The role of HR teams has undergone a fundamental shift over the past couple of years. Far from being seen as merely drones processing admin heavy tasks, HR professionals have found themselves placed at the heart of critical business planning, with their experience and insight playing a key role in influencing business strategy.
In order to drive success, organisations will need to make sure that any systems and processes that they have in place are working in lockstep to enable them to meet these goals. Traditionally, HR systems have been viewed purely as an administrative tool. Modern solutions are far more sophisticated in scope and contain within them the power to boost employee engagement, drive productivity and most importantly, give you the oversight you need in order to stay connected with your people, no matter how widespread your workforce is.
At Advanced, we appreciate that as the HR function is threaded throughout so many different elements of your organisation, the search for a new system can bring with it no small amount of anxiety. In this guide, we will be exploring some of the main benefits of modern HR systems and hit upon some of the key points you need to be aware of when searching for a new solution. Sourcing new solutions can often be a daunting task and so we want to cut through to the heart of the matter and help you focus your search around the requirements you need in order to drive success within your organisation.
How to choose a HR system
Before you begin your search for a solution, it’s important to understand the core benefits you should be looking for in a solution, such as:
It’s all too easy to become wowed by the complexity and functionality of a system. The integration and set-up of any new system will ultimately determine how effective it will be for your organisation. When looking for a new solution, make sure you are asking questions around the installation and integration of the solution, determine what the supplier is able to provide you in terms of training and what they can do to help you hit the ground running with a new system.
We’ve all experienced the pain of discovering that an existing system or piece of hardware has become end of life and no longer supported by the supplier. When engaging with suppliers, make sure to ask them how supported the system is, and what advancements or plans they have in mind to continue to hone and develop the software.
Purchasing a solution is merely the first step in a user’s journey. People want to feel supported every step of the way and therefore it’s important to understand how effective a supplier will be in terms of the customer support they can offer.
Your organisation isn’t cookie cutter and neither are your requirements, however, it is still useful to understand which organisations of a similar size or set up already use the same system. Encourage suppliers to share customer testimonials, particularly from equivalent organisations.
The working world has evolved fundamentally over the past year, any systems you bring into your organisation need to demonstrate the ability to be agile and to scale along with your requirements. Put these questions to a supplier in order to avoid heading down a technological cul de sac.
Key decision-makers and HR software
Chief executives were once assumed to take a more “helicopter” style approach to management. They were expected to have an oversight of the function of their organisations but always in a rather remote, distant capacity. There is an increasing indication however, that over the past decade, execs are taking a more proactive role in day to day business operations, keen to ensure that they have an influence on the future and direction their organisation is taking.
This shift has brought with it a heightened appreciation of the importance of employee engagement in achieving business goals. With the main focus of chief executives currently understandably focused on enabling a strong post-pandemic recovery, the issue of employee engagement will be at the forefront for many and will undoubtedly determine the success of any business strategies moving forwards.
Having proper oversight of the mood and overall engagement of their employees will be crucial in helping executives gain a measure of how effective any strategies or initiatives are. With a clear focus on driving profitability and productivity, understanding the mood of their people can also help retain key talent, ensuring time and resources aren’t lost in needless searches for replacements.
Chief Financial Officers
One of the key factors determining the success of any business strategies moving forward, will be the ability of organisations to identify areas of unnecessary expenditure. CFOs will find the effectiveness of their role will hinge on having accurate and flexible reporting, offering them up to the meet information around metrics such as the cost efficiency of any new initiatives, employee performance reviews or salary increases.
The main responsibility of CFOs is the safeguarding of an organisation’s financial wellbeing. The ability to identify patterns of needless expenditure or prolonged periods of absence will be crucial in ensuring that organisations don’t find themselves haemorrhaging money needlessly. Effective HR solutions work seamlessly with other workforce management elements such as payroll and time and attendance solutions, offering Chief financial officers a clear understanding of expenditure and the impact that any habits of lateness or absence might be having.
Ensuring that a widespread workforce is aware of expectations around compliance and data security will also be of the utmost importance to CFOs. The costs incurred from any breaches as well as the legal implications can have a long term impact on organisations and therefore a clear understanding of where and how critical data is stored will be vital. It’s for this reason that many organisations are looking at cloud based HR solutions as many of these are hosted in tier 3 data centres, representing greater levels of security than offered by organisations hosting a solution on premise.
The function of operations teams has similarly expanded in scope over the past year. Traditionally finding themselves concerned primarily with the smooth, day to day running of an office space or central working location, the shift to remote workforces has seen their responsibilities become far more widespread.
As hybrid workforces look set to become embedded within the culture of modern working, it presents an interesting challenge to operations teams. The responsibility of ensuring that employees are provided with the correct equipment to work effectively and efficiently from home will fall to them. Issues around maintenance and replacement equipment become compounded when taking into account a largely remote workforce, as it presents an additional logistical challenge. HR systems will be a boon to operations teams as they can offer a comprehensive, easily updatable inventory of equipment issued to staff, as well as provide a roadmap of any maintenance being performed.
