Sugi-84-99 Roesti Ac..
MANAGING HUMAN RESOURCES INFORMATION:
USING THE SAS AND SAS/FSP PRODUCTS
Paul Roesti, Joel Achtenberg, and Douglas G. Fishel
Washington University in St. Louis
Abstract
Some of the most important data obtained are
applicants' self-rated levels of skill for 211
skills. For each skill, applicants indicate one
of the following: 1) I consider myself proficient
with this, 2) I have done this occasionally, 3) I
have never done this, but I have some knowledge
or understanding of the principles involved, 4) I
am not at all familiar with this, or 5) r do not
want to be considered for a position which would
reqUire me to do this.
The skill-level data and
other information from the application process is
then entered into the HRMS.
A Human Resources Management System (HRHS), under
development for the Personnel Department
Washington University School of Medicine
at the
in St.
Louis is described. The primary function of the
system is to match applicants with employer
requirements.
A pool of applicants is created, composed of
potential
employees.
The
pool
contains
applicants' skill levels for 211 skills, in
Departments
ask the Personnel Department for
assistance in locating qualified applicant8 to
fill their needs by submitting a job requisition
fonn. Two different forms are used, a Technical
and a General Requisition. Together, these two
forms contain the same 211 skills listed on the
applicants' Skills Data Sheet.
addition to standard application data. Employers
specify minimum levels acceptable for these same
skills on job requisitions.
The
applicant
a
skills
meeting or exceeding the requisition levels.
Personnel staff
may interactively
relax or
strengthen
the search
criteria.
Potential
employees are identified, and records of all
referrals to employers and employers' decisions
are kept for each applicant. When applicants are
hired, they are added to an Employee Skills Data
Bank.
requisition
pool
to identify
is
searched
using
candidates with
Employers indicate skills and the ffi1n1mum level
of skill required with the following scale: 1)
frequently done-we need 8omeone proficient with
this, 2) occasionally done-we need someone who
has done
this occasionally, 3)
willing to
train-We need someone who can do this, but
initially
no
ability
is
required.
The
requisitions are sent to the Personnel Department
through campus mail service, and entered into the
The system is interactive and menu-driven, using
SAS modules under the control of an EXEC2 main
module. Data entry is accomplished with FSEDIT.
The Applicant Pool and Skills Data Bank are
queried through FSBROWSE.
Standard and ad-hoc
report generation will be supported.
HRMS.
The HRMS is then used to find applicants that
meet or
exceed employers
requisitions.
By
selecting a menu option to match applicant and
requisition skills, all qualified applicants in
the Applicant Pool are identified. Depending on
the number of applicants selected (too few, or
too many), Personnel Department staff may tighten
or relax the matching requirements, and re-run
the option.
Techniques for using SAS and SAS/FSP in the CMS
environment are
presented, focusing
on the
following topics: 1) system access, secarity, and
monitoring, 2) EXEC2 and SAS interfaces, 3)
screen design, and 4) user education.
Applicants selected are referred to employers for
further consideration and interviews. A complete
package
of
application data
is
provided,
including
applications
for
employment
and
applicants' resumes.
System Overview
The HRMS is designed to be the primary means of
identifying applicants qualified for employment
by Washington University
School of Medicine
departments.
Initially, applicants complete a
battery of forms and are interviewed by the
Personnel Department.
A Referral Form is also sent with each applicant
package.
When
departments
have
completed
reviewing the applicant, the form is returned to
the Personnel Department.
These forms, giving
the results of the department's review. either
hired, not
hired-interviewed, not
hired-not
interviewed, are entered into the HRMS.
SAS, and SAS/FSP are reBist~r~d trademarks of SAS
Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.
536
When an applicant is selected for employment,
their skills data is added to the HRMS Employee
Skills Data Bank. Personnel Department staff
simply select the appropriate menu option for
loading this information.
Access mode, also part of the CP LINK command,
guarantees the integrity of the system. The 'R'
mode, read only (R/O) , is used as the access mode
for Userl and User2 links to the system disk.
This mode allows access only if the System or
Input/Edit Machines do not have the system disk
in write status.
System Access, Security, and Monitoring
This would occur if the System Machine's master
data libraries were currently being updated by
the Input/Edit Machine. As shown in Figure I,
the Input/Edit Machine has WR (Write/Read) access
to the system disk. WR access supports write
access only if Use~l and User2 do not have the
system disk in read status; then an a alternate
access of read only is given.
