Netflix parental leave – should it worry you?

by CompareHRIS on August 28, 2015

parental leaveNetflix announced on August 4, 2015 that it would offer paid parental leave – all the time employees want, within the year following their happy event, to bond with their new born or newly adopted children – with pay. Should you be concerned? The answer is a qualified “No!”

Why “qualified?”

With regard to parental leave, Pew Research Center ranks the United States last among industrial nations. A study at McGill University lumps the U.S. with Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia, and Lesotho. The Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD) reports extensively on the advantages enjoyed in other nations.

parental leave entitlement

So, it is an embarrassing placement for businesses in the U.S.  On the other hand, if you were to correlate the leave entitlement with GDP, quality of life, and productivity, the ranking would skew differently.

The corporate culture in the United States might well give additional thought to the role of how increased paid parental leave might play. But, that is a political and social issue not a business decision.

Having said that –

The Netflix decision may profoundly affect the world of businesses within which it competes. The 2,200 workers at Netflix account for only 2% of all workers in the very talent-competitive CATV world, but in that talent-jealous universe, almost anything goes.

Published reports do not indicate if the policy extends to non-exempt or part-time employees. And, employment does not extend to Netflix spawned income streams like original programming.

The governance of Netflix is well-paid and not very diverse, so the move to extend its benefits may seem self-serving. It has suffered its share of class-action compensation lawsuits in the past. But, in the Northern California climate, the move seems prudent and self-defining.

But, what does it mean to you?

The Netflix decision will raise the bar on discussions of employee benefits. But, it is not likely to affect the futures at businesses outside that Los Gatos, CA universe. It may threaten the Googles, Amazons, and Apples, but their enormous wealth allows them a lot of fat to absorb any negative impact.

  • The smallest businesses struggle enough with providing mandatory and non-mandatory benefit as is. They best serve their employees by paying a livable wage and industry competitive benefits.
  • Mid-sized companies find themselves under compliance demands as a result of their employee count and/or federal contractor status. They help their employees by meeting or exceeding the compliance expectations and by engaging workers in future growth.
  • Larger companies face challenges to meet compliance mandates and compete for talent in their industry sectors. They improve employee satisfaction by besting compliance and economic standards. Depending on earnings goals, they have room to innovate and compete for talent.
  • Global organizations have a lot of irons in the fire from the start. While they are “armed” to compete for talent with unbeatable benefits, they have cross-international and equity concerns to consider.

How does HRIS handle this “revolution”?

The tedious, demanding, and detail heavy tracking required of a manual system adds cost and inefficiency to the process. Netflix assuredly relies on external payroll and personnel processing. It does not even have an HR officer, and with their relatively small number of employees, any quality HRIS program can handle the complexity of unlimited vacation and parental leave policies.

But, for your business, you want to understand that HRIS is well past the age of spreadsheets and may offer you complex and redundant security in processing employment records to track and, thereby, encourage the introduction of more generous leave policies – even if you don’t want to complete with Netflix. Making your HRIS vendor a partner – instead of an operator –may offer options you and your employees have not considered.

Image from http://waworkandfamily.org/tag/summit-on-working-families/

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OFCCPWith its formidable name, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the full clout of the federal government behind it, the OFCCP is well equipped to monitor and enforce its mandate that every vendor awarded a contract with the Federal government fully complies with the intent and the letter of the various laws intended to promote affirmative action for minorities, the disabled, veterans and all the other protected classes.

In the past, this compliance was a somewhat arduous task but still doable for most companies. However, the recent changes in the laws and in how they are administered have made the process far more problematic for companies large and small. Here is just some of what you need to know when developing a proactive affirmative action plan for your company so as to avoid the pitfalls of an audit:

First, Understand Your Peril

The aggressiveness of the OFCCP cannot be overstated. Good intentions just do not carry any weight with the bureaucrats in this office under the current administration. There are never any discussions anymore about whether a ruling by the OFCCP is correct or not. Typically, their response is “my way or the highway” and you better be prepared to cooperate. In short, if the OFCCP can tag you with a fine, they will and their next negotiating position is, “pay up” and maybe we won’t fine you to any further extent.

