So, what’s your HRIS story?

by CompareHRIS on July 3, 2015

Your HR storyHRIS operations can be looked at as behaviors. Systems are supposed and expected to act in certain ways, and there are penalties to pay when they do not behave correctly. Most of you have a story about your employee data operation’s behavior before and after your HRIS installation. What’s your HRIS story?

The rationality of machines

Each step in an information process starts when another ends. Inputs gather and adhere to new steps until they become part of the outputs. As this combination of inputs and outputs grows, the “intelligence” multiplies.

“Wired” to respond to stimuli, humans grow in their ability to evaluate stimuli and act on them. Likewise, software becomes more “intelligent” as it and its designers learn to build in action selection, the ability to select among a map of paths to promote status or flow.

The story before HRIS

Human Resources began as and largely remains a bookkeeping discipline. It records, counts, averages, and forecasts. It counts employees, hours, and processes payroll for their labor performance.

The largest part of HR relates to processing the data, and before the introduction of HRIS programs, it was mostly manual. Process-centric, it appeared process-heavy, non-strategic, and an unproductive labor burden.

The execs with vested interest in personnel functions accepted this “necessary evil,” so long as these functions assured agency compliance and management of the risk attached to human behaviors.

Until company growth demanded it, office managers or payroll clerks could manage these processes. However, with company growth, the processes grew in volume and complexity. And, volume and complexity lead to more labor at the same time.

The typical story then was of the understaffed Personnel Manager who labored to satisfy the CFO with reports of cost savings, guarantees of agency and safety compliance, and assurances of a non-problematic and productive workforce.

The story after HRIS

Processes that kept Personnel aligned with Accounting easily fit into early versions of programmed spreadsheets. A convenient calculator and spreadsheet mechanics promised little import or potential to users.

Some pioneers, however, pursued breeding and integrating the capabilities, and HRIS evolved from convenient payroll processing well before the internet. Corporations expanded information technology because of its values to finance and operations. Innovative software providers introduced programs to help sales and marketing; others designed work to support research and engineering.

Smart corporate decisions drove providers to simpler and stronger integration of purpose and system. And, in time, HRIS providers would compete to serve all corporate needs: personnel management, employee recruiting, performance assessment, enterprise resourcing, customer management, and more.

As HRIS capacity grew, it became a major corporate partner, providing the data for and means to major decision-making. As its expertise has deepened, it has freed HR leadership to devote more and better time to strategic planning and development.

What’s your HRIS story?

If, at age 60, you are still in HR leadership, you have either grown with the advances in HRIS, or you still struggle with largely manual processes in organizations so small that HRIS may not be cost effective.

If you are 40 to 50, your role has coincided with the advances in IT systems, the internet, and the Cloud. That gives you options to expense full commitment or leverage your position for HRIS customer concessions.

If you are 30 to 40, you have not known Human Resources without HRIS. It shapes your personnel staffing, job descriptions, and functional reports. More important, it affords you the time and wherewithal to influence and fulfill organizational goals.

If you are 20 and interested in an HR career, you will follow a career path that has been fully redesigned in the last 25 years for the first time since its launch after WWII and subsequent geopolitical upheavals with irrevocable effects on social legislation and contemporary demographics.

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HRIS Trend Towards Single Vendor Solutions

by CompareHRIS on June 25, 2015

HRIS SolutionsSo much of what you read about HRIS solutions makes you think that every Human Resources user needs the same thing. It makes you think that HRIS works best in global environments and may be much more than you need at the time. It leaves you thinking that HRIS programs are delivered whole and that they expand like other business systems. The fact is: More businesses are moving towards single vendor solutions for their complex and shifting needs.

What you need is some fact checking.

Human Resources information systems have developed over two generations. Like anything else, they have developed at different paces and on different planes. Some systems installed in-house, some sold as packages, and others enabled third-party providers.

Businesses – differing in size, industry sector, and technology readiness – bought into different systems at different times. At any given time then, HRIS serves myriad interests in an array of applications. The complexity and dysfunction this can create moves business customers towards single vendor solutions.

Corporations routinely age or grow out of one system or another. Despite this, “47% of participating companies have used their current HRMS/HRIS for more than seven years.” The routine response is to upgrade what they have rather than replace it. Change is difficult, and factors such as key personnel change, preference of one product to another, and additional expense hinder the decision to act. Thus, a fluid dynamic underlies implementation, administration, and decision making.

