This year’s online conference, HR Work Force Tech Week 2013, revealed a lot of interesting trends and topics. The second conference day was dedicated to one big topic: thinking outside of the box! Karen Beaman, Founder and CEO of Jeitosa International Group, gave a lecture entitled “Going Global With HR” which concentrated on how to make HR more efficient and innovative. In “Beyond Global, Social and Mobile. The Future of HR Technology” a panel of experts discussed where HR technology is now and where it needs to go in the future to meet the needs of Human Resource Management.
Going Global in HR: being efficient, then innovative
At the beginning of her session, “Going Global With HR”, Karen Beaman underlined the HR functions needed in order to successfully globalize: efficiency and innovation. Although these concepts may sound easy to implement, they are undoubtedly paradoxical: achieving the greatest amount possible with the least. With regard to this challenge, Karen Beaman presented the best practices, taken out of the Going Global Survey 2013, which has been completed by 129 companies so far.
A total of five efficiency drivers and five innovation drivers were evaluated in the study, as specified on the Jeitosa efficiency-innovation model. By comparing the top performers of the study to the “other” companies, Karen Beaman concluded which measures have been successful and which have not:
- Strategy: Top performers include the local business units in the strategic planning twice as often and do not give instructions from the very “global” level
- Employees: Top performers have implemented a higher “global mindset” in all HR departments; HR employees should bring cultural sensitivity and intercultural competences in order to ensure the success of HR in the long term
- Technology: Top performers use SaaS (software as a service) for HR workflow and HR software twice as much as the “other“ companies
For any organization planning to roll out their HR functions worldwide, Ms. Beaman recommends having a roadmap. To start out, a global concept, including strategic plans and company-specific models, should be created. Secondly, global HR work should be efficiently designed, which means that global processes should be standardized and evaluated. Then it comes to implementing innovative measures. This is done by setting up quality standards or switching to SaaS. Finally, employees in HR are taken into account: Once all aforementioned steps are successfully implemented, you can now set up global teams with global tasks.
Although Karen Beaman managed to draw a basic concept of how to globalize HR and business in general, the challenge will be to implement this. The results presented here provide ideas, but remain too general.
By the way: Speaking of The Going Global Study conducted by Jeitosa Group International, it is still running. We invite you to take part and to benchmark your organization with other companies in terms of efficiency and innovation. You will not only get a final report of the research from Jeitosa Group International, but also a one-hour free consultation by Jeitosa Experts Group.
Which technologies will be relevant to HR in the future?
The webcast panel,”Beyond Global, Social and Mobile. The Future of HR Technology”, was presented by Jason Averbook, Chief Business Officer at Appirio. The panel comprised of experts in the fields of marketing, technology and HR who discussed the risks and opportunities of HR technology. They tackled questions such as: How does technology adapt to accommodate the changing multi-generational workforce? What requirements does HR software have to fulfill in the future? What is the future of HR anyway?
1. HR software must be useful – from the first day on
The first major issue the experts discussed was Customer Expectations: How does technology change? It is when the customer’s expectations change? We’ve heard it in the last week: HR professionals are now more flexible and require technology and HR tools they are already using to be more and more efficient.
Steve Parker, Vice President of HR at SumTotal Systems Strategy, emphasizes that software is not designed for HR today anymore, but for the employees in HR.
Technology in HR has to not only be easy to use, but also has to provide value for each and every person using it. In addition, the subject Big Data becomes important here. Technology should be designed according to the needs of the target group and provide guidelines and interactive help. If the HR software does not provide these features, then the commitment and dedication of the staff becomes uncertain and the desire to use these technologies is questioned. Unfortunately HR professionals do not seem to understand this point. In his Technology Acceptance Model from 1989, Davis postulated that it is not enough for technologies to look beautiful and be easy to use (perceived usability). What is equally important is the question of whether the user (this applies to users in HR as well as for candidates) has the feeling that the software is useful and makes his work easier (perceived usefulness).
When it comes to embedding the technology in everyday HR work, change management becomes important. Mark Brandau, senior director of product marketing at SuccessFactors, highlights that there is more to it than just logging into a software program.
Previously, one had to answer questions like: How “mature“ is the company in terms of technology? How useful is the software for the company? The only solution to the last question is that HR software must be able to be used from day 1 – and to immediately provide added value. From Steve Parker’s point of view, you have to look deeper into the business: What is the core of the company? What is its culture and philosophy and how can new HR software be successfully integrated into this? That HR needs to improve in these area is obvious. The annual HR image study by Prof. Beck of the University of Koblenz shows that 60% of HR professionals see themselves in the role of change agents. But only 33% of employees agreed. Maybe HR will manage to fill this gap by using new technologies and smart tools.
2. “[The] Future belongs to HR professionals who understand that change is a constant”
The concluding discussion focused on the expert’s opinions on the future of HR. Susan Vitale, Chief Marketing Officer at iCIMS, and Kevin Nanney, Vice President of Product at Jobvite, emphasized that the future of HR coincides more and more with marketing. While Malcolm Fox, Vice President of Product Marketing at Epicor, stated that HR needs to be more strategic, and that this strategy needs to be reviewed continuously. Integration with other technologies, SaaS, strategic assistance when it comes to achieving KPIs and realize a company’s vision are just a few aspects that are identified as a trend for HR. Marc Moschetto, Vice President of Marketing at Workforce Software probably gave the most realistic assessment of this question saying that: “[the] Future belongs to HR professionals who understand that change is a constant.”