Second, Evaluate the Impact on Every Employee

Naturally, most employers will concentrate their affirmative action efforts on the protected classes listed in the law. Unfortunately, this effort will not insulate an employer from being targeted by non-protected employees. In one particularly notable instance, Goodwill Industries of SoCal – an institution not known for its predatory or even unsavory practices – was fined and made to pay back wages to white males for discriminating against them in favor of females during the hiring process. It is essential that you, as an employer, remain even-handed in your practices across the entire spectrum of potential hires.

Third, Delineate Your Policies

The first place the OFCCP looks when it audits a company is at its stated policies. The lack of one is not an excuse and is actually counted against you as a case of willful negligence. In particular, the government is looking for an EEO policy, an anti-harassment policy, a family leave policy, an accommodation policy as well as an affirmative action policy – all revisited and updated within the last year.

Next, Review Your Compensation Practices

As this area is the one most likely to produce a complaint from an employee, your administration of the compensation process should be absolutely up to snuff. You will most likely be asked to describe your compensation plan, how hiring and promotion decisions are made, what factors influence pay, who are the decision makers and, most importantly, to explain any anomalies in compensation that are uncovered during the audit. It is highly desirable to have these questions already answered before the OFCCP shows up at your door.

Lastly, Develop a Superior Audit Trail

As already mentioned, the OFCCP will not just accept your word that you are complying with their mandates. As such, your company must develop the proper procedures not just for the process itself but also for documenting your actions. In particular, they will want to see written examples of job descriptions, compensation data, subcontractor lists and a copy of the employee handbook. In addition, you will most likely have to show how your company has made reasonable accommodation for the handicapped and provide an overview of your new hire orientation as well as your termination process and the accompanying logs. 

A Final Thought

Administering a good AAP takes time and energy that may be better spent by you and your staff on growing and managing your core business. For this reason, make sure your HR software system has all the bells and whistles you need to get you the data and metrics to manage the situation as effortlessly as possible.

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Workplace smartphone policy in an HRIS world

by CompareHRIS on August 14, 2015

phone use at workSmartphones may be every executive’s personal digital assistant. But, for most workers, phones are their life-line. Phones connect them to their immediate family, social world, and internet. Making room for smartphones in the workplace calls for some balancing of employer and employee rights – especially when you want to promote and engage social interaction through your HRIS potential.

Here’s the culture:

Pew Research Center reports key facts about usage as of 2013-2014:

  • While 90% of Americans use cell phones, 64% use smartphones.
  • Some 67% admit checking their phone for calls and emails even though their phones have not rung or vibrated.
  • Of the users, 29% cannot “live without” their phone.
  • 34% use their smartphones mostly to reach the internet.
  • And, 7% – younger people, minorities, and lower-income owners – feel smartphone “dependent” for their personal, work, and internet communication.

Mobile devices were meant to facilitate communication including the ability to reach target markets. However, smartphones have liberated their holders to access needed and unneeded information 24/7.

A 2012 SHRM interview with Jeanne Meister of Future Workplace refers to a Deloitte survey of 3,000 business leaders: “only 18% [of respondents] believe social business is important to their organization today, but 63% say it will be important to them in the next three years.” The respondents were thinking about their intent to maximize the use of social media to manage talent, recruit, and train.

Here’s the problem.

As business leaders expect their employees to maximize their mobile interaction, it presents new challenges.

  1. Privacy: Employees have no reasonable right to privacy when using company-supplied phones. In general, employers cannot control or monitor employee-owned phones or their usage. Exceptions might occur where the use of electronic devices would compromise the work or safety. Under a firm policy on the use of personal smartphones at work, employees have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
  2. Hours: Businesses that expect employees to use cellphones for business purposes only have created a new set of problems:
    *  Businesses do not have to pay exempt employees for use of their smartphone off-duty.
    *  Businesses must pay non-exempt workers for off-duty work and work-related use of smartphones.
  3. Addiction: Cellphone addiction is a demonstrated psychological problem for many users. They suffer anxiety, sleep loss, and reduced fitness as a result of dependence on their wireless access to social media, alerts, family management, shopping, entertainment, games – and work. Their dependence reduces the volume and quality of work.
  4. Abuse: Smartphones afford some secrecy for unacceptable workplace behaviors, such as sexting, harassment, and theft of intellectual property. In this litigation climate, businesses are accountable for what they know and “should reasonably have known.”

