6 questions to ask before selecting a new HR system

HR leaders who are considering adopting a new HR system need to examine and understand how these will benefit the broader business and just streamline HR processes

HR leaders who are considering adopting a new HR system need to examine and understand how these will benefit the broader business and just streamline HR processes, according to an expert in the area.

Many HR leaders are working with a legacy HR system which were built to only store basic information about the workforce, and these don’t offer the functionality or flexibility to provide the data and insight that HR leaders today require, said Rob Wells, managing director, Workday, Australia and New Zealand.

“HR executives who have a voice at the executive table need to have the data to accurately display to the rest of the executive team what is happening in the organisation and what is going to happen,” he said.

“Modern technology can provide predictive and prescriptive analytics to real-time to help address these workforce challenges.”

These capabilities, designed for use by HR and business managers, should be integral to the core human resource systems and, for example, can help to predict who might be at risk of leaving, and then prescribe what actions to taken to retain that employee.

“In this scenario mobile access to the data is critical, so that the executive team gets access to the data it needs anywhere, anytime through easy-to-use analytics,” said Wells.

When selecting a new technology platform, he said it was important to ask a number of specific questions:

  1. Is it a unified system? You don’t want a number of different systems trying to work together – so many HR professionals have adopted point solutions to manage recruiting, performance or learning and then found they don’t provide the enterprise-wide view they were striving for.
  2. Does it have embedded analytics? So often data is pulled from multiple systems into a data mart – or more often into Excel to manipulate – as soon as you do that data integrity and security is compromised.
  3. Can those analytics be predictive?
  4. Is it simple to use and intuitive?
  5. Was it designed to always be delivered in the cloud and with a mobile-first strategy?
  6. Consider the whole ownership experience – ease of upgrade, visibility of product roadmap, support, and overall customer satisfaction of the vendor.

“HR leaders are having to present a business case to the business on why they need a new HR system,” he said.

“When talking to the business about the need for a new system, it is important to focus on what the system will do for this business, not just how it will streamline the HR process.”

“The transformation by organisations from legacy HR thinking to embracing employee experience thinking is critical”

A recent IDC whitepaper, which was sponsored by Workday, said that companies need to focus on providing employees with what is required for them to be more productive at the individual level – from training, to metrics and rewards.

“Digital transformation is changing the way businesses operate, interact and grow and can provide companies with data-driven insights into all employee touchpoints – from training to rewards, from retention to contribution,” said Wells.

“It’s no doubt that we are in a climate of enormous change but it is only the tip of the iceberg, bigger change is coming.

“If organisations are to succeed and flourish, they need to make sure their teams are engaged, the organisation is agile and they have the right data so that they are properly setup for this change.

“These needs are driving HR technology this year and into the future,” he said.

The whitepaper, Focusing on the Employee Segment of One for Higher Engagement and Productivity, involved more than 1,400 employers and employees in a total of 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

It highlighted the fact that improving employees’ productivity and profitability has become the top driver for the digital transformation initiatives which organisations are looking to deploy in the region.

Australian companies also score well against progressive Asia-Pacific rivals in applying new technology in the shift away from traditional HR thinking.

Yet, the whitepaper found they still fall short of the gold standard in embracing the powerful value of employee engagement in the workplace.

“While it is crystal clear that an engaged employee is a company’s most important asset, too many organisations fail to fully liberate that powerful resource by not implementing a robust end-to-end integrated HR/talent management platform,” the whitepaper said.

“The transformation by organisations from legacy HR thinking to embracing employee experience thinking is critical.”

However, embracing digital transformation will not transform a business’ fortunes overnight, and the whitepaper said such an initiative remains an important step in the right direction on the journey.

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