Previous Article Next Article What’s in store for e-HR?On 26 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. The potential for growth in e-HR remains enormous. Developing electronicsystems offers HR benefits in terms of day-to-day organisation, bothstrategically and through streamlining administration. With routine tasks suchas holiday entitlements and corporate procedures available direct to employeesonline, HR’s attention can be given to strategic issues of organisationalgrowth and development. Such developments are timely. E-HR addresses a range of issues from skillsshortages – linking benefits to training, for example, which is tracked online– to global communications. While most of the developments to date have beenfocused in-house via sophisticated corporate intranets, future developmentswill include opening up broader channels of communication and making thatinformation more widely available. Michael Richards, managing director of Snowdrop Systems, says, “Theshort-term trend and demand we are seeing is for web-based applications –that’s far and away the most important issue at the moment. Of our projects, 75per cent this year have involved some web element, which is a huge increase onthe previous year.” He adds, “While these applications providesimilar sorts of functionality that have been around for years, using a webinterface means that anyone can access it from anywhere.” But it is also true that while technical developments offer considerableadvantages, corporate culture can often affect their take-up. As Alan Foley,managing director at ICS Computing, points out, “While the technology isthere, it’s a question of whether companies can adapt their culture – and makethe necessary investment – to use it. Generally, e-HR is under-utilised.” One answer can be to outsource specific functions, says Erik Morse, managingdirector of Peopleclick Europe. “There is a general move to outsourcingsystems in areas like management systems and recruitment. This is partlybecause HR systems are generally low on the list of priorities in companies. Byoutsourcing, HR can have a bit more control of its systems and get a quickerresponse than through its in-house IT departments.” This can also provide a first step for HR departments wanting to convincetheir companies of the strategic and financial benefits of developing online HRresources. Elizabeth WilsonHR Strategy manager (UK), People Softe-HRThe trend towards e-recruitment and e-learning will expand into the area ofbenefits. As benefits become more prevalent in compensation packets, e-HR willhelp enormously because people will be able to self-serve and choose whether,for example, they want to put more into pensions or to have the money direct.They will also be able to get info direct from the providers by clicking ontothe providers’ sites. Also, more admin tasks will be handled online – we arealready seeing things like expenses and travel being done electronically andtracked through the financial systemsRecruitment TollsWe already have a lot being done electronically but that will expandthrough things like web access via the television with people responding toadvertisements. Companies will also become more proactive in searching for CVson the web and that will become more prevalent when the skills shortage hitsthe European marketAbsenceThere won’t be huge changes here, apart from the end user being able to putin requests for things like holiday entitlements, and checking pay issues onlinePayrollThe move to the web for payroll delivery will cut costs of administrationand post. Web-based payslip delivery will be the norm, as will the delivery ofstatutory information to the Inland Revenue. That will help with the speed ofdata transfer and in cutting costsTraining and developmentThere will be enormous changes. Aside from e-learning there is retention ofstaff through career development and training. Skills-based compensation isbeing adapted to retain staff, especially in organisations that have a flatterstructure. As training becomes more integrated with comps, it will have to bemonitored effectively throughout the whole organisation – you can’t havedifferent managers using different rating methodsSystem CapacitiesThe trend is to use HR data analytically to forecast budgets, analysebusiness strategy, not just to store information. To do that properly, HR needsbusiness tools capable of handling volumes of data. Increasingly anorganisation’s competencies and skills gaps need to be handled globally sosystems have to be able to collect information from anywhere at any time, whichis where the web comes inAlan FoleyManaging director, ICS Computinge-HRThere are products available that enable companies to post rules, handbooksand procedures online, and give employees access to systems on information suchas benefits. While the technology is there, in non-technological industries theweb culture has been much slower to take off. Even when e-HR systems are inplace, they remain under-utilised. We offer security-based access for linemanagers to get employee information online, but not many corporates are goingdown this route. If e-HR is fully developed, it should reach the point where HRis only accessed for specialist knowledgeRecruitment ToolsReceiving CVs electronically can speed up recruitment, but there needs tobe changes in the process. Organisations need to improve their ability toreceive applications from their web site and take them straight into their ownsystemAbsenceThis can be poorly controlled if it is paper-based and not process-driven.Using a work-based system means you can register absences and they can beprocessed through the organisation more efficiently. Probably the biggestchange we will see here is the analysis of absence information and the study oftrends, frequencies and patternsPayrollWe see an increasing trend to outsource payroll, including largeorganisations that are outsourcing for the first time. Companies want to keepcontrol of the benefits side, but payroll is otherwise seen as non-core.Organisations are also keen to do less so the supplier handling the payrollacts more as the payroll department, liaising with other departments in thecorporation to get the relevant information direct from themTraining and developmentHR systems were, for a period, almost recording systems. Now they are usedmore as management tools to help decide where people should be developed. Thesoftware is much more capable of providing the tools for HR to developcompetencies within an organisation.System capacitiesThere is a trend to seeking solutions rather than just systems. Oftencompanies are tight on IT resources so, rather than setting up systemsinternally for functions such as payroll, they are willing to access a systemthat is hosted by an external vendor who will handle the function for them. Thetrend to outsourcing HR functions like these will continue.Michael RichardsManaging director, Snowdrop Systemse-HRThe major shift is that HR people have become comfortable with the factthat data does not have to be locked away in a cupboard for use just by HR.There’s an acceptance that you can devolve responsibility – employees can findout for themselves how many days holiday they have left. Overall, you havefull-featured systems and a lot more data being collected and used. In three tofive years there will be a wholesale shift in who uses the data and how –perhaps accessing it through hand-held devices and mobile phonesRecruitment tollsThere