Improving employee experience, one government contract at a time.

Automated tasks, increased accuracy, and seamless compliance help Chickasaw Nation Industries meet changing government needs.

Automated processing of new employees

Integrated acquisitions in as little as two weeks

Grew contract workforce by 48%, but support staff by only 8%

Simplified HR processes by using mobile app

Exciting career opportunities still exist—you just need to know where to look for them. 

Right now, a weather observer at McMurdo Station in Antarctica is recording weather conditions and measuring the wind speed at various altitudes for the Federal Aviation Administration. If Antarctica isn’t appealing, what about being a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) analyst or processing passport applications and visa applications for foreign embassies on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). 

These are just a few positions Chickasaw Nation Industries (CNI) has had available. Headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma, CNI is wholly owned by the Chickasaw Nation, the 13th largest Native American tribe in the U.S. 

CNI is a holding company that includes subsidiaries such as Chickasaw Federal, which handles government contracting. It also has several commercial companies under its umbrella that provide manufacturing and fabrication, filtration, and technology-based solutions to a range of customers. 

With its mission to “Build a business to support the Chickasaw Nation,” CNI pays annual dividends to support programs provided by the tribe to its members.

Anticipating significant growth by 2024, CNI recognized the need to scale without adding headcount, so it deployed Workday Human Capital Management (HCM), Workday Payroll, and Workforce Management. By combining HR, Payroll, Recruiting and enterprise planning in one integrated platform, CNI can access and analyze data across each operation, which makes it both nimble and efficient.

Quick decisions to meet staffing needs 

Like many organizations, the human resources team at CNI was using multiple systems to manage employees. Data flow between these systems was limited and done mostly by batch integrations. HCM users had to access different applications to update or collect employee information. Done incorrectly, this tedious process could lead to errors in an employee’s file or payroll, and other challenges. Workday HCM reduced these mistakes and allowed CNI to get a more accurate picture, at any given moment, of who is on staff in which positions.

“Now we have a single, automated system to support the employee lifecycle from ‘hire to retire,’” says Chief Administration Officer Rhonda Sutton. 

This has been crucial for CNI because it often acquires other companies. “We have gotten really good at integrating information from other human resource information systems,” explains Business Solutions and Senior Manager Eddie Huebsch. “We did one acquisition where we migrated payroll history and onboarded everyone within two weeks.” 

When Chickasaw Federal is awarded a government contract, CNI must complete a workforce set up to hire the employees. What was once a manual process is now automated, and gives CNI immediate access to accurate employee records, managers, supervisors, and the executive team. They use this to create customized reports that show whether or not they can staff new government-contracted projects with existing resources or if they need new hires.

With Workday, we keep finding better ways to help our employees—the chatbot, dashboards, on demand training, the mobile app. The better solutions we provide, the more engaged they are. And since we rely on them for our entire business, we want to keep them happy.

Chief Administration Officer

Better billing accuracy for customers 

Billing accuracy is crucial for government-contracted projects, and any process errors could be costly and impact being selected for future projects. Through the Payroll and Workforce Management system, CNI integrates its time entry to a specific project-based accounting system. 

Project managers can now assign employees specific tasks for them to bill their time toward. This helps eliminate vague billing and confusion about whether an employee billed time to the correct project or task. 

“This system decreases the time required to manage personnel changes, reduces payroll discrepancies, and ensures accurate billing to government customers,” Huebsch says.

Seamless compliance regulations

Remember the job processing visas for foreign embassies? Consider the type of clearance someone needs for that type of work. Part of being a government contractor is abiding by specific compliance and security regulations. 

When CNI started as a government contractor in 2003 they had 171 regulations to comply with, and more were added every year. Some of these include abiding by federal laws relating to fair labor practices, employing energy conservation and Clean Air and Clean Water Pollution Control measures, and giving preference to veterans when hiring for the contract. Additionally, as a DoD contractor, the organization must be rated and abide by the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) regulations. Not only do new regulations get added, but definitions and requirements often change as government administrations change. It’s a lot to keep track of, but it’s critical to earning the work.

As a Workday customer, CNI gets access to updated tracking of government compliance regulations, so it knows when a new requirement is added or when one changes. This allows it to pivot, put new procedures in place if needed, and easily demonstrate that it can meet government needs.

Given we onboard several hundred people each year, the ability to get them hired and productive quickly is critical. Systems that are familiar and easy to use make the process faster and easier for all of us.

Chief Administration Officer

Prioritized employee access and experience

CNI has found that with projects around the globe, one feature that has elevated the employee experience has been the Workday mobile application. With it, CNI can onboard new employees quickly, allows them to enter their time, check leave balances, request leave, and fill out open enrollment forms from anywhere.

“We have employees across the United States, and the mobile app makes our company information accessible to them at any time,” Sutton says. “This is where Workday excels—the end user experience.”

Additionally, CNI is focused on creating and maintaining a positive experience for its workers. Recently, the team adopted Workday’s VIBE index (Value, Inclusion, Belonging and Equity) as a way to gather information to ensure diversity and inclusion goals are met and that their people are thriving.

“Our mission is to build a business that supports a nation, one that is both dynamic and thriving,” Huebsch says. “To do that, we need a partner who continuously invests in their solution with new features and functionality. Workday is that partner for us.”

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