Build a Positive Workplace Culture with These HR Technology Tools

Positive Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is a key component of talent retention in today’s market. Whether your employees are mostly together in one physical location or working in remote or hybrid scenarios, culture matters. Workplace culture tends to be hard to define, but employees and leaders usually know when the culture is not what they are looking for.

Many Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) and the Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that integrate with them can be vital tools for shaping employee culture. These tools cannot decide for you what your core values are, but they can help you communicate and demonstrate those core values to your employees in meaningful ways. They can help change employee attitudes and engagement levels, and give employees greater job satisfaction along the way.

Business culture includes core values, written rules, employee attitudes, and even unwritten assumptions. But how can leaders shape the culture that they want to see within their company?

Elements of a Positive Workplace Culture

Company culture impacts employee satisfaction and retention, because top performers are seeking a workplace environment that gives them purpose. That’s especially true since COVID, as increased remote work opportunities have expanded opportunities for many workers beyond their geographic area.

With these considerations in mind, how can you leverage HR technology to develop a positive culture that attracts top talent in your workplace? First, let’s take a look at what constitutes a positive employee experience.

  • Communication – Employees have an outlet to communicate with leadership about questions or concerns, and communication comes back to them in a meaningful way. For example, managers may provide an anonymous way for employees to submit questions and feedback, and send answers back. The anonymous feedback and responses can be posted on the internal company website.
  • Collaboration – Demand for collaborative technology experienced a huge surge when the pandemic forced many white collar workers to work remotely for a time. A collaborative environment encourages connection among colleagues, which is a key component of workplace satisfaction. It also provides a sense of purpose by helping each employee understand how their work contributes to the overall mission of the team or organization.
  • Recognition – A workforce that expresses gratitude to each other for efforts and results contributes to each employee’s sense of happiness and well-being. If you can get employees to tie recognition to your company’s core values, the impact on culture will be even more profound.
  • Goal-Setting – Employees and managers both need to know what goals the employee is working toward so that performance evaluations are tied to specific and measurable results.
  • Responding to Employee Feedback – Employees need a way to anonymously ask questions and voice concerns. Even more, they need to see that you will respond to their feedback in a meaningful way. Technology enables the “suggestion box” concept to impact your culture more profoundly.
  • Learning Enablement – Employees need to know that they have opportunities to learn and grow in their career. They also need to take ownership of their own career path for growth. Employees who are enabled to do so are more engaged at work and will stay with a company longer.

4 HR Tech Tools to Shape Your Culture

As you invest in building a positive company culture that includes the elements above, technology can help you implement your strategy. Here are four kinds of tools to consider:

  1. HRIS – An HRIS like UKG can house performance evaluations, integrate with a learning platform, and enable career interest and development tracking. These are all important elements of a culture of feedback and engagement. UKG can also connect employees to internal job opportunities for career development and growth.
  2. Employee Recognition Tools – HR technology tools like Achievers help companies enable a culture of appreciation among employees. Such SaaS tools should integrate seamlessly with your HRIS to ensure that employee data is up to date. Whether your teams work together or remotely, they can recognize each other for a job well done or for someone going beyond his role to help out. These programs also enable employees to download a copy of their own recognitions from others to use in performance evaluations.
  3. Collaboration Software – Collaboration software like Microsoft Teams allows employees to share files, carry on conversations in chat, and post to different groups and channels to interact with each other about projects. Microsoft Teams integrates with Outlook as well as your HRIS to import employee information, and it links to One Drive to house files in the cloud. Teams is also a video-calling platform where employees can interact with one another or with people leaders for more in-depth conversations.
  4. Learning Platforms – It is great to be able to recruit top talent, but you also need to invest in building the talent you need in the people you have. Learning platforms like Degreed are essential to keep employees developing skills and taking ownership of their own career growth. Degreed allows people leaders to build custom pathways so employees get the right learning resources at the right time, from onboarding to continuing education and skill development.

