Don’t Just Train—Use Onboarding to Engage and Retain

by Carolyn Sokol on October 20, 2016

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Job-hopping has become par for the course for many workers, so much so that Forbes recently encouraged millennials to stop apologizing for it. Almost half of new college graduates will leave their first job after less than two years. And according to a survey conducted by Equifax, more than 40% of people who leave their jobs voluntarily do so within the first six months of employment.

There are all kinds of reasons people seek out greener pastures, including bad bosses, higher pay elsewhere, a better growth opportunity, and changing personal circumstances. But one of the most common reasons new hires leave is poor cultural fit. That may mean that they aren’t doing the job they were hired to do, they don’t share the values of the organization, they’re not engaged, or they just don’t like the work environment.

Fortunately, there’s something you can do about that.

Get Onboarding Right Or I’m Outta Here

In HR world, onboarding may be just a list of checkboxes—things that must be done so the employee can start earning his or her paycheck. But for the employee, the onboarding experience produces one of two responses:

  • I love this company! I made the right choice! I can’t wait to get to work!
  • Uh-oh. What did I get myself into?!

So how do you get it right?

In an interview with Vconnecta Ltd, Bill Kutik of Human Resources Executive Online and The Bill Kutik Radio Show said that the goal of onboarding should be to engage employees by immersing them into the culture of the company. It’s not just about showing them where to park and filling out forms. It’s about integration.

Reimagine Onboarding With Design Thinking and Your HRIS

One of the big trends discussed at HR Tech 2016 was the concept of design thinking. Design thinking shapes employee engagement, moving beyond completion of processes into an employee-oriented experience. You can incorporate design thinking into your onboarding methodology, grounding the employee in the culture of the company using branding, social networking, and user-friendly tools and procedures.

Where do you start? With your HRIS.

Let’s look at how software company Vibe achieves this with their platform.

Employer Branding

Vibe enables users to design a uniquely branded experience for employees that reflects the culture of the company. For example, this is the Rookie Dashboard for a fast casual restaurant:

Rookie Community Page

Notice how the content, imagery, and style reflect the ethos of the company. All of those elements can be configured based on the vision, practices, and atmosphere of the company so that your onboarding experience helps the new hire fit into your culture.

Get a Head Start Before Day One

Even before the new hire’s first day on the job, you can begin crafting a positive experience that calms jitters and helps him or her feel valued. Vibe enables you to craft a custom preboard page that gives new hires access to important information as well as providing opportunities to learn more about the company.

Preboarding Activities

Preboarding activities like explaining the chain of command, introducing key people in the organization, explaining what to do and where to go on the first day, and filling out a profile or completing paperwork help the employee feel ready to hit the ground running.

Create a 90 Day Plan

Onboarding is not a one-and-done deal. You can’t complete it in a day or even a week—not if you expect to keep your employees past the critical one-year mark. While it’s closely related to training, onboarding encompasses a broader view that requires long-term commitment to employee engagement.

The example below shows how Vibe helps you create a series of phases designed to walk new hires through a carefully crafted onboarding experience while maintaining the custom branding that showcases your culture:

Onboarding Phases

Each phase sets manageable goals and makes it easy to see what should happen next. Also notice how the employee can easily ask questions or contact an HR rep within the context of the onboarding software.

Onboarding is your chance to convince new hires that they made the right decision. By carefully crafting an experience that pulls them in and makes them feel part of the team, you can decrease turnover and keep your best new employees engaged and productive.

Don’t just train—engage!


4 Big Ideas From HR Technology Conference 2016

by Susan McClure on October 13, 2016

HR Tech Conference 2016 TakeawaysNow that the frenzy of the HR Technology Conference is over, it’s time for reflection and planning. We all know HR technology is evolving quickly, but as HR thought leader Peter Capelli warned in his closing keynote address, new and shiny doesn’t always translate into profitability. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean that it will revolutionize the industry. Still, the new technologies hitting the market do have the potential to transform HR as we know it.

