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Rail News: Labor

Watco ups automation ante in human resource department


The Watco Cos.' human resources department is automating a number of functions to improve recruiting, hiring and training, and payroll and benefit execution, according to the short-line holding company's June newsletter.

This month, Watco began implementing an Automatic Data Processing Payroll system integrated with a human resource information function. The system enables the company to update payroll software; electronically collect and transmit employees' work times; automate hire reporting, unemployment claims, garnishments and payroll deductions; and offer employees pay cards and flexible spending accounts

The company also partnered with HRSmart to establish an online corporate career center enabling candidates to search for and apply for jobs, and create and submit resumes. Watco officials plan to use the center to track applications, provide online pre-employment screening to rank candidates and establish an employee referral program.

Next month, Watco plans to implement a performance appraisal system designed to improve and customize appraisal scheduling and tabulation; then in August, implement a learning management system (LMS) to manage training programs and resources. The LMS will enable employees to take online training courses at work or home, and provide administrators, managers and workers a suite of self-service tools to manage training progress.

Finally, in September, Watco plans to implement a career development and succession planning system designed to enable employees to electronically enter their work preferences to develop a personal career progression plan. The system — which includes a searchable database of current employees' key skills, experience and work preferences — will enable managers to help workers develop skills and achieve career goals.

Watco owns eight short lines operating in 10 states.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/24/2004