Swapping Process for People: Technology Enabling Strategic HR

For some time now we've seen HR departments across Singapore evolve - through multiple structural model changes, recognition from leadership of strategic value and increased focus on workforce planning.

We have moved beyond seeing human resource management as a series of back-office processes. It's integral to business success. Today we see real partnerships between HR departments and business leaders. It has come out from a change in department focus; from process-driven, to people-driven. Just consider the range of job titles we now see - Director of People and Performance, Culture, Reward and Recognition, Chief People Officer - far more personal and engaging than the traditional language of Human Resource, Personnel and Human Capital. 

Fortunately, technology has followed. Without process automation, the administrative burdens of HR make it near impossible to operate at a strategic level. Couple this with a sharp rise in skills competition and the high demands of multi-generational workforce - in some cases, up to 5 generations!

Technological priorities of HR leaders 

According to the Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey, business process improvement has been the number one priority for organisations when considering their HR technology initiatives. In fact, it has ranked number one for the past 4 years, and over this time organisations have expanded their efforts in the area. But process improvement isn't the whole story. High performing departments are increasingly looking for tools that provide a platform for people engagement and ensure that skills are aligned with organisation strategy. Things like social interaction, transparent career paths, and opportunities for development can all be enabled through consumer-grade information systems that employees and their managers can easily use anywhere and at any time. 

So how do you get started? Most organisations will benefit from improved process automation, with key gains available in the areas of core HR, recruitment and on boarding. 

For example, Relaxo Footware partnered with NTT DATA to implement the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite and realised some incredible results. From the outset they had to clear objectives:

  • Eliminate a paper-based process to increase data accuracy 
  • Eliminate manual tracking of talent management processes
  • Bring in greater transparency and make process roadblocks clearly visible and avoidable
  • Facilitate talent recognition and development 

By shifting to a paperless, integrated, transparent, cloud-based HR system they accelerated their HR processes and sae:

  • 95% improvement in the accuracy of HR data submissions
  • 80% increase in employee engagement - thanks to a simple and user friendly HR system
  • 90% reduction in the time that their HR Business Partners were spending in collecting and providing HR data
  • Faster decision making by halving the time needed to collate HR information 

Building the business case

In the current environment, a tight business case is required to get most projects off the ground. This can be a challenge. A HR system investment is unlikely to produce an increase in sales or new product lines, so it's critical to highlight bottom line savings, as well as the intangible benefits. Many of the business processes around talent management and acquisition, data analysis, social learning and collaboration have not been around that long when you compare against the core HR administration, self-service and payroll foundations. This can make predicting the impact of process efficiencies through system investment difficult.  

Incremental investment can be the ideal strategy for adopting these systems. By first building a case for a solution component, such as one which automates process around learning and development, quick wins can be achieved. With this success, and a clearer idea of how to quantify ROI, the case for additional components becomes easier to build. This also allows you to focus on areas which will provide the most value to your organisation's priorities.

Next steps

For more resources on the efficiencies that HR systems can provide, visit our resources page. If you're ready to explore in more detail, our Human Resources Professional Services Team, leveraging SAP SuccessFactors to framework and strategy for your organisation. Contact us to start today.