Integrate HRIS into the culture.

Today’s HRIS abilities encourage business owners to involve employees in their own personnel information, invite them to manage their benefits, to interact with their performance assessment, to read real-time corporate communication, to schedule and adjust their work, and to train and learn.

However, monitoring and managing approved, unapproved, and acceptable use of personal devices requires clear and consistent workplace smartphone policy:

  • Ban all cell phone usage in certain work like food processing and research clean rooms.
  • Brand employer owned phones with loud colors and logos.
  • Require all phones to be on airplane mode during meetings.
  • Limit use to ten minutes an hour or 20 minutes in four hours.
  • Encourage users to keep their conversations civil and quiet.
  • Prohibit bullying, obscene, and otherwise unacceptable language that can be overheard.
  • Forbid any use of smartphone cameras.
  • Clarify the “allowed” use as well as the “disallowed.”

You should create a direct and reliable means of emergency communication when phones are not permitted. And, it should be clear if there are different expectations of management use.

HRIS integrates with smartphones to afford employees a new voice, and removing or undercutting that voice is not the best practice. So, work with your business counsel and your HRIS provider to prepare and enforce a workplace smartphone policy that resolves any conflicts.

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Choosing an HRIS – 7 Steps to Get You Started

by CompareHRIS on August 5, 2015

Weigh your optionsFinding the right HRIS or HCM for your company need not be a laborious or complicated task. Instead, a little common-sense guidance can make the entire process a whole lot easier, without breaking the bank.  Here are a few suggestions on how to template the entire procedure.

1.  Rank Your Organization’s Requirements Based on Their Impact – Always the starting point for any major project, determining your needs is paramount. The key goal here is to prioritize the components so the implementation of the HRIS system will have the most immediate and dramatic results – that is, to improve the bottom line as significantly as possible, subject to your allowable budget.

2.  Complete a Self-Assessment and Internal Needs Analysis – This is the step where you finalize the components of the HRIS that you will need. Without an unlimited budget you may have to make some hard choices about what to include. Aim for functionality and versatility as your company will undoubtedly grow and change and the software will have to accommodate any new needs. Strive to allow for some customizability in the software so that more modest changes can be incorporated in the future instead of having to scrap the entire system prematurely. Then, if there is some room left in the budget, consider adding some extra “bells and whistles.”

3.  Identify the Most Prominent Solutions – There is an abundance of information on the Internet about HRIS systems – and even online tools – that will you to help you narrow down your search. As with any other software product, the vendors may promise the world but sometimes under-deliver on those promises. It is up to you or your staff to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Ask the hard questions, of the vendors and of yourself, before inviting any company in to demo a product.

4.  Spend Some Time with the Providers – Once you have identified the top three to four vendor candidates, it is time to communicate to them your needs. Require them to demonstrate how they can address those needs by providing pertinent answers to your specific situation. Also, understand that they might not be able to meet your budgetary requirements at this time but that issue might be able to be negotiated later. The real goal at this stage is to narrow down your choices to just two.

5.  View the Demos from the Most Promising Providers – The process now gets easier but a little more intense as the vendors will be trying their best to get your business. This means more affordable pricing but also a sea of material that you will have to wade through. It is also important to get a “live” demonstration. While the paperwork should also be included, a live showing will make it far easier for you and your team to make an informed decision. Also, include the actual folks who will use the software at this stage as the decision-makers may not completely understand the practical reasons over the strategic ones to choose a certain software.

6.  Take the Time to “Score” the Solutions – Most entrepreneurs and business owners pride themselves on being able to make a swift, and more importantly, accurate, decision. This stage is not the time to engage in any precipitous or unilateral decision-making. Instead, utilize your most valuable assets – your employees – to help guide you through the process. Consider taking the time to develop a simple score-based survey. Then, invite people at every level of the organization to anonymously evaluate the merits of the software solution. You may not get the answers that you want but you will get a barometer of what the “folks” are thinking. It will still be up to you to make the final decision but the “group mind” is often more powerful than that of the CEO.

