A director’s guide
Gaining efficiency through HR technology
An information guide

Introduction                               2. Signs you’ve outgrown your               While this list is not exhaustive, ...
Good HR software will enable you to:        • Training course administration          Business intelligence
Manager self-service                       Seamless data transfer                      Health & safety
Manager self-servic...
Via a web-based interface, this            Workflow would allow for the               • Can your system deal with flexible...
• Personnel information e.g.                 To help you in your search, we’ve come     • What support methods do you
Simply, you have the choice between         Phase 1 – pre-project planning            You can rely on us to provide you wi...
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Gaining Efficiency Through Hr Technology Lo Res

  1. 1. A director’s guide Gaining efficiency through HR technology An information guide consulting | software | solutions www.selecthr.co.uk www.theaccessgroup.com
  2. 2. Introduction 2. Signs you’ve outgrown your While this list is not exhaustive, the existing software p2 following gives you an idea of The evolution of HR important legislation that may be HR’s remit has changed a lot since • Identifying the factors p5 relevant to your organisation: yesteryear. While some HR managers • Identifying the impact p5 are still expected to hire, fire, even • ISA Registration (Independent offer tea and sympathy, most are Safeguarding Authority – replaces 3. How to select a new HR predominantly focused on becoming CRM) solution p6 business partners, pushing strategy, • Immigration and Asylum not paper. • The research process p6 • Fit Note • Partnering p6 As HR has evolved from satellite • Maternity function to central hub, HR solutions • Choose your project team p6 • Paternity have evolved apace. The best HR • Choosing the technology p6 software no longer operates separately • SIR (Further Education sector) • Requesting a demo p7 from the daily running of the business but is strategically aligned with it. Recruitment & selection 4. Implementation p7 Hiring is back on the agenda for most Greater visibility • Key stages p7 organisations. Yet as you’ve probably Today’s solutions – often referred to as experienced yourself, the fierce HRIS (Human Resources Information competition for places doesn’t make 1. Key functions recruiting any easier. Compound the Systems) are designed to give you visibility of every area of your Legislation & compliance current job market with the From the introduction of the ‘fit note’ complexities of the recruitment process organisation. Utilising the latest to the knock-on tax and salary – typically involving many stakeholders technology, they provide you with the effects of anticipated public and far too much paperwork – and it’s accurate and timely information you spending cuts, managing compliance no wonder that recruitment is often the need to lower costs and improve in 2010 looks no less complex than in most costly process within HR itself. employee return on investment. previous years. Indeed, the risk associated with managing Workflow and automation And while you may know a fair bit But it doesn’t have to be so. Today’s HR about HRIS systems, it’s often a increasingly complex legislation is a key concern for many organisations. systems optimise the end-to-end struggle to command stakeholder recruitment procedure by automating interest. This paper is designed to Most regulations involve significant reporting requirements – mistakes the workflow around each stage of demonstrate how you can do just that. the process. By decreasing the time could lead to penalties, fines, and at taken to get positions ‘out there’, and worse, lawsuits – all of which have About this guide time and cost implications. by making it easier for applicants to apply and recruiters to respond, you This guide is split into four key areas: get to focus on the key attributes of The good news is that today’s HR the applicants and which recruitment 1. Key functions p1 solutions are designed to make keeping methods yield the best results. How today’s integrated solutions can on top of your company’s legal help you better manage key areas of obligations as straightforward as A recruitment solution should fit with your organisation. Includes checklists possible. Good vendors will keep you your organisation, whether to help you identify the functions of informed of changes in tax and responsibility is largely HR-owned or your ideal system. employment law so you can determine devolved to managers. In other words, what applies to your organisation. it should enable all participants to • Legislation & compliance p2 interact with the software at the • Recruitment & selection p2 Software releases relevant stages of the process – and More importantly, they will release that goes for recruitment agencies • Learning & development p3 versions of the software that enable and applicants too. • HR reporting p3 you to easily gather the information required for reporting. Online recruitment • Business intelligence p3 Whether using agencies or not, an • Self-service p3 Most systems cover standard important consideration is the ability procedures, so finding the functionality to advertise (and accept CVs) online. • Payroll p4 you need shouldn’t be too difficult – but This not only enables you to attract • Document management p4 make sure that updates are supplied to the broadest audience, but reduces you regularly and in a straightforward admin, cuts paper waste and ensures • Health & safety p4 format, for example, downloadable via you can provide the fastest possible • Absence p4 the internet or email. response to potential talent. 2 ©Access 2010. E&OE. Version 1
