Customer Story

Hydro-Gear Simplifies Recruiting and Open Enrollment with UKG Ready

  • Shortens hiring process to meet production demand, so managers have more visibility into where applicants are in the process

  • Streamlines benefits enrollment, so employees can make benefit selections online, which frees up HR staff for more strategic tasks

  • Enhances employee engagement through self-service tools, so employees can easily view work information and request time off


Hydro-Gear is a world leader in the design and manufacture of precision drive solutions for the industrial, commercial, and consumer markets, including hydrostatic transmissions for the lawn and garden industry. Headquartered in Sullivan, Illinois, the company has multiple manufacturing locations and operates globally.

“UKG Ready provides so much more than just efficiency at work. There is a life efficiency benefit to employees by giving them access to the information they need, whether it’s understanding the amount on their paycheck or having benefit information on their phone so they can get that prescription at the pharmacy without any issues.”

Lisa Leslie
HRIS Administrator, Hydro-Gear

Hydro-Gear utilizes innovative technology in its production processes, but its HCM processes didn’t represent the company’s same forward thinking.

When trying to meet production demand by adding workers, hiring managers had no way of knowing where applicants were in the process. This lack of visibility caused job requisitions to remain open for extended periods of time.

Paper-based HR processes required a massive amount of manual work and often resulted in information-keying errors. During open enrollment, six HR staffers worked furiously to enter the benefits selections of Hydro-Gear’s 1,300 employees, sometimes making errors that interfered with accurate benefits administration.

Production employees receive attendance points, which are triggered by exceptions such as a late-in or early-out punch. A receptionist at each site calculated the totals, tracking when the last point was added and when the next point should be removed ― a tedious task. If supervisors wanted to know how many points their employees had accrued, they needed to ask the receptionist to run a report, or employees could request this information.


Recognizing that its manual, paper-based processes were inefficient and not reflective of the company’s focus on using cutting-edge technology, Hydro-Gear implemented a UKG Ready HCM solution.


Hiring new employees to meet production demand has been streamlined with UKG Ready. “Now the recruiter or the manager can change an applicant’s hiring stage [in the solution], and it sends communication to both, giving them a view of where their requisition stands,” shares Lisa Leslie, Benefit/HRIS Administrator at Hydro-Gear. “Managers are leveraging this tool heavily to reduce time to hire.”

With an organizational goal of reducing job requisition-to-completion time, the company needed the solution to be able to measure this. Recruiting metrics have documented Hydro-Gear’s shorter, more efficient hiring process.

“Automated reporting has been a huge help for our company, especially with recruiting reporting,” says Leslie. “We do a monthly report for executives, and I had to manually update it before. Now, during the first week of the month, a recruiting report goes out automatically to executives.”

Hydro-Gear also leverages temporary labor to flex its workforce based on fluctuating production demand. Previously, HR staffers manually entered information about these employees. Now they import information on flex staff into UKG Ready, and the same rules that apply to the full-time workforce apply to flex staff, streamlining management of temporary labor.

Benefits enrollment has been streamlined too. Employees use UKG solution self-service tools to enter their information and benefits selections online, giving HR staffers more time to answer employee questions and assist employees as needed. By repurposing HR staff to support employees during the benefits enrollment process, Hydro-Gear has created a better experience for employees and eliminated errors.

“This year, open enrollment was much easier, and we didn’t have any errors because the information was already in UKG,” says Leslie. “It was seamless.”

During the pandemic, when many office employees worked virtually, these employees and those working on the plant floors used the UKG solution’s self-service tools to remotely select their benefits online. In addition, this functionality enabled employees to easily compare benefits when making selections and to have the ability to make decisions while reviewing the options with their families.

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