7.  Finally, Request a Written Proposal – Once the final decision has been made, it is essential to have the details memorialized in a written contract – not only for your benefit but also for the vendor’s. Only in this way will you both be satisfied with the terms of the contract and only in this way will the implementation be as smooth as possible. Simply put, both parties must be satisfied and aware of the practicalities with the implementation or issues will arrive. Deal with the issues proactively for the best result.

Of course, this is a relatively cursory look at what to do when deciding on an HRIS system. In fact, the advice doesn’t even touch on the truly concrete questions that you will have to generate for the decision-making process. For a more detailed look at the features you should consider, take notes from the questions asked on our HRIS Selector Tool. These questions will give you the prompt for discussions with your team as well as with the final companies you are considering.

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How high is your CEO’s HRIS IQ?

by CompareHRIS on July 31, 2015

smart CEOOn occasion you’ll find a CEO willing to admit that they trust their gut more than the big data that is fed to them. There’s no surprise in this because we know that sometimes ego feeds the executive process. At the same time, the top CEOs at the top corporations individually advocate for more data, better refined, and universally accessible. Their interest in the power of data and analytics is evolving, and now the c-suite has yet another button to press on Human Resources. Your tech mastery had better be as high as your CEO’s HRIS IQ.

Here’s what has happened.

People competing for chief executive roles are coming from a new generation. “Generation” is not just an age issue. They come from an education and experience with different management values and mechanics. Pragmatic and analytic, they matured after 9/11 and shaped their career potential throughout the financial crisis of 2008.
They do not expect to use landlines, store info on CDs, or unfold a map. They think information is boundless and access is unlimited. And, they do not like to lose touch.

Are CEOs smarter than ever?

If CEOs feel they ride the crest of the tech wave, they need to ready themselves for even more explosive growth in dependency on technology. Start-ups anticipate yet another age in the nature of work with advanced processing and storage capacity redefining even the work of professionals, services, and managers. You have got to believe they are still paddling in place trying to stay ahead of the wave.

Nonetheless, qualified executives take the power data and analytics for granted in ways their predecessors did not. It does not make them smarter, but they are abled in different ways. They have seen their peers move on with the force of big data behind them.
Every major business leader model scores highly among the tech savvy. The new generation of CEOs has partnered towards the subjugation of finance, operations, and R&D through information technology. And, they are close to mastering inbound and outbound marketing.

Where does this leave HR?

It exposes Human Resources management to accelerated pressures to match those accomplishments.

According to CEO.com, “the majority of executives agree that big data will play a valuable role in the organization’s future.”  In an SHRM article, Kathy Gurchiek quotes Matt Ferguson of CareerBuilder: “HR is the new frontier for data science applications in business.” Ferguson notes, “CEOs are looking for HR to be just as data-savvy and digitally savvy as other areas of the company and take quick, measurable actions that move the business toward its goals.” It is fast becoming incumbent on HR leadership to:

  • Design and implement actionable talent data to move and satisfy the organization’s needs.
  • Offer data-based initiatives to cut costs and better use the labor force.
  • Collaborate and lead peers and functions to analyze and solve people performance problems.

So?

While Human Resource Information Systems continue to house and administer HR data, more is expected than numbers, records, and reports. HRIS has demonstrated its ability to handle large volume, but “big data” has come to be understood as a dynamic resource.

For example, HRIS has proven its ability to record and administer the work life of an employee from start to finish. But, that same data contains a wealth of information on which to recruit. That work life reveals how well suited an employee was for the work, what characteristics helped and what failed, and the progress that might be expected over time. It uses history to match candidates with work and predict performance and motivation response.

As your CEO’s HRIS IQ goes up, you can assume increased expectations. Treating these expectations as opportunities will advance your position as well as the wealth of your human capital.

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Accounting software and HRAccounting software is virtually a requirement for all businesses, and for good reason. At the beginning, small business owners might find Excel acceptable, but sooner than later, they move on to a packaged product like QuickBooks or FreshBooks. This will do the trick for the smaller businesses with the most modest of accounting demands but invoicing alone can take away precious time that could be used to build the business.

