HR Outsourcing May Steady the Path to Success

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For years, HR outsourcing (HRO) has begrudgingly worn a label of dedication to small businesses. Yes, there are incredible merits for small businesses within this stereotype, however the advantages of an outsourced Human Resources department show benefits for organizations of all sizes.

Recent statistics have pulled back the curtains to reveal increased reliance on HROs for business-related tasks. A global Deloitte study found that more than 35 percent of respondents already measure the value of their HRO, with another 32% planning increases in Human Resources over the next year.

And while some attribute Human Resource outsourcing to small business ventures, the industry is exploding. Outsourcing firms are expected to generate $53.9 billion in business by 2020.

The figures are clear, but for business owners thinking of making the shift, the advantages must offer total compliance satisfaction in order for the investment to pay dividends. If leaders can trust an outsourcing firm to manage daily tasks, long-term strategic goals can take center stage to focus on the business’s long term growth and needs.

So why are more organizations outsourcing the functions of HR, and is it truly achieving the goals it sets to satisfy?

HROs Reduce Company Risk

Over the past decade, workplace case complexity has increased almost across the board. Especially for startups and small businesses, the resources exhausted throughout workplace investigations quickly become overwhelming. HR professionals, likewise, are not experts in all fields of law and sometimes untrained to handle complex caseloads.

A HRO mitigates these risks by remaining up-to-date on all local, state, and federal regulations the organization must comply with. Likewise, they have the benefit of conducting unbiased, thorough, and timely investigations that reach clear conclusions and move the organization beyond the situation.

Although HR is not directly a profit center for businesses, it does minimize risk, create better efficiencies, and save money from being lost or spent unnecessarily. So even though HR might not be bringing in revenue, it can directly help with keeping more profit for the company.

Because minor oversights can cause costly delay, or worse, litigation, it is important for organizations to trust their workplace investigations with HR professionals who are experts in the field of risk mitigation and fair procedures.

HROs Meet Compliance Standards

A must for organizations of all sizes, compliance standards have the nasty habit of constant updates and overhauls, delays and reversals. It is imperative that businesses keep up-to-date with all standards expected within their industry and state–which can become overwhelming for an HR team already overloaded with important tasks.

But compliance means more than regulatory satisfaction. HR compliance is an umbrella term that may include things like cultural obligations, the ACA, licenses, collective bargaining, separation, and a slew of other considerations.

And organizations aren’t just worried about keeping up, they’re also tasked with recognizing any variances between their own policies and applicable laws.

Typically, the HRO chosen immediately focuses on compliance standards and potential issues, reducing risk and assuring satisfaction. Their goal is to provide a strategy that replaces any potentially damaging policies and reviews your policy regularly in line with updates to law.

Without this burden, organizations are freed from surrendering in-house time and resources to keeping up with regularly changing laws and reviewing their policies.

HROs Prove Financially Beneficial

Especially for smaller businesses (it’s a hard-to-shake label), a HRO is simply more cost-effective than hiring a full-time, in-house HR professional.

For companies of all sizes, there are smaller benefits that HR outsourcing brings with it. More office space without an HR team allows the organization to grow in workforce without concern for office overpopulation. In fact, a recent Deloitte study found that of those surveyed, a healthy 47 percent chose to outsource based on its solution to capacity issues.

Efficiency and productivity are influenced by office design, and outsourcing HR satisfies the conditions for a more efficient, productive workspace.

HROs Provide More Affordable Group Rates

Healthcare affordability is a top concern for employees. Not only that, but those who receive affordable health care coverage through their employer are more likely to find satisfaction in the job. Prudential Financial Inc found that 46% of employers were either outsourcing or looking to outsource the requirements of the ACA.

Because HROs work with many companies, they can take advantage of reduced bulk pricing. For small and large businesses, this provides quality coverage for employees at lower costs.

The advantages of an HRO for group rates extends beyond the coverage employees receive. Because of the ever-changing ACA requirements, with sweeping changes on the way, administrative costs are cut sifting through constant updates.

For organizations with an HR team, outsourcing health care oversight to an HRO minimizes the burden on HR while preventing easily-made mistakes.

HROs Strengthen Recruiting Methods

As companies turn to more strategic, aggressive recruiting methods, outsourcing this HR function has become more widely popular. Organizations are “becoming increasingly inventive to attract and retain valuable candidates”, Byrne Mulrooney told SHRM earlier in 2016.

Because many HR teams are unequipped to attract top talent in a way larger organizations can, the task is being outsourced to companies specializing in the field, like Mulrooney’s. When combined with bolstered benefits, appeal to organizations outsourcing these functions is elevated on a budget.

Choosing one or more HR function to outsource is smart organizational planning. Freeing up resources and time to focus on the growth of the company allows leaders to plan for long-term growth and goals. As the industry continues to grow, it will undoubtedly change the roles of internal HR teams, aligning them with more strategic functions over day-to-day tasks.


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The Rise of the Multi-Interface HR Application

The Rise of the Multi-Interface HR Application

The move to allowing users to interact where they already are, be that chat, calendars or email is especially relevant to HR applications.

Like project management (Trello, Basecamp) and customer service tools (Intercom, Zendesk), HR tech has been part of the next wave of a hyper focus on user experience to create the next generation of applications.