With that in mind, let’s look at four big ideas from this year’s conference:

  1. Embrace Design Thinking—Design thinking focuses on creating compelling, enjoyable experiences for the employee with the goal of increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. Three-quarters of conference attendees believe HR needs to develop design thinking skills over the next 2-3 years. Those skills include digital and mobile app design, behavioral economics, and user experience design. Design thinking shifts the focus from process to experience with the goal of simplifying the work environment and producing better business outcomes.
  2. Enrich Organizational Culture—According to Adam Rogers of Ultimate Software, 75% of employees will stay longer at an organization if their employer listens to and addresses their concerns. Engagement, said Rogers, is primarily a culture issue, and it’s something anyone can address. That includes making sure employees have the right tools (including tech) to do their jobs, conducting regular, frequent performance management reviews, facilitating open communication with managers, and creating opportunities for professional development.
  3. Celebrate DiversityResearch demonstrates that companies with women in C-level positions experience a 6% higher profit margin. The first-of-its-kind Women in Tech Summit shone the spotlight on celebrating the contributions of women in the tech field and empowering more women to embrace leadership roles. In order to realize leadership potential, women must overcome their fears, find great mentors and coaches, and find ways to build a future bench of young women who are ready to step into leadership.
  4. HR Technology Is an Investment—Finding the right HR software is essential to moving your company forward into the digital era. According to the 2016-2017 Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey, 42% of organizations plan to increase HR tech spending over the next year, and 40% are planning to update or develop their HR systems strategy. Disruptive digital technology combined with increasingly pervasive cloud capabilities has created an urgent need for new HR approaches and companies are rising to the challenge as they discuss the best way to invest in technology for the future.

Peter Capelli’s warning about technology reminds us that ultimately, technology is a tool that should help us serve people better. It is not a miraculous solution that will fix engagement, culture, or other workplace problems. Still, the right HCM software can and should promote cultural values and place emphasis on positive employee experiences rather than simply completing processes.

What were your biggest takeaways from this year’s conference?

Read more about this topic:

What’s New at HR Technology Conference 2016?


What’s New at HR Technology Conference 2016?

by Carolyn Sokol on October 3, 2016

HR Technology Conference TrendsAs we gear up for the HR Technology Conference, the big question everyone’s asking is: What new concepts will we see on the expo floor? Last week, Talent Culture founder Meghan M. Biro interviewed Steve Boese on the Talent Culture podcast. As co-chair of the conference, Boese offered an insider look at top trends for HR tech as we head into an increasingly digital, human-centric era of HR.

What Should You Expect to See at the HR Technology Expo?

With more than 300 technology providers and 75+ new product announcements, this year’s expo will be second to none. Bring your requirements list and your questions because this is the largest expo of its kind, aimed exclusively at HR technology.

Will we see any brand-new, disruptive themes this year? “Evolution in technology happens slower than we expect. Things we’re talking about this year are extensions of things we’ve seen before,” said Boese. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything to get excited about. Watch for these four trends:

  • Integrated data sets—Big data will incorporate data and analytics into the daily tasks of HR, giving HR leaders the tools and information they need to facilitate better outcomes at key points of decision in the software.
  • Evolution of design and user experience—Interfaces will be more user-friendly, reflecting consumer demand for software that’s easy to use and highly adoptable.
  • Less rigid performance management—Performance management is shifting away from formal annual reviews to more frequent, coaching-style reviews. Technology capabilities will reflect that shift with configurable reviews and reporting as well as more robust people management tools.
  • Emphasis on data integrity—Before data analytics can reach its full potential, companies must build a foundation of quality data and effective governance. Many small to mid-size companies are still working through this process, meaning they will need to focus on core HR task efficiency before progressing to larger data analytics initiatives.

Conference attendees should also watch for better mobile technology, more efficient systems, and increased cloud capabilities especially in the areas of core HR and talent management.

