Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on December 29, 2013
The use of IT & Technology in business is imperative these days. Much has been written and anticipated about how technology and the Web will change the game of business. Less has been written about the implications of the ‘Web-based economy’ on organizational HR issues. Many business leaders, all over the world, have attempted to synthesize the new rules of Web-based competition so that the HR executive can converse about the concepts and language of the new economy and suggest areas where HR executives should contribute ‘thought leadership’ to enable companies to win the new game. The article fills the void by presenting suggestions on conversations and actions HR professionals should pursue to win this new game.
Relevance of Web-Based HR
At a time when employers and employees alike seek to cope with the ripple effects of an uncertain economy, wise employers are becoming more creative in finding ways to attract and retain the best employees. Perhaps the most challenging aspect is the need to accomplish this while controlling costs and increasing productivity.
The portals have opened up the whole aspect of ‘Employee Self-Service’ and ‘Manager Self-Service’, i.e., the portal will allow managers and employees to directly access information without involvement of HR or without antiquated paper based processes. But beyond the base systems that manage & store data, Web-based HR has opened up the concept of "mass personalization," which allows you to target specific employees with information that is important to them. Such platforms not only offer employees convenience, but also allow employers to decrease paperwork and increase overall efficiency and accuracy.
Self-service systems empower employees to complete many HR-related tasks at their convenience, allowing them to take an active role in their own benefits administration and offering them immediate, personalized communication. And Web technology has made it more affordable, less complex and easier to implement on a broad basis than was previously possible.
Before attempting to design and implement a HR portal it is important to study the feasibility and requirement in the organisation. Determining whether Web-based HR is an appropriate choice for an organization is not an easy task. Employers should first assess which HR functions require the most time to administer and then identify the reasons why. The data & information to study the feasibility of the HR portal for an organisation would come from the business plan of the organisation, budget information of the company (past, current and future), a feasibility study (technology and infrastructure availability), results from pilot study, information from the outside consultants, market data, industry data, best practices/benchmark information.
Designing the Objectives
When designing a HR portal, the objectives must be clearly defined to not only provide direction but also for the ease of defining the Metrics, to measure the effectiveness of the HR portal. The objectives of the portal must accomplish the following three objectives:
Strategic Alignment: The portal must assist users in ways that supports the goals of the business.
Business Intelligence: The portal must be designed to provide relevant data and information and inspire new insights and learning.
Efficiency and Effectiveness: The portal must streamline the workflows so as to improve efficiency and communication while saving time and reducing cost.
Design & Development
It is imperative to engage and involve the stakeholders (Hr personnel, Employees and Managers) while designing the HR portal. This allows us to better capture the requirements and the needs of all the stakeholders. The contents and the design of the portal could be finalized after a ‘Focus group session’ with the representatives of the Recruiters, Employees and Managers of the organisation.
Before deciding a full-fledged implementation of the portal, there are a few pre-tests necessary to ensure the success of the portal. It is imperative to study the culture readiness of the organisation and develop an effective communication and stakeholder management plan and assess them before the roll-out. The portal should be pre-tested for its effectiveness through a Pilot study, by ‘Interviewing’ the recruiters in the HR department, Employees and Managers.
Contents of the portal
The portal could have the following information on the site to engage the employees:
Scheduled chatroom sessions with the key executives of the company.
Recruiting events and other employment details.
Rules & guidelines and policies of the company.
Chats with the new employees.
Office views for pre-employment engagement.
Tips on Interviews.
Bios & points of key executives.
Comparison with the competitors.
Press Releases from corporate public relations.
Articles on hot topics.
Developing the Metrics
It is common to determine the Return of Investments (ROI) for any project to determine whether to take up that project For the Web-based portals the ROIs could be determined by quantifying how it saved money and time (less printing & mailing, more time for HR & HODs) and the desired changes in user’s behaviours (low call volume, better decision-making ability in lesser time, greater knowledge). When defining the metrics for the portal in an organisation, it is important that it is,
S Stated Clearly,
T Tied to a timeframe or event,
A Aligned with the organisation’s goals,
R Realistic in what can be accomplished.
Finally, a satisfaction survey of Employees, HODs and Recruiters could be conducted to further quantify the effectiveness of the portal.
Benefits of Web-Based HR
First and the foremost is that the HR functions will be well automated, this allows ‘Self-Service’ increasing the overall governance and responsibility of the employees and managers of the HR functions they perform. This sort of an easy access to information & data will increase transparency and foster faith in the system. By converting communication online, self-service program can significantly reduce the number of phone calls and e-mails coming into the benefits or payroll departments, as well as administrative costs. The significant implications of implementation & usage of portal in the HR functions are listed below:
Improved delivery of HR services.
Elimination of process approval forms.
Reduce administrative time & cost.
Improve employee/manager access to vital data.
Enable strategic HR.
These benefits have opened up the specialist role like strategic plan-design role in a lot of companies, where they're trying to shape the benefits programs, within the total rewards concept, to bring together all the things that make it attractive to work at that company and to help with the communications as well as cost management.
Finally, as important is the design and implementation of the portal so is the engagement of the stakeholders with the portal to ensure success and realise the benefits of the portal. It is required that the content is continuously refreshed with updated news, calendars, bulletin boards and personal data. Every visitor to the site becomes an ambassador for or a saboteur of that site, hence, it is important to capture the interest and make a mark on the visitors of the site. The Web-based technologies allow us to make the visuals on the site attractive and engaging. The technology has a vast capacity for text, graphics, interactiveness and multimedia presentations.
Most of the big companies, 60% to 70% according to the survey by Towers Perrin, have a decent Web-based application to aid their HR department, but I believe we've just began. The technologies behind Web-based HR -- the search engines, the extensible mark-up languages, and others -- are getting better; we haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Although it is difficult to comprehend where we're going to be in 10 years, but I think we'll be amazed at how it's going to change the delivery of all corporate services, not just HR.
This article has been authored by S.Priya from LBSIM
Dave Ulrich, 2000, From eBusiness to eHR, University of Michigan School of Business.
Alfred J. Walker, 2001, Web-Based Human Resources, Editor Towers Perrin
Jim Greenhaus, June 2002, Self-Service, Web-Based HR Benefits Both Employers and Employees, Employee Benefits Journal, 03614050, Jun2002, Vol. 27, Issue 2