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Enabling your Human Resource Information System to support HR Strategic Roles
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Enabling your Human Resource Information System to support HR Strategic Roles

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Human Resource Management (HRM) has shifted its function within Organisations over the last few years. Its function has grown considerably and has shifted into a more strategic role rather than ...

Human Resource Management (HRM) has shifted its function within Organisations over the last few years. Its function has grown considerably and has shifted into a more strategic role rather than providing support for administrative paperwork. There has been a shift too, in terminology, with the term Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) becoming more common.

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    Enabling your Human Resource Information System to support HR Strategic Roles Enabling your Human Resource Information System to support HR Strategic Roles Document Transcript

    • Enabling your Human Resource Information System to support HR Strategic Roles Human Resource Management (HRM) has shifted its function within Organisations over the last few years. Its function has grown considerably and has shifted into a more strategic role rather than providing support for administrative paperwork. There has been a shift too, in terminology, with the term Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) becoming more common. Dave Ulrich, a well-known HR Guru from the University of Michigan says that the purpose of the HR function is simply twofold: firstly, to improve the organisation’s capability, and secondly, to improve individual capability within the organisation. To improve Organisation performance and create competitive advantage, the HR team must focus on a new set of priorities. These new priorities are more business, and strategic oriented and less geared towards traditional HR functions such as staffing, training, appraisal and compensation. Strategic priorities include team-based job designs, flexible workforces, quality improvement practices, employee empowerment and incentive compensation. SHRM was designed to diagnose organisation strategic needs and plan the development of talent which is required to implement a competitive strategy and achieve operational goals (Huselid et al., 1997). This strategic role not only adds a valuable dimension to the HR function, but also changes the competencies that define HR professional and practitioner success. In response to its new role and responsibilities, HR professionals need a system that can manage as well as handle the “traditional” HR work. This is where Human Resource Information System (HRIS) starts to come in. Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) refers to the systems and processes at the intersection between human resource management (HRM) and information technology (www.Wikipedia.org). It merges HRM as a discipline and in particular its basic HR activities and processes with the information technology field and have been used in HR Departments for many years now. It is now expected to drive Human Resource (HR)'s transition from an administrative and operational role to a strategic role. Many companies now strive to become ‘world class’. The goal is to work and perform in ways that are comparable to the most successful players on the world stage. If we explore the question: “What does World Class HR mean in practice” we will see two descriptions consistently cited. The first is that World Class HR functions manage their strategic work through the ability to measure what they do, and how they contribute. The second is that World Class HR functions consistently utilize technology to enable them to track, analyse,
    • and report those measures. They also use technology, HRIS, to enable them to continue to handle the traditional transactional HR work – which still has to be done! So for companies aspiring to be World Class, Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) play an important part in an organisations’ HR function. Any ‘transformation’ of HR, or of ‘People Management’ or of ‘Performance Management’ without paying attention to their HRIS capability and needs will be unable to (a) handle their strategic role and measure their contribution to the organisation, and (b) run the risk of letting the traditional transactional functions of HR administration falls behind, and drag down the transformation efforts by failing to deliver the fundamentals. After all, we live, work and play in the information technology era. Implementing an effective HRIS keeps the HR Department in the right path to deliver more effective and streamlined service to the Organisation. Since the rapid development of technology, software developers are continuously creating new and sophisticated softwares that can help companies execute day-to-day HR administrative tasks as well as enabling them to perform fast and effective recruitment process, performance management, compensation & benefit, etc. They do this by streamlining workflow processes through controlled processes, system interfaces and database validation. Not only should things flow more smoothly, but the big plus for top management and function management is that HRIS helps to ensure a greater control over any HR management related processes, enabling users to follow through tasks more easily. It lets us set measures for task process as well as completion. We can know how far a process has gone, before its too late to speed up or correct direction. Typically, the people in the firm who interact with the HRIS are segmented into three groups: (1) HR professionals, (2) managers in functional areas (production, marketing, engineering etc.) and (3) employees (Anderson, 1997). The usages of HRIS have increased quite significantly among Organisations of different sizes due to their enhancing the strategic human resource management role in the company. Kovach et al., (2002) listed several administrative and strategic advantages to using HRIS. Similarly, Beckers and Bsat (2002) pointed out at least five reasons why companies should use HRIS. These are: 1. Increase competitiveness by improving HR practices 2. Produce a greater number and variety of HR operations 3. Shift the focus of HR from the processing of transactions to strategic HRM 4. Make employees part of HRIS, and 5. Reengineer the entire HR function Despite the fact that it has become quite common amongst HR practitioners - it is still uncertain whether the Organisation are using their HRIS optimally in terms of supporting the strategic role of HR. Many organisations still use HRIS as a database pool as well as to
    • complete basic HR transactional tasks only, and have not yet optimised the actual capability of HRIS. If your company is using HRIS, let’s assess the benefit of utilizing HRIS by comparing it against the above five reasons. Ask yourselves: How far is your HR administration supported by HRIS? Do managers and employees have access to HRIS for transactions, and participate in its use? You might know what metrics you would like to use to measure your HR acitvities ands results. BUT how many of those measures can esaily be tracked analysed and reported using an HRIS system? Is your company - its employees and managers - equipped at their places of work, with the technology to respond to new tools for organisation and people management purposes? (Online surveys, Performance management, Intranet communications, online HRM transactions for benefits, employee data). Is there a need to ‘bring your HR group’ up to the 21st century, and contribute to the strategic management of the business? Are there any similarities between your company’s reasons for considering enhancing HRIS, with the above five reasons on the use of HRIS? Do you believe that HRIS benefits your company, and in what way? In brief HRIS is an enabler and empower for the HR function, and HRIS can provide line managers with a functionality to meet each of their work unit goals and objectives as well as providing data and analysis, especially for performance appraisal and performance management of their subordinates. Additionally, individual employees can also benefit from HRIS. They can interact more flexibly by having an access to the system and conduct a self-service modification process of many benefit options and administration alternative as well as updating their performance and task achievements status in realtime. It is now critical for Organisations who are currently using HRIS to enable its HR managers, line managers and employees in making the most out of available technology. By enabling HRIS in the Organisation and leverage the use of technology to support the overall strategic responsibilities of HR, it will put your Organisation in a roadmap towards the best practice of world-class HR.
    • Sources: Anderson R. Wayne (1997) “The future of Human Resources: Forging Ahead or Falling Behind in Tomorrow’s Human Resource Management. Huselid, M.A., Jackson, S.E. and Schuler, R.S. (1997) “Technical and strategic human resource management effectiveness as determinants of firm performance”, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 40, pp. 171-88. “Human Resource Management System” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HRIS Kovach, K.A., Hughes, A.A., Fagan, P. and Maggitti, P.G. (2002), “Administrative and strategic advantages of HRIS”, Employment Relations Today, Vol. 29 No. 2, 43-48. Ulrich, D. (1997) Human Resource Champions: The Next Agenda for Adding Value and delivering Results. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. p.38