The importance of knowing your HRIS audience

Engaging your workforce has never been more ‘on the map’ than it is right now.  This past year has seen an unprecedented shift in working lifestyle, and with that comes the need to address the company’s communication style to harness both employee engagement and to continue good company cultures.

The HR System used by employers has come under scrutiny for its agility and as one of the leading tools for HR to connect with employees. And that can be in any area of employment—Absence, Training, Pay and Benefits, etc. But the current and recent focus has been on the wellbeing support it can link into.  It has never been more important to ensure that your HR System is launched with credibility, and that the features it can provide are used to their maximum effect.

There are several very good white papers out there for companies to use in the formation of a new HR System evaluation, or even to apply to the existing solution. But planning and understanding the culture of communication maturity is vital in selecting the right system. Understanding the size, complexity and reporting needs should be a large part of the decision process. Equally importantly is the workforce culture and maturity. For example, the employees of a BIG 4 accountancy firm will have a high level of system maturity and understanding and therefore will look for a sophisticated HRIS that can provide complicated reporting and configuration to accommodate the large business structure. Whereas a smaller company may not have the complexity or size to warrant such an involved system, and therefore a simpler and more concise system maybe the better option. One enticing feature of any system is the ability to configure it to the business brand. This has increasing importance with engaging the benefit of loyalty to the business, but also however small, providing a sense of belonging which in current remote working climate is a growing consideration for employee wellbeing and engagement.

Understanding what your employees expect to get out of a HR System and what provides them with a satisfactory experience, allows companies to proactively anticipate the user requirements they will need to provide through their HR System.  Using these approaches also enables an employer to tap into the under used areas of a system that, however small, provides an additional service or function, which ultimately makes the employees life easier. Who hasn’t enjoyed coming across a nifty new widget in a system and thought, ‘Well that was easier to use than I thought it would be!’, or ‘What a useful new function, I’ll take another look at that!’?

This brings us to the communications with employees, and how important and high impact these can be to meeting the expectations and satisfaction perceptions mentioned earlier.  To many notifications and the messages become litter; too few and the momentum is lost; poorly written, presented or with broken links, and your employee engagement is lost. Keeping your work force informed of changes in the business, or improvements to the employment offering, and updates on how to use and access any new functionality is crucial in the commitment from a business to their employees.

Communication planning for HR has become more topical then ever; getting your system to manage this is a great way to achieving timely connections with employees. Simple notification email messages that provide a quick link to any action required. It all makes life easier and provides a positive experience and improved employee engagement.  With AI having been top of the HR discussion boards for many months prior to the pandemic; utilising some of this functionality within your system immediately eases the administrative bulk for HR teams, enabling the realisation of HR strategic requirements.  Using this method also enables the company branding, support campaigns and the culture to be consistently applied across the communications issued from a systems automation.  There is always the stakeholder to please in relation to return on investment, and more so now as some companies feel the pinch, however with overheads reducing for many, this is an ideal opportunity to invest in your HR System communication tools that will enhance and engage the work force now working remotely. 

Another useful engaging tool on some HR Systems is the ability to tailor the different screens with topical and targeted notifications allowing a business to show key HR information, links or employee benefit promotions relevant to the screen being viewed. Along with a well-planned home/landing page with easy linked reminders scheduled to relevant dates, this provides that ease of use and again.

Engaged employees have repeatedly demonstrated their value to a business with their increased productivity and with engagement come loyalty, producing a lower attrition rate and reduced recruitment costs as a result. 

Businesses need to continue looking for ways to support, develop and engage with their employees and when this is in such easy reach for a business with a HR System the question handing in the air is:

What can you do to increase your HR System audience engagement?

Susan Martin, HRIS Technical Consultant for Tugela People. Read more

This article has been authored by Susan Martin, HRIS Technical Support Consultant for Tugela People. With over 15 years’ experience in HR and previous experience of implementing and using Sage People, Susan is responsible for supporting the growth of our Managed Services division, as we take on new clients and offer additional services.

For more information on any of the issues raised in this article or to engage with our Managed Services division, contact us on tel +44(0)1908 030368 or email: Alternatively complete the ‘Contact US‘ form and we will be in touch.

Looking back, Looking forward

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ― Charles Dickens

Looking back, Looking forward. Read more.

