JAARS pivots to remote working with Sage People

Sage People gives growing nonprofit the workforce visibility it needs to further a global mission

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JAARS is a nonprofit that helps partner organizations around the world get practical, day-today support for Bible translation, especially in the most remote and difficult places on earth. To do this, JAARS provides locally appropriate and sustainable solutions in aviation, land transportation, water transportation, information technology, and media.

Results with Sage People:

  • Eliminated tedious, paper-based HR tasks
  • Increased accuracy of both employee and volunteer data
  • Gained unprecedented workforce visibility

Challenge: Upgrading to cloud-based HR system for greater efficiency
JAARS is a nonprofit that helps dozens of partner organizations get the support they need to make scripture translation possible—whether that’s a laptop and Internet access, a lifejacket and water safety training, or a flight to a remote island or mountaintop village—for the 1.5 billion people around the world without a full Bible in their native language. The organization relies on hundreds of unpaid volunteers, many of whom are close to retirement. And although 90% of its workers are not on payroll, JAARS is required to track their donated labor time for tax reporting purposes.

The organization’s lean HR and People team recognize that they need to work smartly in order to get as much done with as few people as possible. But until last year, their processes were hindered by the homegrown HR database they shared with a few closely intertwined partner organizations. Once the decision was made to retire that system and separate out JAARS’ data, the People team went in search of a better way to automate HR tasks related to tracking, managing, and reporting on their dynamic workforce. Sage People quickly came to the forefront of the selection process, because it was built on the proven Salesforce platform, gave the team flexible configuration options to meet their unique needs, and met all of the organization’s requirements.

Solution: Eliminating paper-based processes for improved accuracy
JAARS worked closely with Sage’s professional services team to implement Sage People and get it up and running smoothly in just a few months. Following the initial deployment, the HR and People team also added integrations with DocuSign and G Suite to streamline processes like auto-populating and updating the organization’s user directory and groups, using Sage People as the single source of truth. “Our HR team saw value in the system right away,” noted Hannah Lates, the HR operations specialist at JAARS. “It’s much more workable than what we had before because we can easily see all the information we need and it even stores notes and attachments on records, which eliminates the need for paper files.”

Next, her team implemented the system’s talent acquisition and performance management modules, which replaced clunky tasks like having people email Word doc performance reviews back-and-forth with their manager, before HR eventually downloaded and saved them on a network drive. With Sage People, the HR and People team simply launches new reviews, staff complete self-assessments online, and those instantly go to their manager. Once the review is complete and all parties have signed off, it’s stored directly in the system for future reference.

Lates shared that Sage People’s self-service capabilities also make it easier to keep track of volunteers’ addresses, emergency contacts, and labor time for the IRS—eliminating a separate time-tracking application. In addition, managers now use Sage People’s change requests to let HR team members know when a staff member’s position or status has changed, something they used to track manually, if at all. This is especially useful, given the flexibility JAARS gives its staff to shift their hourly commitments between full-time and part-time schedules as their lives change. “With COVID-19, we have recently felt the value of having a cloud-based system where everyone can access the same information from home,” added Lates. “If everything was still in paper files or on-prem software, we would not have been able to pivot to working at home as easily.”

Results: Gaining workforce insights to help enrich the employee experience
Previously, JAARS’ People team had no way to customize reports out of its legacy system, so they had very limited reporting capabilities and were often flying blind. “You can’t play a game if someone’s using a Scrabble board and someone else is on a Monopoly board. Running a people organization without good data integrity or consistent reporting is the same way,” said Lates.

For instance, Lates and her team can now identify inactive volunteers and see exactly how many full-time equivalents they have across their large volunteer force in each state, office, or department. This was nearly impossible to monitor before because managers often forgot to notify HR of the frequent adjustments on their teams. Additionally, HR can check the status of user logins or performance review progress anytime they want and send reminders as needed.

Next, the People team plans to focus on using Sage People to help optimize their recruiting strategy. “We rely so heavily on our volunteer population, and are trying to determine how to better find and engage with new volunteer recruits,” shared Lates. “One of the big things Sage People will help with is reporting on things like retention, age groups, as well as how people hear about us—so we can spot patterns and turn those insights into better-focused communication and recruitment.”

About Sage People
Sage Business Cloud People enables mid-size, multinational companies to manage workforces through its global, cloud HR and people system, transforming how organizations acquire, engage, manage and develop their employees. Implemented quickly and simple to use, the awardwinning system increases workforce visibility, HR productivity and provides better experiences across the entire workforce.

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