Technology has the potential to radically improve and revamp HR to be more efficient and effective. In a survey conducted by PwC, research shows that 45% of respondents are focusing on intelligent automation and process automation as a top priority for 2022. We chatted with HRIT leaders from Netflix, Atlassian, and Edcast to answer your important questions about HR automations and implementations.
How can you measure the success of an implementation?
When thinking about how to measure the success of an HR implementation, Urmi Majitha, Edcaster at Edcast, thinks about “dividing metrics into four categories: product, process, project, and technology.”
Product: Keep an eye on monthly active users and the user trends over time. In order to measure engagement, you can analyze product usage data and survey the end-users every quarter to capture feedback on their experiences across different departments.
Project: There are various ways to measure the quality of the project. From obvious measures of success like issue resolution to staying within budget and timeline, it is also important to get feedback from the people actually leaning on the new implementation. A successful project should not just introduce a new technology or process, but also include training for end-users and ensure their continued experience is positive.
Technology: When dealing with the technology side, Majitha recommends keeping SLAs on “reliability, scalability, performance, and recoverability.” This will help you keep the scope of the project, business goals, and potential for growth at the forefront of your efforts. It is important to remember that the latest technology isn’t necessarily the best fit for your project, so aim to center your technology around the objectives of your project!
Process: Majitha highlights the value in relying on business partners throughout the duration of the process to make sure KPIs are being met and to secure feedback on the results. Establish routine checkpoints to ensure that the work is still centered around your business objective.
How should you approach HRIS implementations?
Implementations can vary in size and scale, and that will affect the way you approach the situation. Two popular approaches include a phased approach, where the implementation occurs incrementally, and a big-bang approach, where the implementation happens at once. “People might have differing opinions on a big-bang versus a phased approach, depending on their organization,” says Krishna Gundihithlu, Manager of HR Applications at Netflix. “In general, my thought is to go with a phased approach.”
Gundihithlu goes on to explain that if something goes awry with the big-bang approach and you cannot get access to important applications, you can face serious blowbacks that demand more effort and time from your team to fix. “Even though it takes a bit more resources, a [phased approach] gives you a lot more flexibility,” states Gundihithlu. While you can test in a sandbox or get help from your development team, Gundihithlu asserts that “you can never simulate production in tests because there are integrations that will only happen during production.”
In the case you don’t want an extended go-live period, Gundihithlu offers another approach—a soft launch or pilot approach. If your company is multinational, you can opt to choose specific locations to test out a big-bang implementation before utilizing it throughout your organization.
Is it better to have a single unified system for all of your HR processes, or should you look for the “best” solutions for each area and then integrate them?
The type of system can depend on the size of the company. In a very large enterprise company, “one tool is probably not going to meet all your requirements,” says Akshay Patki, Solutions Architect, People Systems at Atlassian. One approach can be to use and integrate best-of-breed tools and focus on the user experience. By choosing a best-of-breed approach, you can utilize multiple HR systems and integrate them so these applications can “talk” to each other. This practice provides flexibility of choice, and integrations can offer a seamless HR process. At Atlassian, Patki uses a hybrid approach to leverage internal tools like Jira and Confluence to automate tasks and to interact with customers but uses Workato to integrate the tools in order to meet UX needs.
What should you begin when it comes to implementing HR automations?
“The first thing I always do is really understand the pain points that stakeholders are going through and start making a list of opportunities for automation,” says Paul Biagio, Sr. Manager of IT, People Tech at Atlassian. Start assessing the scope of the project, the time and effort required to execute the tasks, and the value of the project. Biagio goes on to suggest starting with “low hanging fruit” and decide “what’s the easiest thing to implement that’s going to have the most bang for its buck.” In order to gain momentum on your HR automation initiatives, find an easy win to highlight the value of the project.
Involving stakeholders to build out a long-term roadmap for your automation initiatives can increase visibility across departments and drive alignment and understanding about the timeline and objectives. Mapping out a plan allows you to identify which tasks to prioritize within your limited time line and resources.
What are some creative ways to leverage automation in your HR processes?
Jonathan Li, Business Systems Analyst at Atlassian, notes that the HR automation projects he works on share a common goal: “Free up time for internal stakeholders and reduce manual processes.” Li shared how he employed automation to revamp the internal application process at Atlassian. His goal was to increase “internal mobility” and streamline the process of hiring from within. Li and his team automated the different checks and requirements using Workday as the centerpiece. Li was able to run the automation in real time to extract necessary data as the applications were being received. Additionally, Li and his team integrated their own internal tools to create Jira tickets and a custom solution to streamline the process for internal applications which saved the HR department a lot of manual hours.
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