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.

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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:
compareHRIS.com
 
PEOcompare.com

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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.

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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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HRM Systems 101: Interfaced or Integrated

by CompareHRIS on September 26, 2014

Interfaced HR SoftwareIt may strike some as patronizing, but many times the Human Resources folks do not come from a tech culture and have not experienced any tech education based curriculum. Even when they pick up the lingo of HRM systems, they are still learning a foreign language. However, the key to at least a basic understanding is critical because the HR team is a key decision maker in any new HRM system selection. In this article, we review the differences between two commonly misinterpreted terms: Interface and Integrate. While the functions are very similar the differences can be nuanced.

Interfaced
Software systems interface when disparate applications connect at a surface level. By surface level we mean that while each application will share information, only one system is sending it, while the other system receives it. To use a common metaphor, picture moving file folders via USB stick and taking it over to a friend’s house to share those files. Then your friend makes changes to those files on that USB. The only way to get that update is to bring the USB back to your house. Likewise, HRM systems interface with Payroll systems when the HR Manager and the staff access and handle employee information and send that required information to the payroll team for processing payroll, 401k, etc.

In HRM systems, the difficulty in the process exists because ‘one’ system must be the ‘keeper of all data’ or, the owner of the information, while the other system (Payroll in the above example) is the subordinate. In many organizations, individuals may decide that their team is the owner and conflict arises simply due to the ‘interfaces’ that exist. To be successful, the parties involved must negotiate on ownership between their systems and define who is the ‘system of record’.

Integrated
Systems integrate when IT, software, and software vendors develop automated ways to share information across software modules. This allows for real time information to be shared. Using the USB example, now imagine that you and your friend put the files on a USB that you share, allowing you to each view and update at any time. There is not one ‘system of record’ because the USB is keeping everything together and updated at all times. One HRM example: time clocks gather time and attendance information on a daily basis and that information is immediately available to the payroll team.

Although the politics of organizations still occur in this instance, all teams have ‘ownership’ of the information. The main difference here is that the HRM provider or ‘IT’ is the central player in the process and may dictate certain processes.

Recommendations on Interfaced or Integrated?
As you can see, there are similarities between an interfaced and an integrated approach. We believe the choice could be simple enough just based on the size of your organization:

HRM Interfaced Best for SMB:
To try to simplify this, as a truly small business, you can pretty much assemble your own interfaced system. With average-to-better desktop skills, you can put together your reporting needs. Between Excel, Access, and payroll/accounting software, you have all you need. How much you share is an interface issue and easy to do because there are few ‘stakeholders’. An interface could be a manual process and not even leverage technology.

Once you’ve increased your workforce however, you’ll need to look at HRM vendors who have unified solutions. Software that will relieve you of maintenance, reduce your time and guarantee accuracy which is ever more important the larger you get.

HRM Integrated for Larger Organizations:
At some point in organizational growth, you need more. You need integration to stream data, create and publish reports from across all functions. From HR’s view, it will track employees from pre-hire to post-retire. From Operations’ position, it will integrate employee recordkeeping with performance data. For the CFO, it links performance with labor burden. And, all integration points give the CEO detailed performance and cost forecasts along with an analysis of talent placement and management. In other words, integration is about supporting decision making and strategy – to the point where integration swallows any interface that previously existed.

The good news is that many HRM vendors have fully integrated solutions to reduce the burden of getting internal resources directly involved in ensuring information is complete and up to date. Ultimately, integration means ‘unification’ – and when you have unified systems, human capital decision making is done with everyone using the same information in real time.

So when considering HRM software, assess your needs, seek trusted help and know that you can leverage either interfaced or integrated – it just comes down to the size of your organization, and your capacity to leverage the information each solution provides.

Sources:
Integrating a Human Resource Information System: A Module with Integrated Case
Human Resource Management Systems: Strong to the Core

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HR’s Future is at the Center of Things

by CompareHRIS on September 18, 2014

5 capitals of business modelAccording to the Forum for the Future, we will improve the quality of our lives when we derive goods and services from five types of sustainable capital. The Forum’s focus is on energy and environmental sustainability, but you can see – in their five capitals model – a structure for the Human Resources function of the future.

The five capitals future
Enough has been said, even on this site, about the demise of legacy HR. Saying any more is beating a dead horse. Whatever HR will be called in the future, the human capital will need some integrating principle and function. It will evolve out of legacy HR, but it will succeed only if it derives from the five types of sustainable capital.

