“Technology is creating a danger of making HR
provision a cheap, outsourced commodity.” These words come from the chief
operating officer of a company whose livelihood depends on marketing and
selling HR and payroll software products.
Adrian Hobbs, chief operating officer at PWA, believes that highlighting the
problems many companies have in implementing HR technology and making them
think why they want an e-HR strategy in the first place can only benefit his
own company’s sales in the long run.
this in mind, PWA has developed a new approach to help organisations understand
and manage the implications and effects of e-HR. “We don’t want companies to adopt e-HR just because they feel they
should,” says Hobbs. “We want them to think why they want it and what they can
achieve with it.”
Employer is not a software management product or a service sold by PWA It is an
holistic approach that begins with a checklist for any company to ask itself
before embarking on e-HR (see box).
also makes a number of predictions for the next decade that it says e-HR must
be able to take on board, such as human and intellectual capital will become
quantifiable business assets, that people will be hired for their ability to
work, not to do the job and that job descriptions will disappear and be
replaced by aptitudes, abilities and cultural compatibilities.
also says virtual work teams and offices will become the norm and corporate
cultures and values will be redefined around virtual workgroups.
Hobbs does not see eMployer leading to a total consolidation of products and
services in the HR technology market, he does feel it will encourage
partnerships and co-operatives that will ultimately benefit the client. “For
example, if a client wants to use an Internet recruitment service we would work
with PeopleBank and the service would be incorporated into the software to give
one offering to the end-user.”
to ask before investing in e-HR
Can your line and site managers cope with their new responsibilities as HR
implementers? Is this new responsibility part of an understood process to
re-engineer the way they work, the way they are measured and the way they are
rewarded, or is it just an unwelcome extra burden?
Will your employees understand the huge cultural change you are making, from
“provided” HR to self-managed conditions and benefits? What do you plan to
achieve by it (other than cheaper HR)?
How will you measure the success or failure of “HR everywhere”? Have you
determined the cost benefits of staff retention? Do HR issues feature in your
key performance indicators?
How will your new HR environment deliver shareholder value?
What mechanisms have you built in to ensure HR best practices are replicated
throughout your organisation? How will you achieve a consistent corporate
culture – and what will it be?
How far do you want to go, and by when? Do you want to achieve cost reductions?
Make HR a measurable performance indicator? Build and retain your skills base?
Migrate to a virtual team or virtual management structure? Or become a “fluid”
organisation, deploying available skill-sets to meet challenges as they arise?