Purchasing New Tech? Ask These Questions

If you’re ready to take the plunge and purchase new software for your business, Boese recommends asking the following questions as you head onto the expo floor:

  • What organizational barriers do I need to eliminate? Where do processes break down? Where is data being replicated across systems? What makes my job more difficult than it should be? Do I have data governance problems?
  • How can I improve customer service? What is the software’s onboarding process like? Is procedural information easily accessible? Does it improve HR service delivery?
  • How can I create a differentiated, personalized experience for employees? Look for things like customizable offer letters, compensation plans, and benefit packages; personalized on boarding processes and networking opportunities; and dynamic career paths.
  • What are my most pressing people challenges today and what will they be tomorrow? Where can I make HR more people-centric? How can I incorporate my company’s cultural mission into the tasks of HR?

This year’s HR Technology Conference promises to be the most informative, comprehensive look at trends and new technology offerings this year. Bring your walking shoes, grab a friend, and take plenty of notes. We can’t wait to hear your highlights!

Check out the HRIS comparison tool at for an in-depth unbiased look at your favorite software vendors from the conference!



Is Agile Software Implementation a Magic Wand for Success?

by Susan McClure on September 29, 2016

Is Agile a Magic Wand for Software Implementation?If you’ve done your due diligence with waterfall methodologies and still wound up frustrated by emerging requirements or change requests that crop up late in the game, switching to an agile implementation style can seem awfully attractive. What’s not to love? Flexibility, higher levels of stakeholder involvement, and frequent opportunities for feedback and change create a more user-focused project that (hopefully) identifies problems early in the process when they can still be easily corrected.

But is agile really the magic wand many companies think it is?

Well, yes…and no. Agile can turn your implementation pumpkin into a lovely sparkling coach, but only if you follow the rules.

Potential Pitfalls of an Agile Software Implementation

The attraction of agile for many businesses is its flexibility. By building short sprints and frequent feedback into the development process, agile can identify problems early so they don’t derail the project. But that flexibility can also create problems if you’re not following true agile methodology.

So what are the biggest pitfalls you might face? According to the 10th annual State of Agile Report, these are among the most commonly cited causes of a failed agile project:

Causes of Failed Agile Projects_480px

How might these problems play out? Here are just a few obstacles that cause project hang-ups:

  • Using agile as an excuse for poor planning
  • Scope creep
  • Not leaving enough time for testing
  • Using scrum meetings for problem solving
  • Neglecting artifacts
  • Rigid task distribution
  • Top-down solutions

All of these problems can be traced back to a faulty understanding of what it means to “be agile.” The foundation for a successful agile implementation is a shift in the mindset of stakeholders and contributors and a clear understanding of key success factors.

How to Keep Your Agile Process From Reverting to Pumpkin Status

So what are the factors that will set you up for a successful agile implementation? Every agile expert has a different list, but here are seven foundational practices you should incorporate into both the current software implementation and your organizational culture as a whole:

  • Educate team members about agile processes—it’s not just waterfall with different terms
  • Get all stakeholders on board
  • Implement scrum type meetings for documenting requirements at the project outset
  • Keep sprints short to catch problems before they compound
  • Build in rigorous testing protocols
  • Facilitate strong communication among teams and leadership
  • Define project completion in terms of metrics and deliverables

The bottom line is that agile is a tool, not a magic wand. Ensuring that you have solid methodology in place will set you up for success when it comes to the details of software buildout, pilot testing, and user acceptance.

If you’re still in the software research phase, use our HRIS comparison tool to take an in-depth look at HRIS capabilities based on your criteria.


About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at She writes about HRIS, HR outsourcing, and general employment issues. When she isn’t writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.


5 Software Trends That Are Changing the Face of HR

by Carolyn Sokol on September 20, 2016

HR Software TrendsAs HR software continues to evolve, we’re seeing new technology options, design features, and performance capabilities that support the changing landscape of HR. Cloud technology, digital disruption, and changes in talent management are in the process of reshaping the way businesses handle HR processes, so it’s essential that you choose a software vendor that can serve your current processes while also carrying you into the future.