HR applications have two distinct constituents: primary users like hiring and personnel teams, and the rest of the company’s employees who are generally irregular users. Perhaps when they’re booking leave or participating in an interview for a new team member.

This creates both friction and a training challenge for the second group to get the most out of applications. No matter how intuitive a UI is, a user still must switch mental context and understand the language and mechanics.

Mobile apps were the new revolution in enabling users to interact with applications and services. However, creating another dedicated interface for applications didn’t really solve this context switching problem. User’s just don’t download or use apps for services they user sporadically.

This is why we’re starting to see the next generation of UX innovation happen outside of dedicated applications.

Slack is the most high profile crucible for this kind of innovation in the enterprise world. Slack is an app that employees will install on the phone so they can use it wherever they are. They’re already in Slack both on desktop and mobile so there is minimal context switching. And it supports the kinds of ‘chat and click’ interactions that allow relatively complex features to be access with a guided user experience.

Applications like Lever are expanding the collaboration hiring functionality into Slack. Team members who are already in Slack can easily interact, comment and support the hiring process without switching to another application. GoCo provide absence reporting and management from within Slack.

Calendars are now revealing themselves as the next interface to enterprise applications, especially in HR. So much of HR workflow is schedule based that users can’t avoid taking decisions without referring to their own or their colleagues’ schedules. Use of calendar APIs rather than read-only ICS feeds turn calendars into real-time integration points rather than delayed reporting tools.

Anton Roe, CTO of MHR who have been delivering HR software for over 20 years, said: “We’re seeing a dramatic shift in focus away from HR departments and directly on the employees themselves. The consumerisation of enterprise software and the efficiencies gained from empowering employees to perform personal HR operations requires a new approach to building software.”

With recruitment platforms connected to employees calendars, prospective members of interview panels no longer have to maintain availability in an application. They just keep their calendar up to date and this is automatically reflected to the hiring manager or the candidate when an interview time is selected.

Booking holiday becomes as simple as an employee creating an event in their calendar. That’s where they’re making the decision about when they want to take holiday. Creating the required holiday can trigger the authorization flows so the manager can approve wherever they are, be that email or via a Slack interaction.

Performance management meetings can be automatically tracked, changes responded to and follow ups triggered. All by the HR application automatically monitoring users calendars, not relying on users to keep the application updated.

Roe goes on to say “HR systems today need to have the employee front and centre and must require minimal training. Leveraging chat systems and native interfaces like calendars provide people with natural user experiences that just work wherever they are.”

Chat and calendars represent the next vanguard of application interactions. They are native to computing be that mobile, desktop, car, smart home or otherwise and are already core to users’ workflows. The most successful applications of the next few years will leverage their pervasiveness and commonality to take computing where people are.

About the Author:

Adam Bird, CEO and Founder at Cronofy

Adam Bird is Founder and CEO of Cronofy, the unified calendar API. He’s a highly technical and experienced technology entrepreneur with a passion for continuous improvement that pervades every aspect of his life.

Adam can be shortly described as a technical founder and problem solver with track record of success. Expert post rationaliser.

Entrepreneur and developer with previous success as co-founder of Esendex.

Husband, father & wannabe rock guitarist as time allows. A lover of cycling and craft beer but he never really got on with having a beard for that hipster hat-trick.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium | GitHub


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Evolving Trends in Talent Management Transformation

Evolving Trends in Talent Management Transformation

There are differences in how Talent is defined across industries and organizations. Some companies prefer to adopt their own determinations rather than accepting general definitions. Let’s focus on a general definition for both Talent and Talent Management:

”Talent consists of those individuals who can make a difference to organizational performance either through their immediate contribution or, in the longer-term, by demonstrating the highest level of potential.”

Basic and simple meaning of Talent could be:

  • Ability, aptitude, bent, capacity, endowment, faculty, flair, forte, genius etc.
  • Unusual ability to do something well that can be normally developed by training.
  • Person or people (‘Talent Pool’) with exceptional capabilities.

Whereas: ”Talent Management is a set of business practices that refer to attracting highly skilled individuals, integrating new talents, and developing and retaining existing talents to meet current and future business objectives.“

Actually it manages the planning, possession, development, retention and growth of Talent Pool who are of particular value to an organization, because of their leadership capabilities, prospective for the future, or even because they are satisfying business critical roles and which could actually lead to organizational sustainability, efficiency and excellence in order to achieve business goals.

The term of Talent Management was first casted by McKinsey & Company following a study and gradually it became a very useful term as it describes an organization’s commitment to hire, manage and retain talented employees. It embraces all of the work processes and practices related to retaining and developing an exclusive workforce.

The process of attracting and retaining effective employees results in increasing competition among the companies because of its strategic importance and also known as “The War for Talent.” Talent Management which is sometimes also called as Human Capital Management is now an essential management practice; before it was exclusively attached to recruitment process while now covers a wider area. Talent Management implies that companies are strategic and conscious in how they source, attract, select, train, develop, retain, promote, and move employees through the organization.

On the other side definition of talented employees can involve all kinds of components, from their educational qualifications and skills, previous experience, strengths and additional training they have undertaken, to their abilities, potential and motives, qualities and personalities. Most companies practice Talent Management in a way which includes recruitment of individuals, career planning, training and development, performance management and various compensation and reward options for the top performers. It generally depends on the business strategy, commitment to employees and other factors. What are the core components of Talent Management?

