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Creating Value

Management of Human Resources (HR) is a painful process where we can constantly struggle to get quick, timely and consistent answers to even basic questions, like the number of staff that we employ globally, what they do, and their related payroll costs.

Corporate Focus Today for HR Systems, is on product replacement cycles, first global roll outs or undertaking process improvements for internal or external purposes; for example the latter might be related to the Dodd-Frank law’s disclosure package for executive pay. With limited vendor choice available, companies of all sizes have had to focus on leveraging multiple HR & payroll systems to form a strategic global solution but, even then, many smaller related processes still have to be done somehow.

What is going to change in 2017?

Full or Partial Process Automation, and easier creation by end users, will enable a big difference. Complex tasks, like commissions, and complex processes, like budgets, using a new type of solution will allow ultra-fast, auditable and repeatable processes to work across both multiple applications and locations, in order to reduce complexity and to improve productivity. Additionally, any loss of know-how once a person leaves a department will be reduced, through the ability to slowly replay centralized process steps at a granular level for collaborative purposes.

Primary Data Flow and Secondary Data Flow considerations are a good way to think through how automations can impact your processes.

For example like expat professional qualification renewals in their home country as processes can operate within or across entities.

At the beginning of a process they might be involved in collecting the physical data files from operations and be able to automatically escalate in cases where there is non-timely receipt of the required files; or even check received files for content; a simple example might be the matching of brought forward balances to carried forward balances for headcounts from last month.

During the process they will enable production of ranked commission payments either for that submission or for all submissions and be able to start workflows for corrective action in any process flows in the event that adjustments become necessary or for specific events like approved hires not being filled. They are very useful for HQ to gain operational insights over remote entities.

At the end of any process, involving month end reporting packs, they can rank variances by entity, region, or globally for quick assimilation of details by process owners or stakeholders.

Ethnic mixes, gender pay gaps, gender rises given by manager are a level of detail needed in this day and age but with the reporting issues highlighted above, this level of detail is more loosely managed than perhaps it should be, due to the inability to get relevant summarized data. Also every region has its foibles that needs to be managed to build a homogenous culture or to manage regional variations. An example of the latter might be that physical robots, rather than Virtual Assistants, looks like they will be managed by HR for social taxes in Europe which will raise a few eye brows.

Business Simulations Will Measure Potential Impact Change and to probe how changes might impact the business. This might be a change in commission plans to incentivise or assessments of number of people required within a process or to use last year’s data to run this year’s processes to test for internal response capability and potentially evaluate options for business process outsourcing (BPO).

Continued Roll Out of Employee Self Service (ESS) and Management Self Service (MSS) Capabilities will be an Area of Focus and will continue the drive to shift more processes from centralised administration resources to employees. In many locations outside of the US the adoption of ESS and MSS is low, meaning that there are efficiencies to be gained that will only accelerate as it then becomes easier to roll out consistent incremental processes. These will cover a wide range of functions whether it be On Boarding, Performance Management, Time & Attendance, Expense Management, Leave, Compensation & Benefits etc.

New End User Driven Technologies, that are outlined above, will allow HR to deploy end to end processes with segregation of duty (as opposed to a more passive portal) to provide additional ESS and MSS capability for broader areas i.e. networking coffee with overseas visitors, focus groups, health sensor initiatives, gamification set up etc. some of which do not quite fit into current applications.

Challenges will Continue for ESS and MSS Access from Mobile. Complications can arise during roll outs; for example 1) ESS and MSS can cut across both global HR and local payroll systems which adds complexity 2) internal corporate policies do not enable a technical solution to be designed as required thereby slowing a process; examples might be due to policies not officially supporting a required browser version or even, if supported, the vendor might not support that within their applications.

Driving Proactive Processes not Reactive Processes will be deployed as part of continual improvement within or across entities for management, oversight and prevention. After all, for example, if one can reduce attrition then think of the other related processes that do not have to be executed and the time that can subsequently be saved. With time freed up there will be more time to align people with strategy that anecdotally nearly all us think is a great idea but few have time to focus on.

Examples of Proactive Management might be 1) aged approved but unfilled hires that slow growth, 2) employees fully charged out but who have taken no holiday and therefore who might be a flight risk or 3) checking team profitability pre-assignment to keep overall long term KPI’s in check.

More importantly these standard processes can be added across smaller operations for leverage and be managed by more senior regional staff by providing a platform for gaining proactive insights.

Gamification can be Facilitated by the Technologies Above, and is a new exciting area and, as with all these things, ideas and execution can more developed in some geographies or companies, rather than others. It can be applied to help foster communications between new staff, reward collaborations and the opportunities are endless to foster a healthier lifestyle. Health initiatives combined with gamification is interesting to encourage and has the potential to enable costs savings for both employees and employers not to mention facilitation of a healthier life style.

New Rostering Applications that enable further leveraged value creation will be easier to create, together with any back end processes required to support the change; for example in retail the ability for multi branded shops belonging to the same corporate within a city can see employees move around between outlets within a day, as required based on demand, far more granularly than today.

Legislation today is tough and process oversight vital especially in those sensitive cases like sexual harassment where failure to sort underlying problems leaves individuals exposed to ongoing issues not to mention the organisation being exposed to heavy damages in any subsequent but similar case. These types of process flow issues can be handled x-border making mandatory escalation and oversight easier.

Security Considerations will be the subject of more scrutiny for compliance and depth of operation. Inevitably, whether it be insiders or activity from the deep web, systems are exposed and only through an equal focus on systems and processes will the risk be reduced. A number of increased areas of focus can be seen now; 1) Dual Password Authentication for ESS and MSS 2) continual rolling and very detailed audits on month to month movements relating to each element of pay, including changes in bank account details, 3) better employee and vendor education, as corporates continue to lock down more areas of risk.

In Summary HR processes take anecdotally 80% of the time with management taking 20% of the time. New types of light weight applications are going to help reverse that ratio and will allow combinations of data from existing subsystems to come together for insights for value creation opportunity. A game changer for both HR and management!