Recently a VP-HR & Administration of a national daily newspaper asked me “what is it that you do? What do you mean by HR technology/systems?”. This made me shake my head in disappointment for a minute before it quickly dawned on me that this person is not alone. HR Systems and technology is grossly unknown, unnoticed, and unappreciated. So I felt the urge to explain what HR technology generally enables.
Let’s start with a Google search for ‘HR technology’. This results in a long list of blogs and technology vendors. However search for ‘HR systems’ and Wikipedia rewards you with a really long definition of ‘Human Resource Management System’. It describes it as ‘A human resource management system (HRMS) or human resource information system (HRIS), refers to the system and processes at the intersection between human resource management and information technology’. The definition continues to suggest ‘The function of HR departments is administrative and common to all organisations…’. I agree with this old-fashioned definition as it is what HR used to be. Thank innovation and we have systems that can and are reducing the administration and enabling people professionals and leaders to lead, motivate, guide and most importantly support people.
Here is the break down of how some of these common HR systems enable:
Workforce Planning and analysis these systems generally enable management of demand and supply of people. The core of your business (unless you’ve already advanced to using robots to manage every element).
Talent management these system(s) are far more than what the words suggests. To recruit you first need a couple of things – job/position description; talent pool; agencies; and a hiring manager who knows what they want. Once you have all of those you need a system that can store the job description, post the job ad, collect responses, organises the responses into meaningful data including weeding out unsuccessful applications, notifies the recruiter, helps coordinate and schedule interviews, finally neatly records all interview results and then finalises the offer and acceptance. At this stage assuming your candidate shows up its now time to induct and onboard them. Now some comprehensive systems look after this, performance, reward, learning and development, succession planning and; exit management as part of the same suite. However, all the above processes now have supporting systems that individually cater to them.
Payroll Administration – these systems not only manage paying your employees, they often are great at storing data related to the position and the person(s) occupying it. This can be a great source then for a number of other systems and processes including enabling organisation charts, succession planning, etc.
All the above traditional systems are great at taking the administration out of or reducing administrative activities from people leadership.
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