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Talent Engagement and transformation are top priorities for the leaders nowadays and the major challenge is the ability to attract and retain top talent while making sure the existing talents are fully engaged to deliver extraordinary results. For this reason Talent Engagement is considered to be a crucial factor.

End-to-end Talent Management encompasses five main pillars: Recruitment and Onboarding, Performance Management, Compensation Planning and Rewards, Career and Succession Planning, and last but not least, Learning and Development. Previously there were four pillars to be considered under Talent Management but gradually Career and Succession Planning has been added to make them five.

Leaders must have absolute clarity in purpose and focus to avoid business disruption as change without strategy is just a substitution of business development. Therefore, leadership is considered to be one of the most important component of the Talent Management.

Onboarding and Recruiting

An exclusive definition of Onboarding from Bersin by Deloitte states:

“The process of hiring, orienting and immersing employees into their new role and into the organization’s culture.”

Onboarding increases productivity, improves employee engagement, provides consistent and relevant information about the organization to all the new employees and gives understanding of employee expectations and hence helps building relationships.

Recruiting aims to successfully attract and hire key talent for current and future organizational needs through competency based advertising and interviewing efforts. Hiring talented individuals is crucial to the organization’s success. But in order to hire the most talented people, one must first search and recruit them and it could be a challenging task. It is so true that an imperfectly designed recruitment process can miss capable job candidates especially those who work for the competitors.

Performance Management

If we follow the definition it states Performance Management as ongoing, constant process of communicating and simplifying job responsibilities, priorities, performance expectations and development planning that optimizes an individual’s performance and aligns with organizational strategic goals. Performance Management is a crucial segment of maintaining the best talents. It enables companies to identify top performers and high potentials as well as assists to understand the pitfall of under-performance. It helps companies to make better strategic decisions on increasing excellence, retention efforts and to encourage talents.

Compensation Planning and Rewards

A way to remunerate individuals for important achievements, contributions to the goals of an organization and improving skills and competencies in their jobs is called as Compensation. There is a popular old saying – compensation isn’t the reason employees stay, but it can be the reason they leave. If companies want to keep their best employees onboard, they need an elegant approach to use Compensation as a strategic tool, while staying in line with company’s payroll standards, policies and guidelines.

Career and Succession Planning

Succession Management is a process of recognizing and developing employees with the possibility to fill key or critical organizational positions. Succession Management actually means having the right people in the right jobs at the right time. In other words, it is an organized process aimed to identify and grow individuals for future openings.

Career and Succession Planning actually empowers organizations as they plan for the future. The proper way of Career and Succession Planning increases opportunities by allowing organizations to identify and develop the top talent. In addition to preparing new talents to move into key positions, it can effortlessly identify and rectify gaps in Succession Planning as well. It enhances employees engagement by generating proper career paths for them, along with supporting individual development plans.

Learning and Development

Learning Management Systems have been used for a long time to administrate training courses and programs. Experts say that corporate learning is now coming out beyond firm course delivery to a more natural and integrated experience. The companies are embracing new ways of an employee development and reviewing new learning technologies. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), Self-Paced Online Courses, Distributed Open Collaborative Courses are evolving as the future of new learning options and becoming a very popular way of learning. Companies are also focusing on integration of these options into their learning management portfolios.

All these processes are actually providing big opportunities and advantages to the organizations and guide them to the success. Some of the advantages of effective Talent Management are:

  • Improves organization’s effectiveness and productivity.
  • Helps in achieving business goals with high quality performance.
  • Improves organization’s culture and work environment.
  • Increases employees satisfaction.
  • Retains the best talents and decreases turnover.

Talent Management is an important aspect of broader Human Capital Management (HCM) initiatives and Human Resources departments play a significant role there.

While many current HR processes still moving around traditional practices of recruiting, onboarding, training and development, the Talent Management should generate real value by focusing on a company’s most valuable resource: the potential of its Talent Pool. This dedication provides a distinctive competitive advantage over talents and organization’s business model.

After embracing new talent management applications, most organizations realize the need of integration. Apart from process integration technology investments are often made to streamline processes and improve data accuracy. But the full potential of integration cannot be realized when companies have multiple systems of record with disconnected data streams and conflicting processes.

A study shows that HR has a long way to go when it comes to integration. The majority of organizations surveyed report poor to moderate integration of their Talent Management applications.

It is very important to know the future business trends, and new vision for the Human Resource Strategy to handle Talent Management solutions.

How Trends Are Changing?

The HR functions are at a conjugation point and it has been believe that in the coming years there will be a significant transformation. As the current functions are not connected or flexible to business requirements and have no consolidated vision of talent capabilities there is a need of evolution. There are, of course, some key trends that will effect this transformation. Talent Management is one of them for sure. Across the developed and emerging markets there will be a shortage of skilled and appropriate talent. Businesses cannot deliver their best as they are lacking the right talent. Hence the future HR functions would create significant value for the business, given current and future trends.

Skills gaps are increasing and HR would continuously make sure that their organizations have the right talent. HR would need to quickly tap skills when they’re needed. HR has to transform and adapt towards a global world, supporting new talent sourcing strategies to match talent, and acquiring new management methods, such as encouraging mobile workforces across geographical barriers.