Individual software trends may or may not be a good fit for your current business processes, but it’s important to consider not only where you are now, but also where the industry is headed. Before you buy, consider these 5 key functionalities that are changing the face of HR.

Performance Management

As organizational structure moves toward team-based collaboration, companies need management and feedback processes that support a culture of communication and integration. Performance management tools like feedback apps, social platforms, activity streams, and gamification elements all help managers improve communication and engagement among employees. The most effective tools are those that mimic the kinds of activity people already engage in outside of work.

Digital Solutions

Digital technology is transforming the HR industry. Mobile apps, embedded analytics, and videos all have the power to shape culture and streamline HR processes, setting the stage for a more productive, more engaged workforce. Software vendors that view digital HR as a holistic platform rather than just individual elements will be several steps ahead of the game as companies respond to digital disruption.


In order for any new program to be effective, users must adopt it quickly and intuitively. Tools for talent management, team integration and collaboration, video learning, information sharing, goal management, productivity management, feedback, and onboarding should maximize the employee experience while also delivering exceptional functionality for core HR tasks.

Analytics and Reporting

Data shapes our understanding of our current workforce, potential new hires, and recruiting strategies. It also provides the framework for ACA compliance and other reporting requirements. Josh Bersin, a leading HR analyst, believes that harnessing and interpreting data about employees will be a key responsibility of HR in 2016. That means companies will need software that can mine data to deliver necessary reports and analytics to meet compliance requirements, create more effective team strategies, develop a stronger culture, and increase productivity.


One-size-fits-all doesn’t work for HR software because companies have different goals and needs. Cloud technology has made it easier than ever for companies to configure their software to serve current processes, while also improving those processes for greater efficiency.

As you work through the needs of your business, our HRIS comparison tool will help you create your short list of vendors by giving you an unbiased, side-by-side look at the capabilities of each system.


Entering the Brave New World of Digital HR

by Susan McClure on September 12, 2016

Digital HR Technology DisruptionDigital technology is changing almost every aspect of modern business. Pervasive smart phone usage (seven billion devices as of 2014) has begun to dissolve the barriers between work and personal life, making it easier for users to take care of business anywhere, anytime. App developers scramble to keep up as consumers demand increasingly responsive, real-time options for keeping their lives in order, and those consumer demands aren’t left at the door when an employee clocks in for work.

Responding to new expectations among workers has prompted many HR departments to seek ways to improve employee experience while also streamlining processes. The trend isn’t just technological; it’s also employee-centric. As companies become more team oriented and collaborative, HR software has stepped in to facilitate better communication, feedback, and employee engagement.

Despite lots of hype about technology disruption in the HR field, however, the reality is that most companies aren’t quite there yet. New research from Deloitte reveals that just 10% of companies use mobile technology for performance management and only 9% are fully ready for digital HR. Still, 72% of business leaders believe digital technology should be a priority, which means we are standing at the cusp of a digital revolution that will benefit both HR professionals and end users.

What Are the Benefits of Digital HR Solutions?

Digital technology isn’t just the next step in technology evolution; it’s disruptive in the sense that it’s transforming the way we do business. In the past, integrated talent management endeavored to make processes and programs easier for HR departments. Digital technology, by contrast, will make things easier for both HR professionals and users. The results will bring numerous benefits:

  • Improved quality of work
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased revenue
  • Better employee engagement and retention

HR software companies are already responding to digital demand with integrated apps, social platforms, and responsive learning. We’re seeing developments like time and attendance apps that can clock an employee in automatically when he or she walks into a particular location, onboarding apps that use video and learning games to keep new employees engaged, and performance apps that make it possible for both managers and employees to receive alerts and take instant action to complete goals and projects or provide feedback.