The start of a new year seems like the appropriate time to take stock of what has occurred over the past twelve months, both in our personal and professional lives and to set realistic goals and objectives for the year ahead.  It is safe to say that no one could have imagined how 2020 would turn out. By taking a step back and reflecting on the road travelled, it is important to take a positive stance and to recognise and celebrate our successes and achievements along the way.

I’ve just celebrated my third year of working at Tugela People, the company is just about to reach 9 years since its inception, and we’ve been offering Managed Services to clients for just over two years now. When I joined Tugela People as a Junior Implementation Consultant, I had no idea that my role would evolve into where it is today. I was an integral contributor to the set-up of the Managed Services division and am now leading the team and expanding our offerings. The past two years have probably been the most challenging, yet exciting and rewarding of my career.

Over the last two years, Managed Services has:

  • Grown to support 11 global clients, offering a wide range of additional services that help organisations get the most out of their HR System investment.
  • Taken on Zoe Van Lokven as an apprentice, who recently passed her Business Administration course (with a distinction) and is now the first point of contact for the majority of cases that come through to our team.
  • Hired Renata Tenorio Boesche, an experienced HR professional with a strong background in analyst type roles, as a dedicated resource to a specific client. Renata has provided Sage People technical support to multiple countries in terms of system enhancements, training and day-to-day support.
  • Maintained a 100% happiness rating for clients that use our Managed Services.
  • Solved over 2,500 tickets raised by 120 customers and assisted with their questions, troubleshooting, enhancements and day-to-day administration.
  • Achieved a 100% renewal rate with clients re-signing for a further period.

Highlights from the past year include:

  • Further growth of the team with the appointment of Susan Martin to help support the expanding client base and develop the services offered by Managed Services. Susan is an experienced HR professional with over fifteen years’ experience in HR systems.
  • Introduced Sage People Health Checks as a service. Through experience of working with our clients, it is an undeniable fact that after the implementation of a system, businesses and processes change and progress. This allows us to conduct a deep dive into areas of the system that may need some improvements or enhancements. We can provide recommendations to get the client’s system to where it needs to be.
  • Developed a Sage People adoption overview process where we work with clients to establish what functionality is/is not being utilized, what is of interest in the future and how new functionality can meet requirements. We then work with clients to produce a roadmap for the coming year.
  • Provided clients with temporary HRIS admin support when key system users are on a period of leave. This was a brand-new opportunity for us, and we supported a client for three weeks where we monitored their HRIS inbox and received some great feedback (read more).

From a personal perspective, I have transitioned from a HR Generalist to a HRIS specialist, become a member of the Tugela management team and taken on the responsibility of managing a team of consultants for the first time. My personal goal over the coming year is develop my management and leadership skill set and undertake a certification that is relevant to my role.

In going through this process of reflection, I am extremely optimistic and excited about the year ahead in terms of what we and the business can achieve for our clients. This too sits nicely with our company ethos of 2021 being the year of recognition for our colleagues, clients, partners and industry contemporaries.

As always, I am grateful for our clients who have put their trust in me and the rest of the Managed Services team here at Tugela People, and look forward to working with you all going into 2021.

Jamie Wilkins, Head of Managed Services for Tugela People. Read more.

This article has been authored by Jamie Wilkins, Head of Managed Services for Tugela People. Jamie has a degree in Business and Human Resource Management and is CIPD qualified with over 10 years’ experience in the HR industry. Jamie is responsible for leading a team of consultants that offer technical solutions and comprehensive Sage People HR System support through our flexible managed services function that spans the full spectrum of HR disciplines.

To find out more about our Managed Service offerings or engage our services, please email or call +44 (0) 1908 030368. Alternatively for more information on our services click here.

Action required regarding your absence functionality

As a valued client of Sage People, you may have seen the email that was sent on the 14th October confirming again that they will be deprecating the old Absence process.

Clients are urged to take immediate action to have the Time Off process enabled once the Winter ‘22 release is installed. For clarity we’ve added the deprecation timeline below. More information in this regard, can be found on the Sage People community article on Migrating from Absence to Time Off.

The Sage People Time Off process was created to replace the legacy Absence functionality, enhancing and improving their offering surrounding vacation and absence calculations. There are several new features that have been released requiring utilisation of Time Off that will benefit you as a client.

