Talent Management Requires a Talent Management System

by CompareHRIS on December 12, 2014

talent management systemThe flattening of structure is meant to increase responsiveness and decision making.  However, it can hurt those at the lowest level because they will no longer receive hands-on and frequent performance assessments, nor will they be getting strategic training and development. So, the very agility desired, speeds organizational behavior at the risk of thoughtful study and talent placement. Human Resources in this environment needs new responses to these new talent management needs – and one of those is a Talent Management System. The Talent Management System provides analysis and data capture tools for recruiting, performance, learning & development and compensation. It helps streamline the process and reduces the need for middle management (but does not eliminate it).

When an organization flattens its structure in an effort to increase its agility, one negative side effect is the reduction in the depth of the talent bench. This lack of depth tasks leadership and management because the skills at the next level are thin. This can hurt performance and the setting of strategic goals.

Globalization is a relative term. Talent Management is not.

Even the smallest businesses think big. In doing so, they extrapolate their goals and dreams to a new paradigm. As Human Resources has re-invented itself, it became a form beyond the ambition of the smallest businesses to be a true contributor and potential profit center to the business.  In a recent article on HR predictions, Josh Bersin wrote, “We predict a new model of HR will emerge, one which focuses on global delivery of core services, talent services, as well as what we call ‘strategic enablement’ services. And, technology will play a much larger role.” (yes, a Talent Management System)

Globalization requires talent mobility.

People must work smarter, and that creates need for on-demand blended learning well removed from the classroom chalk and talk models. It demands a new curriculum that exploits technology platforms, and incorporates gamification architecture. With employees reluctant to design their own studies and careers, HR must engage workers with creative and rewarding work to reduce turnover. Without a strategy for talent mobility, high-potential performers see no place to go.

Need drives demands for deep product functionality in the Talent Management System.

Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) are dated if they do not include talent mobility threads to manage performance, suggest succession, align learning, and assess compensation. Systems in place for five years or more may lack this important integration. Sometimes a specific targeted Talent Management System can be a better fit, as it provides the level of depth needed.  This product focus often is better than a surface level talent application built into an HRIS.

The good news is that innovation is showing up in new or modified products that pull together social media applicant sourcing, employee performance assessment, training, tracking and curriculum architecture, and more. Such software will integrate enough data to feed new predictive analytics, identify high-potential employees, and structure their role and succession.

Globalization is a function of employee engagement.

Talent grows a business. In the past, global goals were set, and the structure had to catch up with them. Today, for globalization to succeed, organizations must become employee-centric. Companies must present a talent management solution that encourages workers to engage with the company and guide their own career. To the extent they attract employee involvement with such new ideas as gamification, they also increase employee accountability for their own futures.

When business growth approaches the size where it makes sense to shop for human resources information systems, HR and IT should look for a system with the tools to secure, develop, and retain employees – not just track information.  They should look for the tools that will serve them now and into the future, not just in terms of body count but also in terms of talent recognition, assessment, development, and succession planning. Instead of multiplying software applications and vendors, they should consider the vendor who is best prepared to integrate their present and future needs. The Talent Management System should support that business growth in the need for ever increasing employee engagement – it’s just a matter of finding the right vendor fit for your business needs.


payroll taxWhether or not you prepare your business’s payroll taxes, you’ll want to know what’s in store for next year. New changes affect payroll administration, employees, and employer. Here are at least six things you’ll need to know about 2015 payroll taxes.

1.  High Paid Employees

The maximum taxable amount of earnings subject to Social Security withholding will jump to $118,000. You should notify these employees of the change affecting their take-home pay well before the January 1 start.

2.  Withholding Rates Unchanged

Employer and employee will continue to pay 6.2 percent up to the new maximum towards the Social Security piece of FICA. That is a combined 12.4 percent on income up to the new maximum of $118,000. That is a maximum of  $7,347 on the part of each the employer and employee.