HR should adopt risk management strategies covering everything from protecting confidential information and data, to risks associated with hiring or turnover. Technology, including social, gamification, cloud, mobile, big data and apps, is transforming how people take away their daily work and how HR supports them in that attempt.

Instead of depending on solutions dictated from the top level; organizations should be encouraged with skilled workers who harness social media to create solutions in conjunction with each other, thereby radically disrupting organizational structures, and hierarchy and job titles. As the world becomes increasingly unpredictable, organizations that can adapt to changing business conditions will outperform the market. And HR departments have to reshape themselves so that the HR functions become the critical driver of agility.

HR needs to provide the new thinking and deep insight to attract, organize, motivate and develop the right people for the business. It requires to build the high-performing HR functions to support business goals.

As companies hire talent from around the globe and enter new markets with increasing speed, managing corporate and cultural change will become a critical competence. Already many researches showed, executives expect their company’s HR functions to develop tools and methodologies that support line managers in communicating to employees.

Talent Management tools won’t resolve recruitment, employee retention and other issues by themselves. Companies need to develop a clear plan to navigate Talent Management pitfalls. Social media, cloud, mobile and analytics are changing Talent Management software and the way companies use it.

According to Josh Bersin, with so many vendors in the market and the ERP providers offering talent management software, it’s common for companies to buy software first, and only then figure out how to use it. Today more than 40% of the companies buying HR software are focused on “making it easy to use” and integrating heterogeneous systems, not “solving particular talent problems.”

Companies still want integrated HR systems, but what they don’t want is a complex, integrated ERP software that makes everyone’s life more complicated. In fact, they want life to be simple. More than 40% of the companies according to Human Capital Trends Study are embarking on projects to “simplify the work environment.” 47% of those who are buying new HR software systems cited “ease of use” and “integrated user experience” as one of their top two buying criteria.

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So, as per Bersin by Deloitte, in HR, start to think about employees as “people” – and this is why more and more companies tend to rename their HR organizations as “People Operations” or “People Management.” Sure we have to do HR administration, but ultimately our job is to make sure “people” are engaged, trained, in the right jobs, aligned, and supported.

If we start to think about employees as “people” or consumers, then we’ll think about “Talent Management” in a new way. It’s not just a way to integrate HR processes, it’s a series of strategies, programs, investments, and promises that make everyone’s life, work, and career better.

This is where work is going – we now work in a world of independent free agents, each of them is like a voluntary “consumer” who may choose to stay or leave. The concepts and principles of Talent Management are not going away. But as an area of focus, we in HR have to think more broadly. “Talent Management” is now “People Management” and it has to take on a much broader perspective and holistic approach.

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So, the Talent Management needs to transform to People Management. With more engaging people, simplifying the environment, making the work easier. People management focuses on empowering and improving performance everywhere with continuous learning and continuous feedback processes. The focus is definitely on creating highly engaged workforce and productive work environment. While talent scarcity is still a problem, engagement, empowerment, and environment are now the real challenges that companies are facing. So, this transformation is necessary to overcome all sort of challenges in this area. As the Talent Management industry is changing with social, mobile, analytics and cloud-based technologies, we also need to make sure that the Digital Transformation strategy matches to these changes.

About the Author:

Soumyasanto Sen

Soumyasanto Sen — Blogger, Speaker and Evangelist in HRTech who try to think Out of the Box! Engaging with Companies, Startups & Entrepreneurs in driving Transformation.

Professionally Consultant, Manager, Advisor, Investor in HR Tech. Focusing on Strategies, Analytics, Cloud, UX, Security, Integration and Entrepreneurship in Digital HR Transformation.


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Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

Man with MacBook Pro on wooden pier

It’s not uncommon to learn that some businesses are reluctant to update the tried and tested methods. It’s not difficult to get stuck in a digital rut. Particularly if companies have been trading for many years. Time has taught us to think if it’s not broken don’t fix it, but in this case; we’re wrong.

Taking on paperless processes

Technology is everywhere. Today businesses are expected to be online in some capacity. And whilst it’s understandable that in a hands on industry like retail it might feel unnecessary to take on new tech, from a business perspective; it makes no sense not to.

Spending time hunting through piles of paper slows down response time in an age when most answers are a click away. Eliminating paper not only updates your methods and reduces the amount of paper your company consumes. But it also reduces the time and money spent managing it. It also ensures that none of your documents go missing, that all your information easily searchable and backed up in a centralised location keeping all your information is secure. By taking on digital solutions your company can embrace these benefits whilst upping your efficiency and professional image.

So, what’s the best way to do this in HR?

Aside from the hundreds of cloud solutions that are adaptable and available today, there are different operating systems with a HR focus. Charlie, Zoho, and People HR are just a select few to look at. Adopting these will make your HR department more efficient, and help take your paper based work online. Managing the day to day processes typical of a HR department. Such as, payroll, team details, holidays and sick days.

HR trends – what to look out for

Now in 2017, different principles apply. These recent trends are what you need to be aware of in order to stay ahead.

A millennial workforce

The biggest trend for recruiting will be concerned with millennials. Unlike their previous baby-boomer generation, millennials are a more demanding workforce[1]. They are more likely to to need constant validation, communicate through social media and require a lot more guidance. The challenge for HR is to attract and retain this talent in an innovative way. And there are a variety of techniques and apps that can help with this.

