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Tag Archives: HR Technology

One Ring to Rule Them All? The HR, Talent and Learning Ecosystem Debate

As the range and diversity of HR, talent and learning solutions continues to grow, creating the right digital ecosystem is becoming increasingly mission critical to organisations today. Full suites that offer modules for each different discipline of learning, performance, talent management, workforce management, retain their appeal, but specialist solutions with deep expertise in particular areas continue to rise in popularity. […]

One Ring to Rule Them All? The HR, Talent and Learning Ecosystem Debate

As the range and diversity of HR, talent and learning solutions continues to grow, creating the right digital ecosystem is becoming increasingly mission critical to organisations today. Full suites that offer modules for each different discipline of learning, performance, talent management, workforce management, retain their appeal, but specialist solutions with deep expertise in particular areas continue to rise in popularity. This expanding range of options makes system choices more complex and riskier, but more exciting than ever before. David Wilson, CEO of Fosway Group, Europe’s number one HR industry analyst, joins us to explore the pros and cons of these different approaches and helps us understand just what kind of impact your HR technology choices need to make in order to transform your people and your organisation’s performance.

Understanding your people priorities

Ask almost any CEO what their most critical people related challenges are and you will get a few standard responses – increasing performance, recruiting enough good people with the right skills, being more agile as a business, increasing the productivity of their staff, and so on. CEOs are focused on outcomes and therefore acutely aware of how their employees impact those outcomes at a macro level.

HR leaders get this too. In Fosway’s HR Realities research, the top three business challenges identified by HR leaders as major challenges are: increasing organisation performance and profitability (58%), increasing business agility (50%) and increasing customer satisfaction and service quality (47%). All of which is reassuring but is frequently not reflected in the priorities of the HR function as a whole – especially when it comes to systems and technology buying decisions.

The lure of HR suites vs the impact of specialists

The world of HR systems has changed a lot within the last five years. Often locked into legacy enterprise HR systems with glacially slow innovation, companies realised that they needed to transform their systems as well as their people. They also realised that putting those systems into the Cloud accelerated their improvement as well as reduced the overheads (IT and HR) of managing those solutions. This change was actually driven by the sub-functions rather than core HR; learning and development, performance, recruiting all moved to new Cloud solutions five to ten years ago. Then core HR followed, with many companies now moving or intending to move to new Cloud HR solutions.

Going back to our CEO priorities, one thing you can guarantee you won’t get as a priority from them is “having one system of record for HR” or even “moving HR to the Cloud”. These are enablers not outcomes. If the biggest CEO challenges are about recruiting staff, reskilling the organisation, increasing performance, or improving staff productivity, then, in theory, the highest priorities for HR systems investment should reflect this. And our research shows these priorities are focused on key HR specialisms in the chart below, including analytics (60%), learning and development (59%), recruiting / talent acquisition (56%) and onboarding (52%).

So why have HR leaders become so fixated on full suites of HR processes and solutions rather than ‘best of breed’ or specialist systems that are dedicated to these individual areas? Is it the influence of the CIO / IT function driving a preference for HR suites? In reality, both have become very oriented towards a single suite solution at the expense of their more specific people challenges. But why?

Are we learning from history, or repeating it?

I hate to say it, but this has happened before. Twenty years ago, when the original HR and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) suites appeared, companies soon realised that far from helping them to fix specific talent and learning priorities, the suites were actually preventing their progress! Hence the origins of the specialist best of breed solutions for learning and development, performance and recruiting etc in the first place. They sprung up to address the challenges that the suites couldn’t fix.

Today, just because HR suites are now in the Cloud, doesn’t mean this dynamic has changed. Given historic experience, it should be up to the suite vendors to prove they can do a better job of, for example, supporting learning and development, than a specialist vendor. But unfortunately, the bigger clout of HR buyers (and IT) means that history is repeating itself. It seems in the current market that it is instead up to the specialist talent and learning vendors to prove they can do a better job, otherwise, their best of breed systems will get replaced by HR suites too.

Is proving their worth a difficult job? Not necessarily, but it does require specialist vendors to up their game. By focusing on a particular HR specialism such as recruitment, for example, they will naturally have deeper domain knowledge and experience. They also have a much more targeted focus for their R&D efforts. Functional innovation is nearly always driven by specialist companies, as the R&D investment of suite players has to be more distributed across their broader product portfolio.

As well as faster innovation, specialist solutions can also be more targeted in their deployment and configuration, designed to address specific nuances and needs which broader suite vendors struggle to understand or be nimble enough to solve. Time to impact is a critical factor here. If fixing recruitment or business agility and reskilling is the priority, how can it be acceptable to wait two-three years to fix them in order to deploy a new core HR system first? If that’s happening in your organisation, why and how are you justifying it?

