8 Steps to a Successful HRIS Installation

by Carolyn Sokol on July 25, 2014

Install softwareA Human Resources Information System (HRIS) can not (or should not) be installed without a plan. The plan should precede any commitment to purchase because the implementation process should be well understood.  After all, anything involving technology occurs under pressures, factors, and conditions that are fluid and potentially counter-productive. While the benefits of an HRIS outweigh the concerns, a successful HRIS installation requires attention, strategic planning, and these eight steps.

The Timeline

Your business timeline may not be the same as the provider’s schedule. The provider will focus on undraping the system, plugging it in, running tests, and troubleshooting. The vendor will usually put six to eight weeks on the calendar. Duration is partly a function of data volume and training required.

However, your HR calendar is more complex because people do not roll out on a level playing field. That same six to eight weeks could overlap with behavioral calendars. There are necessary considerations for vacation season, open benefits enrollment, performance assessment cycles, social calendars, and any number of distractions not felt by the provider.

All these schedules must link with decision-making, team-formation, advance communication, installation, and employee training and acceptance. In other words, you will need to be  cognizant of the timeline of installation when deciding to adopt an HRIS.  Once you have purchased an HRIS, installation can begin.

The Installation

  1. Audit: The HRIS provider will direct a business process audit to 1) align processes that integrate easily, 2) revise processes that require adaptation, and 3) replace processes needing it. This discovery process directs and enables team appointments and strategy. Discovery does not proceed without setting a schedule of goals, processes, and sub-processes.
  2. Teams: Teams must reflect the employee needs as well as corporate and vendor interests. Human Resources concerns and IT interests are not exclusive here. While IT should drive the project management, HR needs are not typical of the data functions IT usually serves. The project management focus must remain on integration more than data management.
  3. Installation: Human Resources must stay away from installation. It is the work of Information Technology leadership or outsourced consultants. Inclusion of in-house IT staff and/or HR liaison specialists engages them early in the process.
  4. Conversion: The installation is all about conversion – taking existing data and reconfiguring it to new ends. But, it is also about doing it seamlessly. It is about recognizing that there is archived data, current data, new data, and future data. The conversion takes the static and makes it dynamic and scalable.
  5. Testing: Installation leads to redundant testing and troubleshooting to identify failure, weakness, and remedy. Done right, it will enable continuing self-evaluation and re-configuration.
  6. Training: It is a huge mistake to limit training to HR staff. HR staff need to know operation, liaison, and the core aspects of the system and its operation. However, they are not the end-users. All silo interests have strong interests: finance, operations, purchasing, etc. And, rank and file employees need more than instruction on operation of the system. Allowing employees the feedback and some control over their daily records is a cultural innovation that needs communication, training, and maintenance.
  7. Opening Day: HRIS is a “go” on this day. Measure ROI from opening day forward.
  8. Review: At an agreed upon date, employer and provider will review the system’s performance and manner of use. The review may eliminate functions that appear superfluous in light of the usage, highlight areas of poor performance, or identify training needs.

The Lesson

The purchase and installation of HRIS is a long way from slipping a disc into your laptop. This is not downloadable software. It is a commitment of time, system, and money. Its performance will succeed once you have formed and shared clear expectations.

HRIS providers are ready to install, and most are ready to complete the installation as partners respecting your interests and quality concerns. It is in their interest that installation succeeds, but it is your management duty to run the show.

For more information on selecting an HRIS system, download our free comprehensive Buyer’s Guide.


5 Key Reasons Why HR Underperforms

by Carolyn Sokol on July 15, 2014

poor career pathHuman Resources and talent management programs are under-performing or barely getting by in 92% of 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 it has been the situation 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, below are the 5 key reasons why HR underperforms.

  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 for their detail in clerical work and in working with data. They may be vetted, but recruits are not checked for experience and 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 this aligned education. HR managers and officers may come to the table with college degrees; those degrees are rich with compliance and theory but usually short on practical application and experience. And, they are 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 of conflict resolution, but it is presumptions 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 should 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 underperform and barely get by unless businesses address these 5 key areas.