What you have is patchwork.

Katherine Jones references a Bersin Report on investment in human capital systems in a recent article on Human Resource Executive Online®. Of the companies surveyed:

  • 11% have 10 or more talent-management systems.
  • 38% have started new talent-acquisition programs.
  • 25-30% have implemented new learning-and-development or performance-management software solutions within the last one to three years.
  • 54% are considering purchasing a new HR or talent-management technology in the next 18 months.
  • 90% are replacing their existing solutions.
  • 10% intend to add new solutions.
  • 24% will replace an existing HCM application.
  • 66% will do both: replace existing software and add brand new solutions to their human capital environment.

This spectrum of demands and purchasing decisions does not suggest any particular dissatisfaction or disappointment with any specific provider or process. It basically emphasizes the volatility in the market partly driven by high performing industry leaders.

What you see is a single vendor syndrome.

The Human Resources technology in place has appeared in segments over many years. A company may have a supported payroll system but still manage its own personnel performance processes. It may have HCM, ERP, ATS, LMS, and more or none of these add-ons.

However, one thing that is happening is that both executive decision-makers and HR management have come to expect the maximum from these systems. What had been a “necessary evil” has become a central management tool, one idea that crosses all functional silos, the one means to integrate the data required of quality decision-making. So, what you see is a strong move towards single vendor solutions.

Single vendor reliability:

  • performs core Human Resources functions
  • reduces systems interface problems
  • eliminates conflicting upgrades
  • simplifies and universalizes training
  • centralizes recruitment, performance assessment, talent management, compensation, and benefits
  • communicates news, culture, and opportunities
  • provides personal and performance analytics

In addition, these single source providers are cloud-based, and that provides deal making advantages:

  • Scaled down capital investment
  • Savings on administration
  • Fast utilization and consequent scalability
  • Reduced load on existing technology functions

What you want is a life cycle system

By replacing, coordinating, and integrating various human capital resources, single vendor cloud-based HRIS will up the ante. The performance quality and menu of solutions will differentiate their appeal and add value to their unique business proposition as single vendor solutions.

Resource: Jones, K. (2014, April 4). Buyers on the rise. Retrieved June 19, 2015, Human Resource Executive Online

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Employee Engagement and Next Generation HRIS

by CompareHRIS on June 17, 2015

HR partyFor more than a generation, HRIS has been a useful business tool. Managers and executives have used it and valued its utility. In most cases, that has been a casual assessment, another software application that everyone has come to take for granted.

However, the next generation HRIS products bring something extra to the party – the data and integration that supports strategic planning. The HRIS packages that once provided data and reports for HR management to paraphrase for the executive suite now support Enterprise Resource Reporting, Inventory, Accounting, and other organizational silos.

A new dependence

Executive and senior management finds itself facing new facts. It’s not just an issue of counting heads, running payroll, and crunching some numbers. Talent is harder to find and retain, and that affects quality and productivity immediately and lastingly.

Managers with experience in top performing businesses come to the office with HRIS usage behind them and with higher expectations of its potential tie to their success. They know what it can do, and they see it as a means to leverage human capital and to grow the business.

A new approach

Most HRIS systems have had some level of interactivity. But, in next generation HRIS that interaction has become a strategic tool as it improves employee engagement. There is still the data bank of employee information, including all the detail that personnel clerks have sorted, filed, and archived in the past. But, employee access lets them view, verify, and edit the data.

Their participation relieves HR of routine tasks – employees have taken ownership of the interactivity. It empowers them with fast access to personal information, employee benefits, and training programs.

As they clarify, fix, and expand their data, employees improve the content while reducing inquiries and needs. Self-service increases employee engagement, their sense of belonging, and increases their sense of accountability. It ties remote employees to the corporate culture and gives employees the info they need to pursue new jobs or apply for advancement.

A new HR

HRIS has changed the career potential for HR professionals who can see past its administrative support. They have to step up to increase their technology skills and their ability to manage vendor relationships.