3.  Medicare contribution

Employer and employee will each continue to pay 1.45 percent for the Medicare portion of the FICA deductions, a combined 2.9 percent. All wages – salary and bonuses – are subject to Medicare withholding. There is no maximum limit.

4.  Additional Medicare Tax

The Affordable Care Act pinches the high earners for a larger Medicare deduction. Those employees will pay an additional 0.9 percent as an Additional Medicare Tax on earnings above the statutory threshold:

  • $125,000 for married employees who file separately
  • $200,000 for single taxpayers
  • $250,000 for married employees who file jointly

This Additional Medicare Tax applies to compensation paid that exceeds the threshold in a calendar year. But, these thresholds are not adjusted for inflation, so they will apply to more employees as the years go by.

While the Additional Medicare Tax will raise the contribution by well-paid employees, the employer’s portion will stay the same at 1.45 percent.

5.  Net Investment Income

The Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) is not strictly a payroll tax. Under the NIIT, earners reporting an adjusted gross income of $250,000 (Joint Filers) or $200,000 (Single Filers) will pay a 3.8 percent surcharge on Investment Income including Capital Gains.

The NIIT becomes a payroll issue when earners choose to adjust their income tax withholding to account for the increase to avoid tax underpayments and penalties.

6.  Retirement issues

The IRS has posted complex rules on deductions and thresholds regarding deductions for IRA, 401(k), and other deferred income accounts. These include an increase in contributions for qualified savings plans, defined benefits plans, and other moves to encourage accountability for retirement income. Most of these changes affect payroll administration depending on employer sponsorship and employee enrollments. So, even where there is not a direct cost to employer in terms of a mandated payment, there is a cost in the administration.

The changes and process adjustments in payroll for 2015 can be a costly headache. If you continue to run your own payroll, you must seek professional advice before the start of the year. If you run pay through a local payroll administrator, you need to confirm the administrator’s awareness and ability to handle the new orders. If you administer payroll through an HRIS provider, you should seek assurance that they will deliver the new necessities. And, if you work through a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), you should check on their readiness to approach 2015.

In addition to these six adjustments, the Affordable Care Act will require auditing that correlates income and medical benefit plans. However, these six modifications are probably enough to make you want to move your payroll accountability to a qualified and trusted payroll provider.


Will all HR paths merge in the distance?

by CompareHRIS on November 19, 2014

HR pathsDid technology ever intend to take the human out of Human Resources? Not likely. Technology does not have motives or self-interest. However, the direction taken by Human Resources Information Systems challenges legacy HR every day. Where is HRIS taking HR? It may be a question of perspective. Will there come a day when HRIS and HR become one?

Five paths taken

1.  Monster boards began the evolution of e-recruiting. Employers and job candidates could meet in the virtual woods of the big boards to match interests, needs, and talents. As candidates learned to post video resumes, they made themselves more noticeable. And, as they made the connection through Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media, employers started to chase the talent in new ways. This paradigm shift put employer and candidate virtually face-to-face, but you should not mislabel the connection as “social.” Automated as it may be, the community is only virtual.

2.  The speed of distribution and delivery facilitates more training and development. An HRIS system will efficiently introduce and track new hire orientation on policies and procedures. It can put subsequent training into the hands of employees through mobile applications. And, it can provide just-in-time training as needed where needed. This requires a level of IT sophistication often in short supply among Human Resources leadership.

3.  HRIS originally served the market that wanted personnel database management to save time, assure accuracy, and relieve Human Resources leadership, enabling them to be more creative and innovative. And, it has since introduced descriptive reporting and predictive analytics. It has served this market well.

4.  That same database advantage can monitor employee performance. Its principle systems will apply metrics that are important across the organization. The analytics make the performance and outcomes transparent and useful for assessment and planning.

5.  Technology engages employees and management for their respective self-interests. Employees can access their records, payroll, assessment, benefits, and performance assessment. Management can secure analysis and trending information to adjust operations, workforce, and strategies.