New Time Off features

  • Work schedules: enable you to define and allocate set working times for your Team Members. Useful to show shift patterns for example.
  • Enhanced accrual balances and accrual log: additional reportable fields on the absence balance object.
  • Partial days: view of half days in the WX calendar.
  • Outlook calendar files:  ability to add absence/vacation requests into calendars.

Sage People Deprecation Timeline

  • Effective Immediately – All clients should begin the transition to Time Off if not already using the new functionality. You may find it easiest to migrate at your plans’ reset date(s), although this is not a requirement. Sage People Support Team will continue to accept support cases related to the Absence process as will Tugela’s Managed Services team.
  • Winter ’22 release (est. Oct/Nov 2021): With this release the Time Off process will be switched on by default and all clients should be transitioned. The Absence Process will still exist within the HCM package but will no longer be supported by the Sage People Support Teams.
  • Spring ’22 release: The Time Off process cannot be deactivated, and the Absence code will be deprecated entirely.

Help is at hand

If you require additional information about this notification or require support in effecting any of these changes, our Managed Services team will be happy to assist you. Contact us now or email us directly at:

Sage People – Useful new features

There has been an incredible amount of development of Sage People this year, which no doubt you will have been made aware of via different communications, as they have been implemented. However, we wanted to highlight a few new features that have been recently added:

Objectives and Conversations

The new Objectives and Conversations features are fantastic, and a great improvement to the product at just the right time. Enhanced communication through the performance review process can really assist managers and team members who are still adapting to working remotely.

More information on Performance and Talent Management can be found on the Sage People website

Compensation Planning

This year has also seen the roll out of Salary and Bonus planning improvements. These out of the box features allow for compensation planning to be delivered by HR to managers to feed up their teams’ plans. As many plans as a customer might want can now be delivered at any time using their own projection formulas, exclusions and eligibility rules.

You can find out more about employee recognition and compensation management on the Sage People website

Half Day Absences

I’m not sure I speak for all the Tugela People team on this one, but I am sure I’m not alone in just how excited I got over this next feature!

You can now show absences in a calendar as part days.

More information about attendance and leave management can be found on the Sage People website


Sage People have also been working on a suite of API’s that are being rolled out as they become available. Currently you can build API’s for Employees, Salaries, Bonuses, Absences and Absence Balances, and now Timesheets. These come with increased security and controls over the usual Salesforce Rest API’s and should take less time to set up. More information on this can be found on the Sage Develop site

Lightning Email template Links

Finally, a little bit of housekeeping. If you’ve made the switch or are about to change over to lightning, you might find that your links from Action Events to the corresponding email templates don’t work anymore. Your URL for lightning will be slightly different. You can update the link in the Action Event object by updating the formula on the Email Template Link field.

For more information about new features, help in setting them up or to find out how we can keep your system up to date with ongoing product enhancements with our Managed Services offering, click here to get in touch.

Refreshing a sandbox

A sandbox environment is a copy of the production org and is typically used for developing new functionality, testing and training, without comprising data and processes in the production org.

Only full sandboxes support performance testing, load testing and staging, but there are other types of sandboxes available depending on your requirements. Full sandboxes are a replica of the production org, including all data such as object records, data, attachments and configuration.

With a sandbox in place, it is possible to transfer configurations from the sandbox to the production environment using change sets, which can often save time re-configuring.

Steps to refreshing a Sandbox

  1. From Setup, enter Sandboxes in the Quick Find box, then select Sandboxes.
  2. A list of your sandboxes displays. Sandboxes that you can refresh have a Refresh link next to their name.
  3. Next to the name, click Refresh.
  4. Review the Name, Description, and Create From values, and edit these values if needed.
  5. Select the type of sandbox environment you want.
  6. A table shows the number and type of sandbox licenses available in your org. Click “Next” under the Full option
  7. Select the data you want to copy (typically all). Click Next
  8. If you want to activate your sandbox immediately after you refresh it, select Auto Activate. In this case, you don’t receive an activation email.
  9. Click Create.
  10. Salesforce starts copying data to the sandbox.
  11. If you didn’t select Auto Activate while refreshing your sandbox, Salesforce sends you an email when your sandbox is ready to activate.

