For today’s rough and tumble organization, human capital is crucial. No matter what the size of your organization is, human resources (HR) are the greatest asset. Taking care of human resources is key.
Nowadays, human resource management is greatly assisted with information systems that help expedite all of the many components of a human resource department. Many components that need to be considered.
Human resources perform so many functions: timekeeping, training, benefits, EEO information, as well as a multitude of other areas that help manage the workforce. Cloud-based HR platforms are integrated with the help of a consultant as they can be new and complex to many companies who have traditionally not utilized such an information system.
Steps to Finding the Right System
For this reason, it’s important to be aware of best practices in selecting an HR information system or developing one that you might already have to fit your organization’s needs. Such best practices include assessing your organizational footprint, what its human resource needs might be in the future, taking a good hard look at all of the resources that are available in the implementation of such a system, and then monitoring the effectiveness of its performance as it becomes part of your IT infrastructure.
1. Take a careful inventory of your IT overall footprint and the role that HR plays in your organization.
In this practice, organizations should have a good sense of what their overall business strategy is, now and into the future.
Will the organization be scaling for a broader international reach? Are there plans to expand your workforce? Is the workforce largely dispersed? How complex is your existing compensation structure and benefits?
These and many other questions are part of the assessment of determining what your needs might be and what some of the challenges might be in order to meet those needs with the human resource information system.
It’s an important step and requires upfront thought and groundwork. The HR information system might not need to cover all HR functions, but only some – for example, recruiting only. Selection may be oriented to incorporate select functions within the HR department (such as benefits administration) that are cumbersome to administer. A cloud-based platform may help free up personnel within the human resource department to focus on other areas.
So, the first step is assessing your organizational needs and taking a brutally honest look at those needs to see exactly how a cloud-based HR information system could fit and serve your organization best.
2. Take inventory of all your assets.
Taking inventory of your assets does not necessarily mean your physical assets, but also intangible assets. All assets stand to benefit from a cloud-based HR information system. This means how much benefit can be attained by taking an organization and using a cloud-based system to manage its HR function. It also means looking at other resources such as budget. For example, is there a budget available to procure and maintain such a system and will such investment be displaced by the benefit and return on investment? In addition, will there be a need to have more staff just to attend to an HR system?
In conducting your resource analysis as well as your organizational needs, a managed service provider or another consultant can help inventory your HR assets and think through the groundwork of integrating a new system. They can help engineer a plan of implementation that is incremental and least disruptive.
A consultant can provide an unbiased look at your needs and desires to design a best fit for the HR system. They’ll also be able to partition those needs and desires to avoid a haphazard procurement. They may also help establish a plan to incrementally integrate an HR system rather than doing it all at once. There are many benefits in working with a third-party managed service provider or consultant, and it should be given serious consideration.
3. Survey the marketplace.
There are several enterprise options available for cloud-based HR information systems. They all have advantages and disadvantages. Different companies have strengths and weaknesses.
It’s important to do a thorough survey of the marketplace to determine which one is most suitable for your operation and your organization, given the constraints in which you operate. A managed service provider or a third-party consultant can help sort this out and help evaluate different vendors to find the best solution suited to your human resource management.
In looking at the market, it may take time. It may take learning from the experiences of others who have already implemented and integrated an HR information system into their portfolio of cloud computing to accomplish different functions.
4. Other considerations.
There are other considerations when choosing and implementing an HR information system. Such systems involve looking at the return you can expect on your IT investment. However, the return on investment is a very fragile equation and should be approached carefully.
A return on investment (ROI) may incorporate time returned rather than money. For example, a new and efficient IT solution may afford accuracy that was not otherwise available. It may also accelerate an organization as it scales and expands and executes its own business strategies. A useful system may allow employees to have an app on their phone whereby they can access any needed information regarding their benefits and get quick facts about their health insurance, profit sharing plan, or retirement plan, from wherever they might be located at any time of the day. This is an intangible benefit that’s not easy to allocate a dollar value to, but it’s one that’s going to improve the overall satisfaction of your employees and serve their needs quite well.
So, return on investment is going to vary from organization to organization and it’s not just the tangible return on investment, but also an intangible return on investment.
In addition to the return on investment, it’s also important to consider how such a system will fit into the future IT footprint of your organization. Will it be compatible with other major systems such as ERP systems that help manage all parts of your business?
Compatibility and integration is important as once the decision is made the expectation is that you won’t turn away from that platform. Therefore, when you select a specific cloud-based HR platform, you’re looking for one that has a good shelf life and can scale well into the future from a reputable firm that will be around and will provide the services that you need now and into the future.
Yet another consideration is the time and maintenance required for the system. How cumbersome is the system? Are there difficulties in integrating it that can create glitches in the system that could be disastrous to the HR function? What are the technical requirements of a new system in terms of servers, data centers, and the safety and security of sensitive information assigned to different personnel within your company?
All these other considerations are quite important, and this is merely skimming the surface of the many different things to consider in going all out in an automated way to serve your HR department.
Building a World-Class Human Resources Function
Summarily, many organizations are going to HR systems to expedite all of the many HR functions that are carried out on a daily basis. The complexity and the volume of transactions can be quite voluminous and a burden on many employees. HR departments have many moving parts and perform many services. It’s crucial to continuously improve those services and the functions that they provide to employees as your employees are your human capital – one of your greatest assets. Selecting the right system is instrumental in serving that asset and that capital in the best way to make your work environment a world-class one that is a pleasant place to work within.
Gregory Giancola is Practice Lead for HR Systems at NeoSystems, where he is responsible for overseeing over 50 client databases and 3,000 end-users. He previously spent time in leadership positions at Gate Gourmet, Human Capital Think, and FBR, and holds a BA in German and Politics from The Catholic University of America.