In addition to personnel administrative functions, HRIS offers up an inventory of features:

  • Cost per hire
  • Benefits as a percent of operating costs
  • Employee turnover rates per job and organizational function
  • Turnover and replacement costs
  • ROI on training and on human capital investment

Historically, the price, accessibility, and sophistication of HRIS software have succeeded somewhat as a function of business size:

  • In small organizations, HR personnel risk a struggle for control with their HRIS.
  • In growth organizations, HRIS demands more of its HR practitioners. They have more time for risk management, a better opportunity to immerse themselves in finance and operations, and a mandate to process and share the system analytics.
  • In successful organizations, the new generation HRIS takes over all the functions that get in the way of Human Resources pursuing its newly valued role in building systems, collaborating across the organization, and helping people grow with and into a culture of success.

Strategic HR moves past using HRIS as a device towards making it a transformational mechanism that drives business development and decisions. It moves past using HRIS for its efficiencies and more for its end-user needs and engagement. It promotes employee engagement, ties them to the operational systems, and makes them strategic partners.

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job performance assessmentThere are two absolute laws of performance assessment. One is that everyone hates the process. The second is managers have short memories and employees have long ones. A manager will likely forget an employee’s good work shortly after recognizing the work. The employee, on the other hand, never forgets that the manager said, “Good job!”

Bring Your Own Device

In a BYOD world, recognizing, measuring, and managing performance is found easier by managers and fairer by employees. Devices and their mobility engage the participants, archive performance details, and prepare objective assessments.

Mobile devices and the technology that supports them have become a tool and a resource. How your HR information systems facilitate and interface this ability – effectively and efficiently – is central to process productivity, compliance fulfillment, and employee retention.

Performance Assessment Potential

Legacy performance assessment has been a paper and labor-intensive managerial task. Despite a best effort by the manager, the employee waits to hear the other shoe drop. In a world of 0.03 increases, the process frustrates everyone and produces zero quality development.

Management needs:

  1. A plan to progress in terms of strategic growth for individual performance, operational function, and accountability outcomes.
  2. Tools to track, verify, and monitor work, analytics to interpret and predict trends, and to identify performance and quality problems.
  3. Define key performance indicators aligned with business goals, customer satisfaction, and regulatory compliance.
  4. Cross-functional reports of summary and real-time performance.

Employee needs

A recent Microsoft commercial points out that it is not the device that is mobile. The owner is mobile, and the device accepts that and further enables it. It is time the employees’ needs (below) determined the direction and structure of performance assessment.

  1. A well-communicated vision of the tie between individual performance assessment and corporate needs and objectives.
  2. Clear key performance indicators simply demonstrated on dashboards, scoreboards, and graphics.
  3. Simplified and personalized complex analytics that the employee can verify, adjust, and/or provide feedback.
  4. A sense of ownership and engagement that allows the individual to report the “why” as well as the “what” of the performance.

HR system needs

Transformational performance assessment requires systems that serve manager and employee needs. Fundamentally, it challenges users to move forward from a retro-review that appraises performance as history. You want to stop measuring “What did they do?” and start measuring “Will they get us there?” It is a case of “continuous planning and rolling forecasts” (Filippone, 2012).

HR organizations

This thinking runs the risk of confusing all sorts of processes and levels of performance management. However, that is precisely the point. Human Resources needs the flexibility, adaptability, and scalability expected of other business functions. And, the easy accessibility, active engagement, and personal ownership of mobile access – and the HR software that makes it happen – decides that future.

Works cited
Filippone, T. Y. (2012). Human Resources Transformation: is it driving business performance? HfS Research, Ltd./PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Image credit, http://www.pwc.com/us/en/people-management/publications/hfs-hr-transform.jhtml

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smartphone usageHow mobile are you and how mobile do you need to be? Frankly, you may be losing ground if HR, managers, and employees cannot access your human capital management ambitions and its technology platform when they want. Every user expects your HR technology to meet or beat the brains in his or her smartphone. Consequently, you should be maximizing your HCM mobility for the smartphone generation.

Research says…

The PEW Research Center reports, “64% of American adults now [2015] own a smartphone.” More pertinently, 10 percent have no broadband service other than their phone plan, 15 percent have limited options for online access, and 7 percent have limited options for online access and no broadband service at home.

Of the smartphone users, PEW identifies the traffic as shown here. It also finds that young adults, non-whites, and low income Americans are especially dependent on smartphones for online access. In addition, lower-income users are likely to seek employment on their phones, and young adults seek work, educational content, and health-care information. All these inquiries represent the work of legacy HR.

