR, which frees up more time for other responsibilities. I’m working in Employee Central every day and I’d say using that app alone saves me 10 to 20 percent of my time.

Seamless onboarding

We also built out a New Hire Onboarding app that gives new employees helpful links, tools, and to-do lists to handle everything from enrolling in benefits and signing up for their 401(k)s to getting parking access. The app makes it easy to get all the bureaucratic tasks done, so employees can focus more time on getting acclimated to their new jobs.

All these things help us facilitate a smooth and welcoming onboarding experience for new employees and gives us the opportunity to make a good first impression.

App integration means less data entry

From recruiting, hiring, and onboarding all the way through to employee management and offboarding, many HR processes naturally flow from one to another. By using Quickbase, it enables Quickbase’s HR team to easily integrate all the different applications they’ve built, allowing for more seamless workflows and greater efficiency.

“I love that if I’m updating an employee’s manager in one app I can trust that the information is going to automatically flow into other relevant apps, so I don’t have to go in and manually update each one,” says Kelly. “It’s a real time-saver.”

Simplified performance management

The measurement of employee Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) against company goals for the year is an important HR activity that we’ve simplified by building a Performance Management app in Quickbase. The app stores information about one-on-one weekly or bi-weekly check-ins between employees and managers, giving each person instant access to past and present progress data and enabling them to walk away with a concrete list of action items needed to reach goals.

The other tool that is really useful in our Performance Management app is being able to track mid-year and year-end reviews. We’ve recently altered this process to enable employees to provide self-reviews in the app and changed our 360-feedback review process so that peers, direct reports—really anyone—can go in and provide confidential input about employees, which helps contribute to the manager’s assessments at year end.

We keep our company values [Customer Obsessed, Exceptional, Courageous, Simplify, & Trusted] in mind for all our apps, but it’s especially important for performance management. We want our values to be in the forefront of people’s minds, because we’ve seen that employees who embody those values are more engaged, perform better, and stay longer.

Partnering with Finance

The value of Quickbase’s HR apps doesn’t stop at the HR team – they’ve also benefitted our Finance team. Finance was still doing a lot of HR-related work like tracking bonuses and commission percentages on spreadsheets. We partnered with them to create an app that helps automate a lot of that work. We’re also looking into connecting it with other teams or apps to keep them up-to-date. What’s great is with Quickbase we can iterate as we go and take advantage of new opportunities to improve as they come up, or as our team’s needs change.

What’s next?

We recently opened our second office in Salt Lake City, and we’ll be relying on Quickbase there to help ensure that all employees have access to the same resources, information, and community that our employees here in Cambridge have.

For example, we have two applications related to our Joy Division and Quickbase Cares program that we plan to share with them. We hope these apps will be helpful for bringing both cultures together while also enabling the Salt Lake City office to shape facets of their own culture through local community events, volunteering, and other activities.

This year, we’re planning to track even more HR metrics in Quickbase. Over the past couple of years, we’ve spent a lot of time getting everything set up on the platform, and now we want to focus on all the reports and digging into the data that we can pull out of Quickbase to provide deeper insight.

For instance, we have a Recruiting Central app and being able to instantly pull together reports on long-term hiring metrics will help us better spot and understand trends like how long it takes to fill a certain position.

We also want to continue to integrate recruiting and onboarding apps to help make that transition even more seamless. This is especially important as we expect hiring to increase.

Other things I can share on our wish list are to turn more of our manual processes—like tuition reimbursement and immigration processes around visas and work eligibility—into Quickbase apps to save even more time.

In a relatively short span of time, Quickbase has made our work lives so much easier by enabling us to streamline our HR processes. Now, every time a new process comes around or we change one, we immediately think, “How fast can we get this into Quickbase?”

Try Quickbase free for 30 days and see for yourself how it can help transform your HR processes.

Written By: Jessica Hawley
Jessica Hawley is a marketing manager at Quickbase, focused on SEO, content and social media.

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