Why Your Diversity Program Isn’t Working—And How Your HRIS Can Help

Increasing Diversity in the WorkplaceEthnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their less diverse competitors.

Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform.

The least diverse companies are less likely to achieve above average revenue.

Every time the senior-executive team increases racial and ethnic diversity by 10%, earnings increase by .08%

These stats, taken from McKinsey and Company’s 2015 research on diversity, demonstrate something we all should know intuitively anyway: diversity matters. Different backgrounds and perspectives mean a broader pool of ideas to draw from, which translates into higher productivity and profitability.

But the problem is that most companies still aren’t hitting the bullseye on the diversity target.

Why Top-Down Methods Don’t Work

Research shows that traditional approaches to diversity can backfire, creating resentment among employees and reducing the overall diversity of the organization.

In their study for the Harvard Business Review, Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev found that mandatory diversity training, for example, makes bias worse because it seeks to manage behavior externally rather than motivate internal change—which causes resentment and resistance.

Hiring tests are another great example. Even when companies implement mandatory hiring tests, managers don’t always use them. They don’t like the implication that they aren’t in control of the hiring decision, so they may test some candidates and not others, or they may not weight the tests equally. Many still rely on gut feeling or instinct for the final hiring decision rather than considering a candidate’s performance on the test.

So how can we shift our thinking to overturn bias and promote diversity?

Make Diversity Desirable—And Profitable

It’s extremely difficult to change our biases, even when we want to change them. Sometimes we don’t recognize the bias or see the ways our biases affect our decisions.

But maybe we don’t have to.

One solution to our diversity problem is to stop managing behavior and instead change our environment so that it is easier to make an unbiased decision. Dobbin and Kalev discovered that when we address diversity concerns using strategies like increased engagement with diversity recruiting and mentoring, increased contact between groups, and social accountability, we help employees embrace the value of diversity for themselves, which improves overall diversity, productivity, and—ultimately—profitability.

Five Ways Your HRIS Can Promote Diversity

Technology is an important tool when creating unbiased protocols to support diversity initiatives. The right software solution helps organizations make strides for diversity in recruiting, performance evaluations, employee collaboration, and social accountability. Here are just a few ways your HRIS can help a diversity-friendly environment:

  • Analytics—Past data helps predict future behavior. Monitor metrics like pay increases and bonuses, turnover patterns, recruiting and hiring variables, and the ratio between diversity candidates vs. diversity hires.
  • Performance Reviews—We’re seeing a shift away from traditional annual performance reviews, and that’s a good thing. More frequent evaluations help managers base ratings on solid data rather than gut feelings. Alerts, journal entries, self-evaluations, and strategic ratings systems all help managers focus on talent and achievement rather than on feeling.
  • Recruiting Algorithms—Perhaps not surprisingly, algorithms often make better hiring decisions than humans. That’s because the algorithm will assess each candidate based on the same criteria, identifying candidates most qualified for the position. Once you have a short list of candidates, some software programs will let you hide demographic information in order to encourage unbiased hiring decisions.
  • Blind Assessments—During the screening process, you can set up blind assessments to test candidate skills. This prevents unconscious bias toward a certain kind of candidate.
  • Mentorships—Mentoring programs help managers get to know a wide variety of employees and learn to appreciate the contributions of different perspectives. Your HRIS can help facilitate communication between mentors and mentees through social platforms and feedback reminders.

Diversity isn’t just about reaching an arbitrary percentage or making everybody happy. It’s about making the best use of all available talent in order to make your business more profitable. The tools available in your HRIS can help you make smart hiring decisions, facilitate collaboration, and promote inclusiveness in the workplace—and that’s good news for everybody.

Design Thinking Is Good News For Your HR Department—And Your Bottom Line

Design Thinking Is Good News for HR

Mention the word design and most people will think of art, computer graphics, interior decorating, or some other visual undertaking. Design is about space, form, harmony, flow, and balance—right?

Right. And wrong.

Today, design thinking is showing up in in business environments across America, everywhere from the Harvard Business Review to the HR Tech Conference in Chicago. And while all those ideas about harmony, flow, and balance still matter, the concept of design itself is moving beyond the visual to the experiential.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is about creating positive experiences for people. It looks for ways to transcend functionality by focusing on how people experience a process and what their emotional responses are. If that sounds a little too groovy for the modern workplace—well, it could be because you’re still thinking in terms of artistic endeavor rather than experience and productivity.

The truth is that design thinking is behind some of the most innovative technologies in our offices today. Organizations like The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, IBM, Apple, and GE all use design thinking strategies to develop new models of problem solving, customer service, and product development.

And that’s not all design thinking can do. It also has the power to transform your HR department.

A Guy Walks Into an HR Office…

Yes, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. But the difference between design thinking and traditional HR is how that guy experiences the functions of HR when he walks through the door. Has the organization considered his environment, perceptions, and interactions? Have they made an effort to create a positive experience for him based on the technology he uses and the way he experiences the environment? Or is that guy’s interaction with HR simply about completing a process?