Katherine Jones, Ph.D. and Sally-Ann Cooke, researching for Bersin by Deloite (May 2015) claim that 93 percent of the studies show HCM solution providers support HR mobile applications. Since budgets began loosening, vendors have directly addressed the high demand issues of their HR customers.

Talent Acquisition and Placement

Recruiting has never been a solitary task. It “takes a village,” so to speak. And, if the research shows that you need talent and that the talent is looking for work, what you need is an engaging, accessible, and analytic tool.

Recruiting consists of a series of transactions. The more mutual and simplistic these transactions are, the happier for everyone. A fully integrated HCM platform does more than enable a phone conversation.

  • It provides forms, job descriptions, and other content.
  • It facilitates voice mail, email, and texting.
  • It permits video and conferencing applications while it sorts and archives the data.
  • It feeds a talent pipeline and makes information available to hiring teams.

Placement starts with qualifying and verifying, all of which can integrate with set-up. The platform shares the content and the process. And, it begins the operational onboarding by assigning identity, security, equipment, phones, and so on.

Present and Future

Anything that can improve employee engagement benefits the organization. Executives and managers across the operation participate in decision making on employment, performance, and dismissal. And, more and more of these transactions take place through media.

  • The present asks HR professionals to revisit where they have been, determine what they need, and communicate to their software providers how they can step up to meet the challenge.
  • The future asks vendors to teach HR what technology can do and to understand how it can best serve their needs in the future by maximizing the interactivity.

The cloud makes all this easier and better. It makes it “fun” for users and supportive to your needs and the corporation’s. It welcomes recruits to use their phones to verify personal information, access benefits, participate in performance assessments, review hours and pay, join in processes, provide feedback, and more. Fundamentally, your HR customers place a lot of faith in their smartphones. They want the assurance that your HCM platform can do everything they think the phone can handle. And you provide that by maximizing your HCM mobility for the smartphone generation – planning way beyond their perceived needs.

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micromanagement in hrJust using the term, micromanagement, much less employing it, often gets a bad rap from mediocre managers; the better ones understand that the practice is well-deserved in many instances. In fact, some employees – usually the ones at the top of the list for dismissal – require almost constant oversight to get any value out of them. Unfortunately, this process can significantly impact your own efforts. Here are a few tips for improving the situation:

Provide an Overview – While it is your job to have the vision, you will often be surprised by what your subordinates can contribute if you just give them a chance to voice their thoughts. A meeting where the overall view of the project is described is the perfect opportunity to meet this goal and get some very valuable feedback from those who will actually have to accomplish the task.

Identify Key Points – At this point, leadership truly does come into play as you must clearly delineate the key points of the initiative. Identifying where your team should be headed is the essence of micromanagement – and any other kind! Ignore this step and you will be neck-deep in issues that are completely unrelated to your statement of objectives.

Detail Complete Tasks – When delegating tasks, it is sometimes tempting to break it up into more manageable elements to monitor progress. Unfortunately, this also stymies the initiative of your subordinates. Instead, instruct them on the entire scope of the project and see where they can lead you. It’s a no-brainer.

Communicate the Needed Outcome – Ultimately, a project is about delivering results – for you and for your subordinates. The end product should be determined at the very start so that everyone knows where they are headed. In addition, milestones should be established so that your entire team can understand that they are making progress. Anything less can be seriously demoralizing and demotivating.

Add a Little Extra – Everyone understands that their salary is dependent on them satisfactorily meeting their goals. It is the nature of the workplace. Still, a little extra incentive never stopped any project from being completed a little faster or with some better functionality. Not to be demeaning, but throw your subordinates a “bone” once in a while. You will be surprised at how much value you can get from a pair of tickets to an art show or a basketball game.

Share the Final Rewards

The completion of a large project demands a reward of some type or another. In addition to recognition, your team members should be rewarded with opportunities like presenting to upper management or given other ways for them to be noticed. In other words, don’t hog all the glory of a successful project for yourself.