  • Simpler systems are referred to as single-entry accounting functions, a cash book not unlike your checkbook. You record incoming and outgoing cash. You label columns and roll out the transactions to show beginning and ending balances. Accounting software will run these processes for you, preparing invoices, writing checks, and archiving data. This serves most of the accounting needs of many companies such as work-at-home businesses, virtual assistants, and the like.
  • Double-entry systems process more sophisticated accounting and larger business requirements. Double-entry accounting software allows the user to prepare general ledgers, receivables and payables, inventory and fixed assets, sales analysis and time-billing, and more.

Perhaps unfairly, first generation programs were dismissed as mere bookkeeping systems because financial accounting usually applies to reports that are shared and public to auditors, agencies, and outside stakeholders. It is also unfair to claim that simple systems do not rise to managerial accounting with its predictive analysis that forges managerial decisions.

People Count – Forcing another Technology (HRIS)

All these systems focus on currency and calculations. These numbers provide informative data that has nothing to do with employees – on the surface. Profits, losses, expenses, appreciation and depreciation, gross and net proceeds, acid tests and other ratios – these have never been people issues in the GAAP discipline of financial accountants. This is where the Human Resources Information System comes in.

Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) process employees the same way accounting technology processes numbers. It counts, tracks, sorts, and archives people and their administrative records. It can be outsourced, cloud-based, or proprietary in-house. It does payroll and pays related taxes and entitlements. It calculates and administers employee benefits, and it reports labor burden. The more sophisticated HRIS programs are scalable and facilitate employee self-service, track training and development, support talent management and even succession planning.

Software-Distinct

Unfortunately, single software that handles both the accounting and human resources disciplines are hard to come by – a sustaining business challenge. Interestingly, it reflects long held management biases that HR and Finance do not mix. When, as is often the case, Human Resources management reports directly to the CFO, the CFO’s primary interests lie in HR’s ability to meet managerial accounting benchmarks. Employee turnover remains a pricing issue, not a human one; Recruiting is an expense rather than a resource. In any case, HR historically was believed to not have a true grasp of the financial accounting discipline, and accountants are disciplined to see little beyond 12 columns of future.

A significant outcome of the increasing adoption of HRIS software has been the maturation of Human Resources’ strategic ambitions. As the software has relieved HR leadership of administrative tasks, it encourages them to accept chores and develop strategies that correlate with the managerial accounting futures the CFO wants to see.

Mutual Interest. Better Together.

HRIS and Financial Accounting software are not mutually exclusive and, when integrated, become indispensable tools for both disciplines. If the human resources and accounting managers are inclined, they can readily see and use their respective outcomes for budgeting, planning, and decision-making.

Accounting professionals mine historic data for its trending values; Human Resources finds history as dynamic as human behavior. The ability to integrate the perceptions reduces organizational silos and presents valuable real-time information to all stakeholders.

For example, Financial Accounting Managers want managers to assess employee performance at least annually because it is a management best practice. Human Resources want those assessments because of their predictive values. Now, there may be moments when Financial Accounting realizes the finance numbers do not promise enough future for those human performance predictive analytics to materialize. But, barring such a particular bankrupting crisis, they should appreciate that training, development, and succession-planning contribute to the return-on-investment. Today’s Human Resources Information Systems programs assure Finance executives that management is truly leveraging human capital to its maximum.

You can find and compare HR software systems using your own criteria with the HRIS Selector Tool on CompareHRIS.com.

You may also want to check out the Selector Tool on CompareAccountingSoftware.com to find and compare accounting software within your specific industry.

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HR Leadership vs the HRIS System

by CompareHRIS on July 17, 2015

HR leadershipMatching a Human Resources information system with a specific business’s needs can be problematic. Too many people mean too many things by HRIS: from an in-house proprietary system, to software purchased on the market, to systems interfacing with SaaS providers.

Unless the business is able to assess its needs clearly and fully, it will comparison-shop at a disadvantage. It may settle for a starter program of core personnel functions (HRMS) that lacks the scalability to grow with the business. Or, it may have expectations of the system’s ability to track applicants, analyze resumes, or manage talent. Any shopping should begin with resources like the compareHRIS.com HRIS Selector Tool.

Comparative shopping

Assessment includes data on the number of employees and the weights you assign to diverse needs like training, self-service, etc. The approach is analytic and informative and a good first step. The analysis does the legwork for you and adds dimension to your needs. It helps you differentiate one provider from another based on the same criteria and compares apples to apples.

