January 14, 2020 HCM Consulting Support, Optimization Support, Payroll & Tax Support

How are Cloud-Based HCM Systems Changing the Game for HR?

Organizations are always on the lookout for ways to reduce outlay while trying to achieve ambitious goals for growth and expansion. Cloud-based HCM technology, also referred to as HRIS, can be a game-changer for companies who want to improve the employee experience and increase efficiency. A well-utilized HCM system can also reduce the stress of the payroll function while improving accuracy, empowering HR professionals to harness the insights that analytics can offer and cutting down on potential compliance issues. The pivotal key to these desirable outcomes is choosing the right HCM system for your organization, implementing it correctly and optimizing its use to meet your organization’s unique needs and goals.

This puts HR professionals on the spot while also providing them with a huge opportunity to transform their role within the organization. “While human capital is now fully recognized as the driver of success by business leaders, HR must leverage an HCM solution wisely to get a seat at the table, partnering with business leaders to develop and effectively utilize people to get the job done,” explains Steve Grem, President and Chief Operating Officer at Wise Consulting.

Defining Your Strategic Goals

Grem underscores the importance of forging a connection between defined organizational objectives and taking advantage of a powerful HCM system. “Adopting an HCM should be more of a strategic decision inclusive of some level of transformation in the organization that is for the benefit of achieving desired outcomes, not just an attempt to improve compliance or payroll processing. Those certainly are part of it, but the core of an effective HCM implementation is the strategic direction the organization wants to move in. It is a significant investment that should be made in alignment with decisions about specific improvements and results. Previously, the goal of installing a new HRIS system was about workflow, administration and overhead, trying to make life a little easier with some level of automation. The workforce now expects everything to be as easy as Amazon. So, you’ve got to have technology in place that is state-of-the-art and user-friendly, along with the capability of supplying administrative outputs such as employee data management, payroll, benefits administration, compensation, recruiting, etc. The fundamentals of it are usability and adoption, and not a lot of overhead associated with it.”

Today’s workforce has been conditioned to want an interactive employee experience with around-the-clock self-service capability. The upside of this consumer mentality is that the technology does more than ever before to shift work off the shoulders of the HR team, allowing greater productivity across HR and payroll functions as well as the opportunity for HR professionals to rise to the role of strategic business partner. Organizational insights provided by vastly improved data analytics and AI reporting are tools HR professionals can use to build that bridge.

Though Grem cautions that not all data is created equal. “Analytics is a tool that can support ideas, provide facts for more informed business decisions or increase awareness of risk areas.  But analytics are only as good as the data that is being fed into it and an understanding of what is intended to be accomplished. By engaging the employee experience, harnessing the power of solid data and reaping the benefits of the cloud-based HCM system, such as streamlined workflow and reduced compliance risk, bandwidth is created to utilize valuable tools that place the savvy HR professional in the position of providing knowledge that can unlock paths to increased ROI and employee productivity.”

Transforming your Current HR Practices

A key change occurs when the HR function becomes a vital partner in the business rather than administrative overhead. There is still the operational aspect of what that function needs to do: onboarding, payroll and benefits. And that’s where enabling the technology fulfills the promise of automation and moves HR to the next level. This involves transitioning from day-to-day administration to working directly with business leaders as a partner in achieving their business goals through areas such as recruiting, talent management, change management and total compensation. Ultimately, it is the alignment of HR with the business initiatives and desired outcomes in conjunction with an optimized HCM solution that drives success. “That’s the change that is gaining traction. Those who have moved HR into a business partner role are the ones who are evolving and growing,” says Grem.

He warns that you can’t simply invest in an HCM install and magically become successful as a business partner. “That’s been a failing point for many organizations which have sub-optimally implemented promising new HCM systems and did not restructure the HR group or leverage the technology in the ways they could have.”

Embracing the Change

Whether it was your idea to implement a new HCM system, or the task was foisted on you without warning, viewing it as a valuable opportunity and transformative tool is the first step. Next, do your research and plan your implementation roadmap. Knowledge and planning are the keys to avoiding the ‘lift and shift’ experience when implementing a new HCM solution. This is when a having a knowledgeable consultant involved from the beginning can mean the difference between getting the right information, understanding your organization’s unique needs and goals, making a solid plan, meeting deadlines and filling the ‘not knowing what you don’t know’ gap.

A reputable consultant will:

  • Help you decide how your organization’s process, procedures, tools, codes, values, organization structures, general ledger, etc. are best configured in the selected HCM product to obtain optimal results.
  • Aid you in managing the change and impact on current people and teams for time management, knowledge transfer, the demand of navigating multiple jobs during the implementation phase, accurate documentation, thorough testing & validation, effective communication & training, and streamlining your ‘go live’.
  • Provide the understanding and tools you will need to continually assess achievement of your vision of success related to cost/benefit and effective utilization of your new technology.

Understanding the Process

Grem, who has been through multiple implementations as a practitioner, understands not only the evolution of the HCM software products but also what’s at stake for the HR professional before, during and after a new implementation. “A real implementation is four parts: 1) strategic decisions about the future needs of the organization as well as an understanding of what the organization is already doing well, all with the setting of measurable goals; 2) knowing what needs to be done regarding data mapping, configuration, policies, practices, codes and values; 3) managing the change in how the organization is prepared for communication, plus training;  4) once the switch is flipped and you go live with the new system, you need to take time to evaluate and assess if you achieved the objectives you wanted. Chances are that there were some barriers along the way that you didn’t anticipate which impacted some of the decisions you made, perhaps creating sub-optimal results. You’ve got to be able to take a step back, recognize what still needs work, and realign so that it can be optimized to be able to obtain those outcomes you set out to achieve.”

Learn More From the Wise Consultants Who Have Seen it All Before

Process matters: skimping or being unprepared during any aspect of an implementation can sink the ship, sending an organization scrambling to find help as it botches a payroll period and burns through time and money. Results matter. Getting it done right the first time and knowing you are well on your way to achieving the goals you set is worth the up-front investment in qualified, experienced, knowledgeable support. For more information about how Wise Consulting can help your HCM implementation succeed, contact our HR and payroll professionals today.

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