Human Resource information must be treated as
sensitive data.
The Personnel Department was
especially concerned about the protection of
applicant information.
Four CMS Virtual Machines are utilized in the
HRl1S system configuration.
One machine (the
System Machine) is used by our programming staff.
The primary disk space (A disk) on this machine
is used as a 'system' disk. The different SAS
modules, screen data sets , and the EXEC2 file
which drives the HRMS are maintained here, as
well as master and backup copies of SAS data
libraries.
When the access mode requested at logon cannot be
granted, a message is displayed and the system
automatically takes the appropriate action. For
instance, suppose Userl attempts to run the
matching routine (an R access to the system disk)
while the Input/Edit Machine is updating the
master files (WR access to the system disk). The
message 'FILES CURRENTLY BEING UPDATED -- TRY
AGAIN SHORTLY' is displayed,
and the Userl
Machine is logged off.
The other three virtual machines belong ·to the
Personnel
Department.
One
machine
(the
Input/Edit Machine) supports all of the system's
functional capabilities, but is used primarily
for data entry and editing. The remaining two
virtual machines (Userl and User2) are restricted
to running the matching routine, making queries,
and producing reports.
Of course, the eMS Userid and Password offer a
minimal
amount
of
protection.
Additional
security was built into the HRMS by prompting for
a 'user' password (usually a person's first name)
after successful logon.
User passwords are
changed by our staff an a regularly scheduled
basis, or at the discretion of the Personnel
Department.
This configuration is accomplished by assigning
access mode passwords to the System Machine's A
disk. These passwords, when used with a CP LINK
command in each of the Personnel Department
machines'
PROFILE
EXEC, makes
the
System
Machine's disk available.
The machines are
linked to the system disk as illustrated in
Figure 1.
Figure 1:
Trying an unauthorized password results in an
immediate logoff.
Once a user has gained entry
to the system, their activities are conditioned
by their authorization.
For instance, certain
names are only allowed access to the database for
queries; FSBROWSE supports their needs.
Other
userS are authorized to input, update and query;
modules with FSEDIT gives these users access.
CMS Virtual Machin" Configuration
and System Disk A~ce8a
The HRMS not only checks for user passwords. A
log
of successful
and unsuccessful
access
attempts is maintained. The EXEC2 predefined
variables &DATE and &TIHE are very useful for
this purpose.
By spooling
console output on and
off at
appropriate times, system access is monitored. A
message is also logged when an authorized user
enters and exits a menu option. In between these
messages, impo~tant segments of the SAS SASLOG
are retained.
At the end of the main module,
just prior to logoff, the console log is punched
to the user machines virtual reader.
Sys~em
Ma~~1ne
Dhk
,
Access
A~ceas
EXEC2 and SAS Interfaces
Note:
Syst~m
A single CMS EXEC controls program flow in the
HRMS. This EXEC is initiated at the very end of
PROFILE EXEC, which is automatically executed at
logon.
Mad\:.ne's RR Access To The Other
A ll1.sks ~ot Lnd1cated.
i'Ia~hin"s'
537
Using this means of controlling the HRMS has
several advantages. One of the main benefits is
the ability to inte~sperse communications with
users, calls to the different SAS sub-modules,
and CP and CMS commands in one source file.
The two job requisition forms used in the system
each require three screens for display.
The
Referral Form
sent to employers
is easily
displayed on one screen.
Menus, allowing users <0 select options. are
easily displayed. This is accomplished with the
&BEGmE command and inserting the menu text as
it will appear on the screen.
Two important considerations repeatedly surfaced
during screen design: 1) accurate replication of
a form on the video display, and 2) adding
information
to
aid
data
entry.
These
considerations often resulted in a trade-off;
doing one precluded addressing the other.
By reading the selection entered with &READ
followed by several &GOTO statements, the EXEC
branches to an appropriate section of EXEC code.
For instance, if a '1' is entered, the EXEC
branches to the label, -APPLICATION. The screens
for en~ering application forms are then genera~ed
by calling SAS EXEC with an argument of APPLCANT.
SAS is executed with NODATE and NONOTES options
to
minimize the
appearance of
unnecessary
messages on the screen display.
Space on a single screen display was the factor
limiting the ability to address both concerns.
Often times there was not enough room to closely
reproduce a form or form section and include data
entry prompts. We simply used onr judgement;
generally, preference was given to making the
screen look like the sonrce document.