You may want to download our white paper compliments of Lawson, Four Universal HR Needs… and How Real Organizations Have Satisfied Them


HRIS: the Keys to Employee Engagement

by Carolyn Sokol on July 8, 2014

employee engagementEmployee engagement is reason enough to invite human resources technology into your arena. All the benefits of HRIS that might save you from administrative time and workload take a back seat. Efficiency and cost effectiveness are management concerns. Employee engagement makes it work and makes even better business sense.

Employees of all ages have always wanted a voice in organizational operations. And, every employee under 50 expects an active and involved role. Data and digital systems allow them a real and virtual sense of engagement. When their engagement takes things off Human Resources management’s plate, employee productivity soars.
Interaction and collaboration
A central element of HRIS technology invites interaction and collaboration. The tools replace an element of word-of-mouth and gossip among workers with easily operated interface operations. The technology offers ownership, one less thing to complain about, and a sense of accountability. Technology encourages participation, decision-making, and feedback opportunities.

No need to worry
Human Resources Information System (HRIS) technology works best when:

  • Employees have a comfort level with computers and entry into the technology. Chances are, if they have a smartphone, most employees can manage access, comprehension, navigation, and entry. If they participate in social media, employees know the universe.
  • Employees deserve a chance to provide input on what they want to see, how they want to work with it, and where to access the system. The HRIS technology concept serves HR management’s needs, but it may die in place without willing participation. HR management needs to know its needs are not necessarily the employee’s needs.
  • Employees and systems need a trial run. Implementation is not just a plug-in and turn-on. HRIS implementation must be open to a period of employment involvement, assessment, and feedback. Any final implementation should include and reflect employee input.
  • Employees will expect, welcome, and follow any lead management provides in terms of enthusiasm, communication, and direction. If they recognize features and changes reflecting their input, they will engage and participate. Once they secure confidence in the ability to “own” the system, they will champion the technology.

Open the world
HRIS changes the modus operandi of the human resources office. It means more than moving desks and reassigning people. It is a system and function-wide change. And, if the department does not make that a full and apparent commitment, the HRIS plan can easily fail.  Engagement starts outside the department’s doors.

  • Access requires convenient kiosk portals and internet portals. Sharing is important for the HRIS operation and employee engagement. Access must assure security and confidentiality, and it is key to the operational and cultural success.
  • Self-service ability creates engagement and the accountability that follows. Individual platforms like laptops and smartphones enable the self-service, however create problems of their own. It takes internal IS input as well as that of your HRIS vendor to assure the feasibility and security of systems that enable self-service but guarantee employee and corporate security.
  • HRIS make corporate communication easy and effective. The same access that the employees find interesting gives them contact with personnel policies and procedures, corporate news, employee forums, and internal and external communities. It replaces newsletters and runs interference with rumors.

Employee engagement may be the primary motive to find and design your HRIS future. While you may focus on selling your executive decision makers on the reduced administrative overhead, sophisticated reporting, and cost-effectiveness, you might spend more time on finding and pricing the value in the consequent employee engagement.

Read more for tips on determining whether your company actually needs an employee self service (ESS) system.

You may also be interested in downloading our latest white paper, Web-Based Online Open Enrollment: How a Paperless Process Saves Time, Eliminates Errors and Increases Employee Satisfaction

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Big DataFor all the talk from vendors and technology providers, the big discussion at SHRM was not on Big Data. The much talked about topic, and most likely the darling of venture capitalists investing in firms that purport to be about Big Data, is still early on in its adoption.

First off, lets start with a definition from an article on Forbes from last year:

“Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”

Great, now that we know what it is – but why is it important to HR? Think about a time, when you can identify talent and future leaders within your organization by leveraging metrics – not just from your HCM/HRIS solution, or succession planning tools – but from a ton of other sources. For example, using information from your CRM, including sales/quota attainment, activity levels, performance management information (including 360 degree feedback) then add in social media utilization (linkedin, and additional industry social media sources), and sprinkle that in with customer/prospect surveys and you have data that is now information. This information can help you identify your next great sales person, or the sales person that will be the most successful.