What is Fosway’s View?

Our analysts see this story play out again and again. Companies say one thing and do another. They say their people priorities are specific, but then take decisions to implement generic suite solutions that actually make it harder to impact those priorities and delay the time to impact. By all means, change your enabling systems too, but surely not at the cost of impacting business-critical problems as soon as you can!

In reality, all HR, talent and learning technology is ultimately about an ecosystem of solutions not a single platform. That is true for HR as a whole, as well as being true within individual functions, such as learning or recruiting. Companies need to be more discerning about their ecosystem, as well as being more demanding of the solutions they deploy – especially for business-critical issues. This means understanding their critical people challenges and prioritising them properly. As an HR, talent or learning leader, go back to those business-critical priorities and make sure your HR technology strategy is actually helping to solve them as a priority.

If that’s what we say to customers, what’s Fosway’s message to vendors? This is simple – prove you do a better job! To the specialist vendors, we say prove you can deliver more value faster, and do that repeatedly. To the HR suites, we say the same. A business case purely calibrated on reducing multiple solutions to a single solution or a single system of record is fool’s gold. Real value and impact come from fixing critical people priorities, not from ignoring them.

To further explore this area, we are launching a joint research project in partnership with SumTotal next month and would value your input. Stay tuned for more details.

About Fosway

Fosway Group is Europe’s #1 HR Industry Analyst focused on Next Gen HR, Talent and Learning. Founded in 1996, we are known for our unique European research, our independence and our integrity. And just like the Roman road we draw our name from, you’ll find that we’re unusually direct. We don’t have a vested interest in your supplier or consulting choices. So, whether you’re looking for independent research, specific advice or a critical friend to cut through the market hype, we can tell you what you need to know to succeed.

Talk to us today on +44 (0) 207 917 1870 or via info@fosway.com, or visit us at www.fosway.com

What the H in HR Really Means

We are living in an increasingly non-binary world. I welcome this change. In particular, I look forward to watching HR professionals embrace this idea and apply it to their jobs.

We are all aware of the phenomenal impact technology is having on HR and its ally learning and development (L&D). […]

What the H in HR Really Means

We are living in an increasingly non-binary world. I welcome this change. In particular, I look forward to watching HR professionals embrace this idea and apply it to their jobs.

We are all aware of the phenomenal impact technology is having on HR and its ally learning and development (L&D). To say technology is revolutionizing HR and L&D is not an understatement. Apart from the more obvious use cases like recruitment, onboarding and performance reviews, technology is enabling HR to expand its strategic reach.

HR technology now produces such a wealth of data and insight, that HR leaders can drive strategic initiatives.  HR can identify flight risks, coordinate and implement an unprecedented standard of succession planning, and promote career pathing or journeying, whichever you prefer to call it. Plus, it is facilitating employees to learn in the flow of work. Such capabilities were unheard of not that long ago.

What does this mean? It means that because HR now can monitor employee engagement, attrition, capability gaps, and internal skills development, its influence is significant. The bottom line is HR data, and therefore, HR can change the trajectory of their business.

So, what’s the problem?

Perhaps there isn’t one other than the potential in a rush to exalt the wonders and contributions of technology to the profession; we can overlook the industry’s primary benefactors. After all, who does HR serve if not human employees? If we forget that and look to leverage technology solely to improve efficiencies, it means we will have lost sight of our function.

However, here’s where the non-binary approach applies. I recommend we develop a mindset whereby rather than an either-or mentality — human or technology — we build an HR experience that exploits innovation to imbue HR with a most human “experience.”

Making HR about humans again

The first step involves taking a step back. Remember, the best defense is an offense. Organizations must look at their people and determine what they need, what they want, what are their expectations. The next step is assessing the needs of the company. In the current tight labor market, where the shortage of skills is a potential threat, relying on external hires to plug the gaps is no longer viable. Today’s organizations must look to continuously reskill and upskill employees. Plus, this training must take in a broader perspective. It is not just about training employees in their job; it is a more holistic approach to development.  Whether it is equipping employees with the skills to facilitate a meeting, teaching employees how to make presentations or addressing best practices for time management.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Human Resources is also about:

  • Onboarding
  • Compliance
  • Performance
  • Succession

The beauty is that technology serves all these functions. Therefore, ideally, a company can provide the quintessential human experience with the aid of technology. Today, most HR systems cover learning, workforce management and talent management into one seamless system.  The beauty of such a capability is that all the data you need is at your disposal. It is simply a matter of ensuring that the technology works with and for your employees rather than against them.