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Six Leadership Styles – Which One is Yours?

by CompareHRIS on May 22, 2015

HR leaderUndoubtedly, there are as many leadership styles as there are managers in the world. Still, despite their “uniqueness,” these styles do tend to fall into several broad categories depending on the personal traits and experience of the respective managers. Here are six of the most common ones:

The Authoritarian

While an experienced “authoritarian-style” leader can definitively lead a team with their vision and goal-oriented focus, this style is also often emulated by inexperienced managers who mistake mere authority for true leadership. The authoritarian style works best when the members of the team are themselves experienced and only need to be coaxed in a certain direction. In fact, with this style, the bulk of any business initiative will lie with the subordinates and their own prerogatives. Conversely, a consortium of experts will not appreciate this style of leadership and should be handled in a different manner. Simply put, the authoritarian style of leadership will pass or fail on the particular strengths of the manager and not, regrettably, on the merits of his team.

The Pacesetter

A very interesting – and absolutely self- absorbed – leadership style, the “pacesetter” expects his subordinates to emulate his every move. When it is good, it is very good but it can lead to disaster if the manager loses focus or interest. It works best with an already motivated team but can quickly devolve into a game of “one-upsmanship” where very little gets done as each team member tries to outdo the other in little things – like simply putting in long hours with no actual work being done – and forgets the actual goal of the project. To his discredit, the pacesetter rarely takes criticism from subordinates very seriously and is rudely awakened when the same points are made by his superiors.

The Emoter

Through bonding, the emotive leader aims to create a feeling of camaraderie and a “people first” attitude. Laudable, but highly impractical in a 21st century business environment. In fact, it really only works in companies headed by the founder who must be allowed to follow his desires. This style shies away from true criticism, demotivates a team – as faint praise is always available – and is completely ineffective in times of crisis as the team members are unprepared to “step up” when required by the situation. Avoid this “leadership” style like the plague.

The Democrat

While a very popular style of leadership with both managers and most subordinates, this consensus building technique offers very little in real leadership. Instead, these Milquetoast managers look to their subordinates to validate their business decisions. Unfortunately, this strategy does not work as the “grunts” will generally opt for any decision that lightens their own workload – a decidedly poor formula for success. For sure, this style works when building “buy-in” for a new, company-wide initiative but it is a poor substitute for real leadership on a particular, customer-focused project.

The Coercer

This style of leadership inevitably leads to a comparison with the authoritarian style. While the latter attempts to enforce their will through sheer power, the former tries to invoke a more personable approach. In the end, both styles want the same thing – total subjugation to their wishes – while the authoritarian just issues orders, the coercer will make some attempt to convince his subordinates of the superiority of his decision rather than just issue a series of dictates. A final note, “coercers” often see themselves as “one of the guys” even when in a position of power. It is a delusion and they should be disabused of this notion as soon as possible.

The Coach

While every manager will inevitably institute their own particular leadership style, this is the one that everyone from Warren Buffet to Elon Musk has found to be the most successful. Build your team up, coach and test them with smaller tasks and then trust them to make the really big decisions when you are not around. This process not only makes them better managers in their own right but also frees you up to attend to more important matters. In short, the “coach” develops people at every level of his organization.

So step up, have some confidence in your people and let them shine. After all, how can you be promoted if there is no one to fill your shoes?

To learn more about leadership you may want to check out, The Problem with Leadership and 5 Ways to Demonstrate Leadership in your Business.

* Caspar Milquetoast was a comic strip character created by H. T. Webster for his cartoon series, The Timid Soul. The character’s name is a deliberate misspelling of the name of a bland and fairly inoffensive food, milk toast. Milk toast, light and easy to digest, is an appropriate food for someone with a weak or “nervous” stomach; a very timid, unassertive, spineless person who’s afraid to ask for a raise!

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5 Key Reasons Why HR Underperforms

by CompareHRIS on May 13, 2015

human resourcesHuman Resources and talent management programs are under performing or barely getting by in 92% of the 2,532 businesses surveyed by Deloite and reported in HR Magazine (May 2014). Some 43% admit they do not provide the training to HR, and 47% rate their own businesses low at preparing HR to deliver solutions aligned with business needs.

How did we get here?

There is no use asking, “How did we get here?” The situation is what it is, and seems to have been this way since the Human Resources function was created. Whether organizations can find the wherewithal to solve the problem or even enter a productive dialog on solutions for re-skilling HR remains an open question. The problem reflects a number of conditions that culminate into five primary reasons why HR under performs.