are systems available that enable companies to scan CVs forparticular qualifications and experience, but at the moment these can onlyoffer at best, 95 per cent accuracy, which isn’t good enough. What is needed isa systematic structure that will make it easier for individuals to fire off aCV from around the world, which all systems will be able to interpret AbsenceToday’s systems operate well. Different issues will need to be consideredwith home working though. The technology for home working is already availablebut once digital exchanges are up and running, it will become easier to do.That will make monitoring who is and who isn’t in the office or at work morecomplex, so absence will still need to be managedPayrollThis is such a standard process that the technology doesn’t change verymuch, although payroll systems are easier to integrate. What companies need todo with payroll is to outsource it. They want to be able to extract theinformation they need and have access to limited amounts of data to analyse,but not to have to manage or run payrollTraining and developmentThis is one area that will have the biggest impact for e-HR. It is alsohighly visible. Training and development centres on online working, which ismost effective when used to teach about basic technological developments or newproducts. It is not the best vehicle for many other areas of training –although the vehicle is there, it suffers from poor content. People put theemphasis on technology but not the contentSystem capacitiesSoftware development over the past five years has increasingly separateddata from application so different interfaces – such as the web, or hand-helddevices – can be used to access the application. In a few years there will beother devices used to access data. Better system integration is also on theagenda. Accessibility is improving so that information can be made available tothe widest audienceTony FlanaganMarketing manager, ASRe-HRWhat we tend to find is that HR departments are looking to streamlineinternal processes through effective workflow practices linked to e-mailfunctionality and electronic forms that can be accessed via the intranet. Nowthat people are aware of the capabilities of new technology, it’s a question offitting it into their business culture and using it in their day-to-day operations.A lot of HR processes are labour intensive but technology could dramaticallychange the way they workRecruitment toolsBeing able to recruit online has a number of benefits but the key is beingable to track the process from the moment that someone fills in an applicationonline. Those details need to be sifted through to the database, where a skillsmatch can identify candidates for the postAbsenceSystems have developed to the point that, when someone phones in sick, thatprocess can be handled electronically. So the person at reception fills in thedetails of the absent person on their absence screen and files that to therelevant line manager to deal with. Absence can be tracked individually butalso at department level, so that trends can be identifiedPayrollThe significant trend is that people are looking more for integrationbetween the HR and payroll softwareTraining and developmentStaff retention is a key issue and one that is being addressed more throughtraining and development. Organisations are looking to invest in their staff to try to retain themfor longer and e-learning provides a more targeted and streamlined way of doingthat. We also have software that can link individual appraisals to businessobjectives, to ensure those objectives have been metSystem capacitiesWorking processes are changing as more people are working from home. HR hasto find a way of ensuring they don’t feel alienated and to improvecommunications channels between individuals’ homes and the workplace. Peoplefind out what is going on in an organisation via its intranet, but in future,information will also have to become available via the web so that it can beaccessed from different sourcesMichael HowardManaging director, Frontier Softwaree-HREventually all forms used within an organisation that need HR approval willbe eliminated and such approval process will occur over a companies Intranet.However, until organisations allow their systems to be accessed via the Internet– as an outsider – the benefits of electronic approvals will be minimised.Naturally, Internet security still remains an issue. HR will only become anefficient administrative/planning centre when the admin functions are deployedto both managers and employees, hence systems must be designed in a suitablemannerRecruitment toolsAgain the web will become the number one facility for advertising andgaining applicants compared to where it is now. Use of images and sound toattract applicants will become the norm in five years timeAbsenceIntegration is the key to administering absences. When control is required,managers using technology will be provided with automatic alerts to warn themin advance of events happeningPayrollThe debate between in-house payroll and outsourcing will always be thesame. Either solution is suitable, depending upon business needs. Systems willbecome more integrated and the successful HR software companies will be thosewho offer both servicesTraining and developmentAgain, the use of technology for e-learning will become fundamental.Systems will be designed to utilise all the methods for staff and students tolearn and comprehend in a quicker mannerSystem capacitiesWhat we shall see in the future is: total integration between modules;payroll accreditations; scalability; open technical platforms; Internet andintranet awareness systems easy learning facilities.Christopher BerryManaging director, Compele-HRE-HR will increasingly make the day-to-day administrative aspects of peoplemanagement a background task, enabling HR professionals to concentrate on theadded value contribution they can give to the development and competitivenessof the organisation. For example, there is the increased use of employeeself-service for maintenance of data and the ease with which managers canself-serve their own reports and information that previously would have had tobe requested from the HR function.Recruitment toolsIncreased profile and acceptance of online recruitment providers will addanother source of applicants to HR’s traditional portfolio of recruitmentsources. This will grow more popular as it integrates with a firm’s ownrecruitment admin and applicant tracking software.AbsenceAbsence management and cost control is often a justification for an HRsystem. This will increasingly become the case through the ability of employeesand managers to gather data and report without intervention from HR. Increaseduse of palm computing and PDA’s will make data gathering and reporting moreaccessible, particularly with a remote workforce.PayrollIntegration between HR systems and payroll will become seamless and secure.Web-based technology will make delivery of pay information increasinglystraight forward. For example, payslips can be delivered electronically andthere will be easier access to historical dataTraining and developmentTechnological development, particularly with delivery of graphical andvideo-based material, will lead to greater opportunities for the delivery oftraining to employees’ desktops or, in the case of remote workers, home PCs,making selection of appropriate training material much greater.By Caroline Horn Related posts:No related photos.