HCM Innovation In The Cloud (Part 1)

The HR function is in the midst of a fundamental shift from administrative to strategic. HR leaders are expected to bring new levels of sophistication and business acumen to the executive table.

The good news? The C-Suite recognizes HR’s importance and wants HR leaders to influence strategic decisions.  In fact, in a 2012 global survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit , 80 percent of CEOs and CFOs said they wanted the head of HR to be a key player in their company’s strategic planning.

The not so good news? There are some definite hurdles to clear before HR can solidify their seat at the executive table. Of those 80% of CEOs and CFOs who want HR to take part in strategic planning, only 38% report that this is currently the case. Here are some other sobering statistics:

  • 83% of HR and business executives believe that talent programs need to be improved (Source: Deloitte: Talent Edge 2020: Redrafting Talent Strategies for the Uneven Recovery, January 2012)
  • Less than 25% of organizations have access to the people insights they need (Source: HCI, 2010 Talent Intelligence Survey)
  • Only 15 percent of HR’s time is spent on strategic activities, while 71 percent is still spent on service delivery, recordkeeping, compliance and internal management  (Source: HR Transformation in EMEA, Mercer 2010)

These statistics should not be reason to panic; rather they should serve as a call to action. HR leaders are well versed in handling complex situations and this should be handled like any other business challenge.

The first step is assessing your situation and understanding where your company falls on the spectrum. Is your biggest challenge standardizing global processes? Do you have processes down pat, but lack a comprehensive talent strategy? Note your immediate needs and also think about what you would want to tackle next.

The second step is looking at company goals. For example, if your company goal is to expand to new markets in the coming year, you need to ensure that HR can put a talent plan in place to support that.

The third step is looking at the software landscape. There are several human capital management solutions to choose from and it can be overwhelming. Before choosing your vendor, make sure that you look at their solution from all angles to ensure it meets your needs now and will continue to meet your needs as your department and company grow and develop.  You want to ensure that the solution is user friendly but you also need something functional. Remember, your job isn’t simplistic so your software shouldn’t be either.

So how can Oracle help? We understand that every organization is different and every HR leader has different challenges to tackle and goals to achieve. This is why we’ve looked at human capital management from all angles and built a holistic solution that covers everything from the basics of workforce management to comprehensive talent management and analytics that provide true insight.

Our solutions aren’t just meant to help you manage today’s challenges and opportunities but also to predict and plan for tomorrow.  We’ve focused on building role-based applications that are intuitive and easy to use for employees and managers but that can still meet the needs of a professional HR user.  And we haven’t limited our offerings to software. We know that to truly serve our HR customers, we need to understand your world and your needs. This is why we’ve staffed our team with talented and experienced HR practitioners who have walked in your shoes and can help you with best practices and strategic planning.

We want to help elevate HR but also make your life easier. This means helping you to simplify workforce management, find, develop and retain the right talent, predict workforce changes and issues, plan according to company goals and become the strategic partner the C-suite is looking for.  Now, let’s walk you through some of the ways Oracle HCM is uniquely positioned to help you achieve these objectives.

One of the most common roadblocks to freeing up time and being able to operate on a more strategic level is the disparate nature of many HR systems. Whether they’re using a variety of point solutions or a combination of manual and automated processes, we’ve learned that many HR leaders have a difficult time connecting the dots between different aspects of the employee lifecycle and accessing the critical data they need for quality talent management and workforce planning. This is why Oracle has made true end-to-end functionality a priority.  By integrating core transactions with workforce and talent management and layering a powerful analytics solution on top, Oracle HCM enables the HR leader to connect and align individual processes. 

Let’s look at an example of how that might work: Say you get most of your employees from a certain job board. If you looked at that statistic in a stand-alone recruiting system, you would think it’s a great channel and you might allocate additional recruiting dollars to it. But in an integrated system, you would easily be able to see that performance reviews for recruits from that job board are actually quite low. And the attrition rates are high.  So rather than spending more money on that channel, you probably want to reassess whether you should use it at all.

That’s just one example of how an integrated system can help you manage your talent effectively and have real impact on your company’s bottom line.  Others might include being able to tie performance directly to compensation or being able to recommend specific learning plans based on an employee’s review. When you’re able to get out of the weeds and get deep insight into your workforce, the strategic planning possibilities are endless.