1. Hiring – People fall into Human Resources. Clerks are hired for their seriousness of purpose and work ethic. They are often found in other departments and transferred to HR for their detail in clerical work and thoroughness in working with data. They may be vetted, but recruits are not checked for experience or talent that might be predictive.

2. Education – Even though most community colleges and many vo-tech schools offer courses, certificates, and degrees in HR studies, there is no evidence that businesses staff with aligned education. HR managers and officers may come to the table with college degrees; those degrees are rich with compliance and theory but often fall short on practical application and experience. And, they are just as lacking in leadership and management training as other hires to management.

3. Purpose – HR continues to attract people who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Genuinely motivated, they consider HR to be an agent of change and an advocate of employee concerns. This focus on the high road often distracts them, undercuts their effectiveness, and complicates corporate intentions. HR may provide value as an ombudsperson and master conflict resolution, but it is presumptuous to position itself as the conscience of the company.

4. Task – Human Resources management finds too much pleasure in multi-tasking. They like the variety and constant flux in the duties. However, this is actually an abrogation of management leadership. There is no future in being all things to all people. Leaders will organize, delegate, and direct tasks.

5. Support – What the business expects of HR and what HR expects of itself has much to do with the support the business leadership is willing to provide. If, as is most often the case, the corporation sees Human Resources as a necessary evil, prophylactic in purpose and practice, it will make no investment in building an HR bench or effort to align it with other business goals.

HR continues to fill the business needs it always has. However, without a more holistic approach to building and sustaining Human Resources, HR will continue to under perform and perhaps barely get by unless business addresses these concerns.

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5 keys for HRIS demoWhen shopping for HR technology solutions or thinking of changing your HRIS provider, you need to work at it. You need to build a framework for HRIS decision-making. That was the message explored in a conversation between Trish McFarlane (VP of HR Practice, Brandon Hall Group) and Steve Boese (Co-chair of The HR Technology Conference) before an engaged audience back at the 2014 SHRM Conference.

What did that HR Tech salesperson say?

Despite a slightly misleading title, the speakers offered solid advice on dealing strategically with vendors of Human Resources Information Systems in a world where, as they pointed out, “there is no Yelp or TripAdvisor” with ready reviews of HR technology.

Absent that, they suggest a pattern for approaching HRIS providers during your research and shopping. And, it starts with three key understandings:

  1. What is your strategic need?
    There needs to be a problem you are trying to solve. It could be an administrative need to expedite record keeping or to secure employee performance assessment. Or, it could be to solve a problem that has arisen with your current service.
  2. What is your future-state vision?
    Visualizing what your business needs will be in a specific future (5 or 10 years out) – you need the provider who can meet those anticipated needs now and into that future.
  3. What is your tactical need?
    You’ll want a fix on your compliance or talent management needs. Shop with a mind to find and integrate the tools that will deliver your strategic solutions.

So, finding right HR software starts with asking the right questions. You may not recognize solutions unless you know the challenges for what they are.

Build a framework for decision-making.

You should want the HRIS program that elevates your Human Resources administration into a strategic business partner. But, it is here that many decisions fall short. Buyers are happy to get a system that saves work and time but are left to regularly justify the cost and fill gaps in service.

So, you have to admit that you need help in deciphering the promises made and understanding the critical issues influencing  your HRIS decision. Your ultimate satisfaction depends on…

  1. your ability to ask the right questions and
  2. the vendor’s ability to answer those questions rightly.

Price is only one variable

If your approach is to get a system and justify the spending to your executive-suite, your shopping will be price-driven. But, as McFarlane and Boese assert, “Price is only one variable in the ROI calculation.” For example, too many customers find themselves changing their HRIS program too soon after implementation. The speakers found 50% of those changing systems did so for lack of satisfactory system integration and for unsatisfactory user-experience. Both results reflect poorly on the search experience.

Their analysis also reports that 35% are disappointed in the reporting ability and the lack of consistent content. These too, seem to be weaknesses that should have been discoverable during the product research.

What to do?

A strategic framework begins with a thorough self-analysis. As the customer, you need to assess your needs in strategic and tactical terms. You need input and feedback, shared wants and needs with all organizational functions. This communal approach spreads the risk in decision-making, customizes your search, and raises your HR professional profile.