The office plan
There have been many obituaries for HR management. Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) will certainly bring a paradigm shift in HR functioning in any size company. PEOs and other functional models will move HR tasks off premises. Employees will realize more self-empowerment in their own assessments, training, and benefits. And, HR Specialists and clerical duties will take place in virtual worlds.

However, at some core level, business organizations need a center. Someone has to feed and audit the HRIS, network with the PEO, or cultivate a culture of engagement. Depending on the size of the employee base, this HR control center will grow as a team of better-educated and redirected strategists.

The five capitals
Visualizing models always simplifies things. And, this illustration suggests that the capital areas are distinct and bordered. But in fact, these borders will be permeable, and osmosis will blend these capital forces, giving and taking depending on fluctuating strengths.

  1. Natural capital includes the energy, materials, resources, and environment required to produce products and deliver services.
  2. Social capital refers to the value added to the organization by human relationships, partnerships, and co-operation.
  3. Human capital consists of the health, knowledge, skills, abilities, motivation, and intellectual property of the individuals employed.
  4. Manufactured capital covers the business’s material goods, tools, technology, machines, buildings, and all forms of physical infrastructure.
  5. Financial capital is evidence – in the form of currency – of the enterprise’s assets, productive power, and value of the other four types of capital.

The intent of the Five Capitals model is to persuade corporations that sustainability initiatives are good for the business as a whole.

HR has a place at the center.
To achieve and sustain this business model, you need a focus of activity, strategy, application, and administration. The shift in culture needs a place to operate and a decision-maker in charge of the evolving culture. This new role for Human Resources leadership takes a new education and a deep familiarity with all aspects of the business. It is not enough to know the vocabulary of finance or the terminology of operations. It is not a subject matter of study so much as it is an immersion in process and technique.

The HR office of the future will draw people from non-traditional sources. Staff will migrate to HR from process specialties because they are drawn to the model’s mission. HR personnel will organize around new principles of accountability and productivity. HR leadership will integrate and not administrate. It will intellectually have to integrate information, policy, and process across silos and operations that HRIS can only do digitally. Long story short, there will always be a need for someone to feed and read HRIS as well as someone to put its analytics into play if the five capital assets are to grow.

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6 Steps for Finding the Right HR Technology Solution

by CompareHRIS on September 12, 2014

HR TechnologyI recently attended the Society for Human Resource Management 2014 Conference in June of this year and one of the great takeaways for me as an HR and tech advocate was Mr. Joe Rotella‘s insights on the the six steps for finding the right HR solution. While I can’t possibly fill my article with the same verve and panache that Mr. Rotella brings to the stage, I can certainly enthusiastically reiterate his more salient points. Here goes:

  1. Complete a Self-assessment and Internal Needs Analysis – Always the starting point for any major project, determining your needs is key. While you do want to efficiently transfer as many processes as possible ( and leave no important one behind) there is no need to go overboard either. To paraphrase Joe, functionality, versatility and customization are key.
  1. Rank Requirements Based on Organizational Impact – This is where the “rubber meets the road” if you do not have an unlimited budget. The key point is that you must prioritize the components that will have the most immediate and dramatic results – read that as the bottom line – within your projected budget. If there is some room left afterwards, then you can add a few bells and whistles.
  1. Identify Potential Solutions—Narrow the Field – In addition to attending trade shows like SHRM2014, there is plenty of information on the Internet as well as an extensive dealer network for the more popular solutions. Joe’s point (I think) is that there are a plethora of software vendors out there who will promise you the world but it is up to you to discriminate between the wheat and the chaff.
  1. “Get Real” with Providers – Once you have identified a half dozen vendors that seem to suit your needs, it is time to ask the “tough” questions that will narrow them down to the top two contenders. As Joe points out, this is not the time to hide any of your needs and hope to fit them in later. Complete transparency with the vendor about your needs is the only way to go.
  1. View Demos From Promising Providers – Now that you have two or three vendors who are firing on all cylinders when it comes to understanding your HCM technology needs, it is time to get serious and invite the two most promising to give a live demo. This process is far more effective than reading written proposals and should definitely include some of the people who will actually be using the software and not just the “decision makers.”
  1. Score Solutions Based on Requirements – While almost everyone will be excited about their particular favorite HCM software and its advantages, it is imperative for everyone involved to take a second, more objective look. This process is most effectively accomplished by using a score-based system. Each person on the committee – as well as those who field-tested the software – should be allowed to grade the software. Then when the results are in, an informed decision can be made.
  1. Request a Written Proposal – Finally, you’re almost home. Now it’s a matter of asking for a written proposal that memorializes all of the agreed upon details. This process will avoid any misunderstandings in the future once the contract is accepted and smooth the implementation of your HCM software package.