It is a fact of the Human Resources profession that most practitioners lack the specific talents to blend these plans. It is rather natural that one professional may feel a stronger need for talent and/or direction than another. A strong foundation in information technology presents an engineering mindset without the soft edges manifest in most HR professionals. A solid strategic HR background is theory and outcome driven without the technologist’s tools.

So, you can picture a future forest in which the disparate paths of Human Resources merge through the device of Human Resources information technology. That means HR leadership must remove itself from some paths and trust the technology to do its thing. Trusting and developing relationships with strong, innovative, and responsive HRIS providers may be the precise place where the roads merge, and you can proceed without fear about the paths not taken.


Friendly greetingWith all the technology that accompanies the HCM process these days, it’s easy to get lazy and let the computers do all the heavy lifting. A simple case in point is the inability of the many HR staff members to simply remember the names of the people that they help on a day-to-day basis.

What happened to the mindset in the human resources department that people are a company’s greatest asset?

With that thought in mind, I decided to revisit one of the most powerful tools for making friends that I could remember. I know that it might seem trite but these five steps are sure to give your HR team instant credibility with almost anyone you meet – by just remembering their names:

Repeat the Name
It doesn’t take much to become distracted when meeting a group of people. Your boss may stroll by, a drink or hors d’ouevres may be offered or an old acquaintance may intrude and introductions become muddied or hurried. No one will fault you, however, if you just take the time to simply say, “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” – and the person’s name, no matter what is going on. When exiting the conversation, try to use the name one more time in the goodbye.

Create an Immediate Association in your Mind
While this sounds all well and good, it is not as easy as it seems and takes a little practice to really work. The idea is to associate the name – and the face – with another aspect of their life. For example, if you just met “Ted from Toledo” or “Michael at Microsoft” and associate both the name and the secondary attribute, you will have a better chance of remembering both. In many cases, when you meet either Ted or Mike and don’t immediately remember their name, the secondary association may come to mind and jog your memory.

Make a Comment About the Name
While conversing with your new acquaintance, try to make a comment about the name to once again reinforce it onto your memory. For example, asking Thomas whether he prefers Tom or Tommy will again imprint the name into your conscious. Further, associating that person’s name with someone you already know with the name is another powerful mnemonic device.

Develop Your Own Mnemonic Devices
You may never meet or have to remember the names of the nine members of the Supreme Court, but if you did, a clever mnemonic device could help you do so. For an HR staff that routinely meets the same people over and over from the same department, a mnemonic device might be just the thing to help them remember names and make a lasting impression on their coworkers. For individuals, the mnemonic could be making an alliterative association with what their co-workers do for the company – Ann in accounting, for example – or a simple rhyme such as Gail in sales.

Put the Name To Use
The typical HR interaction between your staff and the company’s employees provide plenty of opportunities to use a person’s name. It may not be the same as actually learning the name of the person in front of you but, the employee will notice. It is a powerful tool that creates a bond between the staff member and the employee and removes one more adversarial barrier.

A Final Thought – Obviously, the size of your company may preclude the use of some of these techniques but there is no reason to not develop a system where the employee’s name is used on a consistent basis throughout any interaction. Customer management relationship systems (CRMs) have been around for years but have been primarily focused on customers outside of the company. Perhaps, it’s time for HCM to take advantage of tools like these and focus on their most important assets – their people.


Building a Better HR Dashboard

by CompareHRIS on November 7, 2014

HR DashboardIt takes a certain selflessness to succeed as a Human Resources professional. That is not as noble as it may sound. Leaders are often prized for stepping back to let their results speak for them. They are tasked with identifying measures of Human Resources effectiveness, naming the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of those measures, and communicating them effectively. In an informative and practical presentation at SHRM’s 2014 Conference, Conrad A. Samuels, SPHR (Manager, Talent Acquisition at Pepco Holdings, Inc.) addressed the art of Developing and Effectively Using an HR Dashboard. Structuring your work to speak for you means building a better HR dashboard.

What’s a dashboard?
In the tech world, a dashboard displays the information needed to report and motivate progress towards performance goals. A dashboard captures and consolidates everything happening in the moment on a single screen.

