Using Technology to Transform Human Resources

In the 21st century, digital is the rule, not the exception. Gaming, self-driving vehicles, and the Internet of Things – all of which were once novelties – are all becoming more mainstream. On that note, intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces are expected, regardless of the platform or industry.

But how does that translate when it comes to human resources? Organizations are realizing that they need to apply technology to people management. Companies need to be more modern, and they are examining how they can better blend software, employee experience, and organizational strategy.

But when companies are large and span many countries, adopting new technologies can be complicated. In the long run, though, adopting better technologies can ultimately help the company be more efficient and better manage data.

Consider this case: A multinational organization with about 130,000 employees and multiple lines of business decided to implement a new A Human Resource Information System (HRIS) across the more than 100 countries where they operated. A key driver in this decision was the ability to have an enterprise-wide view of talent.

Given how large the company was, these 130,000 employees had 50,000 distinct job titles. Any data analytics would be meaningless without a cleanup. Therefore, the organization redesigned its job architecture and job library with an eye toward the new framework.

The company built a job library of about 800 jobs for its new HRIS. The new job library has become integral to the organization, making implementation of the HRIS easier, and helping the organization achieve its talent goals. 

Today, the library is being used as the underpinning structure for a career architecture that will add value for employees seeking to build their skill portfolio within the company.  This will help employees navigate their careers.

No companies are exactly the same, obviously, and their reasons for changing their HR practices or technologies will vary. In most cases, there are several catalysts for this change. 

Mercer research has found that the predominant driver for change of HRIS system was the desire for a single system of record for all data globally. Often companies add new applications that are not integrated or have multiple HRIS systems in place — a common occurrence after corporate mergers or acquisitions.

Disparate systems across an organization can create data islands, which can lead to employee information existing in different places. This can make accurate reporting and analysis elusive.

Aging applications was another driver. On-premise or legacy systems, often heavily customized, can no longer meet today’s needs. With high maintenance costs, and often few updated features, these systems are prime targets for replacement. At a time when an improved user experience is viewed as critical, the unintuitive interfaces in these older systems further speeded their replacement.

Whatever the primary driver for deploying a new HRIS, clarity of purpose is a requirement. Technology in and of itself is never the answer, but it can be a catalyst for change.

Valeria Bohorquez
by Valeria Bohorquez

Career Director Mercer Argentina – Uruguay – Paraguay

Principal, Mercer

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