Of course, this is just a cursory look at what Mr. Rotella had to say and doesn’t even touch on the concrete questions that he offered for anyone already involved in the task. For more information on this topic, please visit the SHRM.org site or contact us at CompareHRIS.com.

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HR technologyThe latest statistics show that over one-quarter of the U.S. workforce is now classified by their employers as “contract” or “contingent” and the new burdens imposed by the PPACA is likely to see that percentage  increase significantly over the next few years. For this reason, it is essential that companies develop tools and techniques to properly manage this segment of their workforce.

The Issue
It may seem that many of the issues inherent in this process can be ignored as these workers are acquired through the use of staffing agencies or hired on a “contract” basis. In fact, companies may feel that these employees are merely an ad hoc addition to their workforce. Instead, companies must realize that it is the government that will eventually rule on whether these employees are, in fact, on contract. To make matters worse, the government does not seem to have settled on a final definition of the word.

The Downside
While the prevailing HR mantra is that all workers should be treated the same in all business circumstances, this is an impractical ideal that is all but impossible to maintain. The simple fact of the matter is that it is extremely risky from a legal standpoint to treat contract workers like full-time employees. Instead, new procedures, techniques and tracking methods must be implemented to not only maximize productivity for the company’s own ends but also guarantee compliance with government mandates.

A New Paradigm
Many companies from the behemoth, CVS-Caremark, to the icon of high-tech, Microsoft, have been caught short by the meandering policies of government agencies and the socialist leanings of District Court judges. These companies and many others have been forced to re-categorize employees, pay them back wages and also ante up to the Federal government a substantial fine. If these titans of industry cannot navigate these uncharted waters, smaller companies should certainly beware.

The Solution
Many small to mid-sized companies attempt to integrate the process of managing contingent workers in with their regular payroll and systems. Unfortunately, since these systems are not integrated with each other, this usually leads to a host of errors that can take many man-hours and weeks of actual time to unravel and fix – even if dealing with a relatively simple problem like missed hours.

The use of another HRIS, such as an integrated vendor management system (VMS), can proactively forestall many of these problems and also allow your company to track a variety of other productivity and compliance metrics.  Not only will you keep the government off your back – now and for the foreseeable future – you will also be able to track the time and deliverables of the most under-managed part of your staff.

In short, if you are spending more time managing the management of your employees rather than their tasks themselves, it’s time to take a look at an HRIS system.

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Strategic HRSuccessfully completing the day-to-day, administrative tasks of the department is an integral part of HR. While important, these tasks are really just a support mechanism for the rest of the company. It is in the strategic arena where human resource or, more accurately, human capital management can really have an impact on the overall success of a business.

The HR professional who can hurdle the transition from administrative to strategic HR thinking will better serve his company’s employees, enhance his own professional reputation and provide far more value to the company.

Be Involved in the Big Picture – While it is important to fully grasp the fundamentals of HR encompassed by the administrative side, the real value of HCM only reveals itself when HR is integrated into the company’s overall strategic plan. Similarly, being the expert on the administrative aspects will make you the “go to” person on HCM matters, especially when they involve challenges and assignments that go beyond the merely administrative.

Understand the Needs of Your Colleagues – HR is often treated as an outsider or kept in a support role. HR can be so much more on a strategic level if you understand the needs of the other departments. You need to establish yourself and your department as a partner in the business and not just ancillary support. Start by asking the most important question, “How can HCM help each department fulfill its mission?”

Delegate the Administrative Details – Even a small or mid-sized company can benefit from the integration of HCM into their strategic plan. Unfortunately, these smaller companies do not always have the resources to accomplish the task. Consider outsourcing the administrative HR tasks to a professional employer organization so that your HCM team can focus on the more important strategic aspects.

Leverage Your Outside Contacts – There is no reason to reinvent the wheel when there are perfectly good solutions already present. Look for parallels in other industries. You might see a solution in an out of the way place. Similarly, trade associations may have answers or tools to help you implement the strategic view.

The Great Leap Forward
Making the transition from an administrative HR perspective to one with a strategic view can seem a Herculean task. Still, it is the most effective way to leverage your company’s most valuable asset, its people. Start by delegating the least strategic task like payroll to an automated HRIS or outsourcing the task completely. Next, attend as many strategic meetings as possible to determine where your efforts will most likely produce results. Lastly, take that great leap and integrate the HR strategy into the overall company one.

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