The single screen presents the KPIs in a single user-friendly event. If the dashboard requires scrolling, it is not doing its job. The best dashboards engage human curiosity. They appeal to all observers yet satisfy individual curiosities. So, creating effective dashboards is as much an art as a skill.

Caretaker to partner

Speaker Samuels sees the HR dashboard as a natural outcome of the evolution of Human Resources from the days when it was a caretaker to its role as strategic partner, from a focus on employee records to accountability for cost-effectiveness and employee development.

That evolution also appears in the development of HR metrics. Data-driven management is evidence-based management, so HR finds itself responsible for workforce analytics reported through Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS).

Why bother?

Well, for starters, it’s your job. Stakeholders expect Human Resources to draw a picture of the links between HR initiatives and business objectives. When leadership has the information it needs, its behavior and decisions should improve. That alone should quantify HR’s impact on the bottom line.

This strategic support shifts the focus on “What we have in Common, not what we have in Conflict.” As dashboards inform the organization, they “drive accountability into the conversations.” As shared news becomes common news, it becomes the organization’s common language.

What’s the score?

HR wants to measure and report the things that employer and employee want to know: How are we doing? The dashboard is not a current snapshot because a snapshot is too static. The right sort of dashboard is designed to be vivid and dynamic. It lets users drill down into the display to review the current human-capital metrics.

Measuring human performance is not the same as following piecework or production lines. On the other hand, business organizational goals can lead you to aligned KPIs. For example, the corporation values costs, quality, customer satisfaction, productivity, time, and performance management. Anything worth measuring measures one of these factors.

When, where, and how?

Your next challenge is to figure out who you are informing, when you want to do it, and how you want to reach them. The who, when, and how may be decisions you want to share with executive leadership, especially where a given audience may be overwhelmed by too much information posted too frequently. However, executive offices may want the data immediately and ongoing.

An Excel spreadsheet may be the easiest way to go. On the other hand, it appears static and so ordinary that it might be dismissed as just another busy report. Like a leaderboard, it is a flat and predictable roll out. Something more visually involving, varying in color, and utilizing useful charts will engage more observers productively. You can customize a quality HRIS system to generate everything you need.

What’s in it for HR?

Human Resource and executive leadership benefit from detailed reports. The deep data identifies benchmarks and brings them forward as visual patterns and charted correlations. Demonstrated trends become predictive when corroborated by KPIs. And, when linked with costs up or down, they become meaningful. As Samuels remarked, “Measuring is a journey, not a destination.”

Quality conceived HR dashboards raise the HR profile. For one thing, there is a psychological reward in having one’s curiosity satisfied. When employees see the current performance, it satisfies their want to know where and with whom they stand. When the organization’s leadership examines the pictured information, it strengthens their respect for, dependence on, and appreciation of the Human Resources initiative involved in a better HR dashboard.


The 7 Secrets to Employee Retention

by CompareHRIS on October 31, 2014

Employee MotivationRegardless of the business climate, retaining motivated employees that are a part of your ‘A’ or ‘B’ team is essential in every business. It can be challenging and you may feel overwhelmed by this responsibility, but being passive and not aggressive about your employees will hurt you in turnover that you don’t want. It is the responsibility of management to keep the business growing and moving forward by ensuring you keep your primary team focused and motivated. Of course, we are speaking about the team members you want to keep around – while ‘C’ team members are necessary, the amount of effort keeping them motivated must be compared to the time you need to keep your key team in place. Losing one ‘A’ team member is worse than losing multiple individuals in the lower tiers. Here are a seven strategies for accomplishing this goal of retaining key team members:

1.  Create a Motivated Culture

The first step toward motivated employees is to create an encouraging environment for the behaviors you are trying to foster and recognizing them when they happen. By relishing in success and taking blame for failure, you can show your team that you care about them and will fight for them. By embracing the motivated environment within your corporate culture, not only will you have great front-line employees but you will create a whole new generation of future company leaders. This leads you one step toward creating a company that can last a very long time.