  • Start regularly recognising good work – Boost employee confidence in their work by using TapMyBack. This app works through peer-to-peer recognition, and gives managers great insight to their teams on where needs improvement or celebrating.
  • Continuous assessments – this will mean employees are able to recognise any problems and correct them. This will encourage growth in their role and identify when an employee is suitable for a promotion.
  • Non-traditional performance reviews – With a reputation as negative and demotivating, the majority of staff dread their performance reviews. Tools like OrangeHRM can help you easily track progress and produce reviews on your employees, giving you time to focus on improving this process.
  • Have your social media experts follow relatable trends for millennials – this will help to engage with them regularly whilst ensuring current and any prospective employees relate to your brand. Free tools like Social Mention and Twazzup can ensure you keep on top of this.

Maintaining company culture and hiring the right team

2016 found that 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current job if a more attractive role was available[2], and with the millennial generation always on the lookout for better opportunities; finding the right person and then retaining talent is becoming more of a challenge for HR. This can mean sieving through a high volume of C.V’s often in a short period of time, especially around the seasonal period, making it easy for an applicant to go unrecognised. Which leads on to…

Updating processes around recruitment

One way HR managers are attempting to become proactive in their recruiting search is by looking to social media. Research from Aberdeen Group has seen 73% of 18-34 year olds find their most recent job through social media[3]. And as social platforms have a large millennial population[4]; it not only makes sense to recruit from these online sources, but it also financially makes sense as it’s a very cost effective solution. A software options such as JobVite are available to simplify your social recruiting process. Along with others like HireRabbit and BranchOut.

Electronic signature solutions are also a very effective way of streamlining your recruitment process. As soon as you have selected your successful candidate you can email their contract through the e-signature platform. They can then review and sign according to their schedule, or even on-the-go, and contracts are returned as soon as they’re completed. Removing the need for in-store visits and cut out printing and postage costs. Try Signable’s free trial for an e-sig solution.

Take on new technology today

Don’t waste your time with systems that are time consuming and feel counterproductive. Using software as a solution means your business is constantly innovating and streamlining it’s approach. And as a report by Business Review Europe highlights how “new technology adoption is crucial to business success … businesses can only progress as quickly as IT enables them to – it’s business at the speed of IT.”[5]

About the Author:

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Jessie Davies is a Marketing Manager at Signable and also goes by the title “Content Queen”. Signable is an electronic signature platform that helps businesses get their documents finalised faster. As Content Queen she ensures that Signable’s customer’s resource for support, educational content and industry updates are always available and clear. Jessie also makes sure the Twitter feed is full of hilarious reaction gifs and sarcastic comments.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

References:

[1] Millennial workforce - Source

[2] Recruitment stats - Source

[3] Social recruitment stats - Source

[4] Social media millennial stats - Source

[5] Business Review Europe - Source

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Employee Relations: The Last Bastion of Manual HR Processes?

Employee Relations: The Last Bastion of Manual HR Processes?

Today our guest is Deborah J. Muller, CEO and Founder at HR Acuity®: a leading provider of employee relations and workplace investigation solutions.

Deborah founded HR Acuity, LLC in March 2006, after she spent more than 20 years in key HR leadership positions at numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Citicorp, Honeywell, Marsh & McLennan and Dun & Bradstreet.

HR Acuity designed and developed HR Acuity On-Demand, an essential web-based application that minimizes an organization’s legal and financial risks.

HR Acuity On-Demand, winner of the 2009 Top Product of the Year award from Human Resource Executive® Magazine, enables consistent documentation of employee issues, a structured process for workplace investigation, and immediate search and reporting.

The recently released 2016 HR Acuity Employee Relations Benchmark Study analyzed employee relations practices related to organizational models, case management processes, metrics and issue types, volumes and trends. The entire study had 74 organizations participate representing over 870,000 employees with the goal to establish a foundation for the development of a unique set of best practice employee relations benchmarks.

The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.

  1. Hi Deborah, and first of all thank you very much for this interview with The HR Tech Weekly®. You started HR Acuity® operations ten year ago. What has changed during this time in the employee relations management landscape?

Over the last ten years we have seen a real shift in the intersection of HR and technology. Organizations are looking beyond the traditional HRIS data to get insights that can be used to understand, diagnose and even predict how employees – their human resources – will behave and perform. And the relationships between employees, employer, co-workers, and customers – must be part of that story. What can we learn from those interactions (the good, the bad and the ugly) to become smarter in hiring, developing, managing and motivating our employees to drive business success? As a result, we have seen our conversations with clients make a real shift from educating about the power of employee relations to strategic dialogues about capturing and deliberately using this information.

  1. Why did you decide to perform the Employee Relations Benchmark Study, and how long did it take to get the results?  

For the past eight years we have been conducting an annual survey take get a pulse on employee relations issues and practices. But over the last few years, our network has been asking for more. When it comes to employee relations issues, organizations want to know what is “normal?” How many harassment issues should we expect? What should we expect our caseloads to be like given our size or industry? How do similarly situated organizations model their employee relations resources? The data had not previously been available and we were in a position to capture it. That being said, we were very fortunate to form an incredible advisory board from organization such as ADP, TIAA, MetLife, LinkedIn to help develop our Study questions.

