As early as five years ago, any company below 1,000 employees had no “off the shelf” tools to support their Human Resource (HR) professionals in their critical task of creating and sustaining a viable people agenda. The picture was stark: large companies had expensive tools (such as PeopleSoft) to help them, which was great for them, but at the opposite end of the market, no affordable tools existed. HR teams basically made do with what they had: email, Excel and possibly Adobe Acrobat!
Here in 2015, the landscape is rapidly changing.
In a series of articles, let’s explore this trend of empowering employees and its affect on the Human Resources function. It is a compelling story of how this new generation of tooling, when implemented with ambition and enthusiasm, will lead to success.
So what do we mean by “HR Tools”?
Simply put, this covers a wide range of tools affecting the employee. This encapsulates the full employee lifecycle, and includes:
Later in this feature series, we will explore each area and the latest thinking in every individual specialism, but before this, I’ll paint a picture of what success looks like when tooling complements good management:
Satisfying the basics enables each employee’s payroll to be correct every time, meaning the employees learn to trust their employer. This should be simple, but in complex markets such as the Philippines there is a high chance that without a good payroll tool you will introduce errors into the process.
Once the basics are satisfied, your organization planning processes will match organizational needs with a worker’s aspirations (e.g. “more responsibility” or even “working fewer hours”), and providing a forum and process to continually assess this is key.
In many markets like the Philippines in which PhilPay operates, an easy way to remit a portion of one’s salary to relatives in the province (without queuing at the remittance office) makes a real difference. Moreover, as a caring company you will be able to encourage employees to manage their long-term cashflow by offering savings plans that will contribute to an overall feeling of well-being.
In the past, small companies could not afford tooling to structure the dialog between employee and employer. Even smaller companies collect huge amounts of data related to employee performance, and in most cases this is wasted and does not contribute to enriching the employee-employer relationship.
Imagine if the previously expensive flexible benefits programs could be offered in a cost effective (and targeted) manner to companies of as little as 5 employees!
Clearly there is an opportunity to reduce administrative burden and costs by automating the linkage between payroll and HR. For example, how many times has your organization overpaid on overtime or had an irate employee complain about their payslip? A steady number of PhilPay clients are surprised that we can make a small change to their compensation structure and simultaneously provide more value per payslip to the employer and employee (for example, with the more effective use of tax-free allowances).
In many sectors, companies need to prove to partners, suppliers or the government they are controlling the working hours, salary, and work parameters of their employees. Tooling can help you respond quickly to issues and provide data to prove compliance.
Do you know how much your workforce costs? Do you know why there is high attrition in a department (perhaps high overtime and attrition means you need more employees or an intervention)? Tooling used in the larger enterprises will mean you can effectively plan the future of your company from a people perspective.
In the Philippines, there are many devastating typhoons (hurricanes) each year. They are of course disruptive to work and families, so communication and planning are critical to reducing their devastating effects. Tooling plays a significant role in responding to a disaster.
Social media is a great tool for business, but if rogue employees are blogging against the company or posting comments that might be an embarrassment to the reputation of the company, this should be addressed immediately. Likewise, if you notice strange patterns of behavior (e.g. negative patterns of leave taking, abnormal arrivals or exits to or from work), this can indicate a potential risk to the business.
In the near future, you will have a better idea, perhaps even in “real-time”, of what competencies are missing in your teams, and in turn be able to get an exact match (or as close to one as possible) in terms of potential candidates possessing those skills, all through hiring platforms (and networking tools such as LinkedIn). This means that, irrespective of your size, you can get a better fit of employee for your requirements. Talent planning means developing an individual career plan for every employee, regardless of their level in the organization.
Your corporate environment of the future will be one where not only financial rewards can motivate. With flexible benefits, you can reward exceptional performance with time off, family breaks, and even shopping vouchers.
So, in summation, this is a very exciting place to be. Our next article in this series will be on the current state of and developments within workforce planning.