Read the Latest Insights on Talent Management and People Development in Practice

Most of us are familiar with the idea of a Catch-22.  While it originally referred to a military rule in Joseph Keller’s 1961 masterpiece of the same name, we now use it to apply to any time you are caught in a frustrating situation, trapped by contradictory regulations or conditions. […]

Read the Latest Insights on Talent Management and People Development in Practice

Most of us are familiar with the idea of a Catch-22.  While it originally referred to a military rule in Joseph Keller’s 1961 masterpiece of the same name, we now use it to apply to any time you are caught in a frustrating situation, trapped by contradictory regulations or conditions. I think most of us can cite numerous examples of Catch-22 scenarios in the workplace, but recently more data has come to light to suggest HR and talent management, in particular, is currently plagued by a very troubling Catch-22.

Together with the Fosway Group, SumTotal recently completed extensive research into what’s working in talent management today and what isn’t. The work builds on a previous collaboration between our organizations, Transforming Talent in the Modern Workforce, which looked at how the workplace is transforming and the impact technology is having on this new order. This time we wanted to take a closer look at what’s happening in workplaces and HR teams across EMEA.

The results from the study highlight some common trends that stem from the fact that work is changing so the way organisations attract and retain new talent needs to change. However, while we can all agree on this impact, the question we asked is are HR departments meeting this expectation in the real world?

Not quite. Only 4% of enterprises have fully completed the digital transformation of their people functions. The majority (62%) are still in the process and therefore, yet to fully realise the full effects of digital transformation. In other words, most are still missing out on the potential of HR moving from being a “translator” of people processes (absence management, payroll and recruiting) into a strategic influencer and enabler for organisational success.

Crisis in innovation in HR

Almost 70% of those we surveyed believe their HR systems are not fit for the modern workforce. That’s an alarming figure given that everyone in the profession acknowledges that HR systems need to align with the expectations of both the employee and the business.  Only 9% think their tech is fully ready to meet employee expectations. I was surprised to learn that 33% are still using spreadsheets to execute their daily HR processes, and 14% are using nothing at all.

If you were to ask HR professionals why there is such a disconnect, I think most would agree that although HR needs to prove its ROI, it is hampered by its inability to automate and track the effectiveness of its practices. Here’s the Catch-22. HR needs to update its technology but to do so it needs to prove its worth and to do this, you guessed it, HR requires the technology to automate reporting.

Currently, HR is using these measures to prove impact and value:

When the conversation turns to areas like talent succession and workforce management, it gets even harder with over two-thirds saying they find it difficult to measure their effectiveness.

Making it even more challenging for HR is the reality that only one in three operates with a significant demand to prove their value add and a quarter have little or no demand. Again, we have a situation where there are no metrics to demonstrate the quantifiable impact; therefore, it is hard to prove the worth of HR efforts resulting in systems not meeting employee expectations.

Consequences of failing to live up to expectation in HR

Apart from the frustration felt by HR, there is also the issue around talent. Again, everyone is aware that we are facing a skills crisis so companies that excel in their talent management will be those companies that rule in the war for talent. Employees are looking at employer brand and are willing to switch employers to brands synonymous with developing its people and powering their careers. It is imperative now that HR systems have the features and capabilities to nurture and grow and deliver the experience workers find outside of their jobs.

 

Human Resources is the New Epicenter of Digital Transformation and Technological Advancement

Today we have a guest blogger, Michael Rochelle the Chief Strategy Officer and a Principal HCM Analyst for the Brandon Hall Group.

Human Resources teams are not fully leveraging technology, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their organizations. […]

Human Resources (HR) is the New Epicenter of Digital Transformation and Technological Advancement

Today we have a guest blogger, Michael Rochelle the Chief Strategy Officer and a Principal HCM Analyst for the Brandon Hall Group.

Human Resources teams are not fully leveraging technology, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their organizations.

Consider the following Brandon Hall Group research:

  • Less than 10% of organizations can use data and technology to create “what-if” predictive planning.
  • Less than one-third of companies plan modest or significant investments in data analytics or technology selection in 2019.
  • In an age where continuous learning is essential to drive new skills and behaviors, fewer than half of companies effectively link learning to performance.
  • Two out of three organizations can’t prove their leadership programs significantly impact business objectives. Of those, 71% say they don’t have the data and analytics to demonstrate the impact.

Stemming the tide of challenges

Using AI, predictive analytics and other elements of data science, organizations can implement new ways to find and retain the best talent.  Here are just a few examples of how these tools can address many of the challenges HR currently faces:

  • AI can improve recruitment processes by leveraging automation to more efficiently and effectively build better candidate relationships and develop more impactful hiring and retention strategies.
  • Organizations must embrace a “learner experience” mindset which means learning must be engaging and attractive to the learner. Organizations need to leverage advanced technological platforms to analyze learner outcomes and automatically guide employees through a highly interactive learning journey to accomplish this.
  • To identify the right leaders and properly construct their development path, it is critical that leadership development programs now incorporate highly sophisticated self-assessment platforms and other cutting-edge analytical tools.
  • Organizations are becoming highly diverse. Technology, data and analytics are essential to fundamentally reshape how we think about diversity and inclusion, and help us to identify unconscious bias and remove it from the workplace.
  • By leveraging people analytics powered by AI, talent leaders can create a prospective view that directs how, where and when talent must evolve to meet future business needs. Talent development must be re-imagined to balance data and emotional intelligence to make critical workforce decisions.

