By Robert Grashuis, CIO, OneSpring
When it comes to human resources, knowledge is power. HR portal systems are a critical component of that power, as they were designed to provide crucial information. From new hire document storage and benefits management, to measuring overall company performance and defining areas of needed improvement, these portals are meant to provide extensive workforce solutions that lessen the time and burden of managing day-to-day HR responsibilities. Unfortunately, much of this portal technology was created to be implemented generically without regard to the unique needs and requirements of your business. This in turn, creates cumbersome workflows and unusable features making their sole purpose of being beneficial to your business obsolete.
While it is easy is to recognize what the end goals of these systems are intended to be, the result is not always satisfactory. Thousands of companies trust these portals to create a successful strategy for long-term sustainability and improved operations, therefore growing the business. However, it is the day-to-day users that truly need to provide input for a portal that will reach these objectives.
If knowledge is power, then an HR system should be tremendously powerful because the primary purpose of this technology is to share data. Instead of the time consuming and taxing process of working through thousands of files, portals should provide consistency in workforce connections and user-friendly options to communicate results to a team. These systems have significant advantages, including reducing administration time, fostering productivity and employee engagement, decreasing distribution costs, increasing profitability, and encouraging collaboration. Used proficiently, leadership and team members alike have access to metrics that help them understand how their actions influence business performance.
As every business is unique, these HR systems should be adaptable to the individual requirements of the company; otherwise, the “one shoe fits all” approach will create annoyances throughout the workforce and slow productivity, becoming more of a liability than an advantage for the entire organization.
This information is invaluable, so why chance it on a system that is not preferred by the user. Not only should these portals be simple for the employee to use, but many prefer systems that are mobile, in the cloud, easy to navigate, and secure. Each organization will have opinions on what makes this technology customizable and functional. Some may require simple time, attendance, and pay statements management, while others need clearly discernable and transparent performance analytical data. What is imperative is to find out what are their needs and what is the overall mission of the organization.
Something as simple as interviewing the actual people who will use the product will facilitate discussion and correct action that may have become a hindrance for the launched software. While software designers and engineers are concerned with keeping the portal informative and robust, simplicity and scalability need to be considered. The point is to avoid annoyance with the technology, whether that is having a system that will grow with the business or creating a positive user experience. If the technology doesn’t help the workforce, they won’t use it, and invaluable insights into the components of the business will be lost. These systems should be expanding the business, not obstructing it.
These portals impact the employees that use them daily. They can transform the way a team works, thinks, and behaves in either an accountable fashion that drives operations or creates a negative shift in workplace functions. By understanding what your HR department wants in their HR system, this technology encourages ownership and accountability, ultimately improving your business and moving your team in the right direction.
About The Author
Robert Grashuis, Partner, CIO
As the CIO at OneSpring, Robert plays a key role in the company's strategic direction and growth of delivery capabilities. Through his knowledge of user experience design, technology, and experiential marketing, Robert helps drive the OneSpring visualization methodology to develop innovative and compelling solutions for OneSpring's clients. Robert has over twenty years of experience in design and visual communications with an emphasis in User-Centered Design. From Interaction Design to Product Marketing his experience has helped companies such as The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Department of Homeland Security, ABC/Capital Cities, MasterCard International, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Veterans Administration, and GRP/MCA Records achieve their business goals while also meeting the needs of their customers.