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 VOL. 23, NO. 14FEBRUARY 6, 1998 


Redesigned Site Focuses on Facilitating Information Flow between Human Resources and Columbia Employees, Retirees


 BY ROB PFEIFER

With more than 4,000 daily visitors, Columbia’s Human Resources web site is already one of the most frequently used sites at the University. To make it even more useful and accessible, Colleen Crooker, vice president of human resources, has announced the launch of a revamped site designed to facilitate information and transaction flow between HR and the University’s nearly 17,000 faculty and staff.

  On Feb. 4, the site was unveiled, featuring a new interface with bold color graphics, a re-organized menu of options, and easy-to-use navigation tools. Visitors discovered that the re-designed features were more than “screen deep.”

  For instance, employees are able to access and complete benefit enrollment forms and transfer applications on the site.

  For now they will have to send the forms to their desktop laser printer and mail the completed form to HR, but in time the print-and-mail step will be replaced by electronic submission through the web site.

  Also, information and forms of particular interest to departmental administrators throughout the University, such as personnel requisition, employee address change and administrative monitoring committee forms, have been grouped into a new “DA Toolkit” section.

  Overall, the site has been reoriented to make it easier for employees, retirees and job applicants to access the benefits, employment, health and safety, training and associated information that relate to them.

  State-of-the-art software applications are already in place to support the site’s redesigned screens and will create a secure web environment where employees can access and modify their addresses and other personal information.

  Following this launch, future development of the site will focus on increasing the amount of information available and, where possible, creating more “user friendly” ways to submit transactions electronically rather than via paper.

  “We’ve turned the existing web site inside out in order to create a look and feel that is oriented to the end-user’s needs rather than our own,” says Crooker.

  “As a result, the site provides a clearer path for employees who want information and forms without having to call or walk to our offices.”

  Much of the emphasis on making the re-designed site serve user needs was inspired by employees themselves.

  From suggestions offered by focus groups to information extracted from the more far-reaching Envision 2000 project, the HR team working on the web site received one overall message: enable faculty and staff to get the information they need and transact a greater quantity of their HR business over the web.

  Crooker adds that “continuing feedback from colleagues is welcome to assure that our focus remains appropriately on the end-user.” The redesigned site has the same web address as the original HR site: www.columbia.edu/cu/hr/






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