I recently attended the largest event for Human Resource professionals, the annual SHRM conference which was held in Washington DC. While employee engagement, recruiting, talent retention and professional development were top themes at this conference it was clear HR professionals were focused on improving efficiency by eliminating administrative work. Of course, in today’s mobile, “always-on” work culture what business professional isn’t looking for ways to do things better, smarter and faster.
HR professionals have been facing challenges over the last few years that are becoming common in all departments in many organizations. The increased use of technology combined with challenges eliminating paper from workflows creates fragmented processes. The HR department in a large company could have as many as seven systems including (but not limited to):
A company will also have an HRIS (Human Resource Information System) which is the employee system of record. While the large players in the HRIS space have tried to incorporate many of these technologies into their offering, there continues to be many standalone systems used by HR that don’t talk to each other. HR technologies do what they were designed to do very well, but if they don’t talk to each other the same information has to be keyed into multiple applications. When you add in all the paper-based employee files, which based on feedback from SHRM attendees continues to be common in most companies, and it becomes apparent that there are information silos causing inefficiencies and disconnected processes.
Consider something as simple as a manager trying to review training and performance review documents for a team member. These documents could be scattered across numerous systems and some might be in paper employee files. Chances are, the manager doesn’t have easy access to any of these systems or files so a request is placed with HR who starts a scavenger hunt to locate all the documents requested. The end result is laborious, administrative work for HR and a frustrated manager who can’t get quick access to information when and where he or she needs it. This leads to bad practices like managers creating their own personal “shadow” files or HR printing digitally born documents to create a complete employee file.
What about sharing documents with people outside of the organization like auditors and litigators? First you have to find all the required documents; next, all the documents must be securely shared. This typically involves scanning paper documents, downloading digital documents and putting both on some sort of encrypted media like a portable hard-drive. Again a burden for HR and if the requested documents or information is not provided in a timely manner the company could incur big fines or penalties.
Progressive HR departments have created a checklist they use when selecting new technology that every department should follow. Solutions deployed should:
While this is an HR checklist for new technology these characteristics should really apply to any solution deployed in a company. A solution that does not have these features could quickly become outdated and may not adequately help an organization become more efficient.
By BJ Johnson
Access originally posted this article to WorkFlowOTG.com