Bringing Your HR Department Into the Digital Age

HR tends to resist change, but as companies increasingly seek solutions to issues in performance management, team-based organization, employee engagement, and feedback, digital solutions hold the key to creating the culture you want and keeping employees engaged in that culture. The Deloitte report recommends several steps for getting started, including:

  • Start with a digital-first HR strategy. Success with digital will require disruptive technology innovation rather than incremental shifts. Companies will need to create powerful cloud and mobile platforms rather than just designing a new app.
  • Embrace design thinking. The goal is for employees to adopt the tools, whether they are social platforms, mobile apps, or analytics and cloud solutions. For that to happen, tools must be designed for usability and positive user experience, which requires a focus on design, not just function.
  • Follow agile models of development. Agile development requires teamwork for each iteration and should bring together HR operatives, IT developers and designers, employees, and leadership for the best result.
  • Imagine real-time operations. The digital-first mindset seeks to automate and streamline operations in real-time rather than simply focusing on shared services. When every employee has a smartphone, digital HR tech makes it possible to provide real-time access for more efficient decision-making and interaction.
  • View analytics and reporting as part of the platform. Rather than collecting information and feeding it into a report as an add-on feature, digital HR management can provide real-time information and analysis for more efficient problem solving and business intelligence.

Are you in the market for new HR software that can bring your HR department into the digital age? Our software selection tool helps you compare and contrast your options based on the needs of your organization.

About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at She writes about HR outsourcing, HRIS, and general employment issues. When she isn’t writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.


Public, Private, or Hybrid Cloud?Cloud computing is quickly becoming standard business procedure, with 95% of businesses operating in the cloud in some capacity. Perhaps more interesting, however is the fact that HR, usually one of the last sectors to embrace new processes and technology, has also seen a surge in cloud adoption. According to the 2015-2016 Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey, more than half of the HCM systems purchased last year were cloud-based.

But not all clouds are created equal.

Who’s Playing in Your Sandbox?

Remember playing in the sand box as a kid? If you had your own sandbox, you got to make the rules. You could choose a plastic turtle sandbox instead of four wooden walls, or you could opt for a different color of sand. You could use any toys you wanted in there, build any kind of sandcastle, mix pebbles in with the sand for increased building options–you could even pour water in to make a moat. It was your sandbox, your rules.

But what if the sandbox was at the park? It’s open to the public, so now someone else is making the rules. No pebbles, no water, you can only use the shovels and buckets provided, and the sand has to stay clean. And forget uniquely shaped boxes. The upside was that the public sandbox was bigger, had toys you didn’t have at home, and you got to benefit from other people’s ideas.

Which one was better? That depended on whether you wanted the size and scope of the public sandbox or the exclusive control of the private one.

Public cloud is like going to the sandbox at the park. It offers increased functionality, greater innovation, and comes pre-configured with the latest features and technology. However, the same rules apply to everyone across the board, and while there may be some flexibility within that environment, you will be limited by the single code that manages the platform.

Private cloud options put you in charge of your environment. Your sandbox, your rules. You can create a system that accommodates your current business processes while outsourcing the daily administration of the technology to the software provider.

What’s the Best Solution for Your Business?

Cloud computing brings HR departments out of the dark ages of cumbersome legacy systems and paper processes to a modern, fluid design that delivers more innovative features, better user experience, frequent upgrades, and flexible configuration. The drawback is that once the system has been set up, it can be challenging to customize processes based on your current business practice.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the three most common cloud options: public, private,  and hybrid.

