Chris White is the Head of Product for our people management division here at Advanced, making him responsible for the overall product strategy and direction of our suite of solutions, from time and attendance to payroll to HR. We recently sat down with Chris to discuss the latest major milestone in the journey of our Advanced HR solution and how it helps support our ongoing philosophy when it comes to people management.
Thank you for joining us, Chris. Why not kick off with the big question: What is the overall philosophy that drives Advanced HR?
Chris: At Advanced we believe in delivering solutions that drive ‘Software Powered Possibility’. This is true for all our solutions but is especially prominent within people management and the nature of the problems we look to solve with these offerings. What HR teams do in any organisation touches the life of every employee, and so making their daily tasks simpler to get done and ensuring it’s done right is imperative now more than ever as the scope of an HR team's focus has evolved into a more strategically significant role.
HR teams fully depend on having access to accurate, real-time data, particularly regarding employees – it is critical to both enable effective decision-making and undertake the necessary analysis of people data that HR teams rely on – it’s the basic minimum to be expected. We strongly believe though in going further than this and freeing HR teams and their employees from complexity and enabling them to do their best work. Advanced HR helps support this by delivering solutions to the challenges organisations face through simple and intuitive solutions that empower people and enhances productivity thus allowing them to focus on more crucial tasks.
“Technology helping you achieve more” is a philosophy that we encourage HR teams to embrace alongside our solutions. Is that something that you see as part of the Advanced HR philosophy?
Chris: Absolutely. At its core, this is a message which is all about looking at the transformative potential of the systems and technology which you rely upon daily and how it can help you achieve more than just overcoming administrative roadblocks. HR teams are on a journey to become people experience-focused, but many struggle to get the foundations right in HR and can’t get there. Driving transformational change can only happen with the right data, generated through simple and consistent processes which meet basic employee needs. We exist to simplify complex processes for HR teams.
We want our customers to always be looking at our offerings and taking stock of how they can help them achieve more- the impact they can have in transforming their people management strategies. We know our customers have big ambitions and we want them to understand the solutions we provide are there to help them achieve their goals.
And would you say this philosophy influences how we develop and build upon our solutions?
Chris: Without a doubt. We’ve always been aware that HR is a living, breathing environment with constantly shifting priorities. Technology is similarly always growing more sophisticated and complex but what drives our philosophy is a sense of whether or not this growth is happening sympathetically with the needs of today’s market.
HR as a function has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, with a massive focus now being placed on the people experience. This is where we feel that technology has often lagged behind in supporting organisations.
We want our solutions to serve as cornerstones of the people experience for all businesses, regardless of sector.
How does Advanced HR focus on overcoming these challenges?
Chris: One thing we’ve come to understand from discussions with our customers and looking at the wider market is one major element that holds organisations back from achieving operational excellence is very often their data.
People data that is siloed away needlessly or split between various processes both paper-based and digital, create huge continuity gaps for organisations. This is bad enough in any instance but when we’re looking at people management as a function- particularly in how interlinked time and attendance, HR, and payroll are as disciplines, you can understand how gaps in reporting and inefficiencies can quickly impact other areas of the business.
People data is also some of the more sensitive forms of information organisations deal with on a regular basis. This means that the security risks which come from lapses or inefficient data management can lead to severe legal and financial penalties for businesses.
At the heart of Advanced HR is comprehensive employee data management. Advanced HR provides one central place for organisations to store and record the most up-to-date information on their people, including details such as; salary information, addresses, contract details, pension details, and much more.
How do you see this philosophy benefitting Advanced’s customers?
Chris: As I mentioned previously, a huge focus for us is delivering an excellent customer experience and eliminating the barriers to achieving operational efficiency and excellence, as well as remaining committed to delivering top-tier ongoing support and service for users.
Our focus is on delivering a hugely personalised people management experience. One of the ways we look at achieving this is through our MyWorkplace platform. When you sign up to Advanced HR, all employees will get free access to MyWorkplace, a platform that enables teams to access and action tasks in one place, all from a personalised home screen. Advanced HR customers can book annual leave, view their payslips, and view their team’s calendar instantly. The task manager also allows HR teams and managers to approve or decline requests from their home screen too.
The applets which sit at the heart of MyWorkplace allow users to easily configure their individual experience. These allow you to take notes, create countdowns to significant events within your organisation and even link with outside applications
This makes Advanced HR easy and quicker to use and adopt, so organisations can trust in their ability to drive organisational efficiency and raise the level of their employee engagement. The true strength of MyWorkplace also shines through if you are a user of multiple Advanced solutions as it offers you an intuitive, single platform through which you can handle your entire people management experience.
So what does the future hold for Advanced HR?
Chris: Our commitment to the future is to continue to innovate, be highly focussed on the best user experience, and make life simple for those that use Advanced HR. Just as the modern working world looks set to be a fast-moving and demanding environment, the services we offer have to be equally agile and simple to use in order to meet the needs of our customers.
As new technologies and working methods emerge we are always learning. To that point, we never believe we are “done”. Advanced HR is on an exciting journey and we’ll continue to focus on delivering new capabilities, complementary and integrated solutions to meet the broader needs of an organisation and simply listening to our customers. As referenced, we already collate, analyse, and track themes of feedback directly from end users. These are vital in helping us shape the future direction – and already are.
In the last few months, we have moved to a monthly release cadence. Users of Advanced HR can expect regular improvements, both small tweaks to make people’s lives simpler, be more productive, or major new capabilities to empower teams and allow them to focus more on the human aspect of HR.
The relationship between a software provider and their customers is one of a partnership and that’s how we want to view it. That’s an approach I would like to see being carried forward and for us to communicate to our customers that we are always committed to making their experience with us, the best it can be.
Thanks Chris. Hopefully, this has been an illuminating insight into the philosophy behind Advanced HR. and our ongoing commitment to helping HR teams overcome core people management challenges. If you’d like to find out more about how Advanced HR could help you transform the people experience within your organisation, reach us through our HR software solutions page today.