You can use this to identify individuals that will be successful, and encourage your ‘B’ players to move up to ‘A’ players using coaching, training techniques. In the movie ‘Money Ball’, Billy Beane used data to build a complete ball team – likewise you can build a complete sales team. This is just one example.

Still not convinced? You should be because if you build a Big Data solution, you will be a step ahead of the competition. Albeit, your competition is trying to do it today, the fact is that vision is not always reality. And that’s why I believe this conference is not about Big Data this year – its about real solutions that are more near term, including employee engagement, compliance (when is is not an HR concern), and definitely culture.

For those of you that are somewhat hip, you can also search #SHRM14 on Twitter, (yes, it was trending) to follow what else people are saying about the conference.

This post contributed by Anthony Kelly.


HRIS Certification – What’s it Worth to You?

by Carolyn Sokol on June 20, 2014

HRIP CertificationAs human resources information systems (HRIS) increasingly dominate HR offices, managers want confidence in a qualified support staff. An emerging HR office structure includes an HRIS Specialist. These administrators can build their resume with an HRIS Certificate. And, their employers can trust their HRIS administration to credentialed specialists. What needs this HRIS Certificate serves may or may not add value to your HR operation.

The legacy HR office

Back when things were old school, legacy human resources often gave HRIS responsibility to a senior clerk, someone having talent just short of a dedicated Payroll Administrator. That Senior HR Clerk usually transitioned to HR Specialist, a largely administrative function providing the systems, entry, and database interface with the HRIS provider.

The Specialist sustained a working relationship with the provider’s liaison or account support. These parties interacted to report and solve problems, seek and implement solutions, and identify and rectify errors.

The HRIS office today

Typically, the HR Specialist has been appointed because of some seniority, knowledge of basic HR rules and regulations, and respect for employer needs and employee confidentiality. However, the nature of the technology and the accountability for outcomes has evolved rapidly with the advances in technology. The needs and expectations demand a new level of education.

Many human resources office personnel pursue continuing education at community colleges, online schools, and for-profit universities. However, each venue presents hurdles in terms of cost or convenience that can discourage many HR employees. Some progressive employers sponsor participation in workshops, training seminars, and programs offered through local professional organizations. But, to my knowledge, there is still only one program offering Certification in HRIS studies.

The HRIP Certification program

The International Association of Human Resources Information Management (IHRIM) has created the only recognized certification program in human resources information systems provided through the Human Resources Information Program (HRIP). The program boasts that participants will “cover all aspects of HRIM/HRIS, including the latest trends and best practices.”

  • The HRIP Certification exam assesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities of staff in HR information management.
  • The studies expand knowledge and understanding of HRIM and HRIS technology, functions, trends, and best practices.
  • Three delivery systems match testing opportunities with participant needs: convenient testing centers, proctored exams at local sites, and hosted testing at HR industry events.

To be specific, the Human Resources Information Professional (HRIP) Certificate is awarded for three years to candidates passing its examination. To continue the certificate beyond three years, the HR professional must re-certify with proof of 60 credit hours of continuing education.


There is no prescribed set of courses for the HRIP Certificate. However, there are some conditions worth attention:

  1. The best candidates have five years of experience in working with human resources technology solutions or information management.
  2. IHRIM offers courses to complete re-certification requirements, but the courses and webinars can also help prepare for the HRIP exam.
  3. HRIP offers exam preparation at rates discounted for IHRIM members.

HRIP has no specific curriculum, but it does offer a blueprint of preferred areas of expertise:

                                Study Domain                                          % of Certification Exam

Technology Strategy and Solutions Assessment                                           15%
HR Technology and Business Processes                                                        30%
Systems Selection, Implementation, and Upgrades                                    30%
HR Systems Operations                                                                                     25%

Total                                                                                                              100%

Education partnersHRIP Approved

IHRIM has partnered with several HRIS vendors to provide their Approved Education Provider Program of courses, seminars, webinars, and conferences. This alliance allows participants to meet the courses requirements for re-certification.