  3. 3. Good HR software will enable you to: • Training course administration Business intelligence One of the key drivers behind today’s • Create vacancies • Online booking generation of HR software is to deliver • Manage the hire process • Ability to cater for CPD membership timely, accurate information when and where it’s needed. Closely related to • Enable applicants to apply online • Integration with Microsoft Office reporting but going beyond it, (for diarising) • Provide web access for agencies Business intelligence takes many • Online appraisals (including forms including Excel based add-ins, • Monitor success, costs and equal competency models) user-friendly report writers and most opportunities recently, web-based dashboards. • NVQs • Generate bulk correspondence by post or email • Skills search and management Dashboards draw information held in your wider HR system and present • Advertise/retain details of HR reporting specific KPIs such as headcount, speculative candidates According to a survey by talent turnover, training needs and management company Taleo, providing recruitment analysis. The ability to Learning & development leadership with better management drill-down into the source data Even in a period of economic recovery, information and reporting is one of the ensures that decision-makers can there are compelling reasons to top three-ranked challenges for HR quickly spot any issues and get to the provide quality staff training – not professionals in 2010.2 root of any problems quickly. least because your best talent will steer you through times of difficulty. The first step to efficient, pain-free See what you need to reporting is having a system that The power of this type of reporting If you are unable to provide the level holds all employee information in lies in its configurability and ease of of training they expect, then they’re one place. This not only saves use. For example, a good system likely to look elsewhere – a fact significant time pulling information would have the ability to provide supported by the 2009 National from separate sources but ensures different dashboard views to you, your Management Survey which found the information you’re analysing is HR team, your staff and management, that 46% of staff blame a lack of accurate. Any system should give you all presented in graphical formats and training opportunities as a reason for complete visibility and updated in real-time. leaving their organisation.1 straightforward analysis of all the The following gives you an idea of the following: Equally, you want to be sure that the functionality to look out for: training you’re providing your • Personnel details (including • User-configurable views employees is strategically aligned diversity, work permits and with your business objectives. Some employment checks) • Real-time information organisations for example provide • Job and salary history (including • Information delivered via a range of free training on the basis that the multiple jobs, salary scales and graphical formats (charts, gauges, member of staff stays with the bands) listings, rolling presentations etc) company for a specified time period. • Employment details (including exit • Ability for dashboards to interviews and Ts & Cs) incorporate information from Managing overlap external sources (e.g. RSS feeds) The key to managing this effectively • Disciplinary and grievance is choosing a HR system that gives (including stage tracking and Self-service you visibility of the linked areas of documents) Over the last few years, demand for training, learning & development self-service functionality has grown and performance management. • Skills and competencies (linked to training and appraisals) significantly – understandably, given its ability to help organisations do far As these areas impact each other, you • Absence and holidays (including more with less. can then see where the skills gaps are, work patterns, LOS, part-time closely monitor activities undertaken calculations) Self-service works primarily by saving and maximise your knowledge of your time. It takes information held in your • Health & safety (including accident employees’ abilities. A good HR system business system and makes it easily reporting and medicals) will give you detailed analysis of costs, available, both to view or to edit – attendance and effectiveness, all of • Benefits, pension, fleet typically via a web browser for which will help ensure you gain management, P11D anytime access. Useful for both staff maximum ROI per employee. and managers, self-service can be • Salary modelling deployed across your organisation and Some of the key learning & • Organisational structure (e.g. by can be made to fit with your existing development functionality to look for employee, department and division, ways of working, for example, as an includes: headcounts and turnover). extension of your company intranet. ©Access 2010. E&OE. Version 1 3
  4. 4. Manager self-service Seamless data transfer Health & safety Manager self-service cuts down the Payroll systems obviously vary but the Whether you operate out of an office time taken to carry out administration good HR providers will enable this or a factory, no business can afford such as approving staff holiday, information to be transferred not to maintain up-to-date health timesheets and training requests. It seamlessly between the two areas of and safety records. But time- can also show this information via the business. This stands whether the consuming, paper-based easy-grasp formats, enabling payroll is held in a separate software administration often means managers to view KPIs relating to package or via an electronic interface information is recorded long after their department’s turnover, sickness, with a payroll bureau. Integrating with the event, leading to inaccurate or headcount or budget spend. a payroll from the same product incomplete records. family as your HR solution has the Self-service for staff advantage of linking dynamically, A HR solution makes the process For employees, self-service reduces including for example, a full workflow much simpler by providing you with a administration within the HR for the authorisation and update of web-based accident book. Via self- department, dispersing tasks out HR information to the payroll. service, staff and managers can go into the wider organisation. For online to enter the information example, this