February 24, 2022Optimization Support
Optimization Matters: Get better Return on Investment from your HCM System
Over the past two years, it feels as if the business landscape has evolved into a survival-of-the-fittest competition. With supply chain issues, employee health concerns, and staff turnover problems a-plenty, it may feel as though it’s tough to keep up. As we begin to tentatively enter a nearly ‘normal’ world, it’s a great time to catch your breath and evaluate what is and what isn’t working for your business. We took a moment to gather knowledge from Amanda Babbidge, GBA, an experienced Implementation Consultant here at Wise, about when and why you should invest in a review of your HCM system to find out what more it could be doing for you.
No Time Like The Present
Although we’ve finally made it through some of the most challenging months of the pandemic, your business may still be feeling the effects. The “Great Resignation” has left many reeling as they try to navigate staffing shortages and turnover. Many industrial and manufacturing industries are still experiencing the impact of supply chain issues. Although these matters are pressing and present their own challenges, it can also be very frustrating to feel like your HCM system is not giving you its best effort as you strive to make improvements mid-stride to keep up. Manual work that could be automated or lack of support in areas you feel should be pulling more weight are signs that it’s time to take stock of your current and upcoming needs and optimize your system. “Right now is a really great time for people to take a look at this because the past two years have been so chaotic,” says Babbidge. Taking a strategic pause to plan for future needs and initiatives makes sense.
What’s The Benefit of a System Utilization Review?
As companies navigated COVID protocols and remote working adaptations, many found themselves quickly adapting their HCM systems to accommodate rapidly changing needs. However, this may have left companies with unintended system inefficiencies. “With everything being thrown together quickly over the past couple of years, you might have missed a few places where you could have enhanced the functionality [of the system]. You put in the bare minimum because it was ‘hurry up and get this done’, where if you took just one step further you could maybe be a little bit more automated and take full advantage of what the system can do,” explains Babbidge.
Patch-fixing an HCM system over and over is not unlike throwing a ton of band-aids on a person with a chronic skin disease, says Babbidge. You’ll never have enough band-aids and the root problem will never be cured. “People have just been putting on band-aids and rigging quick fixes [to keep up with the challenges of the past two years]. Some of it has been in response to internal issues such as people out on PTO or staff turnover. It’s been, ‘Hurry up and put a band-aid on it and let’s get to the next fire.’” When Babbidge and her staff perform system utilization reviews with clients, they take a step back and look at the big picture, often finding myriad ways to improve HCM system capability, efficiency, and performance.
In addition to evaluating how to maximize elements of the core module, system optimization includes looking at which add-on modules can help address current and future priorities, such as amping up recruitment, onboarding, learning, and career development. “There may be limited capability to do XYZ within a core module, but if you utilize an add-on module, you can get so much more value from these enhancements,” explains Babbidge. She often finds that the process of explaining what a core module can and cannot do leads to the discussion of introducing add-on modules that will enable achievement of goals.
Popular Functions and Improvements in Today’s Landscape
Although the peak of the pandemic is (hopefully) behind us for good, there are still several challenges shaking up the business landscape. Babbidge finds that clients are seeking ways to navigate these obstacles during their system utilization reviews. One of the biggest pushes continues to be helping companies streamline. “We have a lot of requests for looking at ways to get rid of paper documents and processes,” explains Babbidge. In addition, the tumultuous job market has led to increased scrutiny of onboarding and other processes that impact employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. “Turnover is such a big issue right now, many companies are looking at ways to improve and streamline their employee-centric processes,” notes Babbidge.
Onboarding processes aren’t the only area that The Great Recession has impacted. Overall system effectiveness can be degraded by high turnover rates. “A lot of times when we do these system optimizations, the team that we’re working with is different from the team that was there for the implementation of the system,” says Babbidge. As key employees depart and new ones come aboard, many companies experience a knowledge gap between what the system was designed to do and how current employees are using it.
“A lot of these people [involved in the system optimization] weren’t there when the system was built and important decisions were made,” explains Babbidge. “We may not do a whole lot of configurational changes to the system, but we will help them to have a better understanding of how things work.” This is especially important, as many areas directly related to the HCM system are high-stakes areas, and employees underutilizing or misusing the system can be detrimental to the company as a whole. And, the educational component helps new and current employees more clearly see how the system is used, erasing pain points and frustrations all around.
In addition to helping new employees better understand the system in place, Babbidge and her team can illustrate how to leverage an HCM system to provide senior leadership better insight into company culture. Some systems, such as Ceridian’s Dayforce platform, have add-on modules that allow employees to answer questions that will provide managers information on their personality type and communication styles, allowing for better connections and communication in the workplace.
While these are typically utilized during onboarding, there are options that will provide daily feedback regarding company morale. For example, employees can provide feedback on their workloads, mood, and other relevant information. This helps to paint a clearer picture of who is feeling stressed, who is having a bad day, and who may have the capacity to help out on an extra project. “This is especially beneficial to remote workers,” notes Babbidge. Without the daily interactions that come with an office setting, it can be hard to judge someone’s mood. “This way, a manager can see if someone’s having a rough day and put off that hard conversation until tomorrow. Or check-in and see why the employee is feeling stressed out and what can be done to help.”
Babbidge notes that while these types of add-on modules have an instant benefit, there’s also the long-term effect of measuring company culture. “You can get a handle on what’s going on before the employee is walking out the door in their exit interview,” she says. This is especially important as companies navigate record-high turnover rates.
A Worthwhile Investment
While system utilization reviews can be a daunting task, Babbidge notes that most of her clients come away with a feeling of enlightenment. “They walk away and say ‘Oh! Now I get it!’ There’s often an ‘ah-ha’ moment on how to use the system and an ‘ah-ha’ moment on why things are set up the way that they are.”
Babbidge understands why some companies may be hesitant to dig into the system optimization process. “A lot of times clients will know what needs to get improved or get fixed. They’ll have some idea of how to improve or enhance the system, but they don’t know how to get started,” she explains. “They don’t know which thing they should do first.” It’s this feeling of overwhelm and uncertainty that may prevent an optimization from ever beginning.
However, when working with a trusted and knowledgeable partner, system optimization can be a breeze. If you’re considering peeling back the curtain and taking a deep look at your HCM system’s shortcomings, contact a Wise consultant today!
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