What Type of HR Transformation Are You Looking At?

September 13, 20168:11 am
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 “What got us here the last 100 years will not get us to the next 100 years, so we have to change”, said Levent Arabaci

It wouldn’t be wrong to say the statement stands true in the context of HR as well. HR management today is no longer associated with the human resources of even last decade. It is, today, on the cusp of transforming the entire professional platform.

Excessive global expansion and the changing characteristics of the workforce is stressing upon the importance of all the verticals of HR.

Also, the elevated need to make sure that the organizational talent is not only taken on board but also seen as the strategic partner has fueled the appreciation for HR Transformation which is essential in a journey from HR being an administrative to a strategic business partner.

And this transition of human resources from an administrative function to a high level strategic function seems to have moved at warp speed since last few years.

If you seem to have a disconnect here, I suggest you take a look at an ocean of articles being shared on social media platforms by HR pros, various HR conferences and events being held throughout the year, and the twitter brimming with #tweetchats of HR professionals across the world. Everything and everyone in this arena is stepping up in the game to bring about a change of wave.

The transformation has begun and it is gaining speed. There is nothing old school HR can do about. It is kind of like looking through a photo album from college days, looking at your style and shaking your head because you can’t believe that you dressed or looked like that. That is how future HR professionals will look through an organization’s photo album in the future and marvel at how dated HR was back then.

It will not be easy, but anything worthwhile never is. And if you’re embarking upon this bold initiative, then you must know that, to make such exciting initiative a reality in human resources, you must first factor in all the business needs and an approach to realize it.

Many a times, big changes like HR Transformation are carried out with a clouded understanding of what choices to make to keep the process flexible and aligned with the end business goals.  And at this point, reflecting upon various “types” of transformation would only be a wise step in the direction.

Types of HR Transformation

  1. Historical Data Transformation

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the term is synonymous with “HRIS”. Earlier known as HRM, technological advancements and the amalgamation of HR with IT has given rise to HRIS: a technology that captures, organises and integrates historical data into a cloud network where you can develop, access and edit it.

But it isn’t easy as it sounds! Kicking off any HRIS project raises the question of the amount of historical data that needs to be migrated. While there are many factors to consider, this herculean exercise of fitting old data in the new structures, in my opinion would require an answer to – What is the data going to be used for?

For example:

  • When undertaking payroll system, most recent history of information and calculation regulations might be sufficient
  • In case of a Recruitment approach, existing data only, sometimes along with recent candidate roasters should be considered, so to be aligned with data privacy and ownership rules and avoid scrubbing
  • When considering a talent approach, the more data will be available, the more sophisticated the decision ( ignored in most of the execution exercises)

Therefore, depending on the scope under review, the decision will vary, and an understanding of data segments and usage is required to avoid expensive maintenance of the same.

See: HR Transformation Initiative for 2016: Technology and Analytics in Focus

  1. System Rip and Replace

A phrase that sends chills down the spine: Rip & Replace. It is exactly what the name implies. It is replacing an old and complex system with the one that is flexible, and responsive to changing business needs.

It isn’t a light decision. Such task demands painful soul searching about what to do with complex legacy systems and clunky applications. And these efforts are extremely disruptive to the business and can be awfully expensive. But there’s a good reason to it as well.

When you rip and replace, it means your business is growing and is in need of greater agility in terms of responsiveness to the business change. Thus, it is critical to understand the changing business needs and making sure that the people who are in business know the business capabilities before you decide to go for such a transformation type.

The HR system selection in the current times is a specialised exercise where:

  • An Integrated end-to-end HR Cloud is important to validate the sanity of integration between different HR Modules and the HR analytics data; it gives out of the box to map the vision of Rip & Replace HR Transformation.
  • Best of breed HR Modules: HR Leadership will decide a combination of best of breed systems. Most important aspect of this selection is the level of feature details of each module which is the critical driving factor for the business to select those specialised module.
  • A true partner which is not IT, not HR but knows HR and IT equally well by experience to make sure HR process owners are well understood during HR design discussions. This can further be translated effectively into the selected HR cloud or best of breed modules.
  1. Process Correction

In its simplest form, this means successfully building on the legacy systems from yesteryears to establish the cloud-based solutions of today and tomorrow. It also means innovating where required and possible while maintaining and integrating well-functioning components from the past.

Simply because you get the job done at the lowest cost possible, or because you want to write off your current investments before you replace them. Another good reason to go for process correction transformation type is usually when there is no direct path from your current technology state to where you need to be, and that happens.

  1. System Adoption

There’s enormous amount of backing the fact that the number of organisations are abandoning legacy applications every year for their lighter, more nimble replacements i.e. cloud applications.

For some organisations, the shift to cloud system adoption is a headfirst dive into total transformation—an entirely new way of working. For others, the transition to the cloud must be gradual. System adoption is mainly a result of:

  • Companies striving to create a sustainable competitive advantage for its business and gain access to continuous innovation and industry recommended practices.
  • To optimise and integrate new functionality, helping the enterprise to run faster, run smarter and more efficiently than ever before.

Be it any reason, adopting the new HR system reduces operational risks associated with earlier manual processes and provides necessary future scalability to your new functionality.

Key Takeaways

No matter, what transformation type you decide for your organization, its excellence at being effective, efficient and aligned to your business goals depends on one thing – that’s the heart of any transformation initiative – Relevance.

What CHROs must focus on today, is starting a conversation with the board which addresses business priorities, helps in making business case for HR transformation, and its strategic outcomes. Such an approach to relevance must be followed rather than indulging in mere promises to establish a new HR system or a new payroll vendor.

Once you articulate the business goals, and acknowledge that it will be an aid to respond to business challenges. It is a best practice to weigh your efforts aligned towards effective system integration. Whether it’s your first time or the fifteenth time aligning your goals to an integrated system, there’s no choice not to measure the progress of your type system.

When business leaders acknowledge that the initiative in hand will address the business challenges, they will undoubtedly want to know how it is an impactful one.

The definite way to know the relevance as well as the progress of the system is to back it up with data. There’s always a “before and after” phase when some changes are undertaken. Make the most of it. Derive stats, compare the scenario, draw conclusions and make the outcomes available to all of your company stakeholders.

And if this turns out to be a successful transformation, what a privilege it would be to be a business leader who can attain goals inclined to refine both the world of industry as well as the world of people.

Good luck on the HR Transformation journey – and please reach out with your comments and suggestions.

Also read: 5 Common Mistakes Made When Implementing an HR Transformation Strategy

Content credits: Manu Khetan, CEO at Rolling Arrays

Rolling Arrays is Asia’s premier award winning HR Transformation Company, headquartered in Singapore with offices in 6 countries. Since its inception in 2009, Rolling Arrays has successfully delivered more than 100 HR transformation projects for more than 50 blue-chip clients across Asia.

This article was first published here.