In this example, the “office” could be a mobile app, online portal, or an actual physical office. Whatever the case, the goal is to create positive experiences for the employee with the goal of increasing productivity and engagement in the workplace.

That’s design thinking.

How Can Design Thinking Be Applied in HR?

Design thinking has the power to transform your HR department into a value contributor by making employees more productive on the job. Here are just a few ways design concepts can make a difference for employees:

  • Candidate Experience—Poor candidate experiences reflect negatively on your employer brand. In one survey, 38% of applicants were less likely to use a company’s products or services after applying for a job with that company. Design thinking identifies those negative emotional connections and seeks to make the candidate experience attractive to high performers.
  • Digital HR—When technology helps workers get their jobs done faster and more intuitively, there’s a good chance it’s based on design thinking principles. Mobile apps and online portals should be designed around the user experience rather than simply completing processes.
  • Training—Design thinking helps craft self-directed learning solutions that focus on the employee’s experience rather than simple transmission of information.
  • Analytics—Just about anything can be measured, but design thinking emphasizes metrics that showcase impact on the employee such as workforce productivity, revenue per employee, turnover, or quality of hire.

If your HRIS doesn’t lend itself to design thinking, it may be time to shop for a new system. Design thinking shows up in a “people first” approach to technology. Look for a solution that focuses on the user experience rather than the completion of processes only.

But Why Is Employee Experience Important?

Of course employees enjoy mobile apps and online portals that are user friendly and intuitive, but what’s the benefit for businesses? The answer is that design thinking changes perceptions of your company while also making your employees more productive on the job. And that’s good news for your bottom line.

Design thinking is the future of successful business. What will it take to get your HR department on board?

 

Not Your Grandpa’s Gig Economy

Survive or Thrive in the Gig EconomuIn your grandpa’s day, gigs were for musicians. Starting with jazz players in the 1920s, working a gig meant you landed a performance, and the term often referred to one-night engagements to make ends meet before the band made it big. But gigs aren’t just for struggling artists anymore. Today, the gig economy extends to jobs like taxi service, grocery delivery, dry cleaning, and handyman work in addition to professional services such as graphic design, content marketing, and web development. Despite some discrepancies about whether these workers should be classified as independent contractors or employees, the gig economy is growing and doesn’t show signs of slowing down in the near future.

What’s Up With the Gig Economy?

According to a 2015 study conducted by Intuit and Emergent Research, the on-demand market will see 18.5% growth annually for the next four years. By 2020, 7.6 million workers, or a whopping 43% of the American workforce will consist of contingent workers.

What’s behind that trend?

Broadly defined, the gig economy includes any on-demand worker who is hired for a short-term engagement or single project. It encompasses side hustles like Uber, pet sitting, and people who find gigs through apps like Fiverr or TaskRabbit. It also includes professional service providers who manage their own freelance businesses, solicit their own clients, and create full-time income.

In the business world, gig workers usually provide services like content development, web design, or project work that can be completed remotely. They’re attractive to companies for several reasons:

  • Smaller resource investment—Gig workers don’t receive benefits, overtime, or training. They use their own equipment and if they do require office space, it’s for a limited time. For many companies, it costs less to pay an independent contractor than it would to hire an employee to perform the same type of work.
  • Mobility—They can work from anywhere. Companies aren’t limited to talent in their geographical area. They can hire a qualified worker anywhere in the country.
  • Digitization—Many types of work that once required a full-time employee can now be handled by technology. As companies realign their workforce to meet current business needs, they can outsource individual tasks without investing in a full-time staff member.

Adapt or Perish: Thriving In the Gig Economy

The gig economy is wildly popular among millennials who want more control over their schedules, better work-life balance, and the option to earn money doing things they love. But it’s not without risks.

Independent contractors can throw a wrench in your well-oiled HR machine, especially when there isn’t a good system in place for communication and appeals. And unhappy workers create serious problems in  your organization.

Before you hire your next gig worker, have these components in place:

  • Secure connections—VPN connections protect sensitive company data, access codes, and documents in a hacker-happy online environment.
  • Cloud sharing and storage—Sharing and storing documents in the cloud makes it easy to collaborate on projects, get feedback from team members, and keep work in one place.
  • Teleconferencing options—When independent workers have no access to HR, they can quickly become frustrated. Providing an option to ask questions or receive clarification gives workers confidence that their concerns will be addressed.
  • Legal recourse—Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the gig economy is that when contract workers don’t have legal recourse within the company, they sue. Laws to govern the gig economy are still being developed and may vary state to state, so it’s essential to have a legal and structural framework in place to manage independent workers.

To paraphrase H.G. Wells, today’s gig economy demands that we “adapt or perish.” That’s true not just for workers, but also for companies looking to benefit from the new normal.

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

52039794 - team huddle harmony togetherness happiness concept

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

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?

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 CompareHRIS.com for an in-depth unbiased look at your favorite software vendors from the conference!

 

Is Agile Software Implementation a Magic Wand for Success?

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 CompareHRIS.com. 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

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.

Adoptability

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.

Configurability

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

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 compareHRIS.com. 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 Cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Software: Who’s In Your Sandbox?

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.