2.  Be Transparent

It sure seems obvious but many managers don’t realize that any decent employee wants to feel like a member of the team. It is essential that management communicate the overall goals of a project or the requirements of a job so that everybody is on the same page when it comes to results. Accomplishing this relatively simple task makes it possible for team members to make good decisions when confronted with a choice and also allows them to measure themselves against a less than subjective yardstick.

Accomplishing this goal requires time, energy and patience. Employees must be informed of decisions arrived at management meetings, updated about new policies and, most importantly, apprised of any new company developments that will change how the employees are evaluated and compensated. In this vein, particularly, it is necessary for managers to meet face-to face with any affected employees to explain what the changes mean.

3.  Bring In the Boss

As they say, “nothing succeeds like success.” An appearance by the “Big Boss” can mean the difference between a lukewarm response to a new initiative and a fully engaged team. It is a highly motivating factor if your team sees that the highest levels of the organization are firmly invested in the success of a new initiative. Seriously, the mere fact that the CEO or even the regional manager is taking a personal, hands-on interest in a project will reap many benefits.

It is important, however, that this interest is not merely a memo or a pre-recorded “Message from the President.” An engaged – and knowledgeable presence is necessary to have the most effect on project and team success.

4.  Provide Opportunity

Opportunity in an organization cannot be only limited to management. Instead, front-line workers and lower management must also see their engagement in and support for these projects. Management can reward them with bonuses, recognition and career advancement. It is the last factor that can be most important as the most capable employees will look here for their motivation. In fact, this latest generation of workers almost expects to move up quickly!

Some ways to facilitate this is to include lower level employees in senior level meetings, as members of cross-functional committees and as true arbiters of the success of a project. These functions may manifest themselves as a member of a committee but they are still powerful motivators for keeping the best people involved. From these roles, they can ‘see’ a path to more responsibility and more opportunity.

5.  Address Employee Concerns

One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch especially if that ‘bad apple’ has a legitimate grievance. It never makes sense for a manager to dismiss an issue that appears inconsequential to himself, he should look into all issues and include HR when possible. Ignoring facts on the ground and dismissing concerns outright could result in dire consequences for all within the company. In fact, managers are in their positions to handle just such eventualities – be prepared and do not ignore issues for so long that they become ‘big issues’.

One way to understand what is happening in a company is the simple “suggestion box” which can provide a way for employees to file a grievance without being identified. While this is one way, the much better way is regular meetings where team members are encouraged to participate. In addition, these meetings cannot just pay lip service to the complaints but must actively seek to redress the concerns.

6.  Reward Success

This factor is where “the rubber meets the road.” I understand that there are all sorts of studies that purport to show how various types of employees respond to various types of rewards. This fact is all well and good when the employee is highly compensated and really doesn’t need any more money but it is of dubious merit when the employee is working for minimum wage and would rather have a better salary than a trophy. Bottom line, reward success in the most appropriate manner possible.

With that said, it is not enough to merely acknowledge accomplishment. A company must come across with a real honest way of showing appreciation. Whether it is a raise, a bonus and even just acknowledgement, it is imperative to “feed the need” of the employee.

7.  Always Listen

In many ways, this is the most important aspect of employee motivation as it is the only way that you, as the manager, will know if you are messing up – and, don’t kid yourself, this is the essence of motivating employees. They must know that you give a damn. Think about it. For your company to be successful, YOU don’t really need to be happy, your employees DO.

In closing, individuals have their needs, companies have their needs, and managers have their needs, but the best way to make sure companies and managers have their needs met is for the individuals on your team to feel they are accomplishing something more than their daily tasks. They want to be part of something bigger. Recently, I read a story about 2 brick layers working outside – when asked what they were doing they each responded much differently. The first brick layer simply stated – I am laying out bricks and ensuring they are level so I can make this wall. However, the second brick layer, knowing the reason behind his work said, ‘I am building a cathedral’. Make sure all your employees feel like that second worker.

