HR management systems: Better, faster, sharper

Scoot, OCBC Bank, Trivago, Lenovo, and Swarovski: these are just a few of the many global companies that have recently moved their HR functions onto a single, comprehensive talent management platform.

And the list is quickly expanding, particularly as HR departments globally are now required to be even more than just strategic. They are also expected to possess updated capabilities to meet the needs of their businesses.

With a growing emphasis on newer workforce objectives, such as real-time employee engagement, integrated performance management, temporary workforce management and staff wellness, coupled with traditional needs like payroll and leave management, more organisations now see the benefits of adopting a customisable, yet still exhaustive people management solution.

Flexible and scalable
Swarovski, for example, moved onto a new system hosted on Workday in the hopes of achieving more transparent, efficient and simplified people processes, while supporting new ways of working and catering to changing organisational objectives.

Beyond that, the organisation was looking to empower its people and line managers to make data-driven and fact-based people decisions.

Earlier this year, hotel search platform Trivago, was seeking out a cloud-based HR solution capable of providing one single source of “truth” for employee data, while empowering HR leaders and managers with better insights to make faster and more accurate decisions.

The company also needed a platform that its 1,300 employees globally could access at any time and from anywhere in the world.

Using Workday’s Human Capital Management, the deployment saw Trivago transform day-to-day HR processes, such as compensation, absence management, time tracking, recruiting, expenses and performance and development.

“We needed an HR solution that provided the technological platform for a single, always-up-to-date database – a solution that was flexible and especially scalable as we grow,” says Sian Williams, Business Operations and Strategy – Talent Solutions at Trivago.

“It is fantastic and also new for us that we’ll be able to use the system no matter where our people are, or which device they are using”.

Indeed, as Workday’s President David Hope notes, whether it’s collecting real-time staff feedback or managing contingent workers, companies today understand that with business needs constantly evolving, having the flexibility and freedom to design functionalities based on priorities, is the ultimate key.

“Our clients are already exposed to a comprehensive suite of functionalities that encompass many of (these) trends,” says Hope.

“I think more important than designing any specific new feature for one particular client is the ability to continuously innovate and update our software to meet the fast-changing needs of the modern HR landscape, as well as to tailor our systems to specific client needs.”

But many companies are also avoiding bespoke systems that are overly complicated and difficult to maintain.

Hope says that Workday’s technology enables customers to configure their rules and policies without requiring extensive customisation or coding, which means they are not adversely affected by upgrades.

Real-time functionalities
Times Software, the winner of two awards at HRM Asia’s Readers’ Choice Awards this year, foresees increasing demand for fully digital solutions that provide real-time employee engagement integrated with a performance management system able to facilitate consistent, two-way communication between management and employees.

At present, the service provider is experiencing a surge in clients requesting for more interactive performance reviews, as well as dashboards that are able to boost interaction and engagement of employees, says Managing Director Charles Liaw.

Alongside the increase of temporary workforce management inquiries, largely from the hotel industry, and the growing demand for mobile-enabled features such as geo-tracking and push notifications on apps, Times Software ensures that the latest trends can be easily integrated into its systems.

“We ensure our solutions are built with constant improvements in mind. That is why our products are easily enhanced in accordance to the market needs,” says Liaw. For example, the company is currently in the process of adding data analytics, and has also built a broadcast facility, in which temporary jobs are advertised via SMS and with mobile push notifications.

Liaw agrees with Hope, saying client organisations appreciate platforms that are not fixed with limited functionalities.

“A one-size-fits-all approach is no longer feasible in HR as different companies have differing needs. Therefore, we provide a basic platform which is flexible for customisation,” he says.

Moving with market trends
In Singapore, where the bulk of Times Software’s clients are based, the government’s call to move towards a “Smart Nation” is expected to see greater development on the mobile technology front.

Liaw foresees an increase in digitisation of payment methods in particular.

“The government’s push for cashless technology means that there will be more payment options available and we wouldn’t be surprised if in the near future, petty cash for claims will all be paid through QR codes instead of physical cash,” he says.

The major technology companies’ development race in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will also see robotics technology mature, although Liaw says it will still be a long time before this plays out.

Still, there will be more integration of AI in almost every sector, and that includes HR solutions.

“Deep learning will become part of HR solutions, where the system is able to learn about the company’s trends through repeated usage, and then make improved recommendations to users,” says Liaw.

“AI will enable more productivity as menial functions such as delegation of tasks will all be done by the system.”

Disruption in developing countries
Similar changes have also begun happening in developing countries in Southeast Asia.

At the recent Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations, law and tax advisory firm VDB Loi shared how the world of traditional HR was being rapidly disrupted with cloud computing, social media, mobile technology, and analytics changing the way businesses are run across the region.

In order for companies to keep pace with these trends, it is essential to take their HR processes into the digital era, said Dara Ouk, Business Development Manager of VDB Loi.

Ouk further stated that by 2020, “digital natives” will comprise more than 50% of the global workforce, which will present a new set of challenges for any HR teams still prioritising traditional strategies. Employee engagement and development; attracting top talent; retaining and rewarding this talent; and performance management are just some of the issues that business leaders and HR professionals will face.

In late-2015, VDB Loi entered a partnership with technology firm Microimage HCM Asia in Myanmar. VDB Loi employed Microimage’s digital HCM Cloud solution, which was customised for the niche market based on VDB Loi’s local data, knowledge and expertise.

The HCM solution enables companies to maximise the full potential of digital technology while receiving a consumer-grade user experience that is intuitive and interactive. The solution works across all devices including mobile.

Just last month, the legal firm also rolled out the platform across its Cambodian offices.

“Taking HR into the digital era with a platform that was designed for the future generation of digital natives is the only way organisations will be able to attract, retain and motivate the right talent and remain relevant,” says Ouk.

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