HR leaders would agree that the way they manage their own careers and the careers of other employees in the organization now is vastly different in the digital age than it was in the past.
Technology has helped the HR function transform itself from being an administrative function to a strategic one. Some even call it ‘HR’s day in the sun’. HR leaders are upping their technology quotient to look at opportunities to create value in their function. For example, at Oracle Cloudworld India held in April, nearly 20 percent of the participants were head honchos of the HR function.
As digital technologies change every aspect of how a company engages with its workforce, organizations are rethinking how HR functions and what business problems they are trying to solve. Says Pramod Sadarjoshi, Senior Director – HCM Strategy & Transformation, Asia Pacific, Oracle India, “ HR needs its own digital strategy to engage with and improve the productivity of the workforce by incorporating technology that is personalized, connected, insightful, mobile, purposeful, secure, talent-centric, social and agile.”
Weathering the Winds of Change
Pramod Sadarjoshi is a seasoned HR practitioner and his take on the challenges and opportunities faced by the HR function are very instructive and prescient. He says that HR leaders are facing two major forces of change, external and internal. The external environment characterized by disruption and VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) world is forcing the internal environment to respond in ways that mitigate all risks and get the organization be ready for change. Such a response requires both a mindset change and a skillset change. Technology helps managing the latter significantly.
The millennial generation that forms the bulk of the workforce places new demands on HR. For example, take performance management. Young employees are not willing to wait till the end of the year for their performance bonus; they expect a bonus every quarter. This means that the HR department has to do a performance appraisal four times a year which is like quadrupling the load on HR. Such demands can only be handled by an HR system based on modern technologies such as cloud, mobile apps, analytics, collaboration, and such. Or take high velocity and high scale industries like ecommerce. Sourcing, recruiting, onboarding are essential processes that have to be done at scale and speed.
The New Age HR System
All this translates to an entirely new set of expectations from HR. For example, there is an extremely high demand on learnability and talent acquisition. Talent has to be acquired and retained just like customers are and how it is done is dictated by an expense vs. investment mindset the organization has, Pramod says.
And what should organizations invest in? Answer: a modern HR system that can provide headroom for innovation in a data-driven, digital-driven, mobility-driven world. Such a system draws on data from every corner of the enterprise and every aspect of the employee lifecycle. It delivers insights in a useable format with intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces tailored to employees’ roles. It leverages social media functionality to encourage collaboration and has mobile capabilities to make the system accessible to any mobile device.
At the core of the HR function is a robust and modern HRMS. Disparate solutions that handle specific functions create a sprawl that gets difficult to manage. This is how HR systems grew. Core HR functions like payroll and benefits were carried out in separate systems in each country from those used for talent management, workforce optimization, training, and so on. With no integration—and no single system of record—processes were disconnected, ease of use was impeded, user experience was diminished and vital data was left untapped.
Oracle claims that an end-to-end cloud-based solution like Oracle Fusion HCM is the best way to create the base system to enable all innovations in HR. Says Pramod, “It is easier to enter at the fringes, but by doing so, the costs double and in effect you get a fraction of the services for that cost.” An solution like Oracle Fusion HCM at the core can handle things like gender analysis, skills profiling, career planning, geo transfers, learning management, analytics, and many other value-added HR capabilities, adds Pramod.
Cloud-based HR solutions allow enterprises to provide connected global solutions that align common HR processes and reporting functions worldwide to ensure process and data consistency. An immediate opportunity presented by a digital driven strategy is to adopt and utilize more sophisticated HR analytics. At the highest level of sophistication, predictive analytics may be utilized to analyze workforce behavior, and to then develop predictions so that HR practitioners can understand and address future talent challenges such as unplanned attrition or performance degradation.