Willy Wonka and HR Operational Excellence

By Richard Doherty

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the Children’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I’ve just finished reading this to my 6 year old – he absolutely loved it of course (as do I!). 

You might wonder why I started this blog posting with reference to a children’s classic, well, I’m presenting a webcast on HR Operational Excellence on February 27th (Click here to register) and as I read about Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka, I could see parallels with what happened to the chocolate factory and what will happen with HR Operational Excellence. If you can remember, for years Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory was the major employer in the local town and achieved a market leadership position by innovating and producing the very best tasting chocolate. Then one day, Mr Wonka shut his factory gates and never opened them again, but he continued to produce the very best chocolate and he continued to introduce new products to market.

We learn later in the book that after the gates were shut, Mr Wonka completely changed the way he worked, replacing his old employees from the local town with Oompa Loompas because he was fed up with his competitors sending in spies to his factory and stealing his ideas.

While I’m not suggesting HR professionals are going to be replaced by Oompa Loompas and despite the fact that achieving HR Operational Excellence is not a new topic, I think we are entering a very interesting phase of this journey, triggered by technology, that will change significantly the way HR Services are delivered, the role of the HR professional and significantly increase the benchmark for HR Operational Excellence.

Many, many organisations have implemented the structural changes required to deliver operational excellence with HR Shared Services, Centres of Excellence and HR Business Partners. These types of HR organisations typically deliver solid HR services but I’d often describe them as ducks on water – the picture of calm on the surface, but peddling furiously below the surface to keep pace with the needs of the business. This is due to a hodge podge of different HR systems, often not integrated, creating disconnected processes and islands of HR data. On many occasions I’ve seen HR Shared Service Centres pretty much doing everything for the employee or manager (the client) because it’s too difficult for the client to do it themselves. While providing a good service to the client this is clearly highly inefficient, very expensive and open to manual errors (due to the lack of integration).

New technology across 4 dimensions is the solution to the ducks on water syndrome.

Firstly, Oracle’s HCM Cloud, provides the broadest functional coverage of any Cloud HCM suite, making a single global instance covering all HR core and talent processes, much more achievable than ever before and provides all the benefits that you would expect from Cloud delivery.

Secondly, Oracle’s mobile HCM applications for multiple mobile platforms, provide a genuine game changing employee experience that will drive significant uptake in employee and manager self service, driving more and more tier 0 HR transactions. We are genuinely excited when we get the opportunity to showcase our mobile HCM solutions, they are that good.

Thirdly, Social collaboration is slowly but surely changing our working lives in the same way as it changed our personal lives. The Oracle HCM Cloud has embraced social collaboration from the day we started developing it and encourages social collaboration as a natural part of people processes i.e. performance management, rather than hoping that employees will make it to a standalone social portal.

We’ve embedded analytics (including predictive analytics) in the Oracle HCM Cloud, providing employees and managers with the information they need, at the moment they need it, to make better people decisions. At the aggregate level, by standardising on the Oracle HCM Cloud for all people processes and all parts of the business, clients have a single version of the truth and HR is able to spend less time, producing better reports with more analytical insights.

I believe that these 4 major areas, will help HR provide a better, more consistent service with less effort and I’m very excited to see a number of our customers on this journey right now – all the ingredients for the recipe are there, so now is the time to start this journey if you haven’t already.

So in the same way as Mr Wonka brought in the Oompa Loompas to drive efficiency, HR has the opportunity to introduce more modern technology to achieve HR Operational Excellence and modernise HR.

I’ll be expanding upon this theme during an upcoming webcast on HR Operational Excellence on February 27th – if the timing doesn’t work for you, the webcast will be available on-demand shortly afterwards for those who register – to register, please click here.

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Richard brings more than 14 years of cloud based HCM solution experience to his role as HCM Strategy Director at Oracle, based in the UK. As HCM Strategy Director he has a thought leadership role and works closely with Oracle’s strategic customer accounts to explore the opportunities and benefits that can be realised by the deployment of leading edge HR solutions. Follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardDoherty

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