Ask the expert!
In the Ask the Expert column of March 2008, Sam McDonald, experienced EC Technical Consultant, will answer the question of one of our Newsletter subscribers. Read beyond to see what Sam recommends.
It is well known that HRIS systems hold many functions that can help HR to streamline their processes. Currently, we are only using our HRIS system for the basics such as leave requests and are looking at expanding its functionality. What are the benefits to be had in doing so and how can we work best to maximise these?
With any HRIS system it’s the fundamentals that allow you to maximise the benefits of these applications. Traditionally, the transactional Self-Service processes, such as leave requests prove the first step for many organisations. However, expanding the capabilities of your HRIS application can return real value to your organisation.
With regard to current trends, Performance Management, Recruitment, Remuneration and Compensation, Training and Development and Talent Management are but some of the areas where the levels of functionality, sophistication and automation are expanding. However, you must have the foundations in place to progress to the next level. For instance, organisational structure and position control set the context for reporting structures and relationships within the application.
To maximise the benefits and capabilities of your HRIS system, I suggest you look within your business and identify those key activities that prove time consuming, cumbersome or problematic for your employees and managers. In conjunction with this, you should also look to those activities where the information required for key planning and resourcing decisions is inadequate.
These are opportunities to deliver system-based, streamlined processes, while engaging key stakeholders.
Usability is an obvious aspect that is often overlooked in HRIS systems. In order to maximise your systems usability I recommend that you simplify the task and reduce the time involved in the activity to ensure employees will accept and use the system.
Utilising your HRIS application for managing the traditional transactional activities such as employee movements, performance reviews and remuneration packaging, provides a number of benefits. The most obvious of these is the simplification and streamlining of what are commonly considered complex and involved tasks through automation. Secondly, the integration of business rules and role-based routing of activities proves beneficial along with the notification of information via workflow inboxes and emails.
While there is no end to the list of benefits that come with the automation of processes, it is important to note that there is also no end to the future possibilities this can provide. When considering the broader, long term value of expanding your HRIS, the proof is really in the pudding as the information these activities produce sees the system transcend from a mere transactional process to a powerful, strategic tool.
Through these transactional processes, the application can provide metrics and analytics on various activities such as: turnover; headcount; and cycle times for various processes; recruitment lead times; skill shortages; and gap analysis. The data captured during these activities can be further used and leveraged to measure trends within the organisation, as well as individual, team and group performance against the business norms. As a result, this information is made accessible so that strategic planning and policy can be better controlled within the organisation, thus increasing the value and credibility of the HR management role. As an HR manager, the system can allow you to measure and manage those all important human capital aspects of your business. From this, you can effectively go on to inform your board of directors and other areas of management of the data and provide strategic input on how your business can either capitalise or overcome the findings at hand.
By continuing to build on the fundamental processes your company is already using, you can ultimately improve the accessibility, quantity and quality of information about your business.