Approved providers include ADP, Kronos, WorkForce, and other leading HRIS vendors. Courses offered by HR.com and other human resources professional membership associations may prepare candidates for certification, but their credits may not be directly applicable.

Open questions

The need for HRIS education may exceed the ability for employers to provide the training or improve the competencies of employees assigned to HRIS duties. We remain interested in reader views on the need for certification, the fitness of the IHRIM certificate program, and the cost effectiveness of such training.

Your feedback is encouraged and appreciated, and we invite you to follow our continuing interest in HRIS education. In brief, what is HRIS certification worth to your human resources operation?

On another note… SHRM has just announced the long-awaited evolution of its standard-setting SHRM Learning Systems into newly reconfigured certifications as a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) or a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). We will be learning more about these certifications along with seeing all of our HRIS partners next week at SHRM14 in Orlando!


5 Behaviors Guaranteed to Destroy Your Team’s Morale

by Carolyn Sokol on June 13, 2014

one person stands outPassing the Buck
As a manager, you are probably not particularly impressed when someone tasked with a project gives you excuses when it is late or incomplete – especially if they try to pass their own ineptitude onto someone else. This reality also exists between you and your subordinates. Blaming someone below you in the chain of command endears you to no one and makes you look incompetent. Let’s face it – problems will eventually occur on one of your projects. It is best to meet the challenge head on, develop a plan for resolving the issue and take the blame yourself.

Seeming Unfair
Please note that we do not actually mean being unfair as that behavior will completely demoralize any team in a very short time. Rather, the mere appearance of unfairness can have the same effect although it does take a little longer for it to manifest itself. For instance, a manager may have an employee with whom they share a common interest outside of work. By simply discussing this interest to the exclusion of others can make it seem like there is some favoritism when there is not. For this reason, it is a good idea to engage all subordinates in non-work related conversation every once in a while.

Griping to the Troops
This is an easy trap to fall into – especially when a special project is announced unexpectedly and your weekend plans are ruined but it is a simple fact that your business life will sometimes intrude upon your personal one. There is really no point in griping about it to your subordinates as they cannot rectify the situation and doing so only encourages your subordinates to gripe themselves. This leaves you in the untenable position of condoning the behavior or ignoring it. Neither of which, your superiors want to see. Instead, if you have a legitimate gripe, you should bring it to your superior and see if there are any reasonable options available to help the situation.

Improper Use of Social Media
Similar to gossiping at the water cooler, interacting inappropriately with your subordinates on social media can really demotivate your team. While it may seem that you are “outside” of work, your interactions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. will eventually move themselves into the office environment. Once that happens, you will be hard pressed to explain statements made months ago when they are taken out of context by a disgruntled subordinate. It is simply best to keep your personal social media between you and your family and friends while your public persona makes the best case for your company and your own professionalism.

Not Following Up
It is Business 101 to make sure that things are flowing smoothly on your projects or in your department. No manager wants to be caught off-guard by their boss if a problem crops up and they are unaware. The same is true when a project is putatively “completed.” Now is the time to get with your team – individually and as a group – to understand your wins and your losses. It’s a great time to give kudos to the best performers and to coach those who have performed less than acceptably. Not only will you keep your finger on the pulse of the department but you will also let your team know that you are not acting and making decisions in a vacuum.

A Final Word
These five items may seem pretty basic but they get overlooked by even the best managers from time to time. The key is to watch for the behaviors in yourself. After all, you are the purported role model for your group. By monitoring yourself, you will develop a built-in radar for the behavior in your subordinates and be able to alter or abolish unwanted behaviors before they become a problem.

Read more here about how talent management is related to HRIS


Succession planningSmall business plans fail for a number of reasons. Chief among them is the failure to plan for succession at the top and throughout key performance areas. Absent a plan at the smallest business, family takes over, an often fatal business mistake. Absent a plan in the larger organization, politics and self-interest rule. None of this is healthy for the business or for all those who depend on its performance.

