Stickies, spreadsheets and loads of paper
Eliminating paper based HR processes and integrating the function with other business systems requires a paradigm shift, one that focuses on workflow principles and adding value that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
Walk into the typical HR department and it doesn’t take long to see just how much administrative overhead there is. Change of address, processing leave requests, changing salary and overseeing the recruiting process are quite time consuming particularly at larger organisations. Factor in talent shortage, legislative compliance and keeping up to date with reporting, and even the more efficient HR departments will start to lag.
In a recent survey most HR managers are now spending up to 80% percent of their time in meetings, and managing paperwork. That doesn’t leave much for strategic decisions. Furthermore, HR often exists as one of many silos within an organisation and as such, most of the processes are separated. Bottom line�workflow and speedy transaction turnaround does not exist.
Enter workflow driven HR
The modern HR department is quickly becoming a hub for systems, transactions and data with workflow driven HR revolutionising the way work gets done. Characterised by the expanded use of the web to deliver and utilise, the implications run far deeper. The Employee Centric nature of such an application gives employees access to their payroll and personal details with the added ability to request changes. Positions on offer can be viewed and resumes can be submitted online, training can be requested and applied for or even completed online, hazards and incidents can be recorded and tracked to closure.
This application is cranking up productivity and efficiency, leading to entirely new ways of interacting. Simply put, the integration of HR and other business systems is integral to organisational success.
This brave new world requires a change in the HR mindset. As the boundaries between enterprise systems crumble, various departments including finance must understand the relationships and interrelationships that emerge. It’s increasingly necessary to determine which systems offer the greatest payback and value, both within HR and across the entire organization. It’s also crucial to understand which technologies and tools best integrate with other systems.
So how do you do it?
Although by no means the final list here are a few points to consider.
- Process drives technology. Most solutions on offer force you to match your process to their technology, resulting in a process that does not necessarily meet your objectives. Do not settle for solutions that force compromise, or require costly coding to customise. Mapping your requirements to decisions and actions will result in a solution that is fit for purpose.
- Flexible, modular and scalable architecture. One of the problems with technology is that it can easily lead to dead ends. The trick is to partner with a vendor whose platform facilitates extension expansion and integration. This not only lets IT departments develop a more streamlined and effective environment, it provides the workflow and tools to ensure success, and workflow is the key to adding value to HR. Automating processes can lead to remarkable gains by eliminating paper, transaction bottle necks and turnarounds, transforming the pen pusher into the strategic visionary.
- Integrate wherever you can. The success of HR also depends on systems that can talk to each other. Fortunately, today’s IT environment is making greater integration possible. It’s possible to grab data from any system, database, spreadsheet, file or folder, and combine it into a HR process. Furthermore, integrating from diverse systems and presenting it via online reports or dashboards offers insight into information, knowledge and metrics, enabling better decisions.
- Consider cost, but think value. It’s tempting to look at the cost of each system and then select the most economical. Although weighing up costs and ROI for each application is wise and a mandatory process, it’s the big picture that is perhaps more important. The fact is, when an organisation connects various systems effectively, it creates synergies and gains that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. In fact, an effective HR strategy leverages the value of a number of systems, helping an organisation develop metrics to measure, manage and predict. The goal is bigger than just saving money – It’s about improving processes and gaining competitive advantage.
- Sell it to your people. Having the greatest technology in the world is pointless if employees don’t use it effectively. In most cases, new technology translates into additional stress and obstacles. The transition from paper to online forms usually requires radically different ways of dealing with transactions and a mind shift. Managers must act like managers focusing on business and strategic issues. Employees might be confused with an online form, or have security concerns and refuse to use the system. Cultural issues can make or break an HR strategy, so an effective change management strategy is essential. Generate awareness, interest and action by marketing and branding the solution as you would any other product.
- Think beyond. Technology is blurring departmental boundaries. It can connect seemingly unrelated processes and systems. Think beyond payroll & HR. Consider QA, purchase orders, seamless integration…
There is no doubt that building a successful HR strategy is an ongoing journey. Technology and business demands are constantly raising the bar in terms of what’s possible and what an organisation must do to remain competitive. It may not be easy or cheap, but when you leverage technology for strategic gain you will be on your way to becoming a knight of the corporate table� But will it mean the end of stickies, spreadsheets and loads of paper?