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Small companies can benefit from employee management systems

20 Aug

Surprisingly, even small businesses can benefit from HR manager software. According to Small Business Computing, the typical number of workers in which companies begin to receive a return on their investment after buying software like this is 50 employees.

It may seem counterintuitive that a company buying potentially expensive software would actually save money instead of lose it, but what must be remembered is that human resources management is an area where companies can't afford to make mistakes. There are too many regulations and numbers to keep track of for a company to safely believe it's keeping track of the federal rules as they change – not to mention ensuring every dollar of insurance and each hour of paid time off is accounted for properly.

SBC reported that smaller companies benefited from their human resource management system software primarily because of its time-saving features. Instead of using a spreadsheet and paperwork, which can take hours of time for a human resources office that is better focused elsewhere, companies can invest in a system that makes human resource planning simple and effective.

Employees will also appreciate the ease of applying for paid time off. Without an online system in place, someone would have to send an email, and an HR professional would have to take a look at the spreadsheet to see how many hours the employee has and whether he or she can take the time off or not. Instead, with a computer system, everything is streamlined into one system that automatically shows all the information an employee could want about his or her hours and paid time off, allowing for greater transparency.

What to keep in mind when using an automated HR system
Many larger companies make the mistake of relying too heavily on automated technology for something like assigning shifts for employees. This can be a problem because computers can never be made fully aware of what someone has in his or her schedule that is a special circumstance. According to Quartz, Starbucks introduced a schedule automation device that accidentally gave a woman named Janette Navarro, who has a young son to care for, the hours between the store closing and the store opening. This meant she would stay until the store closed and open it the next day, which resulted in a great deal of trouble. The situation was only resolved when Starbucks took a more proactive stance and allowed supervisors greater control over schedules.

Smaller companies may not have to worry about this issue as much because employees might have a closer relationship to the HR department. The key takeaway is that companies must always have a human component behind the machine to care for issues that crop up and can't be predetermined through a system's algorithms.

Benefits of HR systems
SBC wrote in a separate article that one of the major benefits of HR management software kits is they increase productivity. For example, a feature of some software is it can restrict the websites employees can visit, so they will stop going on Facebook or Twitter, and stick to the business at hand. However, SBC said this can backfire, as employees may become disgruntled or find ways to game the system.

Introducing big data to an HR program

6 Aug

Using big data to select candidates is quickly becoming the new norm in the human resources field. Many companies are building human resource information systems that can scour the internet and find resumes. The software can analyze people based on things such as where they went to college and how much work experience they have. In the end, the software can make an estimate of how well such a potential candidate would work for a certain company.

A tool like this expands the reach of an ordinary hiring advertisement because HR professionals can even find people who have never heard of a company and include them in the pool of candidates used for human resource planning.

People analytics
The fancy word for this new way of doing HR is people analytics, according to The Washington Post. It means using big data to find correlations with various fields and job requirements. Some of the results might be surprising. According to the Post, for example, there is no correlation between being a skilled programmer and going to college. In fact, many skilled programmers didn't go to college. People analytics can determine this by looking at major companies and the backgrounds of the programmers who work there.

Using computers to determine whom to hire may seem like a less-than-ideal way of doing human resource planning, but according to the Post, a quarter of the people who get hired through the traditional process of posting a resume to a job site and then coming in for an interview last at their companies for less than one year.

HR professionals are using these new software programs to turn this number around so the vast majority of hires stick with a company for the long term.

Advice for those seeking to build a big-data HR program
Enterprise Apps Today recently offered some advice for those seeking to integrate big data into their existing human resource systems. The basic idea is to start small and figure out a way to bring data analysis into the equation slowly.

Big companies can take advantage of a large hiring budget to hire statisticians to crunch numbers on a larger scale. If a company can afford it, building a dedicated big-data team not only for the hiring process but also for analyzing performance of existing employees might be a good idea. Smaller companies may want to start with preexisting software and work their way toward further incorporation of data analysis as workers gain experience working with the specialized computer programs.

Enterprise Apps Today specifically advocates using software for smaller companies, since these packages often come with the advice of a dedicated team who will help human resources staff integrate data-based solutions software through an information hotline.

"Vendors have spent years developing vertical-specific online services and tools to help their customers make the most of their data, which means they're ready to use and already designed to help specific kinds of businesses," said Chad Carson, co-founder and vice president of products at Pepperdata, a company that makes big-data software.

The bottom line is for companies to take it slow and thoroughly understand each step of their integration of big data into the ordinary business of running human resources for a company.

Study: Employers Invest More in Human Resources Systems

11 Jun

HR software continues to be of critical importance for employers to effectively manage their workforce, and a new study by global consulting firm Towers Watson uncovered HR departments have started to make smarter investments in their human resources solutions.