Plan to research and interview three or more providers. Then, try to ask the right questions:

  1. What is the customer satisfaction rating?
  2. Where can I find this rating and how it was determined?
  3. Do users find the system easy to use?
  4. How does the system integrate vertically and horizontally?
  5. When things go wrong, how does the vendor respond?
  6. What does the vendor see in your business’s future that you do not?
  7. How can I talk to other customers in like businesses?

Ask about the “ecosystem.”

McFarlane and Boese refer to a business ecosystem that reminds you that no business relationship exists in a vacuum. Yet, when you meet with a vendor, there is often the risk that you will make a decision based on the moment. Impressed by the sales rep and the presentation, you forget to ask the larger questions.

You want to remember that larger, older companies can be slower to innovate or respond to changing needs. On the other hand, they have established support systems and vibrant user communities willing to share info and history. The Selector Tool available at comparehris.com is an indispensable support.

The search and decision can be burdensome. The pressure and accountability are borne by the HR decision maker. But, with time, study, and aggressiveness, the HR pro will be able to build a framework for HRIS decision-making.

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8 Common Mistakes Made by Inexperienced Managers

by CompareHRIS on April 24, 2015

inexperienced managerOften, companies – small and large! – will throw fledgling managers into positions of authority without giving them any real training or mentorship. The results can sometimes be surprisingly good but more often than not the result is disappointment for the manager, his subordinates and management. Here is where they usually go wrong:

1. Failing to Take the Broad View – New managers are often straddled with more authority than they are comfortable with. Through no fault of their own, this simple fact means that they lack the appropriate values, sensitivity and awareness of how the business world works. Instead of leading, they coerce – or worse, order, their subordinates. In the end, no one nor the company is better for the experience.

2. Being Uncommunicative – In a similar vein, many new managers think that barking orders is the way to “get things done.” It can be but this method takes a lot more effort than getting employees to buy into your vision and clueing them in to where you are headed. Simply put, understanding that communication is a two-way street is a critical skill for any manager. You have to listen as much, or more, as you speak.

3. Foregoing Objectivity – Pressure leads managers to make all sorts of mistakes. One of the most egregious is losing their objectivity about a situation or a particular employee. In fact, this failing is one of the fastest ways for a manger to lose a job. Managers must be trained and coached to make reasoned decisions no matter whatever else is going on.

4. Not Building the Team – No man is an island. Forgetting this ineluctable fact is an excellent way to create lots of work for oneself as a manager and head off down the inevitable path of failure. Managers must, must, be trained to cultivate an attitude of teamwork. Else they are doomed to any of a number of failures.

5. Deciding… and Then Asking for Input – It is blindingly obvious to any experienced manager that asking for input about an already predetermined decision is disastrous on many levels. Not only do you ignore some seriously good opinions but you denigrate your staff in the process. Yes, you are the decision maker, but give your folks the courtesy of letting you know what they think.

6. Ignoring Any Obvious Problems – If a manager recognizes that a problem exists within his purview, you can be sure that the rest of the staff is also well apprised. And… pretending that it doesn’t exist is worst of all. Not only does the manager not resolve the actual issue at hand but they are seen as being weak and ineffectual – the death knell for anyone in a leadership position.

7. Making Friends with Subordinates – A measured amount of civility is certainly called for and supportive as at-work relationships are to be encouraged. Fraternizing outside of work however, can be counterproductive and may breed enmity amongst those who are not part of the “inner circle.” In short, the consummate manager finds his friends amongst his peers or outside of work entirely.

8. Forgetting the Client – The rigors and pressure of everyday business activities can cloud the mind of an inexperienced manager. Instead of focusing on the end result – that is, satisfying the customer – the business day becomes a juggling act of completing tasks that meet some company goal. This focus is not only demoralizing but largely counterproductive as it only produces a check mark on some company metric and ignores truly tangible results.

A Final Thought
It takes time and effort to find and properly train managers especially if you are short-staffed. Consider the use of an HRIS to formalize and track training. Software available today can schedule, track and evaluate a manager’s training progress. It can deliver and maintain modules which can then be archived with back up documentation. Updates can be added easily into the curriculum as needed and reports can be developed to communicate status on the individuals as well as the overall state of company training. You can even add formalized testing to evaluate your employees and to help determine the next course of action.

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