Culture is essential to creating positive employee experiences that keep your workforce engaged and satisfied in their roles. That’s why it pays to invest in HR technology tools that will make a significant impact on improving your company culture. Choose your HRIS and SaaS tools wisely with a specific thought toward how they will enhance your culture once implemented.

Need help finding the right HRIS for your company? Start with our HRIS Comparison Tool! Spend just twenty minutes choosing your requirements and receive a ranked report of vendors and platforms that meet your needs!

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5 HR Tech Tools to Support Labor and Demand Forecasting

Labor and Demand ForecastingTalent is in high demand these days. It’s also scarce. That’s a simple recipe for talent shortages in any labor climate, but it’s an even bigger problem in the wake of the pandemic and the Great Resignation.

According to SHRM, companies across the spectrum are investing more in hiring and recruiting this year as they aim to develop a reliable pipeline of candidates to fill open roles. At the same time, workers want jobs that offer more flexibility, competitive pay, and professional development. Employees are also increasingly looking for jobs outside their immediate geographic area as more companies fill roles with remote workers.

All of this means that the talent landscape is undergoing a massive shift. To keep pace, companies will need more sophisticated recruiting methodologies and tools to support labor and demand forecasting, succession planning, and talent management.

That starts with an effective HR planning process that helps you identify gaps and project future needs. If you need help with this, the folks over at Creately have put together a useful HR planning guide that walks you step-by-step through the process.

To implement your process, however, you’ll need a well-structured HR technology platform and accompanying tools that will give you the most bang for your talent buck.

HR Tech Tools to Tip the Scales in Your Favor

The time needed for recruiting, evaluating, and training employees can be lengthy, particularly for highly skilled or managerial positions. Timing these factors to align well with planned and unplanned changes within the company can be one of the most difficult aspects of labor forecasting. That’s why it’s essential to have the right tools to help you stay on top of demand.

Here are 5 ways your HRIS can help.

Succession Planning

Succession planning isn’t just for the executive suite. A well-developed succession plan can strengthen your organization at all levels, enabling you to identify critical positions that impact productivity and profitability. Predictive analytics based on your people data will give you a good basis for skills and competencies that will be needed to fill particular roles.

Once you have those guidelines in place, you can use a tool like PDS Vista‘s succession planning dashboard to identify candidates based on job qualifications and skills. You can also manage succession planning on an individual level with qualifications, rankings, skills, manager notes, and action items. 

Candidate Pipelines

Labor forecasting is often broken up into short, intermediate, and long-term needs. Still, making sure that qualified employees are available at the right time can be easier said than done. You’ll need time to recruit, evaluate, train, and onboard employees, and you’ll need to align the timing of these steps with planned and unplanned talent changes. 

Creating a reliable candidate pipeline to fill positions that typically have faster turnover can be a good solution to maintain productivity. Your HCMS may have recruitment tools built in to assist you with this. If it doesn’t, consider investing in an ATS or working with an outsourced recruitment firm that will manage this aspect for you. 

Here’s an example from Ceridian that includes candidate skills, job descriptions, application status, candidate scoring, and other options for ranking and filtering candidates:

Ceridian Talent Management module

As you determine your labor needs, consider any upcoming changes to company structure, release of new products or services, elimination of products and services, and price increases or decreases. 

People Analytics

People analytics includes all of the HR metrics associated with your workforce. Tracking these metrics can help you manage talent more effectively and create better outcomes such as:

  • Recruitment cost savings
  • Lower turnover
  • Better retention
  • Improved diversity, equality, and inclusion
  • Hiring for cultural fit
  • Improved efficiency
  • Skills gap identification

Most HRIS platforms have data tracking and analysis capabilities, although they will differ in complexity and depth. If your current software doesn’t have the depth of capabilities you’re looking for, it may be time to invest in a platform with more sophisticated functionality. 

UKG‘s People Analytics module, for example, makes tracking the right metrics easy with built-in and custom reports, real-time dashboards, integration with external data sources, and email alerts for key business intelligence data.