  • Public Cloud—As we saw in the sandbox illustration, public cloud solutions are popular because of their enhanced service offerings. They also deliver ease of use and implementation, reduced cost, and outsourced IT administration. Pay-per-use pricing models make them cost effective and easily scalable, without the large initial investment in infrastructure required by old-school HR systems. The primary drawbacks are that they can’t easily accommodate non-standard legacy processes and they may present security concerns (although many IT professionals disagree that the cloud is inherently less secure than other options).
  • Private Cloud—In the HR sector, the most common type of private solution we see is the managed private cloud. This option gives companies a greater level of control over their data and processes as well as an added layer of security. Components can be customized to fit the specific needs of the company, but because a third party manages them, they still offer the benefit of outsourced maintenance and administration. Private solutions typically cost more and may require more hands-on attention from your IT department.
  • Hybrid—Hybrid models—those using some combination of both public and private elements—have become significantly more common over the past few years, with more than 70% of businesses utilizing some sort of hybrid cloud solution. For example, a company might maintain legacy payroll and core HR on-premise while shifting workforce management and recruiting to the cloud. If your business uses detailed and unique HR processes in some areas that would be difficult to replicate in the cloud environment but you want to benefit from other cloud offerings, hybrid is an attractive option.

As cloud solutions become more widespread, there has been a corresponding sigh of relief in terms of integration. Integration among multiple on-premise and cloud-based pieces of the HCM system was historically cumbersome and expensive. As more businesses move exclusively into the cloud, integration among SaaS providers will become more cost effective and practical.

So which sandbox is right for you? The answer: it depends. Your needs, current business process, and vision for your HR department will determine which software solution can deliver the functionality you need.

Ready to purchase new HR software? Our software selection tool gives you an unbiased look at a range of HCM solutions based on your criteria. 


Cloud securityDoes your HR department operate in the cloud? If not, you are in the minority, according to the 2015 North Bridge Future of Cloud Computing Survey. The survey reports that an astonishing 73.5% of HR and payroll activities are performed in the cloud. That number is extraordinary, especially considering that just five years ago the HR industry ranked as the third least likely to migrate to the cloud.

But with that increased usage comes a corresponding increase in concerns about security. With data breaches holding the potential to put financial information, health records, and trade secrets at risk, companies need a robust risk management plan to effectively manage access and train employees in data safety.

Is Your Data Safe?

Cloud computing has historically been viewed with trepidation by many organizations, so much so that CIO put out a list last year of 20 common cloud security myths based on the experience of industry experts. Among those myths are the ideas that the cloud is inherently insecure, that it is less secure than an on-premise solution, and that cloud security is the sole responsibility of the provider.

The reality is far more nuanced than that. Because cloud has become so pervasive, it’s nearly impossible to avoid outside threats altogether. The key is to develop internal processes and policies designed to minimize the threats that still create very real security risks for companies operating in the cloud.

It’s About Access, Not Location

Experts argue that security is less about where you store your data and more about how you manage access. On-premise servers face just as many security threats as cloud-based solutions do, and in many cases they have fewer security protocols in place. But even with the most conscientious cloud provider, it’s still up to each organization to protect data from a standpoint of access and management. Here’s how:

  • Choose a provider you trust—Choose a provider who conducts regular security audits to remain up to date with the latest standards rather than relying solely on security certifications and compliance policies.
  • Train employees in data safety—By making data safety a regular conversation within your organization, you can keep employees aware of common phishing techniques, password safety threats, and access weaknesses. Prohibit password sharing and conduct regular administrative audits to make sure individuals aren’t placing data at risk—even inadvertently.
  • Focus more on risk management and less on perimeters—We are beyond the days where firewalls and proxies are enough to protect your information. Comprehensive risk management should provide several layers of protection including technology, processes, and training designed to combat hackers and other threats.
  • Create robust backup protocols—Hosting your data in the cloud doesn’t mean you can forget about backup. A technical glitch or malicious attack on the cloud provider can still result in lost or compromised data. Always maintain clean backups either onsite or with another cloud provider to ensure that your data remains safe.
  • Institute mobile content management policies—As BYOD becomes more pervasive, mobile content management solutions including intelligent mobile apps, mobile device policies, file locking, and content version control, must take high priority.
  • Perform due diligence—Make sure you understand what your provider does and does not do to ensure security, and take a close look at liability and protection so you’ll know what steps you should take to minimize risk. Cloud providers typically cover their data centers and network, but organizations are also responsible for taking internal steps to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Concerns about data safety can sometimes prevent organizations from realizing the many benefits of working in the cloud. Don’t let it happen to you. The reality is that nobody who operates online is completely safe from outside threats. Most businesses already send information outside the organization when they conduct routine payroll, benefits, and tax operations. If you’re considering a cloud-based HR software solution, weigh your security budget against the potential for economic damage and take the necessary steps to keep your data safe.