Any good business lawyer can prepare a legal transition, but small business owners should plan on issues of talent development, talent management, and cultural implications as well. Once a start-up has reached a stage where business continuity is its mission (not an easy number or dollar figure to fix), it is time to ask some key questions about succession.

1. What is a critical business position?

A critical position is a function of how difficult it would be for the business to survive. It reflects how the position affects the bottom-line, how it contributes to strategy, growth, and innovation. Critical business positions interface with customers and stakeholders, and they manage other key positions. All critical positions have a supply/demand market value for which other companies compete, and price attaches to knowledge, skills, and abilities at a rarefied level. The current market value of a position is a sign of its critical role.

2. What defines a high-potential employee or HiPo?

Employees who demonstrate “the potential, ability, and aspiration for succession leadership positions” are considered high-potential or HiPo in management lingo. Too many businesses confuse potential with performance, rewarding performance with promotion without preparation. High-potential employees may or may not be top performers, but they will share certain strengths:

  • These people know the business well because they continue to learn more about their immediate business and how it relates to overall business goals.
  • Driven and ambitious, they take ownership of their own futures. They think and aim high, pursuing a strong work ethic, working with little direction, and behaving like owners.
  • They like people, and people like them. They move beyond their performance skills to value relationships with those whom they view as collaborators. They network and nurture, provide feedback and appreciate feedback in return. They choose and cultivate relationships that raise their potential.
  • HiPos show proactive interest in how the company is doing and know what they contribute to make it happen. Their cockiness proves them to be capable, confident, and decisive about things that matter.

3. How does a business prepare the high-potential for succession?

  • Clearly identified HiPos probably fall into talent succession pools. Such succession pools may be generic or specific to position titles.
  • Each talent pool has swimming instructions, key qualifications to enter the water. Once identified, candidates can be identified and prepared in specific ways.
  • Preparation must include all parties. Managers of the high-potential players have a need, right, and role to play in their development and assignment.
  • Any evaluation process must be as objective as possible, using tables and charts to align skills, needs, and potential.

4. What’s the process for developing high-potential employees for leadership?

HiPos seek and treasure accountability. They want to handle big traffic and important tasks. Giving them responsibility makes them feel valued. There will be mistakes and failures, but they need the space and opportunity to run with processes and outcomes.

HiPos want accountability; however they need to understand it broadly and deeply. Assigning mentors will reduce risks, and challenging their mentors with mutual outcomes forges collaboration and success. It also requires structured growth paths and metrics that layout continuous self-development.

Small businesses must age and grow enough for hierarchy and accountability to become established, then the small business must work to implement succession processes that will ensure organizational success.


HR Software Futures: employee-centric HRIS

by Carolyn Sokol on May 30, 2014

HR softwareThey created Information Technology to communicate between machines. It linked databases and processed data as programmed. Hardware dominated the field, and IT management installed equipment, networked connections, and chased technological innovation. Decision makers measured software in terms of efficiency, speed, and delivery. Once vendors came up with people-focused systems like customer retention management and human resources information systems, we entered an era of the consumerization of IT.

HR software futures: employee-centric HR IT

Consumerization refers to the people focus of the software applications and databases as opposed to the item, dollar, or process focus of IT applied to operations, inventory, and finance. With people as consumers, you introduce a new problem of the subjective, unpredictable, and even unmanageable human elements.

By making software employee-centered, you shift everyone’s expectations. Executives become restless for quantitative solutions, and employees expect immediate feedback to their voiced input. This shift allowed permission for employees to access their data to make changes in basic information. It has evolved to enabling them to shop and enroll in benefits plans. And, it may move towards permission to diary personal comments and inputs, not unlike those remarks encouraged by customer retention management systems.

A paradigm shift to engagement

As employees come to take responsibility for an increasing amount of their own human resources administration, their role moves toward one of control. The shift has not happened everywhere and is governed by the nature of the business. Still, as more employees use more mobile smart devices, have cause to interface with operations from mobile devices, and work on flexible teams, the structure of their work changes.