Organizations are facing talent challenges more complicated than ever. However, with the advances in technology, the ability to solve these challenges is more powerful than ever before.  Organizations and HR professionals must push themselves to evolve with the times and embrace the new digital era of transformation and technological advancement.

Running with blinders on – reducing unintended bias in the workplace

Sometimes lessons present themselves in unexpected places. During a recent live BBC interview with international relations expert Professor Robert Kelly, on the possible impeachment of the South Korean president, two children suddenly burst into view. [...]

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Sometimes lessons present themselves in unexpected places.

During a recent live BBC interview with international relations expert Professor Robert Kelly, on the possible impeachment of the South Korean president, two children suddenly burst into view.  Despite the interruption, Professor Kelly tries to continue with the interview, but it is clear that the news anchor has lost all interest in the subject and instead can’t help but focus on the source of the interruption.

Within hours, the clip went viral.

The video raises several questions about parenting styles, working with children, and perhaps most significantly, why everyone assumed the woman who followed the kids into the room and frantically rounded them up was the nanny?

This assumption, has everyone pointing fingers at one another and some commentators going so far as to suggest that we are all guilty of stereotyping. The family themselves aren’t too bothered, and when interviewed, en masse this time, they simply laughed it off. But it does serve as a stark reminder that no matter how open minded or non-judgemental we may feel, we do tend to categorize people.

In the workplace, this can lead to manager bias whereby a person is treated differently because of their age, race, ethnicity, or gender. This bias, or “blinder,” can be a huge challenge for organizations around the globe.

The question therefore is what measures can an organization take to ensure that the “blinders,” whether conscious or unconscious, are removed from workforce decisions?

The answer is technology. We all need to be using smart, common-sense technology to connect ‘people’ data to ‘numbers’ data and then basing decisions on this, rather than human instinct.

A simple example of this is to leverage a workforce management capability like occurrence tracking. Occurrence tracking gives managers, at their fingertips, objective data that removes subjectivity from tasks like performance reviews by including information like number of absences, how many times they helped their peers with shift trades and so forth.

Another example is scheduling. From within scheduling, managers can leverage capabilities to assign tasks by seniority, skill, and certification rather than selecting an employee because the supervisor is friends with them.

Additionally, providing employees with the self-service capability allows them to indicate their availability and therefore have a say in the schedule, rather than leaving it to a manager’s assumptions. Such assumptions can lead to bias if, for example, a manager decides that a student cannot do an early morning shift because of school.

With “blinders-free” data, managers can not only make decisions that are unbiased and based on fact rather than opinion, it also provides them with tangible evidence for any decisions. As the BBC video shows, we have a long way to go before we can completely and accurately say that bias no longer exists. But in the meantime, we can continue to use technology to progress and move toward a “blinder-free” workplace.

Read about some other trends and continue the conversation with us by requesting a demo.

Welcome to the SumTotal Blog!

Do you like being defined as human capital? Didn’t think so…

No one wants to be defined as “capital.”  People are not widgets or transactions. Employees are not automatons and their knowledge, expertise and contributions within organizations are not transactional.  So why does the term “human capital” persist? It shouldn’t and we are on a mission to eradicate it.

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How The Oracle, Workday And Salesforce.com Cloud Partnerships Impacts HR And Learning Professionals

The recent announcement made by Workday and Salesforce.com to standardize on each other's applications and platforms, at first blush, sounds like nirvana. For many organizations, application integration continues to be an ongoing challenge regardless of how it's deployed, and the notion of leveraging big data across applications certainly is drawing appeal, at least at a conceptual level. Two camps are forming with pure Cloud vendors on one side and big enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors moving to Cloud on the other. But where does that leave human resources and learning when it comes to helping people be better at their jobs?

It’s not the size of the data; it’s what you do with it.

No term in the history of business applications has generated more fodder than the term big data. As vendors frantically push in-memory databases, data warehouses, intergalactic analytics and dashboards that make your head spin, most organizations are left wondering how any of it helps an employee, manager or executive make better decisions when and where they need it – while they are doing their jobs. But if you have experienced Amazon.com or similar software, you understand the power of an intelligent, contextual engine. Based on information about you, people like you, and business data around what you are trying to accomplish, the system makes specific recommendations for you to make better choices instead of forcing you to choose from a list of seemingly infinite possibilities.

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