would enable your For advice on selecting a payroll required, capturing all the information staff to enter their own training solution, click here. needed in just a few minutes. requests, self-certification forms and holiday bookings. Just some of the information you Health & safety reporting should be able to share with payroll Good systems will enable you to slice With the responsibility for entering include: and dice this data any way you require, information into self-service lying with enabling you to report incidents by, for • New starter/leaver information the employee and not HR, it’s easy to example, type, employee, and see how self-service can speed the • Employee names and addresses department as well as providing flow of accurate information into the • Job/organisation details specific Health and Safety analysis such system. What’s more, the ability to as Riddor reporting. This way, you have access information that’s important to • Bank and salary details the complete visibility of information staff such as payslips, P60s, holiday, needed to reduce and manage risks training, and appraisals, is a powerful Document management within your organisation. way to improve communication and From training documents to CVs, empower employees. spreadsheets to correspondence, HR is packed with documents, paper-based Absence Reducing the cost of absence is Good software providers will provide a and otherwise. As your business perhaps the key priority for any wide range of self-service specific grows, the ability to store these organisation investing in a new HR processes. However, some of the most documents centrally is therefore key to solution. But before you can make a common ones include: the overall efficiency of your operation. This not only reduces paper and waste, dent in absence figures, you of course • Holiday/planned absence requests need an accurate way to record and but enables fast retrieval, however and authorisation monitor absence-related information. many employees you have. • Training requests and authorisation Some of the functions to look for Key issues • Online appraisals Research by IRS for XpertHR suggests include: • Sickness self-certification that this is problematic for a • Ability to support all standard file substantial amount of companies. In • Vacancy requests and authorisation types (e.g. PDF, Word, Excel and a recent survey, 36% of respondents • Timesheets image files, as well as scanned hard experiencing problems with absence copy documents) records and of those, ‘inadequate Payroll absence information recorded’ and • Ability to locate documents by One of the key drivers in HR software ‘inaccurate records’ came in top with individual and content is the ability to share common 74% and 66% of employers information with other departments • Search facilities by category, author, encountering problems respectively.3 – payroll in particular. Aligning these date range two systems will smooth out spikes Absence self-service • Search CVs by keywords (e.g. of work associated with, for example, The priority of a good HR solution applicants and employees) the ‘onboarding’ of new starters and therefore is to make collecting this updates to employee information, • Ability to hold non-employee information as easily and cost- reducing duplication and improving specific documents (e.g. policies effectively as possible. Self-service is accuracy. and job descriptions) ideal for this. 4 ©Access 2010. E&OE. Version 1
  5. 5. Via a web-based interface, this Workflow would allow for the • Can your system deal with flexible technology enables staff to request required information to be captured, working/part time staff (e.g. absence of any conceivable type (e.g. authorised and followed-up automatically calculating pro-rated holidays, doctor’s appointments, according to your organisation’s holiday) hospital visits) and for managers to specific policies and schedule. • Are you relying on quickly record sickness and other unplanned absences. Being web- Flexibility spreadsheets/pulling information based, staff and managers alike can Good systems enable you to from multiple databases to run the access the system easily, at any time, incorporate any number of steps and reports that you need? helping speed the flow of information for processes to take place in parallel. • Can you easily report on the into the central system. This last point is particularly useful information required to fulfill your during the authorisation process, since legislative requirements? Authorisation it will automatically divert All good systems will provide an responsibility for approvals to another • How much re-keying is being done authorisation workflow to ensure that person in the chain – for example, if to maintain multiple systems (e.g. all absence requests are approved the main approver is on holiday. HR, payroll, recruitment and prior to updating your HR solution. training databases?) Requests should be able to pass When choosing a HR system, ensure • What would the bottom line through as many levels as required that it gives you the freedom to benefits be if real-time data was and take a precise route around your design workflows yourself without available throughout your entire company – even if an approver if on the need for additional consultancy. organisation? holiday themselves! (see below for A system based on the Windows more about workflow). Workflow Foundation (WWF) is ideal, Identifying the impacts since it lets you design processes Once you’ve identified that your Analysing absence using Windows’ familiar and intuitive existing HR system is no longer fit for The ability to view this information ‘drag and drop’ tools. purpose – the next step is to work out visually (for example, as a calendar) is the tangible impacts of not changing. another highly useful feature. Seeing 2. Signs you’ve outgrown To get you started, here are some you at-a-glance who is in the office for the your HR software days and weeks ahead is invaluable may want to consider: when planning workloads, and during Identifying the factors • Manual recruitment processes tie the