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Mosaic Update for Managers

September 2014

In less than a month McMaster will have a new HR system. It's safe to say that the prospect of a new system elicits a variety of emotions. Some people are excited, some are wary and pretty much everyone recognizes that there is a lot of work to do to prepare. In this month's update, we'll look at three steps you can take to make the transition easier for your team.

Three steps to prepare your team and office

Other topics

Operational preparations

The new HR system will launch on October 20. It will replace several systems, notably Mac VIP and MacTrac. This launch includes a new time management system to gather data for payroll. To help you plan a smooth transition, the Mosaic project team has established a schedule for system users to complete work in the legacy systems, before moving to the new system.

Review this document carefully with your staff. The deadlines are firm and have significant implications. Further processing time for retroactive adjustments crossing both systems will be extremely time consuming and complex to calculate and could result in delayed payments.

Training for your team

Anyone who enters time data or approves time data for payroll purposes should take time entry training. Indeed, training is mandatory for those individuals, such as departmental time keepers, who enter time data on behalf of others. Users will have the option of attending a classroom course or completing an online version. This half-day course represents a modest investment of time for a substantial benefit.

Invitations to participate in time entry training have already been sent via email. If you feel one of your staff should be trained but that person has not been invited, contact one of the training coordinators.

Two online courses are also available. "PeopleSoft Navigation for HR" is an introductory course that will prepare those new to Mosaic for future online, self-directed-learning opportunities and classroom sessions. A second course " Department Manager PeopleSoft Orientation" teaches managers to locate core HR job data and biographical information within the system . These courses are available today and are open to all staff.

Helping your team by setting expectations

Transitions are stressful and some of your team members (maybe even you) will have encountered challenges during the finance launch. If you encounter concerns, we ask that, as a leader, you take time to explain that the Mosaic team learned a lot through the finance launch and has taken clear steps to improve both pre-launch testing and post-launch support. The McMaster community has been significantly and frequently consulted about the new HR system. Many McMaster staff have worked long and hard to deliver an HR system they themselves will ultimately use in their role at the University. We expect the transition will be smoother and shorter this time; however, it will still require significant effort.

Connect with your team: both listen and reassure

Meet with your staff, understand how they are responding to the change, ask them how they are doing, and hear their concerns. An empathetic ear goes a long way to reducing stress. Demonstrate your preparations by going though the transition schedule with them and laying out a plan for your office.

Be honest: there will be initial glitches and rough spots in the transition. This is a big change in a complex institution. You need to prepare your staff for some level of disruption and you need to role model resilience and patience.

Communicate expectations

Set realistic expectations about the coming months: it will take time for the project team to work out the initial system kinks and it will take time for the University as a whole to learn the new system. Explain that some level of disruption is normal. Institutions like McMaster typically see a productivity dip for six to nine months after the introduction of an ERP system module until the initial bugs are fixed and staff learn to use the system proficiently.

Be sure to clearly communicate your expectations to your team during the transition. Providing clear directions about which tasks to prioritize will help reduce stress levels. Be available to listen and hear their concerns.

Coach and support your team

Make sure your staff take full advantage of the training available. Confirm with each of your staff members who perform HR functions that they are scheduled to receive training. It is important to make this a priority! It's not reasonable to expect staff to use the system without complete training.

Reports to hierarchy

A new system is a great opportunity to do a lot of data clean up. The project team is in the process of confirming the "reports-to" hierarchy. Senior managers have received a request to confirm who reports to whom in their area. This correct information is critical to ensure that the electronic workflow for human resources routes approval request correctly. Please respond to this request by the October 1 deadline if you have been asked.

HR and Finance

One of the benefits of moving to an ERP system is the ability to tie together previously independent systems such as HR and Finance. The project team is conducting extensive testing on the successor to the labour distribution report, as well as testing that payroll expenses post properly to the general ledger.

Transitioning payroll expenses to your chartfield strings

Additional work has been conducted to catch any legacy accounts that are being used to pay labour and fringe benefit expenses that map to non-approved labour and benefit chartfield accounts. Thank you to those managers that have assisted in this process.

From now until October 20, when making any position account, employee override position account, or stipend funding changes in MacVIP, all managers and area research or finance approvers should ensure the legacy sub-account they select is approved for labour and fringe benefit expenses. Refer to the labour and benefit subcode mapping chart to find approved subcodes which will convert appropriately. In the event that a non-approved sub-account is input in MacVIP, there will be an error at conversion and the related expenses will revert up to the next available level of funding (e.g. a non-approved sub-account on an ongoing stipend will cause the funding to revert to the full chartfield string found on an employee level override (if one exists), or the position account, etc.).

Looking ahead

Student Administration Information Sessions

Even as we prepare to launch the new HR system, work is progressing on the Student Administration system. This October, the Mosaic team will hold two information sessions to demonstrate the forthcoming systems.

October 22, CIBC Hall
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 — Admissions
1:30 to 3:30 — Scheduling

October 30 (repeat of October 22), CIBC Hall
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 — Scheduling
1:30 to 3:30 — Admissions

Other resources

We've got the videos, you bring the popcorn

In August the Mosaic team held a series of webinars introducing aspects of the new time entry, absences and leaves functions, and recruitment functions. These short and highly informative webinars are great conversation starters to watch with your staff as you plan your transition to the new system.

Get your staff on an even playing field

One thing that was very clear through the last system launch was the diversity of skill levels that staff brought to the training lab. The Mosaic training program assumes that all participants are comfortable with computers and can perform basic tasks such as scanning and attaching a document or downloading information into a spreadsheet. If you have a staff member whose computer skills could use an upgrade, please take advantage of the free computer skills courses for McMaster employees offered by the Centre for Continuing Education. Help your staff succeed by improving their base skills.

Organizational Design

With the new system's introduction, several managers have asked how they should re-organize their units to adapt to shifting workloads and responsibilities. There is no blanket answer but a conversation with Paul Short, Director, Organizational Change Management would be a helpful place to start.


Project website:

General email:

Change management assistance requests: