HR Contracts: Workflows to Fast-Track Approvals and Increase Cross-Functional Collaboration
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Contract Masters is a series featuring the world’s best contract workflows and the innovative people who designed them using Ironclad’s Workflow Designer. First up, we’re excited to introduce you to Sydney Dimick, Contracts Administrator at Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc., a leader in precision genetic medicine for rare diseases.
Meet Contract Master Sydney Dimick
While Sydney has experience with all kinds of contracts and a keen eye for detail, it’s her innovative spirit and drive to improve Sarepta’s contracting process that makes her a true Contract Master.
Before joining Sarepta in 2019, Sydney worked at Karyopharm Therapeutics, Inc., as a Vendor Contracts Specialist, where she focused on contract review. It was there she fell in love with working in the legal department. At Karyopharm, Sydney focused on advocating for clear contracts and staying organized.
When Sydney joined Sarepta, she knew choosing a new contract management system would be her top priority and this project allowed her to flex even more skills surrounding the contract process, including project management, system management, and developing new internal processes. Sydney believes sticking to a process creates efficiency and predictability that the business relies on, and Ironclad was the chosen platform to help achieve her goals.
I was blown away by Workflow Designer. No one else has Workflow Designer, at least not like Ironclad. So to give somebody like me, who is tech savvy and who loves building processes, a tool that I can master fairly quickly and use to build things that we need in real time and adjust in real time was probably what won me over the most.
Sarepta’s unique contracting problem
Because biotech is such a highly regulated industry and sometimes their contracts are on counterparty paper, Sarepta has to ensure they manage risk by having legal review all of their contracts.
Sarepta’s previous contract management system did not automatically assign contract reviewers and relied solely on institutional knowledge. This manual process was not necessarily based on data, was difficult to teach, and was not scalable long-term.
To gain peace of mind, they turned to Ironclad to improve its contract management process. Automating reviewer assignments in Ironclad has not only reduced Sydney’s manual tasks, but it also ensures there is at least one primary legal reviewer per department, allowing each reviewer to become a legal expert on the counterparties those specific departments work with.
After looking at 12 contract lifecycle management platforms, most of which were not agile enough for their business, Sarepta chose Ironclad not only because it served the business’ current needs, but it also matched Sydney’s vision for what their CLM could become in the future.
“I was blown away by Workflow Designer. No one else has Workflow Designer, at least not like Ironclad. So to give somebody like me, who is tech savvy and who loves building processes, a tool that I can master fairly quickly and use to build things that we need in real time and adjust in real time was probably what won me over the most,” said Sydney.
Now they have 18 contract workflows in Ironclad, including Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDA), Master Agreements, and HR contracts.
Simply put, HR contracts include any contract used by a people or talent team, and they can encompass many different types of agreements, such as:
In addition to employee-related matters, HR contracts can also cover things like recruiting and staffing from outside agencies.
Why the HR contract process should be streamlined
If there’s anything all organizations have in common, it’s people. Behind every person reporting for work is a series of contracts that had to be created and agreed upon.
Creating an efficient process for HR contracts will help you grow your business faster. By creating workflows for your HR contracts, you gain transparency into the process and develop important data for cross-functional collaboration. With Ironclad, you’ll free your HR team up to deal with people, not contracts.
Setting up Sarepta’s first workflow
HR gets its own contract type
While many of Sarepta’s HR contracts are Statements of Work (SOW) or Change Orders (CO), they wanted to carve out a specific workflow for HR contracts to simplify the process for the business user. The majority of the contracts within this workflow are for temporary contingent worker agreements, but it can also be used for recruiting services agreements from an agency.
By carving out a workflow for these types of agreements, Sarepta can eliminate any workflow confusion—Sarepta’s counterparty workflow is currently set up to be used with over 30 different types of contracts. The HR contracts workflow also allows them to ask specific questions unique to HR contracts that wouldn’t be included in a regular SOW workflow, like a new temp worker’s start date, hourly rate, and hiring manager. All of which can then be used to create a more detailed naming convention for the dashboard and archived agreements.
Routing contracts to the correct reviewer
Sarepta’s HR team comprises two groups: Talent acquisition and operations, and they each have approval responsibility for different kinds of HR contracts.
So instead of sending every contract to both groups to filter through themselves and find the correct approvers, they added questions within the workflow (For example,“Is this a new contingent worker?”) to automatically route these contracts to the appropriate team.
Creating questions within the launch form also helped Sarepta to validate information, like whether or not a background check was performed for a temp worker. They also use questions to set stakeholders’ expectations about the contract process and ensure enough turnaround time for the contract.
For example, a business user can agree to the 5-day turnaround time and acknowledge that an employee may not start until the appropriate processes have been completed, simply by clicking “Yes” within the workflow.
Using the workflow
When a user clicks into the HR contract workflow, the workflow includes the following:
- Preamble: This is essentially an introduction to the workflow and when it should be used.
Then, users are asked to provide the following information:
- Contract type (an SOW, for instance)
- Is this a new counterparty? (Is this a new agency?)
- Contract effective date
- Counterparty name
- Term (Is there auto renewal? Is it indefinite?)
- Hiring Manager
- Is this a new contingent worker?
- Which executive is responsible for this contingent worker?
Instead of building out every possible signatory, Sarepta looked at their legacy contract data for HR contracts and found that 70% of the time these contracts were signed by an executive, so they simplified the process by asking which executive is responsible, rather than building out every possible signatory only for it to predominantly go to executives. Not only does this simplify the build, but it also sets them up to create a quick and informative report in the repository.
Contract process improvements
In addition to setting up workflows in Ironclad, Sydney also made a few other improvements to the contract process.
Sydney developed a naming convention to standardize Sarepta’s contracts, which ultimately helps with organization, reporting, and future migrations.
Previously, Sarepta’s contract managers didn’t have a formal system for divvying up their reviewing responsibilities, so Sydney created a departmental split, leaving no questions as to who’d review which contract from a particular department. Then, to make things even easier, she built conditionality into the workflows in Ironclad so reviewers are automatically assigned based on department.
Use of metadata
Because Sarepta has so many specific questions in their workflows, they have a lot of contract data they can use to generate insightful reports and better their business. For example, they can easily create a report for all contingent workers under a specific executive and hiring manager, the total spend of contingent workers for a specific department, and when finance needs to know how many contracts are within a specific entity, it’s simple to find.
Sydney recommends thinking about the questions you want to answer when building workflows to make generating future reports a whole lot easier.
Since implementing Ironclad at Sarepta, Ironclad has had great user adoption. In fact, Sydney says that HR contracts are regularly processed with Ironclad, and her team prides themselves on their ability to turn around HR contracts super fast.
When she rolled out Ironclad training for the entire team, everyone gained confidence in the process and tools, rating Ironclad 4.5 out of 5 stars in an internal survey.
“I think people are probably in awe of how fast things can change,” Sydney said. “So, for instance, last night, somebody emailed me and said, ‘Hey, what do I do with this contract?’ It was a data sharing agreement. We didn’t have anything in Ironclad for data sharing, but it’s on the counterparty’s paper.
So I added a data sharing agreement to the counterparty contracts workflow, added a question that was relevant and launched it in five minutes. I mean, it was awesome. I think our stakeholders and our customers really appreciate that,” she added.
As you can tell from Sarepta’s story, automating HR contracts with Ironclad is the fastest way to level-up the way you hire and manage people. By creating thoughtful easy-to-use workflows, you’ll set up your business users for success, putting your contracts on the approvals fast-track, all while maintaining compliance.
The best part? You might even begin to enjoy the process. “Building workflows has become like a new hobby for me,” Sydney said.