When assessing your HCM cloud software options, you’ll likely hear the term “end to end” a lot. Be sure to dig deep and see what’s truly covered so you don’t wind up with gaps in your system. For example, some of the other popular HCM cloud solutions are missing key aspects such as recruiting, learning, time and labor, and predictive analytics. Remember the example we just discussed about the high volume but poor quality recruiting channel?  And the one about developing learning plans tailored to performance reviews? You’d never be able to connect those dots in a system like the one shown here.

An improved user experience is one of the primary reasons companies consider the shift to the Cloud. It will also lessen the burden on HR. If you invest in an application that your employees will actually use, you can realistically make the move to more employee self-service and more manager-controlled processes. This will make your staff feel more empowered and engaged and will also relieve the pressure on HR to be involved in every single transaction. We understand that and have invested heavily in creating a modern, intuitive interface that will deliver the consumer-grade experience your employees have come to expect from software.  We also understand that “clicking the easy button” may be right for end users but it’s not quite enough for HR. While the HR interface is just as slick and modern, it also takes into account that you need to get quite a bit deeper into the application than your managers and employees. So while they have just the basics, you have full access to the reports and tools you need to be successful. It’s simple—without being simplistic. Finally, we know that many employees—particularly executives—need to work on the go. So we developed a dedicated app, Fusion Tap, for mobile work. Your CEO wants to review org charts on the plane? No need to send him off with a stack of papers—he can get the information he needs in just a couple of clicks.

A common complaint we hear from HR leaders is that they can’t access the data they need to make good decisions. Data is often stored in several different systems and doesn’t always match up so trying to complete a simple task such as assessing labor costs in a certain market or comparing the attrition rates of different lines of business becomes a Herculean effort. In addition to being a complete, integrated solution that serves as a single source of truth for your workforce data, Oracle’s HCM solution has the embedded analytics you need to easily access workforce statistics, without cumbersome spreadsheets or help from IT. You’ll hear the same about many cloud solutions. However we’ve taken business intelligence much further by also including predictive analytics and what-if modeling.  Our predictive analytics model serves as your early warning system, allowing you to forecast workforce performance and identify talent risks while there’s still time to take corrective action.  To calculate predicted employee flight risk, we used the model of why people leave from PWC and the Saratoga Institute, incorporating approximately 100 fields of data. We even tested our predictive model on historical Oracle data to ensure its accuracy (on first go, had 80%success rate). And the predictive data is just the first step.  Once you see predictions, you can then test out different scenarios using the what-if modeling tool.  Say one of your top sales reps is at risk for leaving. You can test out what would happen if you gave her a raise or promotion. You would see the effect that would have on her flight risk and you would also see how those actions would affect the flight risk of her peers.  This is all presented in clear, graphic dashboards. It’s sophisticated technology but it’s tailored for a business user, not a numbers whiz.

If you run a global company or you plan to expand into international markets, you need to ensure that your HCM solution is globally equipped. Some HCM cloud solutions stop at translation, currency and time zone support but as a global company, we understand that surface support is not enough.  In addition to a global core that can be used to streamline standard processes across all offices, the solution includes a local layer that supports tens of countries with data fields, regulatory forms, business rules and country specific reports. We have specific teams focused on regulations in all of the countries we support to help ensure our customers stay in compliance.  Our person and employment model enables you to support multiple person types and employees with multiple legal employers, multiple assignments or individual contractual agreements.  With a configurable international layer, you can support additional countries or make additional localizations. We’ve found that many companies moved to local personalization and subsequently experienced issues with messy procedures and data and compliance gaps. By moving to the opposite extreme—centralization—they made local offices unhappy. Our configurable international layer gives you the flexibility to find the right balance for your organization. 

Our mission at Oracle is to provide best-in-class applications to enable HR leaders to solve their most vexing challenges and provide true value to their executive teams and organizations. And who better to help us accomplish that mission than an expert team of former HR practitioners? Our business transformation team is assembled of former senior executives in all aspects of HR. They understand your pains because they’ve lived through each one of them. And having reached the top of their profession, they have both the experience and the strategic insight to help our customers excel. Not only can our team assist with your HR systems strategy and best practices, but they also serve as valuable advisors to our product team, ensuring that our applications are built for practical use and maximum effectiveness.  (Contributing Authors: Stephanie Lepow, Aaron Green, and Scott Ewart)

Coming up in HCM Innovation In The Cloud Part 2, we’ll talk about considerations to include your assessment of moving to the cloud.  For more information on Oracle’s HCM Cloud Solutions, visit http://cloud.oracle.com
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