absence authorisation process. All organisations, however small, rely up key employees on recruitment on some form of system to manage tasks, meaning a loss of efficiency Ultimately you need this information as their HR operations. And as you may elsewhere, increased time to hire, a report and a good vendor will be able have discovered yourself, the time greater internal resource and to accommodate what you need to see comes when this existing system no limited visibility of recruitment and how you need to see it. For example, longer measures up. For some effectiveness if Bradford Factor analysis is important companies, it’s business growth that to your HR strategy, you should be able drives the change from a paper- • Poor systems to manage absence to get this data on-demand, whether via based system to an electronic one. can mean limited visibility on standard reports or user-friendly For others, it’s the lack of absence days, leading to higher Business intelligence tools. functionality that’s the catalyst number of lost days and no way of behind a new modern system. spotting frequent offenders Workflow • Insufficient process for employee As we’ve seen with self-service, today’s The previous section should have given you some ideas about how a training and development may lead HR software enables us to re-engineer modern HR system can help you to lower productivity, lower output, our existing processes and make them overcome any challenges that you loss of skills and knowledge, higher work how we want them to – not how currently face. But to help you staff turnover and an increased they’ve always been. Workflow further, we’ve summarised a list of requirement for recruitment technology plays a key part in this. questions to help you understand • Lack of integration between HR For example, using workflow tools, where your existing software may be and payroll means time is tied up you could create a series of steps to holding you back: in duplicate tasks e.g. processing ensure company-specific processes • How much time is spent employee information such as always take place in a certain way. maintaining personnel records, personnel updates, new starters Appraisals, for example, might recording timesheets, running and leavers. Information is never involve the HR manager, a line payroll, appraisals, maintaining a in sync, leading to inaccurate manager and the employee. corporate training curriculum etc? reporting ©Access 2010. E&OE. Version 1 5
  6. 6. • Personnel information e.g. To help you in your search, we’ve come • What support methods do you appraisals, learning and up with a list of questions to ask. It offer? A hotline is the very development documentation is should give you a good idea of which minimum you should expect. Ask held separately to personnel vendors should be on your shortlist – about opening hours and response records, meaning lack of visibility, and those that definitely shouldn’t! times as well as the ability to communications and reporting provide remote (internet based) • How long have you been in across all areas of the organisation support and on-site consultancy for business? Check that you are those more complex issues. • Days (and costs) are consumed in dealing with an established vendor HR as staff spend their time • What’s covered in the cost of my • How many HR installs have you performing mundane, manual tasks annual licence? How are updates completed? A greater number of such as entering personal details charged for? installs means a higher likelihood and recording sickness, when they of encountering and fixing a broad • How do I ensure my software stays could be adding value to the range of customer issues compliant? All suppliers should business comply with the legislation • Do you develop your own software • Too many manual processes, or resell on behalf of a software available at the time of release, but duplication and re-keying of data author? The former has the it’s important to check that these which is costly from a process advantage of a ‘straight through’ line updates are made regularly, and in perspective, causes errors, and to the software developer but check an accessible format. means there is no “single view of how this support will be provided the truth” The importance of partnering • Do you serve other organisations in Partnering with the right vendor is key • Bottlenecks in the HR process cause my industry? Any provider worth to ensuring that your HR delays in workflow, e.g. holiday considering will be able to provide a implementation is a success. requests, impacting staff range of customer case Understanding the limitations of your engagement studies/testimonials existing system – and quantifying • Risk is increased without an easy • Do you have a reference site in my what you want to achieve – is a great way to collect all the relevant sector? The ability to ask existing step in the right direction. information required for legislative clients about their experiences with reporting and compliance both the system and provider may A good vendor will not object to being prove decisive in the final stages of thoroughly interviewed about how Conduct a cost analysis negotiation. Some of the questions their proposed solution can effectively Based on the inefficiencies identified to ask include: reach your company’s expectations. above, you can begin a cost analysis of Include HR administrators and • Was the implementation managers in the process to increase current processes. This will help to completed on time and within buy-in and personal responsibility for determine time intensive activities budget? built into the current HR system and the overall decision. This process will weigh these against the bottom-line • Would you recommend the make it easy to see if there are any benefits of a new system. product? gaps between the expected benefits and actual software capabilities. • How was the vendor at While many time-savings are usually explaining technical issues? the easiest (and most compelling) Choose your project team benefits to clarify, your case should also • Were you delivered what was Involving