Logging into the Sandbox when it’s activated


Username: this is your standard username followed by the name of your sandbox. So, for example

Password: this is your usual password

Actions after Sandbox Creation checklist

Here’s our handy checklist to ensure working in your sandbox is as low risk as possible:  

  • Team Member that refreshed the sandbox to unscramble the user email address for other system admin users to enable them to log in
  • Switch system deliverability to “System Emails only”
  • Remove all manual email addresses from Action Events
  • Disable workflows email alerts
  • Disable any process builders which send emails to particular users 
  • Disable the Team Member to user synchronization via Installed Packages
  • Amend the “Request Prefix” field for all HCM Form Definitions to reflect the site URL in Setup > Sites
  • Amend the “Base URL” field within Installed Packages > Recruit to reflect the site URL in Setup > Sites
  • Amend any links in email templates as these will all direct to the production environment
  • Scramble any personal and work email addresses
  • Switch off any batches within HCM Installed Packages
  • Scramble and candidate emails
  • Remove credentials from payflow services, as well as the automation via the cron command

Refreshing a sandbox is something that Tugela People’s Managed Services can provide support with on a monthly basis.

To find out more, or for any questions around sandboxes, click here to get in touch with our Managed Services division:

A successful apprenticeship

August 2020 marked the end of a fantastic milestone for Tugela People, and specifically for Zoe Van Lokven, a member of the Managed Services team.

In December 2018 Tugela People had the opportunity to support a client post-implementation with their Sage People system, which is where the Managed Services journey began. Throughout 2019 we found there was an increasing demand for Managed Services and the function experienced a period of growth.

It had always been an aspiration of the company to contribute in a demonstrable way to the local economy. This presented us with an excellent opportunity to reach out to local talent and help boost youth employment in the area.

In February 2019, Zoe decided to take the plunge and try something new in her career after working in a retail role for 10 years. Zoe applied and was successfully awarded the role of HRIS Business Analyst at Tugela People. She embarked on her journey via MK College studying Business Administration, which she has recently completed with distinction.

Our aim was to break the notion that apprentices make the tea and file papers and Zoe rose to the challenge. In her 18 months with us, she has:

  • Become the first line support for 10+ clients, helping them with their Sage People queries, troubleshooting, enhancements, coaching and ongoing support.
  • Developed a feedback process to support quarterly client calls.
  • Started to lead on Managed Services kick off calls.
  • Supported internal colleagues with their Sage People queries.
  • Been empowered to make decisions and genuinely feel that her opinion is valued.

We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that an apprentice has had, not only to the long-term goals of the business but in building a successful career. For us this is not just an apprenticeship, it’s the opportunity to support entry-level talent into the industry and the opportunity to shape Tugela People’s future workforce through apprenticeships.

Zoe has subsequently been offered and accepted a full-time role as a HRIS Business Analyst for Tugela People, continuing to work as part of the Managed Services team.

A big congratulations to Zoe. The Tugela team wish you continued success in your role.

To learn more about our Managed Services click here

Managed Services now offer temporary Sage People HR System Admin support

Tugela People’s Managed Services are proud to be able offer temporary Sage People HR System admin support, whether that’s covering for periods of annual leave, training, or even longer-term absences such as parental leave.

Whatever the requirement, at a time where you may be lacking the necessary people resources, you can be confident that your Sage People system is in good hands.

As part of this service we can:

  • Become the first point of contact for HR teams with regards to system queries
  • Help support end users with their questions
  • Monitor any internal mailboxes or use our own ticketing system to monitor cases

head of Managed Services Sage People

The Tugela People Managed Services team is headed up by Jamie Wilkins, our Principal Managed Service Consultant, who has a degree in Business and Human Resource Management, with over 10 years’ experience in the HR industry. Jamie is responsible for offering technical solutions and comprehensive HR support through our flexible managed services function, as well as leading the implementation support for our internal HRIS Consultants.

WaterAid company logo

Further to providing HR System admin cover to WaterAid for a period of three week, we received the following feedback from Elodie Coulot, International People Officer at WaterAid following HRIS:

“I would like to highlight that Jamie has been a real asset for the team, even though he had only been with us few weeks as system administrator cover.

Jamie monitored our HRIS support mailbox daily for a period of three weeks, and he had demonstrated to be very patient, proactive, very quick to respond and knowledgeable on every single occasion we needed his expertise. Jamie was very proactive to find the solution and explored different ways of finding the answer.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Jamie and the Tugela team, and I had full confidence that our system was in very capable hands.”

To find out more or engage our services, email or click here