The shift in work and employee responsibility also changes the integrative role of mid-management. More decision making moves from the executive leadership to those closer to the people and the technology. It also means that mid-managers – using software that accumulates quantitative metrics and standardizes judgment behavior – become more directly involved in human resources roles like recruitment and talent development.

  • Performance & Management Assessment: Gamification may remove the unsuccessful tradition of annual performance appraisals. With immediate and mobile access, employees will enjoy 24/7 recognition, personal mentoring, and ongoing training. Systems will provide rewards and continuous feedback akin to social media “likes.”
  • Talent Acquisition & Development: Workforce talent cannot hide in a world of social media. Job candidates post themselves openly on focused links, and employers will pursue them more tenaciously. Recruiters will develop and sustain relationships on a range of platforms to structure talent pipelines.
  • Benefits & Compensation: Software analytics can archive employee wellness programs and direct their progress in preventive and recovery behaviors with feedback, incentives, and rewards. Such analytics take employee involvement beyond a period of enrollment and into active participation in cost effective engagement.

A recent compilation of HR expert opinions in hreonline says to watch for HR software to aggressively target workforce engagement by delivering a great customer experience. If employees are given to stop on a dime to answer or forestall a customer complaint, they should also find increased value in HR software that responds as swiftly and assuredly to employee input. Vendors will meet the needs created by the consumerization of HR software.


HRIS technology: why are you doing this?

by Carolyn Sokol on May 20, 2014

HR Org Changes with TechnologyHRIS (Human Resource Information System) begins to make sense once your small business has 20 or more employees. The fact that HRIS pretty much performs all the Human Resources functions in large and global enterprises should be of no real interest to you at the moment. But, on the assumption that you want to grow, you need to get on board – the sooner the better.

Now, not all small businesses want to grow beyond their comfort level, but there is an HRIS solution for any business that feels its oats and wants to build and expand. Any business that wants to compete or dominate the public marketplace needs technology solutions in advance of its inevitable Human Resources challenges.

Because Human Resources is no longer a simple matter of tracking, filing, and disciplining, solutions to its increasingly complicated challenges lie in the increasingly versatile functionality of HRIS programs. And, before you go shopping for HRIS support, you need to know what your functional needs actually are.


The primary small business need is for a streamlined administrative tool. The HRIS ability to reduce manual work in payroll tracking, time and attendance, and the like will increase HR productivity and guarantee accuracy. By reducing the number of eyes and hands in the process, HR technology improves efficiency, lowers costs, and reduces errors.

These administrative advantages drive small business owners to HRIS or core HRMS, but they fail to see or capitalize on the ability of HRIS to change HR for the better. When HRIS frees up HR management time, it offers the opportunity to improve Human Resources performance. Improved administrative efficiency presents an opportunity for HR to study and reinvent its way of doing things. For example, the “new” data provides information of interest to Operations and Finance. It supports workflow and turnover analytics of importance to all interested functions.

Data Management

An HRIS gathers, correlates, and integrates key data about application tracking, employee turnover, benefits administration, and regulatory compliance issues. It reports on employee headcount, benefits costs, compensation administration, and reports for OSHA, EEOC, and other agencies.

HRIS can provide the data in the formats executives want for long-range planning, talent management, and succession planning. It can provide real time reports on labor burden, staffing needs, and skills assessment. An HRIS system can include report-formatting templates for reporting resources shared with interested functions. HRIS programs are setting the pace for report design and utility where Human Resources management lacks the design skill. In making information available to those who need information when they want it, HRIS reduces the load on Human Resources staff.

Employee Self-Service

An article in University Business states that what began as a benefit of HRIS – the ability of employees to access their own data – has become a necessity and an employee expectation. By pressing employees to be accountable for their side of the Human Resources administration – benefits, training, change of address, and more, HRIS significantly reduces the least engaging HR workload.