For more information on employee motivation you might be interested in, Employee Motivation: The Key to a Successful Workplace

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HR Metrics that put you in the game

by CompareHRIS on October 24, 2014

Calculations & MetricsSometimes when I watch a football or basketball game, I wonder how playmakers know the score. If I were on the field or floor, I couldn’t keep my head about me. Pulled in many directions, moving in so many different ways, crushed by the noise of the crowd, I could not tell where my team was on the scoreboard. That’s probably why I am not a sports pro. HR Managers feel the same confusion most of the time without the HR metrics that put them in the game.

Who is in charge?
Until HR Managers define and integrate metrics into their performance, they will not run their own functions. They will fire whom the boss says, hire whom the operations head wants, and run errands for the finance exec. Forgive the cynicism, but until you can frame HR metrics, implement them, and sell them to all the stakeholders, you are administering HR and not leading it. For most small and many mid-size HR functions, the metrics already exist:

1.  Count the FTEs onboard.
2.  Add up what they cost.
3.  Calculate what the savings would be if we cut X number of them.

The focus of this discussion lies in noticing that these measures do not move things forward. They spin wheels and unwind things.

What can you do?
You need a change of heart to pursue a new direction. It takes knowledge, technology, and more than a little courage to call the plays that will put HR on the scoreboard.

1.  Knowledge: Every HR principal deserves credit for immersion in compliance and legal issues. One metric each of you works under is the ability to keep the litigation wolf from the door. But, you need to do much more than the administrative tasks that you can delegate to HRIS or shift to your PEO.

As the HR records archivist, you have much information readily available. HR metrics lie in that data. It does take time to study the info, but if you seek patterns and fluctuations, you will have things to measure. If you locate where the data paths transect other data important to operations, sales, and finance, you know where to place the metric.

Visualize gauges or dials at these data traffic points, and you have key performance indicators for groups and individuals. Shane Yount of Competitive Solutions, Inc. (in a presentation to SHRM’s Annual Conference) advises making these metrics visual if you want to make accountability personal not conceptual. If you want HR metrics that matter, they have to be visible.

2.  Technology: HR principals must be able to take ownership of the technology originating in or serving their functions. Technology is the single language that all business functions share. Because it already “speaks” to the other business silos, you need to master it.

You have the technology at hand to measure what performers do. Even the simplest systems let you gather, sort, and display the scores that communicate and move the performance process forward. Scorecards, leaderboards, and box scores let you chart, analyze, and report results that make other silos value your input.

3.  Courage: Until you have proven your value, you are on call to do the bidding of the executive-suite. You want to position yourself to put the handwriting on the wall, to provide the reports and costing that catch attention, and the numbers on the board that tells everyone who is winning.

Without being melodramatic, you need to take charge of your own time. Your should focus on designing the metrics your peers don’t yet know they need.

So, back to the ball game! The A-players know where they are at any moment in the game. There are scoreboards to check, of course, but they also have a sense of the game’s rhythm and tension. The best of them have a connectivity that keeps them current on strengths and failures, and their experience tells them what time it is and how much time they have left. When your HR metrics can mentor that kind of performance, you are sustaining performance with values-added.


retaining employeesThe last five years have seen significant power reside in the hands of employers as the supply of workers has far outpaced the demand. 2014, however, looks like the balance may shift and employees will gain the upper hand.

There are several reasons for this shift – a tipping point, actually – and the ramifications will be with us for years. To start, the financial meltdown of 2008-2009 has finally reversed its course. Companies as diverse as Starbucks and Proctor & Gamble no longer see millions of applicants for thousands of jobs. In addition, the Federal Reserve Board has seen fit to scale back on quantitative easing while the Federal government is once again hiring in significant numbers. Both situations portend a more employee-centric job market.

At the same time, many large American corporations – sitting on more cash and liquid assets than ever before – are looking to expand their operations and capitalize on the ready labor market. Finally, the first wave of baby boomers have started to retire, as many as 10,000 per day according to some government estimates.