The result was an in-depth questionnaire that required participants to take the time to gather the data requested sometimes from multiple constituents within their organization. In the end, their willingness to do so with such granularity speaks volumes about their desire to get their hands on this valuable information.

  1. Did you have any assumptions before performing the Study, and how different were they from the outputs?

Since I live employee relations day in and day out, I had some hypothesis going in but clarity of what we heard was most surprising. First of all, we knew from our clients that organizations were making a switch to centralized employee relations teams – this is something the Study confirms. What surprised me was uniformity of rationale for this change. Organizations are looking to drive consistency of process, ensure neutrality how issues are handles and safeguard that those handling the situations have the right expertise.

Secondly we knew there was steady increase in the reliance of organization to track employee relations metrics. When we started surveying organizations in 2009, less than 15% used an employee relations management system and over 50% didn’t track at all. What was surprising to us with the Study was how far this has shifted in the last seven years — basically flipping around. Now over 45% of organizations use some form of an employee relations management solution or case management system while only 12% reported not tracking at all.

And finally, in one of our open ended questions we asked about how caseloads have changed recently. Almost everyone who commented used the exact same word to describe what they were seeing…”complexity.” Cases are just more complex than they were a few years ago. Not a big surprise given the growing number of regulations that need to be considered but very powerful reading through comments from strangers who all use the same terminology.

  1. What are the core statistics and findings of the Study? Could you just lift the veil for our readership please?

So to give you a peek at some of the results I’ll share three areas of information the Study explored:

Organizational change. Not only are organizations moving to centralized models but our data shows that that type of organizational model uses 25% fewer HR resources than those with Mixed and Decentralized Models.

Analytics. Most respondents described employee relations analytics as “early stage.” However those that are ahead of the curve are actively monitoring key metrics and provided insightful examples of how the information measured has been used to impact key business drivers – all which we included in in the Study results.

And finally case and staffing benchmarks. The Study provides some “normal” on numbers and types of cases that employers are dealing with. In most instances we were able to break those numbers down by size of organization and organization model so that as a reader you can consume what is most similar to your needs. For example, for every 1,000 employees, our Study found that organizations will receive approximately 4.44 allegations of discrimination or harassment.

  1. On one hand, there are plenty of HR Tech solutions for recruitment, employee engagement and other things often called disruptive. On the other hand, some employee relations statistics may surprise you. What about solutions for managing risks, preventing and resolving conflicts at workplace?

I love that you bring up this point. Employee relations seems to be the last bastion of manual HR processes. And when you speak to HR practitioners they totally get it. The reality is that most HR professionals already capture employee relations information on a daily basis but in spiral notebooks or at best on excel sheets. By “digitizing” this last piece of the puzzle organizations can create tremendous impact and ROI without disruption. Instead of spending millions of dollars to figure out something intangible like employee engagement, having an employee relations management solution can uncover why employees are disengaged, what are the trends that drive inappropriate behaviors or subpar performance, what can you do to reduce incidents and drive growth: very tangible and very straightforward.

  1. Your Benchmark Study covered the corporate world. Do you have any observations regarding SMB companies and recommendations for them to mitigate risks of employee relations?

At HR Acuity we always say that employee bad behavior doesn’t discriminate…whatever size or industry, you need to be ready to face issues or allegations that will pose risk for your organization. Process missteps can be costly and particularly detrimental to the health of a smaller organization. So our recommendation is to be prepared. Have a process. Know who will be involved and ensure they have the proper training to handle the incident in a compliant manner. HR Acuity has some great free resources and tools on our website that we encourage folks to download.

  1. The last but not least question I love to ask my guests is what are upcoming challenges for you?

For us it is about Managers… How can we leverage technology to provide managers the tools to do their jobs more effectively? Those tools will not only help drive consistency but can be used to validate that good management and leadership practices drive business results. Once that happens, the relationship between managers and HR will change to become less traditional and more strategic.


If you want to share this interview the reference to Deborah J. Muller and  The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Streamlining HR Management Process Using Latest Trends in Technology

Streamlining HR Management Process Using Latest Trends in Technology

Whether you’re aware of it or not, global investment in corporate HR technology is on the rise and according to the most recent Human Resources Transformation Survey Report, the investment is growing at an exponential rate. Almost 90% of respondents said they plan to spend the same amount (some even said more) on HR systems this year. Furthermore, roughly 60% of respondents plan to start using mobile technologies for various HR transactions in the next 12 months.

The report, however, revealed something maybe even more interesting. While most people are satisfied with the technology they use for their performance management, almost 30% of respondents still use paper. Given the number of HR solutions on the market, it is quite surprising that so many companies out there are still depending on paper to perform certain HR tasks. But as the reliance on software increases, the use of paper is bound to decline.

The point here is, as times goes by, more and more companies will start automating and improving their HR processes by using new technology. To keep up with the competition, you should start looking at the latest trends, and use them to the best of your abilities to streamline your HR process.

Increasing Flexibility with the Cloud

The days of being chained to a desk and a PC are fortunately long gone, as a recent Gallup Poll revealed that more than 33% of workers are using their mobile devices to access work after hours. What’s more, around 96% of employees in the United States say that they use at least one of their own mobile devices to access work-related documents. Modern, cloud-based systems allow you to access important corporate files anytime, anywhere, which means that you can review a new employee resume from the airport, or send approvals for salary increases from your home office.