Designing forms to conform to FSP cursor movement
is advisable. On several HEMS source documents,
checklists of skills are completed by moving down
columns, and then across the form. For example,
applicants give skill levels on the Skills Data
Sheet for Clerical-Secretarial and Office Machine
skills by going down column 1, and then move to
column 2 to indicate Administrative/Managerial,
Professional Field, and Specialty skills.
APPLCANT is the name of a file with a filetype of
SAS containing the PROC FSEDIT source for the
appropriate data
and screen
datasets.
The
procedure is called using OPTION=l, so that the
first screen for data is immediately displayed,
instead of the FSEDIT primary option menu.
PROC FSEDIT has control until the user presses
PF3 to end. Control then returns to the main
EXEC, and an &GOTO -MAIN MENU command is issued.
The EXEC branches back to-the &BEGTYPE containing
main menu text, which is displayed on the screen.
Our
FSP
screen
datasets
transpose
this
organization" presenting checklists for each job
category as the cursor moves across rows and then
down the screen.
While this has not been a
serious problem, the time required for data entry
would pr.obably be less using a common movement
pattern ..
The user may select another option, and similar
EXEC, SAS interfaces occur. If RETURN is pressed
to end the session, the EXEC issues a CP LOGOFF
command.
User Education
The HRMS is always under the control of the main
EXEC, from session beginning to end.
Users are
never given the opportunity to issue commands in
CP or CMS mode.
We have enjoyed a friendly relationship with the
users in the Personnel Department. Every effort
has been made to inform them through formal
presentations,
training
seSSions,
written
documentation, and on-line assistance.
Screen Design
New users of automatic
data processing are
anxious about information systems.
One of their
concerns is the retention of crucial data beyond
their field of vision. We addressed this need by
generally
explaining the
system's
hardware
configuration.
Seven forms are used as source documents for the
HRMS.
Applicant related
forms include
an
Employmen~ Application, Staff
Affirmative Action
Data Card, Interview Evaluation, and Skills Data
Sheet.
Nine screens were needed to accommodate the four
applicant forms. All four of these forms are
presented when the option to enter applicant data
is selected from the main menu.
The functional capabilities of the system were
introduced as
tasks to be
performed.
For
example, users with full access may wish to: 1)
entel' application furms,
2) enter lechnical
requisitions, 3) enter general requisitions, 4)
match applications and requisitions,S) enter
referral forms, or 6) add new employees to the
Employee Skills Data Bank.
These tasks became
options displayed on the main menu after logon.
The inclusion of four different forms under a
single
option for
entering applicant
data
affected screen design. In one instance, data
items from
two different forms,
the Staff
Affirmative Action Data Cacd and the Interview
Evaluation, appear on the same screen.
This
screen was formatted to indicate which data items
referred to a particular form.
Full descriptions of each option are provided
on-line.
From the main
menu, entering '?'
displays these descriptions.
Pressing RETURN
gets the user back to the main menu.
538
A common nomenclature for FSP screen displays has
been valuable. Vocabulary was established for
severa 1
important
concepts.
One
useful
convention has been to differentiate data items
(the prompt displayed), system data item names
(SAS variable names), data item fields (the
spaces provided for entering data), and data
values (data occupying item fields).
Interchangeably referring to data as records and
ob~ervatinns required clarification.
The manner
in which a SAS dataset observation numbe~ changes
for a given record due to record additions and
deletions was also emphasized.
Data file structure and its presentation through
FSP screens were also important concepts.
The
difference between moving from screen to screen
(lpft Hnrl
right) and
from observation
to
observation
(forward
and
backward)
was
graphically presented.
Personnel Department staff were schooled on use
of the terminal devices supporting the HRMS. FSP
PF key definitions and control code functions
were explained.
A User's Manual was written. The manual covers
several
topics,
ranging
from
establishing
communication (logon procedure) to locating an
observation.
Detailed appendices were included in the User
Manual. One of the most important appendices is
a Data Dictionary, listing SAS variable names and
labels by screen location.
The dictionary was
created using the SAS listing from PROC CONTENTS
and tailoring the output with a text editor.
We wish to acknowledge and thank J.L. Midkiff,
Gene Mueth, Lois England, and the entire School
of Medicine Personnel Department Staff for their
contributions to
and support of
the Human
Resources Management System.
For further information, contact
Paul Roesti
WU Medical School Box 8019
660 South Euclid
St. Louis, Missouri 63110
314-362-2584
539
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