UKG People Analytics

Position Budgeting

Position budgeting enables you to to efficiently plan your workforce for the next fiscal year by budgeting for new and existing positions throughout the organization. This gives you a clear financial picture of the organization from a hierarchical perspective, and makes it easier to keep tabs on budgeted vs actual statistics. With the right tech tools, you can streamline and automate this process so you have all the necessary information at your fingertips

PDS Vista’s position budgeting tools, for example, allow you to track job and position data such as qualifications, applicants, position history, salaries, and more. You can also define number of positions and full-time equivalents for each role, as well as associated salary amounts.

PDS Vista position budgeting tool

Machine Learning

Machine learning combines the power of data with predictive analysis to identify trends and forecast future labor needs. It’s still an evolving area of technology, and there are a wide range of tools on the market to help you automate and streamline labor forecasting processes.

One of these is WorkForce Software, which combines multiple data input streams to deliver more accurate analyses. The goal is to get more mileage out of your data with deeper insights that help you control costs and optimize both labor allocation and productivity.

Plan for Success

An effective labor forecast will use current information, past experience, and future possibilities to form an intelligent and flexible plan that grows with the company. It’s a complex process that requires good data, well-structured technology, and precise analysis. 

If your HRIS doesn’t have the tools you need to get the job done, consider investing in a software upgrade. You can find a full list of software requirements and modules in our comprehensive HRIS Comparison Tool. It’s a great first step for determining what you need and narrowing down the vendors who will be a good match. 

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3 Ways Your HRIS Helps You Build a Stronger Culture

What does culture have to do with talent management? Everything. According to Deloitte, 88% of employees agree that a strong culture is an important factor for business success.

That belief drives employee behavior, too. For example:

  • 69% of job seekers won’t work for a company with a bad reputation.
  • 53% of employees want a role that supports work-life balance and wellbeing.
  • Highly engaged employees who also have a strong sense of wellbeing are 59% less likely to leave their organization.

Culture also plays a key role in engagement, retention, and turnover, especially since the pandemic. People want jobs that support them as whole individuals, not just employees.

As we’re learning from the Great Resignation, it’s now more important than ever to design a workplace culture that values workers, contributes to wellbeing and fulfillment, and offers flexibility.

The Key Factors That Impact Culture

Culture can be a squishy concept. Executives, for example, rank things like compensation and business performance as important aspects of culture. Employees are more likely to pinpoint intangible components such as communication, recognition, and positive relationships with managers as most important.

In truth, culture encompasses all of those things, both tangible and intangible. It includes:

  • Leadership vision – How do leaders envision the company’s future, and how does that impact their goals and methods for getting there? 
  • Growth and expansion – How must culture change or be codified as the company grows to include more employees, multiple locations, or new regions?
  • M&A – How can two separate cultures be blended after a merger or acquisition?
  • Manager and team interactions – Do employees have open access to leadership? Are teams designed for collaboration or competition?
  • Talent dynamics – How do turnover, retention, and talent priorities impact the way employees feel about their jobs?
  • Remote work – How can culture be preserved for remote workers? Is remote work itself a key component of culture?

The culture of a company should reflect the values and vision of its leaders. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes culture evolves on its own without intentional strategic direction. When that happens, it tends to be less supportive of employees because it hasn’t been designed to create a positive environment.

The good news, though, is that an employee-centric culture that helps you achieve your company mission is well within your grasp.

How Your HRIS Supports Strong Culture

Culture starts at the top. When leaders have a clear cultural vision and a structure in place to carry it out, they set the tone for the entire organization. That vision serves as a foundation for the specific cultural elements you want to prioritize.

This is where your HR platform can be an invaluable resource. Let’s take a look at three ways your HRIS platform can help you build a strong culture:

1. Communication

Good communication is positively correlated with happy employees who feel valued at work. According to Deloitte, engaged employees are more likely to say their boss talks to them frequently about culture (57%) and senior leadership regularly communicates values and beliefs (75%).