Real-Time Feedback

As the economy grows, employee engagement and retention have become a top priority. However, even as attention shifts towards the contentment of the staff, engagement is still surprisingly low. As a matter of fact, Quantum Workplace reports that employee engagement is at its lowest level in 8 years. So how can you keep up with your employees’ feelings and needs and how can technology help? In response to these concerns, a number of software providers that offer real-time employee feedback tools have popped up in the last couple of months. Performance review tools like Impraise will allow HR departments to more promptly discover, and respond to workers’ problems, needs and suggestions.

Managing Talent with People Analytics

People analytics, a BI-based approach to evaluating and managing talents presents a groundbreaking opportunity for HR. Furthermore, Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends report indicates that people analytics is more important than people originally thought. The report has revealed that 87% of business leaders are worried about retention and engagement, and 85% about the skill of their staff. And while some organizations have been slow at adapting to the new technology, many companies such as Starling Trust Sciences have developed algorithms that can identify “toxic” workers, predict attrition and even highlight the promotions most likely to produce high-performing workers.

Balancing Satisfaction with Scheduling Needs

Keeping the staff satisfied mostly relies on an increased attention to scheduling, and the ability to view schedules instantly, relieving the HR professionals of the pressure to pad staff levels to cover shifts in case of critical situations. Moreover, according to ADP research, scheduling automation can help organization save over 20% on overtime costs. Fortunately, there are plenty automated staff scheduling software that provide visibility across your organization and give insight into scheduling gaps, cost controls and available resources and can help you optimize organizational performance.

The Correlation between Technology and Satisfaction

Did you know that more than 70% of employees who gave their manager high marks also rated their performance management systems as “very good” and “great”? Well, according to Gallup’s analysis of 50,000 employees, it’s absolutely true. And while we cannot say that all good HR managers have good tools, it’s evident that both HR professionals and employees are more likely to be efficient and satisfied at their jobs when they have the right set of tools at their disposal.

About the Author

Nate Vickery, Bizzmark Blog

Nate Vickery is a business consultant mostly interested in latest technology trends applicable to SMB and startup management and marketing. Nate is also the editor at a business oriented blog BizzmarkBlog.com

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If you want to share this article the reference to Nate Vickery and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Why HCM

Ever wondered why do companies invest top dollar in HCM applications and then spend on maintaining them, what is the value it brings to an organization, why use it all?..

To tackle these questions and to understand why HCM, i.e. Human Capital Management applications, are basic blocks in the architecture of any organization’s IT landscape, let us look at the features that makes a HCM application what it is and how it empowers employees and HR personnel alike in an organization.

Why HCM

Ease of use: Feature rich and in some cases widget rich HCM systems come fitted with a simple user interface, imagine having to struggle to use and navigate through an application, no one wants that kind of negativity in their lives, the screens always meander towards simple, intuitive and an easy to use and navigate layout. The buzzword here is User Friendly.

Manage a global & dynamic workforce: Organizations are spread across continents with countries having varied tax regulations and rules. HCM systems provide features that support taxation, statutory deductions and year end processing of various countries. Also when employees get deputed and move on to foreign shores, a HCM system enables tracking such movements and related details.

Accommodate industry standard HR processes: Along with the obvious ability to hire employees into the organization, maintain their personal & employment data and record changes as applicable and then process termination on employee exit, HCM systems also enable calculation of periodic benefit deductions, calculation and payment of bimonthly/monthly salaries subject to the home country regulations, payouts of AdHoc bonuses. And employee data from the HCM system of an organization is published to other enterprise applications like Finance, Supply Chain Management etc.

Another group of HR processes that target employee talent management enable recording job related competencies of employees, detect gaps in the employee competency profile vis-à-vis the employee designation and track bridging of the gaps through a structured learning and certification path, HCM systems can also help map and track career plans for employees in an organization and if required create and monitor succession plans as well.

Employee work hours and In and Out times used for billing purposes can also be recorded, monitored and maintained in the HCM application.

Employees and their managers can work together on creating performance goals annually or bi-annually and track the progress and closure of the same with feedback and ratings as relevant.

Employees can also update changes in address, changes in martial changes, child birth/adoptions, view pay slips, view benefits offered by the organization and make choices and even see deductions as they happen, etc.

Anytime anywhere access: This happens to be a very important value-add, mobility is almost a way of life as evident in the past few years, people want the option to access data, approve requests and extract reports while on the go, so a HCM system is smartphone and tablet compatible has a definite edge in the market.

HR Analytics support: As your organization grows and accumulates data, analyzing this data to identify patterns and trends is an all-important activity, HCM systems provide text & chart based reports to support decision making and also ability to interface with external business intelligence tools if your organization uses them.


If you want to share this article the reference to Bhuvana Rao and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

4 Keys To Success While Transforming to World of Digital HR — Jason Averbook

Written by Jason Averbook | Originally published at his blog on March 30, 2016.  

