Today, workforces face a wider range of obstacles than what would have been the norm not so long ago. These challenges can become more intense for businesses boasting a significant number of employees – who may be based in one location or country or spread out across different countries and perhaps even continents. Stemming from this point, the difficulties seen relate to today’s connected, technology-driven business environment which, while being more encompassing of remote working, suffers from unprecedented competitiveness in the jobs market. Suddenly, the need to effectively manage costs and maintain efficiency across large, rapidly changing workforces (which can number in the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands for enterprise organizations) is prevalent for the modern HR management team.
For HR teams to successfully lead the workforce and reap value for their company, several key obstacles must be overcome.
A clear and concise overview of all employees is one. There needs to be a robust system that allows HR managers and executives to constantly monitor each department within the organization and make necessary adjustments to meet ever-changing needs. The challenge in this all too often related to outdated legacy systems, which offer little insight. Data is either stored in Excel spreadsheets or subjectively interpreted without a digital solution that would add a level of intelligence and better inform the user what to do with this data promptly. These inefficiencies in workforce strategy and headcount planning result in diminished control over costs and lead to employee attrition.
Not being able to use this data to work in real-time is, likewise, an issue for many HR teams. Working retrospectively to ‘put out fires’ is ineffective and can misalign workers from overarching business goals. With the right solution in place, greater visibility over employee performance means HR planning, analysis, and forecasting are enhanced to put the right people in the right place at the right time and meet strategic requirements.
Finally, a lack of collaboration between other teams, such as finance and senior management, can hinder the processes HR teams are looking to put in place. The tool that can help mitigate the points illustrated above must also be highly collaborative, with data standardized within the solution so other departments view it in the same capacity as HR and can work towards a common goal.
With the pandemic crisis creating new challenges for businesses, HR management teams have stepped up to reinvent what is classically expected from them – becoming leaders in their organization’s response to the impacts of COVID-19.
Interestingly, however, KPMG’s The Future of HR in the New Reality insights report has highlighted a clear disconnect between HR management and the C-suite. Looking at the feedback in KPMG’s report, in which 1,300 HR leaders were surveyed, the disconnect stems from the C-Suite view that HR has a largely administrative role within the organization rather than leaders for change:
About 60% of CEOs and Executive Vice Presidents surveyed say that their organizations consider HR to be an “administrator” rather than a value driver; 74% of CHROs disagree with that statement. This…shows that HR needs to be bolder in proving its strategic worth to senior decision-makers.
It places the role of HR management in an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, the opportunity to make their value position to an organization more defined and understood has been thrust upon them by the pandemic. People have quickly become the priority for many businesses as they try to navigate through uncertain times. This has placed HR in the frontline as valued decision-makers, guiding how the company should adapt its workforce and make the right changes to remain robust in the next normal.
On the other hand, senior HR management (74%) believes they are already performing this value-driver role within their organization. What is of more immediate concern is the infrastructure currently in place and the level of transformation required to make it more future-proof. Regardless of which side of the fence this argument falls on, it still touches on the same point above. HR is, or needs to be, at the forefront of preparing their organization’s workforce for the next normal.
After all, the HR team is the key driver for employees’ success. But without the right tools at their disposal, senior HR executives risk losing out on the opportunity to make more informed, actionable decisions to better manage the workforce.
Overcoming the above challenges requires HR to embark on a digital transformation program. A digital solution must be implemented, which acts as a single point of truth across the entire organization and delivers accurate data insights as and when they are required. This, in turn, enables HR forecasts and plans to be taken forward based on a strong foundation and delivers wider benefits in workforce planning, workforce analytics, and performance management.
In centralizing personnel data, HR teams can operate with a more connected approach by integrating all corporate departments. Data pulled from multiple sources, such as transactional and legacy systems, to one accessible platform offers a single version of the truth that can be utilized to enhance planning activities.
This, in turn, helps achieve strategic corporate goals with a workforce far better aligned to the direction the organization is looking to take. HR leaders maximize collaboration with other key departments and business partners with a tool that delivers transparent data in a single platform. Going a step further, the tool can use this same data to perform simulation and scenario modeling and offer enhanced planning potential. As a result, business requirements and personnel budgeting can be aligned with workforce planning processes.
To summarize, with digital transformation supporting the end-to-end workforce planning process in this way, expected key benefits include:
Greater employee insight and more guidance in decision-making are seen when utilizing workforce analytics in the right way. HR processes elevate to the next level thanks to easy employee segmentation; enhanced business insight through data mining activities; forecasted projections that help predict future workforce changes; and data-driven end-to-end human capital management – as well as additional advanced analytics and BI takeaways.
For the latter point, these additional benefits of workforce analytics include:
With these up-to-date and accurate insights about the workforce, HR teams can rely on greater employee decision-making processes. KPI monitoring highlights key drivers of the company’s human capital to give insight into where improvement may be needed and where employees are operating most effectively. This drives HR to ensure their workforce is being proactively managed.
The all-in-one approach in this sense means HR teams have comprehensible data, combined from across the whole business, that they can put towards understanding employees in detail to apply BI and predictive analytics capabilities.
Complete alignment between company expectations and employee behavior is essential in meeting organizational goals. Improving productivity across the workforce requires regular monitoring of individuals’ performance against pre-deﬁned criteria and objectives, with the ability to evaluate and review targets in line with the changing business environment.
Therefore, a standardized digital solution will efﬁciently connect all relevant stakeholders, the HR team, and organizational needs to drive performance and develop workforce talent in a structured, workﬂow-driven process.
This benefit focuses directly on how HR and the organization create and maintain a pool of employees that deliver value back to the company. As well as this, the all-in-one solution can:
Taking further note of the KPMG research, a majority of both HR and C-suite executives believe ‘the HR function needs to “completely reinvent and transform itself” to respond more effectively to future disruptions.’ But what does this precisely mean?
Putting current interpretations, or misinterpretations, of HR aside – though it does remain a relevant point and one that organizations should be looking to address if the HR function is to perform to its full capability – the transformation required has strong roots in the need for technology-led innovation and function reinvention. In other words, the introduction of a digital platform that will lead the overall delivery of value from the HR team to key areas of the business; a platform that:
These are some of the key challenges facing modern HR teams – limited workforce analytics across the organization, a lack of software to provide quick and reliable analysis, and limited forecasting capability to look at things like workforce attrition – and without the right transformation of HR management software, where the all-in-one approach is adopted, these challenges will likely continue (further widening the disconnect between HR and the C-suite).
In this exclusive virtual case study, Aila Strub, Head of Workforce Management, will share how H&M, one of the largest fashion retailers in the world, transformed workforce planning for its retail stores, using Board to get a holistic, real-time view of over 70 countries, 5,000 points of sale worldwide, and 126,000 employees.
Register to the live webinar, on 6th May, to learn more about Board’s technology for workforce planning & analytics.
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