For this reason, many corporations are looking to our southern neighbor to increase the available work force but that strategy will only work for a certain number of skills. More educated and easily trained employees will start to see higher demand. The question that corporations need to ask is whether their retention strategy is sufficient to keep their best employees in place.

Simply put, a solid retention plan is key to the future success of any company. With a rapidly diminishing trained work force, a company will no longer be able to have its so-called “pick of the litter” when it comes to employees. Even worse, they can no longer rely on minimal training and hope for the best. Instead, a development plan must be instituted to keep employees motivated and committed.

Development and retention plans do not normally come fully formed but HRIS systems and Professional Employer Organizations can help jump start your efforts. Consider them when reevaluating your strategy for dealing with the “new normal” in the shrinking labor market. The real risk is not that you will run out of employees, just that you will have to deal with all the problems associated with sub-par ones.

For more information on HRIS systems and PEO companies see the following resources:


The Benefits of Flex Scheduling

by CompareHRIS on October 10, 2014

Flex scheduleAlbeit reluctantly, business owners, CEOs, and VPs of HR have finally come to the realization that flexible work schedules are a great boon to the non-work life of their employees. They allow employees to schedule around doctor’s appointments, sick children and all manner of life’s other inopportune emergencies.   It is important that the HCM technologist understands the benefits as they are the ones that must ensure the HCM technology maintains compliance with the various government mandates surrounding wage and hour.

What is Flexible Work Schedule?
In its broadest sense, a flexible schedule is any plan that allows an employee to work hours that differ from the normal company start and stop time. While an employee sees this flexibility as a great bonus, it can be a logistical problem for the HR department.

In the process, employee morale and loyalty is often improved and productivity from most employees will actually increase. Still, there are doubts from those who are tasked with managing the procedure but, nevertheless, the flex schedule seems here to stay for the immediate future.

The Next Wave

The newest generation of workers has embraced the concept like no other and, in many instances, they demand that a flex-schedule option be available as a condition of their employment. While many owners are loathe to yield their autonomy in making a schedule, a flex schedule actually gives them quite a toolbox to work with in meeting a wide variety of unusual scheduling issues. Here are a few flex-schedule options that may change your mind about the whole issue:

Telecommuting – The protestations of Yahoo’s CEO aside, telecommuting is a fact of life and the newest generation of workers is demanding it. The sensible business owner will embrace the concept and enact procedures that ensure that the company is getting its so called money’s worth from the employee.

While it may seem like there is an extra layer of oversight needed in this situation, monitoring the activities of off-site employees is really no different than doing so for in-house ones, especially if most of their activity is on line or reported after the fact. In addition, the company does not lose employee time to such minor difficulties as cable installation, doctor’s appointments or inclement weather.

Job Sharing – Another interesting flex schedule benefit that can support both the employee and the employer is a job-sharing arrangement. Job sharing is ideal for on-call positions where more than one employee can be assigned in an emergency. However, it should not be used in situations where delegator powers or important responsibilities are held as there will inevitably be miscommunications with subordinates and important tasks can fall through the cracks.

Alternative Shift Schedules  – For businesses that operate on a 24 hour, 7 day schedule, shift work is often the answer for covering those “hard to fill” shifts. Many employees are not enamored with this relationship but there are plenty of working couples who would relish the possibility of eliminating child care costs for a portion of the month. In addition, there are part-time business owners who will benefit from being able to communicate with the customers during the day and at night.

Temporary Employees – While temporary employees have been the mainstay of many a company looking to keep the costs of benefits down, recent rulings by the U.S. Department of Justice has cooled this idea. No longer can employees be simply declared as “temporary” but must meet certain government guidelines to be classified as such. Still, there are many employees who seek out temporary assignments and revel in the freedom it allows.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of the reasons for and the types of flex scheduling, both companies and their employees can benefit if a reasonable effort is made to balance the wants and needs of both parties.