Your HR platform is a great place to centralize your communication about culture using tools like:

  • Branding – On your employee portal, include branding elements such as images and taglines that highlight your company’s most important values.
  • Cultural Messaging – Emphasize cultural values as you communicate company highlights and accomplishments. Help employees make the connection between company success and the underlying culture.
  • Message Boards and Chats – If your HRIS has a forum or chat built in, use it to encourage cultural conversations. For example, post about company values, create a culture corner, or have managers incorporate cultural ideals into their team interactions.
  • Two-Way Communication – Your HR platform can facilitate communication between leaders and teams, as well as among peers. Encourage questions and feedback from employees on issues they care about like benefits, leave policies, and scheduling.

2. Onboarding

Onboarding done well can boost engagement and reduce turnover, especially during the crucial first year. The process of onboarding should include more than just completing paperwork and getting new acquainted with the details of their job. It should also intentionally communicate cultural values and provide opportunities to connect with people, both of which predict longer tenure.

Use your HRIS to support cultural onboarding initiatives with tools like:

  • Training Videos and Webinars – Build cultural training into your onboarding process to help employees connect with your values and company mission. You can also build onboarding checklists and tasks into your HRIS so that managers can keep tabs on progress.
  • Connection – Assign a mentor to each new employee, and ask that person to be on deck to answer questions. Most HRIS platforms will have communication tools to make this process easier.
  • Chatbots – Chatbots can answer most straightforward questions about things like policies, pay periods, benefits, and open enrollment.

3. Performance Management

Build regular communication about culture into your performance reviews and ask employees for feedback about how they perceive team dynamics, company values, and leadership interactions. Frequent, specific feedback from managers to team members is also critical for helping people feel valued and understand how they’re doing. That’s even more important for younger workers who care more about culture than previous generations when looking for a job.

Keep that feedback fresh with tools like:

  • Goal Setting – Build goal-setting into your culture and use your HRIS to track progress and offer encouragement.
  • Learning and Development – Provide opportunities for professional development that aligns with employee interests. Most platforms have built-in learning libraries or can connect with external resources such as LinkedIn Learning.
  • Social Collaboration – Use built-in social channels or third-party tools like Slack to facilitate communication between teams, managers, and peers.

As employees become increasingly bold about leaving jobs they don’t enjoy to do something they love, company culture will be one of the most important investments you can make in talent retention and engagement. As you build a stronger culture, use your HRIS to support your efforts with flexible tools and features.

Ready to replace your outdated system with something better? We can help! Start your search for a better HRIS with our HRIS Comparison Tool!

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5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid With Your HR Software Purchase

HR Software Mistakes to Avoid

Let’s face it. The post-COVID world of work looks vastly different from the landscapes most of us experienced in 2019. COVID-19 smashed into our workplaces like an asteroid, leaving massive changes in its wake. And it wasn’t just the work environment that was affected. The technology we use to get work done has also evolved out of necessity as we accommodated remote work environments, flexible hours for working parents, and other COVID-related craters in our routines.

In light of these changes, many companies have had to adjust workflows and implement new protocols to help their employees remain engaged and productive. One driving factor behind many of those changes is the software we use to get work done.

In the HR department, technology decisions for 2021 need to accommodate remote work, virtual learning and collaboration, remote access to employee information, virtual recruiting, and more. Choosing the wrong software could leave you struggling to make effective workforce decisions, keep everyone connected, and hire the right people. If you are in the software exploration phase, here are five mistakes to avoid as you make your decision:

1. Insufficient Long-Term Strategy Planning

Strategic planning should drive every software decision, including those in your HR department. And for most companies it does. However, strategic pitfalls happen when you limit your tech strategy to today’s needs while neglecting to consider where you want to be five or ten years from now. Planning for the future state of your company ensures that your software can scale with you and accommodate your long-term technology and organizational goals. As you consider HR software, ask questions like these:

  • Where do we expect to be in five or ten years?
  • What are our workforce goals (hiring, retention, engagement, etc.)?
  • How do we want to improve our employee experience (onboarding, collaboration, performance reviews, learning and development, etc.)?
  • What HR process gaps do we need to fill?
  • Do we anticipate changes in our workforce such as an out-of-state or international expansion?
  • How do we plan to integrate remote work with our long-term workforce strategy?
  • Will AI, IoT, or increased automation play a role in our HR department now or in the future?