Stream of digital data and eye

Anything with the word “digital” in it these days seems to be a hot topic. When you see the word “digital” and “transformation” together – we all snap to attention and think to ourselves “am I doing this stuff?” or “am I falling behind?” I had the opportunity to read a great piece in HBR that you can access here and it made me think about the world of Digital HR and the transformation that we all are making on a daily basis (or should be). What are the 4 things and how should we address them, read on…

“No transformation is more challenging than meeting the service expectations of a digitally empowered workforce”

  1. Expectations – I love the quote from the article and will change it to our language of HR – “no transformation is more challenging than meeting the service expectations of a digitally empowered workforce”. This quote cannot be more true and something we discuss and try to take action in our strategies.  A key thing to understand about expectations going forward is that the experience is so much more than the user interface or technology, it is all about the proactive experience. One of the keys to this will be leveraging data from all systems to create a “personalized” experience for the entire workforce (candidates, employees, contractors, former employees, retirees). Managing expectations of the workforce on a global basis will only continue to be harder going forward. One of my recommendations is to make sure that within the HR Process and Technology team, there is someone focused on nothing but thinking about the expectations of the workforce and how we today and into the future will provide a proactive experience. This will not come from one vendor, but come from a truly holistic, thought out digital HR/Workforce strategy, that will empower and keep your top talent focused on doing their jobs while giving you access to data to know more about your talent than ever before.
  2. Enhancements – We have grown up in a world where the “go-live” and Phase 1 of any solution deployment is a huge milestone and after that, well, we haven’t done so great. We live in a world of “perpetual beta” where we must continue to try new things, create new experiences, continue to push the boundaries of how we exceed the expectations of our changing workforce and most importantly, mirror our initiatives based on what is happening to us as consumers, not just what our software vendor tells us to do next. We as a function have so much to offer the business in each of the different aspects of attracting, developing, managing, engaging and retaining a workforce that just like the world leaders do at creating the future, we should have a “workforce lab” in our function. This “lab” should be tasked with nothing but listening to both the internal and external world trying new things that continue to push the boundaries of our capabilities as a function. We must end the world of stopping at “go-live” or waiting to deploy the next module. The world doesn’t work in modules and the workforce could care less about our modules, constant enhancements are required to show the business and the workforce that we as a function are up for this challenge and we will treat our workforce as well or better than we do our customers.
  3. Collaborative Innovations – One of the areas I see HR lacking in greatly is the concept of continuing to innovate in collaborative ways. We have through our history been very “insular” when it comes to who we work with, who we share with and for the most part, have not necessarily been good at thinking through collaborative ways to partner with neighboring companies (competitors perhaps), vendors, integrators and customers to re-think how we continue to perform our business functions. These innovations could be as simple as partnering with the community to make sure we are attracting talent to our brand on a continual basis to as complex as asking vendors to partner to create a seamless, integrated experience for the workforce. The most important point around collaborative innovations is that nothing happens simply on our own anymore. Whether you read the latest book from Reid Hoffman, The Alliance to The Age of the Platform by Phil Simon,  we must think different about talent, work and technology moving forward and only through collaboration will competitive advantage be realized.
  4. Organizational Leadership – The shift from “Mad Men” to “Math Men” as the article highlights is a key to the organizational leadership change needed as we move to a Digital HR world. I talk about this a ton in my keynotes, the need for HR to realize that Data is Sexy and in order for Digital HR to become a reality in organizations, the data that is collected and the data that is then distributed back to the business has to get better and be tied together with actions. We must also truly start to realize that many of our HR processes and therefore technologies that were used in the production-oriented industrial economy will not work in the more global and fast-changing digital economy. The sooner that your organization and its leadership realize this the better and the faster your organization can “leapfrog” the competition and change these old processes and technologies, the better off you will be. Another huge issue around the digital age is that of risk. Just like all technological change, there is risk and probably more than ever around digitization. We live in a world and are in a situation where HR has two choices, it can curl up and make more policies to mitigate risk for the .01% who might do something bad or focus on the 99.99% who are ready to take advantage of technology to change work forever. I don’t mean the wild, wild west but would propose that organizations really look hard at themselves in the mirror and realize in order to survive, it will have to focus on the latter. Organizational leadership might be the hardest aspect of change depending on where you are, but know that this digital change is a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ and those that move the fastest will have huge advantage.

In every era of transformation, changes in process and technology tend to make the skills of existing resources become dated. This another huge risk and point to take into account when moving to the wold of Digital HR. Unless you are continually updating the skill sets of your teams and giving them the opportunity to learn new things, you will find yourself without the talent needed to continue to evolve and as in the past, spend more money in order to stay competitive.

The world of digitization is both scary and exciting. The most important point is that it is completely in our control and there has never been a more thrilling time to be alive and in the working world. Take advantage of it and realize that the future is now!

Another infusion of knowledge…

About the Author:

jason-averbookJason Averbook, a leading analyst, thought leader, consultant and keynote speaker in the area of human resources and the future of work. Has more than 20 years of experience in the HR and technology industry. He worked with leading companies around the world to help them transform their HR organizations into strategic partners. Along with being cited in numerous media outlets such as BusinessWeek, Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal, he has delivered keynote presentations for events worldwide including HR Tech World, SHRM and many others. He is acknowledged as one of the Top 3 thought leaders globally on the future of work and listed in the Top 100 leaders globally influencing the future of work and the HR function. His latest book, HR From Now to Next, was published in 2014 and is used in over 19 universities around the world today.

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Source: 4 Keys To Success While Transforming to World of Digital HR — Jason Averbook