And then make the leap.


BYOD: Friend or Foe of HR?

by Carolyn Sokol on August 15, 2016

BYOD Comes to WorkBYOB, or “bring your own booze,” began as a marketing ploy for small restaurants in the 1970s. These establishments were piggybacking on the hip, new trend of drinking wine with supper and were allowing patrons to bring their own bottles to get around paying the exorbitant fee for a liquor license. So we have the baby boomers to thank for college’s favorite acronym. Today, a similar philosophy of self-sufficiency is sweeping through America’s workplaces: “bring your own device,” or BYOD.

Advantages and Challenges of Open Technology Policies

BYOD is less of a trend than a new modus operandi, as 75 percent of companies already embrace the concept. Employers and employees alike report increased efficiency, streamlined work-life balance, and higher levels of overall satisfaction. Onboarding costs are also lower for new employees, as is the required budget for hardware expenses for remote workers. And God only knows how much money will be saved avoiding some major training costs.

Yet, although BYOD will surely bring about less hassle long-term, some companies are still working to overcome temporary, short-term hurdles. One of the major BYOD challenges current-ly facing HRIS, for example, is managing security concerns.

Creating a melting pot of different devices and operating systems initially complicates the job of an IT department. But aside from compatibility issues, personal devices also require the imple-mentation of new security protocols.

For example, password requirements for sensitive information can be harder to enforce. It is also difficult to regulate who sees and uses an employee’s personal device, especially if employees are able to take data off the device to be used on other, nonsecure devices like their cell phones or a cloud-based service like Dropbox. Additionally, use of personal devices over open WiFi networks makes them susceptible to hackers, and it is easier to target an individual computer than a company-wide network. That is why measures like encryptions and firewalls are so important.

It’s tempting to make a reference to the vulnerability of emails as another example, but we’ll leave politics out of this.

Questions for Your HRIS Provider and IT Manager

Some other questions HRIS providers may need to address include:

  • What happens if an employee loses his or her personal device?
  • When an employee leaves or is terminated, how can the company enforce a full reset of the device he or she used to access sensitive information?
  • What is the best way to consolidate private data and work data under one privacy protocol?
  • How can IT activate an emergency failsafe, and what exactly constitutes an emergency?

In addition to security, a diverse range of mobile device options also poses a challenge to accessibility. Now that people spend most of their online time on mobile devices, the design of HRIS user interfaces must be compatible across tablets and smartphones in addition to desktops. It must also provide the user with a similar experience across these different channels.

Experts agree that certain safeguards need to be in place to protect the integrity of sensitive da-ta itself, therefore mitigating the risks of personal devices altogether. Part of this involves con-firming the identity of the user before he or she is given access. In any case, the keys to effective transition to BYOD are clear policies and education. By encouraging responsible use and enforcing crucial rules, companies can best prepare themselves for the new standard.

BYOD is taking the business world by storm. Before you jump on board, talk to your HRIS provider about how to handle BYOD security and setup. If you’re ready for a new system, consider the software’s ability to handle a broad range of devices and operating systems to ensure a smooth transition.


Ditch the Annual Review and Do This Instead

by Carolyn Sokol on August 10, 2016

Performance Management SolutionsThe generation gap between retiring baby boomers and up-and-coming millennials has created some unique challenges for HR. As the first generation that grew up with smartphones in their hands, millennials have high expectations for feedback, interaction, and collaboration. Add to that the trend toward team structure rather than top-down hierarchies and you get one of the top HR tech trends of the year: the reinvention of performance management.

Fortune magazine reports that, according to a recent study conducted by consulting firm Achievers, 98% of HR leaders no longer believe annual reviews are effective.