2. Unclear or Generic Requirements

The key to purchasing the right software is putting in your due diligence during the requirements phase. It’s easy to put together a list of functionalities, but choosing a vendor isn’t really about finding the functionalities you need (all reputable vendors will offer the same core functionalities). It’s about finding a vendor that can help you build out your long-term HR technology strategy with opportunities like:

  • Customizable processes
  • Data capabilities
  • Implementation support
  • Scalability
  • Innovative potential
  • Long-term maintenance and support
  • Customer service
  • Right cultural fit

The right software vendor for your company may not be the one with the most bells and whistles or the most sophisticated functionality. It may be the one with the best support or the one that is a good cultural fit for your company.

As you gather your requirements, be sure to dig deep into the specifics of your processes and organizational structures, talk to all of your stakeholders, and look for pain points that need to be resolved for users. Then, consider how the vendor approaches these issues and ask plenty of probing questions as you work through your options.

3. Limited Vendor Search

If you only look at one or two vendors, you could miss out on some wonderful software options. Keep in mind that while the big-name software vendors may be able to offer flashier capabilities, a smaller vendor may offer more in terms of personalized service, support, or other important factors.

That’s why it pays to start your search with a broad funnel and narrow it down to a customized short list based on your unique requirements and HR goals. The best way to do that is to use a tool like our HR Comparison Survey. It’s a fast, easy way to search a broad range of quality vendors based on your requirements and then get a customized list of the ones that most closely match your needs.

4. Overlooking the Service Piece

Robust software and broad functionality is important, but without strong customer service from the vendor you may be very disappointed in the overall outcome. That’s why it’s critical to consider a vendor’s service and support before you make a final decision. At times, this can be the differentiating factor between two equally attractive software platforms.

In addition to the specific services and support features that are available, consider the interactions you have with the vendor during the discovery phase. Are they readily available to answer questions? How long does it take for them to get back with you? Do they listen to your concerns and provide real answers (not just a sales pitch)? Are they honest? You can expect service to be at its best during the sales process. If you see any red flags then, they will only get worse after you have signed a contract.

5. Incomplete Implementation Planning

The implementation process will make or break your experience with the software. Before you choose a vendor, make sure you know who will do the implementation and whether you feel confident that they can do a good job. Ask questions like:

  • How much experience does this person have on this platform?
  • How many successful implementations have they handled?
  • What is included in the implementation scope? Are there any additional costs?
  • How much training is included? Is additional training available for a fee?
  • How long will the implementation take?
  • What project management process will be used?

As you choose your HR software, you’ll learn more and more about the capabilities that are available in today’s market. Be careful that you don’t succumb to scope creep that could cause you to exceed your budget. Make a plan, stick to it, and find a vendor who can help you achieve your goals.

Ready to create your vendor short list? Our HRIS Comparison Tool helps you narrow down your requirements and matches you with vendors who meet your unique needs!

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Is Your HR Strategy Ready for Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation strategy

The future of business is digital. That’s true whether you’re talking about customer-facing functions like sales and customer service or back office functions like HR and finance. Even before the pandemic, company leaders were already planning to increase investments in automation, AI, and data. Now, issues like global talent shortages and remote work have stepped up the need in every sector, and technology upgrades have become top priority. It’s no longer enough to have a five-year plan. Digital transformation needs to happen now.

The question is: what does that look like for HR?

What to Consider as You Evaluate New Tech

Perhaps the biggest change to come out of the pandemic has been the massive shift to remote work. Companies have had to pivot quickly, implementing stop-gap measures to manage a newly remote workforce, synchronize technology, and enable online collaboration, learning, and productivity (hello, Zoom).

