FJUHSD loves the user-friendliness and support of Helios

Fullerton Joint Union High School District (FJUHSD) is located in Fullerton, Orange County, Southern California. FJUHSD serves around 14,000 Grades 9-12 students in a fifty-square-mile area. This includes six comprehensive high schools, one continuation high school, and one alternative high school. The District serves a varied socioeconomic population of families, and is enjoyed by parent organizations, the local business community, and supportive higher education institutions. Their mission is to provide quality curriculum and instruction through a wide range of academic, co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities by which all students may discover their interests and talents, form connections, and move from passive to active participants in the educational community in preparation for responsible, productive adulthood.


FJUSHD enjoys the streamlined, paperless freedom of Helios for Onboarding, e-Form Requisitions and Approvals, Reports, Employee e-Files, Interfacing, and Employee Self-Service Portal. FJUSHD partners with Helios for their user-friendliness, functionality, adaptability to needs, and top-notch customer service.


Chris MacMeekin, Manager, Fiscal Services, and Nicolas Cardenas, Accountant, together with their team at Business Services, were handling everything paper-based before Helios. Their outdated processes were a source of waste in, both, district time and money.

A lot of time was spent tracking forms like New Hire onboarding packets, travel and mileage reimbursements, purchase orders, receipts, supplemental payments, etc. Frustrations mounted when Chris, Nicolas, and their team was having to search through stacks of paper after employees and vendors were not getting paid on time.


Helios’ seamless, web-based, user-friendly interface has made FJUHSD processes so much quicker. Now that Chris, Nicolas, and their team are not having to shuffle through stacks of paper to find what they are looking for, they are saving lots of time. They are also saving money by not needing to print and store so much paper.

We chatted with Chris and Nicolas to get an update on their district’s use of Helios.


Q: How was work before Helios and how has it been after?

Chris: Work used to mean, “A lot of paper…” Now, with Helios, we can see where everything is. Helios has made it easy to transition from disconnected, paper-based processes to a single, streamlined, electronic workflow. With the uploads that we get from our County system, we know that once you put something in that system, the next day it is going to be in Helios. So, now, we have fewer people not getting paid in a timely manner.


Q: As a user of Helios, how do you describe your general workload?

Nicolas: Helios has helped us stay organized. It helps push requisitions forward, assist our managers in directing their staff, and stay accountable.

Chris: With our personnel workflows in Helios, we are able to easily see what has not yet been approved. This way, you can filter out all the New Hires to make sure those are getting prioritized for processing, as opposed to Additional Hours or Assignments. We use Helios also for our Agricultural programs. We have been able to create new workflows within Helios to push along purchases so they are not just sitting there, but rather receiving pre-approval in the system. This allows us to approve quicker the acquisition of equipment, instructional materials, etc. It is easy for HR to run their reports, especially Board and New Hire reports.


Q: How do you save time with Helios?

Chris: Helios makes everything quicker because you are not having to write everything by hand. With Helios, I can sort everything the way I need it to be.

Nicolas: The other time-saver I enjoy is having everything I need from our County system already within Helios. Having employee ID’s already populated in Helios is helpful. The reporting functionality is also a huge time-saver. If we need a report, 9-out-of-10-times I am pulling it from Helios, instead of using three or four different systems to do so.

Chris: Helios is empowering our employees to be able to do things on their own and not have to wait for us to do it for them. To me, that makes Helios the #1 Product.


Q: How does Fullerton save money using Helios?

Chris: By not having to print a lot of paper. It is so much easier to have everything web-based. It is much easier to find previous requisitions, documents, entries, etc. in Helios, rather than search through cumbersome, physical folders and binders.

Nicolas: I think the savings from paper is substantial, considering we process, approximately 4,500 requisitions per fiscal year. Each of those requisitions average between 2-5 pages. That cost of printing, paper, and storage adds up, not to mention time wasted shuffling those pages around trying to find what you are looking for (people lose things from time-to-time), or manually composing needed information. Helios gives access, easily, to everyone who needs it, to everything they need, all in one, centralized location. This is really beneficial to our team. 0Using the employee portal to drive those purchases, has allowed us to track budgets related to categorical money for appropriate purchases. Helios also prevents purchases that should not be in the system (due to funding not being appropriate). Our teachers have told us they really appreciate this feature since they can now know just who to contact in case a purchase is delayed. It also allows us to reach out to the appropriate administrator whenever there is an issue, like a shipment delay. And then, for the end of the year, Helios makes it easy to generate all sorts of reports. We can easily capture all this data, which is really beneficial for administrators to see just where those funds are going to be able to better plan for the next year.


Q: FJUHSD uses Helios for the Core, Onboarding, Workflows, and Interfacing modules. What would you say about their user-friendliness and how have they helped you and your teams in these areas?

Chris: Onboarding in Helios has helped our HR department considerably since they are no longer needing as many time-consuming, in-person visits. Everything can now easily be done at home, online. We are now able to safely and securely upload copies of drivers licenses and social security cards to onboarding e-packets and employee e-files. We can now automate our Travel and Mileage Reimbursement, Conference Requests, and more. And I think it is great! I absolutely love Helios!

Nicolas: I’m particularly impressed with Onboarding in Helios. It demonstrates the end-to-end capabilities of Helios, from the employees’ Hire to Retire. And we do not have to duplicate work. Once the onboarding packet is sent, that information remains within Helios and can easily route to other areas, such as IT, Payroll, and into the employee’s e-file. I would like to see our use of the Employee Portal grow here at the district. This module allows employees to access self-service, e-sign and submit documents to HR, Payroll, or to their manager, without having to travel to any district office. We have used the employee portal for submitting purchase order receipts, like for our Agriculture program. Being able to simply upload a receipt photo and quickly receive administrator approval is tremendously beneficial. This allows Accounts Payable to quickly process that receipt and for vendors to be paid sooner, keeping everyone happy.


Q: How easy has Helios been to use and train on?

Chris: Helios is very easy to work with. I am not tech-savvy, but to get Helios to do what I want it to do is very easy. Helios is such a great system that people who do not understand a lot about computers will still find it easy to use.


Q: What is the Helios setup process and Support like?

Nicolas: Support is fantastic! Helios has been a tremendous partner; responsive to our questions and inquiries about adding additional functionality and features. In that way, they truly are our partners, providing us with the information we need to collaboratively generate solutions. I really appreciate that.

Chris: Once the initial setup is done and everything is there, the system runs like a champ.


Q: Any last thoughts on Helios you would share with someone who is looking for a new system?

Chris: Helios is a one-stop-shop. It takes your personnel from Hire to Retire. Everything stays within this one system. If I need to find a workflow from, say, two years ago, I do not have to hope that it hasn’t been destroyed. I know it’s going to still be there within the system and accessible.

Nicolas: I would add that Helios is incredibly user-friendly. It does not take much time and investment to get started. The IT-burden is minimal. The user-friendliness is always improving. And you cannot go wrong with a system that works end-to-end, that also utilizes and interfaces your current, diverse data silos into just one. All of this has added great value to us.


Chris sums up FJUHSD’s experience of working with Helios:

“Everything can now be done easily, safely, and securely at home, online. And I think it’s great! I absolutely love Helios!”