According to the 2014 HR Service Delivery and Technology Survey by Towers Watson, one-third of the 1,048 companies surveyed said they would be investing more HR dollars into the HR systems, with 29 percent saying they will specifically invest in a new core HRMS. Using a modern, innovative human resource system is essential for companies to remain competitive, because it ensures businesses invest in their employees and have the right support in place for decision-making. The Towers Watson survey suggested more employers are starting to understand this important aspect of the workplace, and are looking to strategize their human resources to improve their business overall.

Shifting Perspectives Starting to Increase
Towers Watson's survey found the biggest factors in the boost of investment in HR solutions are time, money and talent - all of which employers are increasingly focusing on. The survey discovered 33 percent of businesses are now using employee engagement information to help them better manage the workforce and improve the company's financial outcomes. The employee engagement survey part of the Towers Watson study was new this year, according to the consulting firm, but has become an essential aspect in how companies gather measurable insights on their business and make changes. The information is often used to prioritize the business's strategies and needs, as well as showcase how well its HR solutions are setting managers up for success.

According to Benefits Pro, the survey noted HR portals and mobile solutions are gaining ground. Sixty percent of companies said they had HR portals this year, which is a rise from only 53 percent saying the same in 2013. Of those without an HR portal, half said they are looking into investing in one. Mobile is also being increasingly embraced by companies, as the survey found 46 percent had mobile HR transactions compared to only 36 percent last year.

In addition, the survey found employers are focusing their future initiatives on HR needs and functions to better support the company. These include manager self-service tools, which the survey saw had a spike in adoption this year, Benefits Pro reported. 

Best Practices for Complying with VEVRAA and Section 503′s New Regulations

28 Apr

When it comes to human resource planning to comply with federal employment legislation, human resources professionals need to stay updated to ensure they don't miss the implementation of new regulations. The U.S. Department of Labor's Officer of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently issued final rules under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA), which deals with the employment of veterans, and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires affirmative action for the disabled.

The new regulations for both laws came into effect on March 24, according to DOL, so it's essential that HR professionals waste no time ensuring they are following the requirements. Only those contractors that had a written affirmation action program (AAP) implemented by March 24 are able to have more time to comply with the regulations. In addition, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) noted HR professionals can wait until their next affirmative action plan to start following some of the rules, such as the collection of data.

These two pieces of legislation are meant to motivate contractors to employ veterans and disabled persons without the need to meet quotas, according to SHRM. Each of the final rules require HR professionals to improve their hiring processes to meet certain employment benchmarks, including keeping certain types of data on file for future use and updating language in subcontracts. For human resource planning, this means HR professionals need to make sure they are adhering to each of the final rules, which may require HR departments to take time to work with other departments and adjust their recordkeeping procedures. 

How to Comply with VEVRAA and Section 503
According to DOL, there numerous new regulations that contractors need to follow, and each of these rules require their own methods of compliance. VEVRAA and Section 503 share some updated regulations. Here are just three and how HR professionals can comply with them:

  • Ask for self-identification: HR professionals and hiring managers must ask candidates before and after the offer of employment to self-identify as a veteran or a disabled person. According to The HR Group, this requires HR departments to draft a new section on their employment applications. There are samples from the DOL for this very purpose that HR professionals should utilize if they have not already done so.
  • Maintain quantitative data on the hiring of veterans and disabled persons: HR professionals now need to document and update quantitative comparisons on how many former service members and disabled Americans apply for jobs and the number who are hired, according to DOL. This could require HR departments to continually keep track of this data, and investing in human resource management system software can help.
  • The EO clause: Both VEVRAA and Section 503 now require HR professionals to incorporate the equal opportunity clause within job postings. However, HR representatives can't simply create their own clauses – they must follow the format of their state or local job service. 

VEVRAA has one regulation in particular that is unique to it. Contractors must now establish annual hiring benchmarks. They have two methods to choose from to do this, and HR professionals need to examine whether it is more beneficial for the business to follow the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force or if using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or veterans' employment data from another departments is best. HR professionals can do this by understanding their company's hiring needs.

Section 503 also has an exclusive requirement: updating the definition of disability. According to DOL, HR professionals now must make the changes set down by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and so HR professionals need to ensure they are revising their companies' nondiscrimination provisions correctly. HR professionals can draft the new definition and amend nondiscrimination policies by using government resources, such as from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

There are numerous actions HR professionals need to take to adhere to the new VEVRAA and Section 503 regulations, many of which can be made easier with an employee management system. From keeping track of worker data and hiring information to improving the company's affirmative action policies, HR software can help human resource representatives monitor their compliance with VEVRAA and Section 503.


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