As people leave the business, having a clear understanding of what equipment has been issued will help supplement the function of operations teams in not only retrieving said equipment but also having an understanding of what accounts an employee may have had access to which will now need to be revoked.
With the office space set to change moving forward, operations teams will need a clear understanding of who will be on-site on any given day. The prevailing trend is that teams will book collaborative meeting spaces on specific days, taking advantage of hot-desking setups. HR systems will be an asset in providing a central platform for the booking of space and also offering the function for teams to request specific requirements such as additional desk space or additional equipment ahead of time.
With the workplace becoming increasingly disparate and widespread, IT teams will need to know that the systems they have in place are able to support them in keeping their remote teams operational and effective. Support tasks and the ability to run effective diagnostics of issues will be increasingly difficult when accounting for a widespread team. HR systems can help ease the burden by offering a centralised platform for employees to log IT support tickets as well as allowing IT teams to provide updates on the progress of any queries.
Issues around data security across a hybrid workforce will also be of the utmost concern for IT teams. Any HR system looking to be implemented by an organisation will no doubt be examined through this lens by IT teams and it is for this reason that cloud-based systems appear to be the wave of the future. Offering as they do, more comprehensive security in hosting than on-premise solutions, it’s no small wonder that cloud-based solutions are increasing in popularity.
The Functionality will also be crucial to the success of any new system and must take into account the technological literacy of any employees. In the decision-making process, IT teams are ideally placed to make these determinations, identifying solutions that offer a user-friendly portal and interface.
The success of modern HR is determined by the ability to create an engaging and sympathetic employee experience. As organisations move towards a hybrid working model, the ability to stay connected and engaged with a widespread team will be crucial for HR teams in not only driving efficiency but also reducing levels of employee burnout and turnover.
A recent article by CIO identified ongoing employee training and development to be one of the most crucial factors in ensuring high levels of employee retention. Any new HR system being considered must have the sophistication to meet these needs, providing a single platform to effectively chart and employee’s journey throughout an organisation and staying up to date with any development or training schemes.
HR platforms also allow HR professionals to take a proactive approach in driving conversations around employee wellbeing, allowing them to gain an understanding of each person’s requirements and what steps might be taken in order to support them. Teams should be encouraged to drive forward discussions around development and get a sense of what the employee’s goals are for movement within the organisation.
Questions for suppliers
IntegrationIt’s all too easy to become wowed by the complexity and functionality of a system. The integration and set up of any new system will ultimately determine how effective it will be for your organisation. When looking for a new solution, make sure you are asking questions around the installation and integration of the solution, determine what the supplier is able to provide you in terms of training and what they can do to help you hit the ground running with a new system.
Future-proofedWe’ve probably all experienced the pain of discovering an existing system or piece of hardware that has become end-of-life and no longer supported by the supplier. When engaging with suppliers, make sure to ask them how supported the system is, what advancements or plans they have in mind to continue to hone and develop the software.
SupportPurchasing a solution is merely the first step in a user’s journey. People want to feel supported every step of the way and therefore it’s important to understand how effective a supplier will be in terms of the customer support they can offer.
Existing customers/feedbackYour organisation isn’t cookie cutter and neither are your requirements, however, it is still useful to understand which organisations of a similar size or set up already use the same system. Encourage suppliers to share customer testimonials, particularly from equivalent organisations.
ScalabilityThe working world has evolved fundamentally over the past year, any systems you bring into your organisation need to demonstrate the ability to be agile and to scale along with your requirements. Put these questions to a supplier in order to avoid heading down a technological cul de sac.
As the role of HR has expanded in scope, it is clear that the systems and processes which organisations have in place have to be able to meet the challenge of supporting their HR people and moving in lockstep with the evolution of the workforce. The function of HR is integral to so many different elements of an organisation’s day to day operation that the benefits of any new system must be heavily weighed against any disruption which may be caused by a rushed or sloppy integration.
Organisations should be encouraged to take a proactive approach in driving conversations around the suitability of solutions and ensuring that any functionality Is specifically relevant to helping them achieve their business goals, such as cloud functionality, which is a common feature in modern systems. Complexity in a vacuum is less impressive than ensuring that a system is able to help you tackle specific challenges being faced by your organisation.
HR as a role is evolving. The more traditionally held view of it as a largely admin based role is falling by the wayside in favour of acknowledging HR professionals as champions of employee engagement and wellbeing. As businesses look to make a strong post-pandemic recovery, ensuring their people are happy, engaged and productive, will be the key to success and any HR systems you introduce have to achieve the goal of supporting you in this.
At Advanced, we believe in the power of technology to help your people achieve more. If you feel this guide was useful and you’d like to discover more about how HR systems can help empower your organisation and people to drive forward your future strategy, get in touch with one of our friendly team members today.