Making Cent$ of HR Shared Services Technology: Part I



Peter Alkema
06/13/2011

This new column on HRIQ will examine human resource technology issues in the HR world of a medium to large enterprise. Leading edge thought pieces will showcase in a practical and accessible format, how technology can be used to deliver value-adding HR services. World class delivery depends on successfully enabling HR functions with technology to deliver value to the bottom line for an organization. In addition, there is a great need to demystify technology – make sense of it.

In shared services, technology must deliver to the line and its embedded HR functions as an integrated component of the overall HR shared services value proposition. Employees, support consultants, managers and executives must experience HR technology as an enabler-- not an obstruction. As with any enterprise, the tools of the job are the systems and applications on which people transact to perform functions and retrieve data. This first edition of HR Tech Cents will look at how HR Tech (HRT) plays a role in shared services. We will ask the question: how do the key HR Technology components support a "best in class" HR shared services environment?

World class HRT is generally built around a 5 pillar service delivery model. Aspirations to achieve excellence in each pillar must acknowledge key challenges and work towards appropriate solutions. An organization's ability to do this through shared service must consider ways of achieving this without compromising the economies of scale cost savings that come with centralizing core HR functions.

Pillar #1: Portal

  • Challenge – Employees want simple, easy to navigate and single entry
  • Solution – Front end personalized, unified gateway of info and apps

Pillar #2: Knowledge Base

  • Challenge – At home, employees are 2 clicks away from information they need
  • Solution – Events-driven one-stopshop of decision supporting information

Pillar #3: Acquisition

  • Challenge – Paper based, manual processes will not win the war for talent
  • Solution – On boarding orchestration that streamlines notifications & steps

Pillar #4: Self Service

  • Challenge – Employees want the power of choice and decision in their hands
  • Solution – Empowers the line and integrates with portal and knowledgebase

Pillar #5: Case Management

  • Challenge – Shared services have to deliver high volume at low cost
  • Solution – 1st call resolution, low escalation, 1CSR:1000 employees

It is important to understand the requirements for each of these in a shared services, as well as what the opportunity is for the technology to demonstrate ROI.

Pillar #1: Portal

Shared Services Requirement – Single entry point that employees can be referred to that provides a one-stop shop for information, access to applications and lifelines of support. Employees who have to navigate complex online worlds to achieve what they want are more likely to need real time consultant support.

Technology Opportunity – Create an online world that brings everything together for the employee: policies, procedure manuals, links to systems and easy-to-use workflow. Consider integrating this with the company intranet to gain maximum employee mindshare.

Pillar #2: Knowledge Base

Shared Services Requirement – A searchable and comprehensive database of HR policies, rules, training manuals and relevant information is surprisingly lacking in most HR shared services. Technical solutions must be simple to use and access for support consultants and employees.

Technology Opportunity – Focus on the experience of searching for relevant documents by thinking like an employee, not a technologist. Don't make search functions too advanced and rules-based. Rather, focus on making them intuitive and spend more time properly classifying documents with metadata.

Pillar #3: Acquisition

Shared Services Requirement – A product is needed that allows vacancies to be posted and for external recruiters to meet and compete for this consolidated demand. Re-use of already supplied data and seamless integration with employee onboarding processes such as setup in payroll is crucial.

Technology Opportunity – There are many off-the-shelf products, but the real challenge often lies in automating complex compliance processes such as attestations and reference checks. Many companies use advanced technology for their products, but ancient beaurocracy for prospective employees!

Pillar #4: Self Services

Shared Services Requirement – Often, this is the source of the highest volume of queries. If the employee cannot "self-service," then they will pick up the phone. As much on-screen help as possible needs to be available. Also the user experience must be simple enough that the employee isn't "click-nervous."

Technology Opportunity – Like any technology, HR self service functions cannot just be switched on - training, seminars, workshops, forums and proper engagement is fundamental until employees use self service as easily as email. No-one should have to read a manual to use self service!

Pillar #5: Case Management

Shared Services Requirement – Tracked and workflowed queries are the lifeblood of any shared service. Employees need to be able to log a query and track it's progress while internally, support consultant teams need to manage SLA compliance, query queues, priority issues and generate query stats.

Technology Opportunity – There are numerous applications that manage case workflow for shared services. The technology team will have to roll something out that looks and feels like a custom HR solution, but which is robust and scaleable. HR process knowledge is key to designing reports.

HR Technology must rise to these requirements of shared services and capitalize on the opportunities to demonstrate how it truly delivers on investment. In part II, we will consider which of these requirements is most important and should be prioritized in a resource-constrained environment. Additionally, we will assess trends and vendor strategies in HR technology as part of shared services.

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