For the HCM administrator, capturing time appropriately and ensuring that all wage and hour laws are adhered to is important.  Does your HCM solution help you stay in compliance to local and federal guidelines or do you have to do this manually?  A good HCM does it for you.

To compare HRMS Solutions for your business see www.compareHRIS.com.


HR Technology and the Employee Appraisal Process

by CompareHRIS on October 3, 2014

performance appraisalIt doesn’t take much to minimize Human Resources as a system of processes and outcomes. The fact that people are the “commodity” involved adds a significant and complex character to the mix. When employers distance themselves from their employees – intentionally or not, solutions for the damage done can be found in those core processes and outcomes. The common problems created by the employee appraisal process have an easy and cost-efficient solution in HR talent management technology.

An early adapter

Brian Spence is Vice President of Human Resources at Staffing Plus, a staffing provider for healthcare employers. In a speech before the 2014 SHRM Conference, Brian described himself as an “early adapter.” He has found a niche in small company transformation and start-up environments helping them transition to HR technology platforms to support them in finding, developing, and serving talented employees. Brian envisions a mission, in his words, that charts the way to a world-class workforce performance.

All employers want a premier, highly qualified, and committed workforce. We all want a workplace culture of high integrity, dedicated customer service, and employee engagement. And, business leadership can be persuaded that the expense of securing, developing, and retaining top notch talent justifies itself.

Legacy performance appraisal

Most organizations strive to have a world class workforce – aligned, inspired, and focused on delivering exceptional results. However, when put to the test, employers have not done well in providing timely, aligned, and productive performance appraisals.

According to Brian Spence and his SHRM audience, the appraisal system has been an annoying, awkward, and worrisome process. It is time-consuming, generic in form and practice, and inconsistent in timing and alignment with income. Legacy performance appraisals have had no apparent or meaningful tie to organization goals, no formal connection between pay and performance, and no clear alignment with employee peer and self-perception.

Web-based performance appraisal

Speaker Spence’s work has been in the design and practical implementation of web-based performance appraisal.  At its simplest, this HR technology changes what has been a paper bound and tedious process. At the minimum, automation talent management should speed any process. It will then increase employee and management satisfaction as speed and efficiency engage the players.

Automation enhances and refines an established employee appraisal system and provides the structure for the introduction or expansion of one. Specific enhancements are as follows:

  • Enhanced and refined look and format
  • 360-degree input and feedback
  • Performance maintenance journals
  • Links with HR big data
  • Culture of communication and engagement

Automated appraisal tools

Preferred outcomes follow the integration and strategic implementation of HR technology options.

One approach created a system that, for starters, separated the workforce into three distinct groups. The system could then trigger a performance appraisal on the anniversary date for the non-revenue producers, interval dates, like quarterly or semi-annually, for revenue producers, and 10 days prior to the end of a 90-day probationary period. HR automation then administered the calendar with speed, efficiency, and no paperwork.

However, the automation technology affords many more opportunities than “mere” process scheduling and administration. For example, it can enable multi-source feedback and 360-degree input by linking comments to portal emails or archived journals. Managers, peers, and customers can share and assess performance. Supervisors and employees can keep journals on performance praise, discipline, and databases on time, attendance, and the like.

Automation can easily and reliably link performance and job description, track role transitions and status changes, and on-boarding and off-boarding process checklists. It will trigger action plans and eLearning options.  And, automated talent management assess whether the employee performance is or is not aligned with corporate goals and best practices.

HR automation links process and outcomes

We have confidence in a system that will make appraisals more relevant. In doing this, it will define and strengthen the corporate culture as one that is concerned and supportive. It reduces the personal bias as it values the performances that service corporate goals. It facilitates succession planning and encourages a consistent and continuous appraisal mind-set. And, it is likely that a business that encourages, enables, and engages employee assessment will have a real world leg-up in attracting, hiring, and retaining quality performers.

Other articles of interest
Linking Pay to Performance: Cascading Goals
4 Reasons you Suck at Performance Management


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