Township of Toms River Selects Unicorn HRO to Standardize Payroll, Benefits, and HR Processes
The Township of Toms River, located in Ocean County, New Jersey, oversees the operation of the municipality including road maintenance, land-use planning, trash collection, recycling recreation, beach maintenance and safety, as well as police protection for over 95,000 residents and hundreds of thousands of seasonal residents and visitors.
The Township has a total of 22 departments and divisions. The Department of Finance is responsible for maintaining the financial administration of the municipality and overseeing its resources. The Department of Administration is headed by the business administrator, who functions much like a chief operating officer under the Mayor, and the Personnel Division is responsible for benefits, contract negotiations, employee relations, employment, and hiring.
Without a central human resources, time reporting and benefits administration solution in place, processing payroll and managing benefits for over 1,000 Township of Toms River employees was a challenge. The work of the finance and personnel departments encompasses the management of payroll processing to support full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers as well as managing health insurance plans, pensions, and benefits for 300-plus retired employees.
To ensure benefit information is correct and employees are paid on time, the HR, finance, and administration departments must be able to communicate effectively and share data quickly. Yet, paper-based processes and manually entering employee information into spreadsheets was time-consuming and left personnel inundated with documentation.
“We’ve needed a new solution for years to help us standardize processes from beginning to end and reduce paperwork,” said Judy Tutela, CFO at Township of Toms River.
After evaluating seven different vendors, the Township of Toms River selected Unicorn HRO for its cloud-based human resources and benefits administration platform, iCON. The Township of Toms River will implement the iCON platform in January 2023 and will also utilize Unicorn’s employee self-service (ESS) portal.
Tara Lewczak, Personnel Manager at Township of Toms River, shared why Unicorn HRO stood out from other vendors.
“I liked that Unicorn spoke our language,” said Lewczak. “Unicorn is familiar with NJ local government, labor unions, State and Federal leave laws, NJ Pensions, retiree benefits, etc. I felt like I was talking shop with colleagues rather than needing to explain things on a macro level before discussing the intricacies of our processes.”
The ESS portal was ideal for the Township of Toms River as it provides a range of tools for employees to view and manage their own human resource records, such as personal time off policies and requests, salary and W-2 information. This will eliminate the need for HR and Payroll personnel to get involved and allow them to support other business-critical functions.
“We’re looking forward to streamlining our onboarding, timekeeping, and payroll with Unicorn HRO,” added Tutela. “The iCON platform will help unify processes between HR, finance, and administrative departments and eliminate duplicate work once and for all.”
Another key aspect of the deployment is streamlining open enrollment processes. “In the past, we distributed all the information in-person, creating and needing to collect volumes of paper, and then having to input the details into various systems. Unicorn will help expedite this process via the ESS portal,” said Tutela.
“Congratulations to Unicorn HRO for being selected to join our team that is modernizing Toms River’s municipal government and creating greater efficiencies. This new system will save taxpayers money, enhance services to our residents, and improve our employees’ experience,” said Mayor Maurice B. “Mo” Hill, Jr. “I commend our CFO Judy Tutela, our Personnel Division Manager Tara Lewczak and their teams for their thorough and arduous work over many months to select the right vendor and system.”
“This project was initiated as a result of the Comprehensive Efficiency Study authorized by the Township Council in 2020,” Hill concluded.