Selecting the right technology and analytics platform can be the difference between an intelligent and sloppy enterprise of the future
The last decade was marked with organizations scampering to automate internal processes. From payroll and benefits automation to big bang HRMS implementations, the HR technology market in India has witnessed a staggering compounded annual growth rate of 77 percent YOY since 2007. Various factors contributed toward corporate India’s rush to automate processes through technology. The increasing need for efficiency, the development of global business, the need for anytime-anywhere information and the everincreasing talent competition are among the key reasons why organizations need to become processefficient and information ready. The scamper for technology also came at a price that of failed implementation. In the absence of the right planning and strategic view, a technology implementation can go terribly wrong, resulting in consequences that far outweigh the perceived benefits of automation and digitization. According to Phil Lamb, Managing Director of Infinity Software Solutions, “Inability to define the scope coupled with cumbersome system implementations are among the top reasons why HR technology implementations fail in organizations.” The real need for HR, therefore, is to get intelligent with technology. There can be many reasons why an organization needstechnology and analytics. Gathering the right set of needs and implementing the right technology can greatly enable HR to make a strategic impact to the business.
Many challenges hinder HR professionals to perform like true strategic partners to the business. The first and foremost challenge that HR professionals face is the lack of real-time operational view of the business. HR lacks the tools necessary to understand the true pulse of people on the ground. Most of the traditional tools available to HR fail to provide active intelligence on the issues and challenges that people encounter. As a result, most organizations grapple with undesirable attrition that stems from factors that arise more out of internal inefficiencies rather than external market pulls. Traditional macro-level workforce metrics fail to capture differences between different operational constituencies within the business. Absence of advanced analytics results in HR failing to capture critical insights on how to attract, engage, and retain talent in the organization. Another key issue for HR professionals is the absence of organizational mechanisms for increasing process efficiency. While it is important for the different components of a process to collectively function effectively, oftentimes the lack of a consolidated view hinders efficiency. Additionally, HR professionals also lack mechanisms to collect useful data for increasing efficiency and improving productivity.
Research suggests that an employee can potentially lose up to 30 percent of a typical workday in executing non-productive activities. Coupled with work breaks (lunch, time away), almost 50 percent of an employee’s 9-hour workday can potentially be lost to non-value adding activities. Non-productive activities include attendance and leave management, scheduling and co-coordinating meetings, technical downtime, internal information gathering, and support desk communications. Organizations realize an almost immediate RoI through automation of these activities.
Streamlining performance management
Another area where technology has demonstrated significant positive ROI is in the area of performance management. It is surprising to note that very few organizations in India have automated their performance management process. Most companies still rely on tedious paper-based processes and outdated performance management methods. Modern day performance management systems, if implemented with the right change management plan, can virtually manage an organization’s end-to-end performance management process starting from goal-setting to performance delivery.
Planning for future business contingency
Oftentimes, the key to making good business decisions relies on good information. More and more HR professionals are turning toward technology and workforce analytics to gain insights on workforce metrics that traditional systems fail to capture. Technology and workforce analytics provide HR professionals with the tools to enable four key organizational decisions - recruitment forecasting, compensation rationalization, skill prediction and forecasting, and role and talent alignment. To inflect critical decisions,technology and analytics sources enterprise information from different management information and enterprise resource planning systems to identify key trends in engagement, compensation, and skills. It allows predictive analysis of future business situations and simulates the operational and resource requirements based on them. This enables decision-makers to view and forecast current and future workforce plans and adjust their talent management strategy accordingly.
An effective technology and workforce analytics platform is one that offers the capability for organizations to customize their information requirements pertinent to their industry and management style.Through technology and analytics, an organization can build resource strategies for optimal performance. While it is important for an organization to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity, true efficiency really means that employees are not overworked and are happy with the organization. Technology and analytics enable the organization to identify these key drivers of engagement and develop the workforce plan based on that. Another area where they help an organization is around the aspect of organizational design. By analyzing the requisite set of resources against desired productivity levels, an organization can identify important indicators, such as ratio of managers versus staff, team size, team composition, etc. More and more organizations in India are adopting technology and analytics to create the right workforce balance, create more efficient organizational designs, and ultimately improve organizational performance. As workforce amounts to about 60 percent of the organizational costs, there is truly a great opportunity for HR to step in and contribute to the optimization of business performance on the path to becoming ‘truly strategic’.