But now that we’re 18 months in, there has been time to observe how well those measures are working and identify gaps. New technology to fill those gaps is hitting the market seemingly every day, and there is plenty of opportunity to create a more efficient tech stack that serves specific needs. As you plan your digital transformation strategy , here are a few things you should look for in your HR technology:

  • Single-source database – If your HR platform relies on different databases for different functionalities, you’ll create information silos and employees will have to use multi-step processes to access data. A single-source database eliminates break points so that information is readily available when and where it’s needed.
  • Integrations – Consider whether your HR platform can easily integrate with external software. These days, there’s an app for just about anything. If your platform can’t easily integrate, however, you’ll once again be stuck with information silos and multi-step processes.
  • Functionality duplications – Consider the functions already available in your HR platform and in your current tech stack so you aren’t paying for multiple apps that do more or less the same thing.
  • Pain points – Look for tech solutions that can address specific pain points in your current processes. In other words, don’t just choose a software solution because of the new things it can do. Consider whether it can solve deep-rooted process complexities, reduce friction points, improve efficiency, or make a current process easier to conduct in a remote environment.
  • Useroriented design – Technology itself can’t improve employee experiences. The technology must also be oriented toward intuitive user engagement. Take a careful look at your company culture to identify where and how technology can be embedded into daily work for better efficiency and higher productivity.

How to Build Your Digital Transformation Strategy

These are all important things to think through, but remember that digital transformation isn’t just about automating processes and implementing new functions. It’s about embracing disruption, adopting new ways of getting work done, improving business agility, and leveraging tools that support the new reality of work. Your tech strategy should reflect those priorities. In other words, it’s not just about making current processes faster and easier; it’s about rethinking the process of work altogether and embracing new ideas early.

Building a strategy that will carry you into the future means thinking about what you want your business to look like in five or ten years, not just what problems you need to solve now. Ask these questions to get moving in the right direction: 

1. What are my technology and process goals?

Goal-setting flows out of your vision for your HR department. To set functional goals, start by thinking through what is working well, what isn’t, and how current processes need to change. Identify short-term wins (we need to solve a problem) and envision where you want to be in the future (how do we evolve). This might include:

  • Integrating performance management milestones with daily work
  • Establishing a strong people analytics platform
  • Bringing all your data into a single database
  • Building out a virtual learning environment
  • Creating more resources for remote workers
  • Leveraging AI tools for an improved recruitment experience

2. What are my requirements?

Once you have a firm grasp on short-term and long-term goals, take some time to work through your specific requirements. Here are some areas of functionality to consider:

  • Payroll
  • Expense management
  • Employee self-service
  • Benefits administration
  • Talent Management
  • Recruiting
  • Learning and Development
  • Social integration
  • Automation and AI tools
  • Data management

You can save some time on this step by using our HRIS Comparison Tool to think through specific needs at the platform level. Use the tool to evaluate your current processes at the user level and also at the strategy level. Determine what the software needs to continue supporting, and evaluate whether processes can be improved or streamlined.

The requirements gathering process should include not only strategy-level stakeholders, but also grassroots users who can shed light on daily work processes and user experiences. Use a variety of methods such as surveys, observation, documentation analysis, brainstorming and focus groups to dig deep into the requirements process.

3. Do I need a whole new platform or just a new app?

Examine your goals and your current tech to determine whether your platform has the potential to take you where you want to go. If it does, then you may be able to add additional functionality using one or more apps. However, if your current platform is limited in scope, doesn’t meet your data management needs, or doesn’t offer the improved functionality you’re looking for, it may be time to upgrade.

4. What is my budget?

Your IT budget can spiral out of control quickly if you aren’t strategic. Avoid the trap of bloated IT spending by carefully planning your digital transformation strategy, remaining agile so you can adjust when necessary, and sticking with the specific requirements you’ve identified. 

Digital transformation holds the key for HR success in the future. According to SHRM, it is also linked with stronger financial performance, improved diversity, higher productivity, and stronger succession plans. As HR leaders embrace that future, they can reap the rewards of a more engaged, productive workforce both in the office and in a remote environment.