HRIS portals encourage employees to apply for postings and promotions, complete web-based training and testing, and complete and revise online benefits administration. In assigning accountability to employees, employees become data-consumers. Portals give them access and ownership as well as a share in corporate transparency. HRIS applications and portals can allow employees access to their own performance metrics as well as give them the ability to participate in and monitor their own performance management.

When shopping for an HRIS system, understand that you are looking for more than a payroll administrator. The technology available in ready or customized programs lets owners shift their Human Resources administrative needs to a technology solution. In addition, now and into the business’s growth, it allows Human Resources management to become directors and strategists, policy and decision makers.

Photo credit: Blogging4Jobs


The Datafication of HR

by Carolyn Sokol on May 14, 2014

Big DataHR analytics are a must for business futures. The datafication permitting and enabling in-depth understanding of your workforce is not a measure of volume. Datafication is “the notion that organizations today are dependent upon their data to operate properly – and perhaps even to function at all.” It enables insight, the only real value in data accumulation. It facilitates agile planning across organizational silos and multiple locations. And, human resources information systems (HRIS) are stepping up their innovative advances to move data from mere metrics to predictive analytics.

People are the Convergence of Data.

HR systems are cost-efficient indispensable tools for reporting and drawing correlations important to all organizational interests. But, your system needs to do more than count and sort. It must examine people as the convergence of data in order to substantiate strategy and plan futures scenarios.

Increasingly, employee turnover, talent shortages, ageing workers, and increased competition pressure employers. The desire for additional information pushes them towards Big Data where larger volumes, faster speeds, and more diversified sources provide the decision-making information once impossible to manage.

Analytics Shifts Perceptions.

HR analytics shifts a decision-making perception from data fields arrayed across worksheets and workbooks. For example, it does not count employee turnover; it thoroughly dissects the people who created the numbers. For another, it does not simply count and monitor employee performance evaluations for timely completion. Instead, it visualizes the quality of the human assessment transaction. And, for yet another instance, employee turnover and performance assessment provide the keys to measure the original hiring process for quality rather than speed. It is Big Data that helps this happen.

To embrace human resources information systems, HR management must first purge its data. Manually entered and mined data is, of its human nature, Bad Data. Just because you can warehouse the data in-house or in-cloud options does not make the data sounder. Likewise, securing HR analytics software will prove no service if your HR department has no one to manage and read the data. So, more and more Human Resources management teams now include high placed data analysts.

For Answer to Big Questions, you need Big Vendors.

The job, then, is to assess your needs realistically. If you want to answer the big questions, you have to think big vendor.

  • Why do new hires fail?
  • How well is bonus compensation working?
  • What does a new recruit cost?
  • How does performance assessment predict succession planning?

Research headed by Josh Bersin for Deloitte finds “only 4% of companies have achieved the capability to perform ‘predictive analytics’ about their workforce.” The rest continue to deal with data management and reporting. The businesses in this 4% also return 30% more than the S&P 500, deliver quality-recruiting remedies, and groom healthier leadership pipelines. Moreover and interestingly, the HR leadership in such data-driven decision environments are perceived more positively as making significant contributions to the business’s success.

In another analysis, Mike Collins wrote that the HR analytics need also to provide the kind of Big Data to management that facilitates high levels of utilization and faster synthesis. The outcomes must be:

  1. Relevant to the business issue from the top-down rather than use unnecessary resources from mining data from the bottom-up.
  2. Valid data, crucial to critical analysis and requiring the education and training of personnel in talent metrics.
  3. Compelling enough to provide a narrative and/or visualization readily readable by the C-suite audience.
  4. Transformative enough to be actionable – ready and accessible to change minds and forge better decisions.

Shop HRIS Vendors Smartly!

When researching and interviewing HRIS providers, frame your needs and demands in these terms. Require features and evidence of performance that produce outcomes that are relevant, valid, compelling, and transformative. You can handle the data, and you can make it Big Data. But, you need an HRIS partner able and willing to sustain a mutually beneficial relationship.


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