700Faculty agreements remotely notarized
↓Reduced time, costs and paperwork
↑Improved experience for HR staff and employees
A number of professional athletes, politicians and even a few boy band stars are among the 200,000+ who got their start at Valencia College. The Sunshine State’s nationally recognized college has deep ties to the Central Florida community. “It’s really difficult to find anybody who’s not somehow tied to Valencia,” said Jessica King, Director of HR Information Systems and Analytics.
King’s own connection to Valencia goes back to high school when she got a jumpstart on earning college credits. As a long-time employee, she’s had several transformation projects under her belt. More recently, her team led the effort to digitize some important employee lifecycle events at a time when face to face wasn’t an option. And for that, the team turned to DocuSign.
Igniting a cultural shift
Higher ed is steeped in tradition.That includes a love of paper—especially when it came to annual contract renewals. “There’s an honor in receiving that piece of paper with the college seal on it and signatures from the president and the Board of Trustees,” said King. But when the campus cleared out in 2020, the team had to find an alternative—and fast.
An in-house survey tool that enabled finger signatures worked as a stopgap solution but required a lot of behind-the-scenes finagling. On the plus side, it ignited a cultural shift. “Once you go digital, you can’t go back,” said King. “So, we implemented a tool we knew all of our employees would recognize and trust: DocuSign.”
For the HRIS team, DocuSign eSignature not only met a temporary need—it streamlined the process of getting over 600 faculty contracts electronically signed and uploaded into Valencia’s HR management system, Ellucian Banner. From there, the team brought eSignature into more complex corners of HR, including offboarding.
Historically, existing employees had to make the trek from office to office “in 95-degree Florida weather” as part of a checkout process to confirm they’d returned school assets. During the campus closure, it transitioned into loads of back-and-forth emails.
“It wasn’t exactly the best way to end a career,” said Chanda Postell, Director of Employee Experience. Now, it happens in an automated workflow that doesn’t involve the employee at all. “It’s going to save everyone an incredible amount of time, which we can now use to support and celebrate the transitioning employee.”
Accelerating employee onboarding with remote online notarization
The pandemic disrupted yet another process that left the team scrambling to come up with a solution: employee onboarding. Every Florida state employee is required to sign a loyalty oath before they can work, and that particular document has to be notarized. By the time HR found out there wasn’t a COVID exemption, there were about 700 documents that needed to be notarized. That challenge led the team on the path to DocuSign Notary.
When weighing the benefits of remote online notarization (RON), the potential cost savings was at the top of the list. “My mind went straight to labor—the hourly rate we’d have to pay someone to come to campus and notarize that backlog of documents versus implementing Notary,” said King.
With close to 600 new employees every year—including some moving from out of state—the convenience factor was another huge pro. Keeping the pre-boarding process entirely online in DocuSign creates a better experience for everyone.
Instead of driving to one of three select campuses that offered notary services, new hires can complete the process from anywhere using a webcam. At the RON stage, they’re guided through an intuitive, audio-visual experience that begins with a quick identity check and ends with a legally sound agreement and a digital audit trail for HR.
A stellar partnership
A high note of Valencia’s DocuSign journey was working with a “gold star” customer success architect who helped orchestrate a seamless transition to the RON world.
“One of the best things about working with our CSA Emily is that she spent a lot of time trying to understand what we wanted to achieve and then brought solutions to us to make it happen,” said Postell. “She did little things that were not a necessity at all—but that would really help us in the long run.”
With its CSA, Valencia aligned project teams so that each meeting focused on specific topics. This enabled the teams to move more efficiently and strategically as they got closer to launch.
And to help not only ensure that its notary solution worked but was easily accessible to other end users, Valencia engaged DocuSign University. By utilizing private learning courses, the team was able to continue its enablement in between knowledge transfer and role-play sessions with its CSA while accelerating time to deployment.
While phase one was focused on turning the biggest pain points into DocuSign workflows, the team’s looking ahead to the future now—with potential cases for tuition reimbursement, professional development and even payroll-related requests.
“We can potentially eliminate one of the other systems that we're paying for now by using DocuSign instead,” said King. “We’re excited thinking about how else we can use DocuSign down the line.”
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