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Using Fiscal Sponsorship to Drive Innovation

Tim Seifert, JD, Human Resources Officer, Heluna Health

Tim Seifert, JD, Human Resources Officer, Heluna Health

As HR professionals, one of our key jobs is to empower people to succeed. Facilitating success requires an unwavering commitment to innovation and challenging the status quo. Without innovation, breakthrough results are rarely achieved.

At Heluna Health, we empower population health professionals to succeed through an innovative model called fiscal sponsorship. As we have developed it, fiscal sponsorship enables academic researchers, coalitions, and other public and private health agencies to partner with our organization to provide all HR processes and infrastructure. Our model also offers financial administrative support so that our partners can intensively focus their own efforts on program implementation. Whether people gain access to health services, such as HIV testing or senior care, depends on whether our systems are built to help partners find the right talent and help existing talent succeed. As a fiscal sponsor, the systems we build and the way we build them ensures a greater likelihood of long-term success for a budding project or program. Heluna Health leverages platforms that large Fortune 500 companies often use, giving small and medium-sized entities access to such systems.

"Our goal is to alleviate our partners’ pain points around administrative functions, allowing them additional time and resources to focus on meeting their mission of improving population health"

This behind-the-scenes fiscal sponsorship model boosts efficiencies for population health programs, lowering overhead costs and ensuring more money goes to improving the health and well-being of our communities. As such, the innovative solutions created within our partnerships result in extending the reach of each partner program.

Streamlining The Hiring Process For Partners

Recently, the Heluna Health HR team identified several opportunities to enhance HR administrative functions that allowed for greater efficiencies in our operations. Specifically, by optimizing the online application and time-keeping processes, our population health partners are able to hire staff far more quickly than they would within their own institutions, with the assurance that compliance requirements for their grant-funded projects are met.

As a fiscal sponsor, one of our goals is to help our partners find the best talent on an expedited basis to ensure public health services are deployed in communities as soon as possible. To meet that goal, the Heluna Health HR team works in close collaboration with our partners throughout the hiring process, including same-day posting for all approved job descriptions, interviewing candidates, and selecting talent. In order to empower our partners to succeed, we customized our systems to allow partners to have greater access to certain procedures and processes within our applicant tracking system (ATS). As we implemented the recruitment module within our human resources information system (HRIS), Ultimate Software’s UltiPro, we developed tools that allowed our partners and hiring managers to have immediate access to the pool of candidates for each job posting. Working across organizations with diverse processes is certainly challenging, but the work of breaking the status quo netted a substantial reduction in the number of days to post and to fill a position.

Not only did this custom solution build greater autonomy for our partners in the recruiting process (i.e. in managing job postings, candidate rankings and categorization, interview scheduling and selection), it also help HR team meet compliance standards on behalf of our partners. As a bonus, the customizations we implemented also improved the candidate experience through an enhanced search engine and the integration of LinkedIn, creating a streamlined and more user-friendly application experience.

Alleviating Pain Points

As a service provider to grant-funded projects, another one of our goals is to alleviate our partners’ pain points around administrative functions, allowing them additional time and resources to focus on meeting their mission of improving population health. Most time-keeping systems simply allow an employer to pre-populate time allocations for employees, while allowing the employee to edit their hours worked. In order to be in full compliance with grant-funding requirements, we needed a system that allowed employees to enter and allocate their time on a daily basis, often across multiple grant programs or grant streams. Many of the public health programs we support have various funding sources, some as many as 10. The regulations of grant funding require the recipient to allocate expenses, including labor costs, to various projects. Since an “off-the-shelf” solution did not exist, our HR team also took on the challenge of customizing and implementing a multi-project time-keeping system. Much of the project work performed within our partners’ programs is carried out by Heluna Health employees who are supervised by our partners—an inherently complex hierarchy that demands innovative problem-solving. This structure requires a time-keeping system that gives ‘non-employee supervisors’ the ability to access their employees’ time records. After researching numerous time-keeping systems, we partnered with Replicon to tailor a solution to our needs. The time-keeping system now allows managers, both Heluna Health employees and partner employees, to enter the system and approve time sheets. This joint accessibility ensures the accuracy of hours worked, proper allocations of time, and control of time-off requests.

At the end of the day, this behind-the-scenes work undertaken by our HR professionals to develop customized solutions to better serve our partners is what defines our success, and has helped to realize the success of those we support.

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