a cross-section of people is key include an assessment of intangible promised? to the success of your implementation. benefits. In fact, most of these may turn After all, your aim is to implement a • What do your users like out to convert to the bottom line – for solution that benefits your entire most/least about the software? example, an increase in staff retention business – not just the chosen few! This • What training do you offer? means involving a mix of primary users through the provision of stimulating However well-designed, there will - that’s you, your HR team (if you have and targeted training. be an inevitable learning curve as one), finance and IT, as well as secondary new users get to grips with the users (management and staff). Your cost analysis can also be used to software. Satisfactory answers to benchmark the success of your new HR the following will ensure that this Your aim is to find willing system – an exercise that you’ll need to process is as pain-free as possible: representatives from each division undertake on a regular basis as your who will become product champions, system and needs grow and evolve. • Does you offer full product playing an active role in shaping the training? solution as your organisation evolves. 3. How to select a new HR • Would you be able to provide solution training at our site? Choose the technology The research process • Can you tailor the training to Choosing the right platform for your With many suppliers offering meet different end user new solution will depend on many seemingly similar functionality, it can requirements? How would you factors, not least your size, your business be difficult to know where to start. go about that? processes, your users and your budget. 6 ©Access 2010. E&OE. Version 1
  7. 7. Simply, you have the choice between Phase 1 – pre-project planning You can rely on us to provide you with server-based solutions (where the Ensures stakeholders and project a solution that’s simple, proven and software is installed and maintained team know exactly what’s required relevant to your company. We have on your site) or hosted (software and when. over fifteen years’ experience of accessed and maintained via the • Assign consultant developing software here in the UK internet). and our regional consultants have • Establish deadlines and tailored and implemented this requirements Depending on the functionality you software all over the UK and in Ireland. choose, you may require a mix of the • Determine approach The expertise we’ve gained gives us an two. Both have their pros and cons; a unbeatable ability to accurately assess good vendor will talk you through Phase 2 – configure & install your needs and deliver maximum what’s right for you. The system is configured to match impact with ease and confidence. your required business processes. Whichever option you go for, ensure • Install software We believe your solution must be that the system is easy to maintain, ready for the future, as well as right • Map data since this will reduce your ongoing for today. Because your business will cost of ownership. For example, a • Identify reporting & security constantly evolve, we provide a web-based, .NET solution gives you requirements software solution that grows with significant flexibility, allowing you to • Cleanse data and convert you. Our modular software covers a shape your solution in-house complete range of business, financial without extended consultancy. Phase 3 – training and administration processes and Exposes key users to the software and can be flexed to give you the precise Request a demo ensures requirements listed in the view of your business that you need By now, you should have a good idea selection process are met. at any time. about which vendors to shortlist. The • On-site user training next step is to schedule a Our supportive consultants combine demonstration of the software so that • Supply support documents & their first-class software expertise you can see it in action! workbooks with in-depth industry knowledge to • Go live constantly improve and simplify your Asking vendors to demonstrate business processes so that your Phase 4 – support solution delivers maximum value and examples of your more pressing issues Ways to ensure you continue to gain a will help you compare systems side- a continual return on investment. return on your HR investment. by-side; the best suppliers will recreate With Access, you can be sure you’ve these scenarios so that you get a real • Account management got the clarity you need to reach your feel for how it’ll work in real life. • Personal helpdesk support business goals. • Remote support We hope you have found this guide of 4. Implementation • Ongoing consultancy use. You can find out more about our Having chosen a vendor and signed HR and payroll solutions at that all-important contract, the next • Optional user groups and training www.selecthr.co.uk. For further details stage is to get the implementation • Regular correspondence e.g. on Access, please contact Matt underway. While software is obviously newsletters Newman on 0845 345 3300 or keep a vital tool for your business, ensuring up-to-date by following Access on that the project is delivered on time About us twitter: and to budget requires professional www.twitter.com/theaccessgroup. Access will give you the advice, tools project management. and clarity you need to make effective decisions, quickly and with certainty. References The following covers the key stages As both a business-focused 1 Spellman, R. Carry on training. The HR of a typical implementation plan so consultancy and a specialist software Director. Issue 64. p16. you know what to expect; a good developer, we combine our innovative 2 Woods, D. Challenge of doing more with vendor will be able to scale this up or software with practical experience to less. Human Resources. February 2010. p12 down according to the size and scale deliver a solution that’s exactly right of your project. for you and your business. 3 Personnel Today. 16 February 2010. p23 consulting | software | solutions www.theaccessgroup.com