HCM platforms leverage the freedom and flexibility of the cloud.
By Jennifer Taylor
Imagine all eyes on your CEO. The board of directors poses two questions: Do we have the talent pool necessary to execute our strategy, and are we spending enough to attract and retain the talent we need? Supported by a modern human capital management (HCM) system, your CEO is able to immediately access an up-to-date dashboard on his or her iPad and confidently respond.
For companies using traditional human resources management systems (HRMS), this scenario may sound visionary. For companies that have made the transition to modern, cloud-based HCM platforms, it is very real. Although legacy HR systems can adequately support traditional HR responsibilities and day-to-day tasks—from processing time-off requests and awarding promotions, to negotiating benefits and facilitating management reports—they are inadequate when it comes to delivering the insight that executives and HR professionals need to answer strategic questions.
As HR professionals become more involved in strategic corporate decisions, they need a technology platform that is flexible enough to support the evolving HR trends impacting business. A cloud-based HCM system can serve as an official system of record that easily integrates with other cutting-edge cloud applications to enable HR professionals to recruit, incent, and manage talent in new and innovative ways.
When it comes to identifying and attracting great talent, some of the most successful companies are tapping into the conversations taking place on internal and external social networks. A recent U.S. survey from Jobvite showed that nearly 90 percent of employers either use or plan to use social media for recruiting. Cloud-based solutions make it easier than ever to harness the power of online communities to improve recruiting results. For example, a business searching for a corporate attorney can look for updates on LinkedIn following the release of results of professional tests like the state bar exam.
Cloud-based applications are being extended to monitor both external and internal social networks to source talent. These solutions can help recruiters and hiring managers identify people who are influential about topics related to the role for which they are recruiting. Such individuals can become leads or refer qualified candidates that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Because cloud-based applications are built on more open, modern platforms than traditional on-premise applications, they can much more easily plug into the rapidly growing number of online tools and social communities.
A growing number of companies are also using the paradigm of games to get a more accurate picture of employee expertise and to incent individuals to further corporate objectives. By applying game mechanics to traditional talent management processes, HR organizations can encourage people to invest in areas that are out of their traditional realm or that they might consider boring. Gartner predicts more than 70 percent of global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014. This isn’t surprising, considering recent studies show gamification can lead to improvements in user engagement, ROI, data quality, timelines, and learning.
Some organizations, such as the military, L’Oreal, and Marriott, are using online gaming to assess prospective applicants. Gamification can also be used to urge employees to achieve personal goals that are tightly aligned with corporate goals. For example, Appirio’s HR team provides a list of vetted objectives and tasks that employees can work through at their own pace while competing with others for points to earn bonuses. The company features overall and point leaders by quarter on a leaderboard, visible to everyone. Used in this way, gamification increases individual participation while driving corporate and team goals.
Integrating gamification platforms and processes with cloud-based HCM solutions and social networks can help HR teams to identify engagement and retention issues among employees and more effectively reward high performers. Contrast this to writing three to five personal objectives and manually maintaining employee skills matrices, certifications, and training accomplishments in a rigid, complex learning management systems (LMS). It’s not only easier to manage and more interesting to use, it also helps HR professionals notice when someone’s interests change, which gives them the opportunity to intervene and possibly prevent a valuable employee from leaving the organization.
Modern cloud-based solutions can not only support these new trends in recruiting and retaining employees, but they can also facilitate improvements in coaching and managing performance.
It can be nearly impossible to assess performance using a traditional annual five-point performance management rating scale. This is why many businesses are moving away from yearly reviews to shorter timeframes, including quarterly review discussions that invite more real-time communication. According to payrollblogger.com, “More frequent iterations better set expectations, reduce miscommunications and provide up-to-date feedback that staff can leverage to improve their performance and contribution.”
Organizations using always-available cloud-based coaching tools—with intuitive user interfaces—encourage continuous feedback. These solutions collect data from colleagues throughout the life of a project and allow organizations to recognize individual accomplishments as they occur. This can reduce performance-related disagreements at the end of the year. Companies also use these systems to minimize surprises as employees can regularly access their own feedback page, giving them a continuous view of how their peers, partners, and managers perceive their contributions.
One of the biggest advances in modern HCM systems is the ability to manage talent on any device in a secure way—whether it’s a laptop or iPad, used on the road, at home, or in the office. A Forbes Insight survey of more than 300 executives reported that many utilize a full array of devices for business purposes. On average, respondents had 3.46 devices each: CEOs (4.21 devices) and CFOs (4.22 devices) had the most. And more than half of senior executives agreed that their mobile device is now their primary communications tool.
With the most up-to-date information available where and when they need it, executives can confidently discuss employee rankings and what bonuses were awarded based on what merits with members of the board or executive staff members. They can access and show talent cards for those deemed “superstars” in each area of the business. Anytime, any place analytics also can provide HR professionals with an opportunity to work more closely with executives to improve business outcomes.
Open, flexible cloud-based HCM platforms are capable of supporting these and other trends that make HR and the business more effective and agile, but they don’t stop there. As new trends emerge, these systems will be ready.
A cloud-based HCM and talent management system enables organizations to iterate, learn, and extend existing systems to meet new needs. HR professionals can move beyond typical data transactions to being able to provide strategic advice backed by meaningful analytical insights.
HR teams considering adopting an open HCM platform should assess the business requirements driving the needs of a more effective talent recruitment and management. The right cloud-based HCM system can help business stay ahead of demands for talent and provide incentives that focus employees on meeting corporate objectives while enhancing skill sets.
Beginning with small steps, your business can adopt cloud solutions that increasingly involve your workforce in HR processes and take advantage of new trends that feed back into business priorities. The time for a more modern HCM system is now. Your business depends on it.
Jennifer Taylor is vice president of Workday cloud services at Appirio.