Ninety. Eight. Percent.

But they’re still the primary method of providing performance feedback to employees for the majority of businesses. Say what?

Why Annual Reviews Don’t Work Anymore

Workers want more frequent feedback so they can make course corrections immediately and managers want to see actual changes in employee behavior based on the feedback they receive. Unfortunately, annual reviews aren’t accomplishing either of those goals. Here are four reasons why:

  • They’re too subjective.
  • They don’t happen often enough.
  • They’re too long and require too much time to complete.
  • They link compensation to a performance rating.

As companies experience the friction caused by these obstacles, they begin looking for more agile processes that incorporate frequent feedback, coaching, and goal setting. But their HR software doesn’t always make process updates easy. Fortunately, that’s changing.

How HR Software Answers the Performance Management Challenge

As companies redesign their internal structure and review processes, HR software companies have stepped up to meet changing needs with more sophisticated review options, goal setting capabilities, in-system notifications, and broader feedback availability. Let’s look at some of the specific capabilities software solutions have incorporated to address common problems:

Problem #1: Subjective Evaluations

Subjectivity will always play a role in feedback because that’s the nature of the beast. Still, by inserting checks and balances into the review process, managers can create a better overall picture of the employee. Frequent peer feedback, self-evaluation, and manager evaluation help assessments hone in on specific strengths and weaknesses rather than general impressions. In addition, focusing on intentions (What would you do if Employee C told you she had another job offer?) rather than subjective statements of value (Is Employee C productive?) helps determine what employees and managers will actually do rather than how they feel.

Example: Bamboo HR incorporates a robust peer review process into their software platform. Managers can choose who supplies peer feedback for a particular employee and the software will automatically send reminders and track completed actions. By separating feedback from formal assessments, employees receive useful suggestions for improvement and managers can keep tabs on engagement over time.

Bamboo Peer Feedback

Problem #2: Infrequent Evaluations

Millennials, especially, want more frequent feedback that helps them be the best employees they can be without waiting till the end of the year when it’s already too late to change anything. More frequent evaluations go hand in hand with the shorter question structure above to create targeted, useful performance discussions throughout the year. Notifications, reminders, and completion alerts built into the software make this process easy to manage.
Goal setting is another way to promote self-regulation among employees while also providing concrete assessments based on how each employee performs on a given project.

Example: Ascentis allows employees to create goals within the software and provides notifications to keep them on track. They can also rate themselves, update details, and add feedback as each goal is completed.

Ascentis Goal Setting

Problem #3: Lengthy Evaluations

Lengthy annual evaluations result in rushed completion and less helpful data. One solution is to ask fewer questions, while making sure that each one seeks out targeted insight from both managers and employees. When feedback requests take only minutes to fill out, managers can do them anywhere, at any time—even from a mobile device on the go.

Example: Mobile access, such as this platform from Ascentis, makes it easier for managers to provide real-time, relevant feedback even when they’re not in the office.

Ascentis Mobile Access

Problem #4: Ratings Linked to Compensation

Paying for performance is not a bad deal. Top performers should see their effort reflected in their paycheck. But you don’t want to link those pay increases to an assessment rating, because ratings can be skewed and evaluations may not be candid. One way to solve this problem is to develop a richer solution for evaluating employee performance and engagement in order to identify top performers. With that data, companies can create performance policies that stipulate how to determine pay raises. In addition, this approach helps separate cost of labor adjustments (which need not be justified based on rankings) from performance-based raises.

Example: This graph from Bamboo HR’s employee performance module demonstrates how both performance and engagement can be rated across the organization, making more substantive comparisons possible.

Bamboo Performance Ranking

Getting the Most Value for Your Investment

HR software plays a huge role in developing better performance management, but it is not a silver bullet. Rich software features encourage companies to look at their processes and ask whether they take full advantage of the capabilities of the software. By aligning performance management goals with software potential, companies can create more engaged, more productive employees—and ditch the annual review.


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