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HR Leaders at 'cross roads' again, but third time's the charm !

Most HR leaders and practitioners have witnessed the proverbial 'Change is the only constant' phenomenon in HCM space since last 50 - 60 years. These changes are across the functional areas like HR Administration, HR Service Delivery, Talent Management and Workforce Management. While there has been a sea change in employee centric operational and strategic HR processes over these years from business side, technology has aided or enabled these changes.

A quick analysis of these changes will unveil interesting factors.

  1. The pace of such changes in business and technology layer have been steady and controlled.

  2.  Most of the times, they were decided based on Organizations' operational or strategic requirements.

  3. Change initiatives are driven and executed by the Organization's own team or partners / vendors.

  4. A closer look will reveal that most of these factors are 'internal' not guided by the 'external' factors, baring statutory regulatory compliance.

Today, we witness that the 'external' factors are more forceful as compared to internal factors in guiding these change decisions in an organizations' HR practices. To understand the impact, it is important to note these chronological patterns which forced these change initiatives. Lets go thru these 'decision points' for change, which forced the HR Leaders into 'cross roads' for critical decision making about their HR practices.

Manual Vs. Automation

In the period where mainframe applications were being built or personal desktop revolution post 1985, HR practices in most organizations have been evaluated on a single question 'Manual Vs. Automation' to decide the scope of HR IT work and what comes into the HR Operations part.

Mundane and higher volume transactions like Payroll, Employee Administration or Time & Attendance which were centered around data keeping, rule driven and workflow driven activities were the initial targets to decide what is being automated and what remains a manual process.

Most legacy HR applications were designed and built on this paradigm and still are functional in the same way.

User driven Vs. Self-Service driven

As we progressed, all these multiple HR applications - both in-house and commercially available COTS solutions had to be redesigned with another key question - what processes are driven / enabled by the HR User and what HR processes have to be enabled for Employee or Manager Self-Service. HR leaders were left on another cross-roads at this moment, as the control of the HR process or operations have moved from Users to Employees in certain areas.

HR Leaders and Practitioners had to redesign the current HR processes to determine the operational processes retained by the HR Users and the processes that are delivered to Employee or Mangers on self-service basis. Most in-house HR applications and COTS applications have been redesigned to respond to this trend of 'empowering the employee'.

HR Processes across various business functions centered around approvals like leave or time-sheet approvals, workflow mechanisms, simple data driven queries like pay slips or leave balance checks etc..

Human Interface Vs. Digital AND Standardized Vs. Personalized

While it is tedious to be at 'cross roads' again, HR leaders are finding themselves in cross roads again - however the third time is definitely looking very exciting as compared to last two tides of change. Aided by the technology advancements which are changing the face of the world and the imperative to cater to diversified employee needs, the upcoming changes in HR business processes and associated HR IT applications is phenomenal. Digital and Employee Experience are going to drive these changes - an exciting opportunity for all HR leaders.

This time the questions are juxtaposed asking for multiple decisions:

Decision #1: What HR processes to be retained with 'Human / Human Interface' layer and what HR processes form the 'Digital Experience' layer...

Decision #2: What HR processes are to be delivered as Industry 'Standardized' processes and what HR processes need to be 'Personalized' to improve the Employee Experience.

Moreover, these decisions impact the entire HR functional areas and not limited to only certain areas where there are data-entry or operational or approval needs.

So, the task for HR leaders now is to determine how to break-up or slice & dice the HR processes and map them into the right areas in this two-dimensional model along with the benefits or value-adds depicted above.

As part of our HCM Advisory / Strategy offerings, the 'HCM process maturity model' assessment framework is re-engineered to suit the upcoming paradigm shifts in HCM space, starting with assessment and evaluation of the each L0 - L3 process to be mapped as per these two dimensions.  

Stay tuned to our 'HCM World' showcase and sessions, to get updates about this renewed 'process maturity model' framework.


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