HR Needs to Reinvent Itself (Again)

HR is constantly reinventing its role.  In years past, the role was heavily focused on managing a mish mash of applications and processes, acting like a back office employee service desk.  Modern day software has greatly reduced the technical heavy lifting thanks to a single employee record and end-to-end HCM solutions which has allowed HR to assume a more strategic, business intelligence role within the organization.

According to the The Forrester Wave™: SaaS HR Management Systems, Q4 2014 report, HR systems have evolved from pure employee records, to employee engagement and customer value centers.  Forrester’s findings support the three major evolutionary shifts I have witnessed over the past 15 years:

  1. Paper-based, pre-Y2K HR record keeping (yes, I really referenced Y2K).
  2. Web-based solutions in the early 2000s that pushed tasks to the workforce via employee and manager self-service models.
  3. Cloud-based models that replace a multitude of applications with a single end-to-end solution.

Each evolutionary advancement requires a shift in resources needed to implement and maintain the new technology.

Cloud-Based HCMs Require an All-Encompassing Skill Set

While customers are quick to embrace the idea of cloud-based HCM solutions, they often underestimate the skills and time required for the ongoing management and administration of the system. Administration, maintenance and upkeep of a consolidated solution requires a unique skill set and its own resources. While these skills can be developed, they are typically spread across several existing roles in-house:

  • Payroll specialists today manage and close payroll and required filings
  • Benefits specialists are responsible for managing life events coming through from employee self-service, coordinating open enrollment, managing third parties, etc. within the benefits system.
  • Recruiters are adept at sourcing, qualifying and hiring talent through the typical talent management tools.
  • Operations teams can schedule and track resources and time off within traditional workforce management systems.
  • IT, much to your delight, is no longer tripping over you. Since you are in the cloud, there is no need to manage servers, databases, or infrastructures.

Data Consolidation is a Huge Undertaking

Payroll, benefits, workforce management and recruiting data are no longer stored in separate applications and managed by individual experts. They are now modules that have overlapping data elements within one application/database. Your data isn’t siloed anymore; it flows throughout your new HCM application, with data records shared by all modules. Because of this, a  traditionally siloed task relating to benefits now has immediate impact on timesheets, pay rules, payroll deductions and executions, and so on.

Ownership Over a Cloud-Based System is Unclear 

In the days gone by, system ownership was less encompassing.  The payroll department administered and owned the payroll system, and similarly, the Benefits department did the same with the benefits systems, and so on..  In today’s consolidated HCM system Who steps up? A payroll resource, a benefits resource, a talent scout, or someone else? The reality is, administering these systems requires deep functional understanding of transactional needs and requirements of payroll, HR, benefits, workforce management and talent. And although you have eliminated a lot of IT needs, this is a cloud solution that needs upgrades a few times a year with new functionality to be configured, tested and rolled out.

View Your Integrated Cloud-Based HCM Solution as a HR Service Center

Your HR department has a new role when equipped with an integrated HCM solution, that of an Information Technology Leader.  Team members focused on functional areas like payroll and benefits can direct their efforts towards quality payroll processing and effective benefit administration rather than unnecessary data management.  HR can assume the strategic role of HR business intelligence thus empowering your organization with the information they need to make better decisions.

Never underestimate the ever evolving and increasingly important role HR plays in every organization.  Knowing how to implement and utilize Human Capital Management technology is paramount in achieving this goal.