Taking ownership

There is a difference between knowing how a system works and understanding what it can do. For example, HR management will not likely operate the system. Some HR tech will be the operational liaison; senior and mid-managers will interface with it for their silo interests; and employees will punch in for self-service. HR management will then monitor system performance, reporting, and outcomes.

But, it falls to HR leadership to grasp and exploit the system’s full potential. For example, a quality HRIS system will calendar and count completed training sessions. However, other cross-functions will align training with talent management needs. It will correlate the training completion with employee performance assessments. And, it will communicate the nature and availability of training sessions through the system.

Just in time

The HR leadership proves itself by taking that data and functionality and doing more with it. An HRIS system is a vehicle that works both ways. It discovers employee and operational needs, and it offers aligned solutions. For example, management can wait for employees to notice the available training, but quality leadership will use the system to facilitate a training push. The same system that schedules and records completed training can put the training in the employee’s lap, so to speak. The system will navigate, assimilate, and integrate the current needs of employee, operation, and corporation goals to present just-in-time learning. It pushes the training package into the employee’s court, enabling the employee to develop his/her talent profile, satisfy the line manager’s problems, improve the employee’s performance assessment, and move the business forward.

Efficiency is not a leadership metric.

The advent of HRIS and the exponential development of HRIS functionalities task Human Resources leadership with comprehending its potential while putting it to use. Increased departmental efficiency is usually the main selling point to justify investment in the venture. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness were the originating motives, and they have a way of dominating the installation, implementation, and utilization. The CFO is happy, the CEO is happy, and the stockholders are happy.

However, the role of HR leadership is to maximize system utility and potential. When effectiveness is measured in employee retention and productivity, the HRIS pays for itself very quickly.

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The 7 Secrets to Employee Motivation

by CompareHRIS on July 10, 2015

employee motivationRegardless of the business climate, maintaining motivated employees can be difficult for a manager or business owner. When it’s busy, they may feel overwhelmed, while the slow periods may leave them somewhat passive and unresponsive to customer demands. Still, it is the responsibility of management to deal with this issue. Here are a few strategies for accomplishing this goal:

Create a Motivated Environment 

The first step towards motivated employees is to create an encouraging environment for the behaviors you are trying to foster. At the very outset, you must determine who is enthusiastic and who is not. Then, counseling or terminating any influences that are derogatory or non-supportive is essential. In this manner, you will create a self-reinforcing environment that does not have to be constantly maintained.

This is the perfect environment for managers who love to lead by example. Embrace the motivated environment, nurture it and not only will you have great front-line employees but you will create a whole new generation of future company leaders.

Communicate Your Goals 

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 the project or the requirements of the 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.

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 staff. It is a highly motivating factor if your staff 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 videotaped, “Message from the President.” An engaged – and knowledgeable! – presence is necessary for this motivating factor to have the maximum effect on success.

Provide Opportunity

Opportunity in an organization cannot be only limited to management and the company as a whole. Instead, front-line workers and lower management must also see that their engagement in and support for these projects can reward them with bonuses, recognition and career advancement. It is the last factor that is most important as the most capable employees will look here for their motivation.

Some ways to facilitate this motivating factor 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 not manifest themselves as a member of a committee but they are still powerful motivators for keeping the best people involved.

Address Employee Concerns 

Despite what the old song says, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, especially if they latch onto a legitimate grievance. It never ceases to amaze me that a manager will dismiss an issue that is essentially inconsequential to the company – that is, it involves a relatively small amount of money- but ignore its consequences among the bulk of his subordinates. In fact, managers are in their positions to handle just such eventualities and it is a nothing short of incompetence to mismanage the situation.

Simply having an anonymous “suggestion box” or providing some other way that employees can file a grievance without being identified is the barest means of addressing employee concerns. Much better are regular meetings where staff 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.

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. More simply put, 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 real value for a successful employee – whatever that means. Whether it is a raise, a bonus or even just recognition, it is imperative to “feed the need” of the employee.

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 or employer, will know if you are messing up – and, don’t kid yourself, this is the essence of motivating employees. They must know that the attention is being paid and 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.

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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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