At CIPHR we understand that our clients work in varied sectors, departments and roles and, as such, have differing requirements and expectations of our solutions. With this in mind we have introduced, what will become, a regular feature article to gain an insight into our clients daily lives, the pressures and challenges they face and how they cope with, and overcome these.
The below interview was conducted with one of our clients who works for a global technology leader whose facilities are located across the globe to provide local support for their diverse customer base.
- Position – HR Generalist
- Products Supplied by CIPHR – CIPHR People, CIPHR Paylink, CIPHR Net, OrgPlus
- Time with organisation – 15 months
Did you obtain a qualification specifically to enable you to obtain your current position?
Yes, a degree in Management Systems and Masters in HR Management.
What are your main activities with regard to your role?
Recruitment, System Design, Training, Project Development.
How many employees are in your HR department?
Including the HR Manager, 5.
Do you feel that the role of the HR department has changed over the past 5 years?
In the time I have been with the department yes. We are moving away from heavy administration due to system implementation. We have kept all primary functions internal to the company, including payroll, which makes things a lot easier to manage. HR is becoming more of a strategic element but with this comes a change in perceptions of the department’s capabilities.
How crucial is technology to your HR department?
Technology is critical. Our new T&A system, Kronos, controls Access to our site and controls clocking/absence/holidays. CIPHR is key for HR in maintaining consistent processes. CIPHR is our HR Hub, sending most of the information for T&A and Payroll.
Have you noticed more of an acceptance to embrace new technologies within the organisation and if so, why do you think this is?
Yes and no. New technology is great for making things simpler, easier and quicker. However, there is always a knowledge and skills gap for some users and, if not handled correctly this can cause issues further on. Kronos, for example, was implemented to streamline T&A, Access and Payroll. This is being achieved, however, the user interface for the system still needs work. With ingrained systems, such as SAP, controlling most of the business it is hard to push new technology, especially with increased focus on cost.
Were you taken through an induction when joining the company? If so, can you please provide some detail of this?
Yes. HR induction covering ‘do’s and don’ts’, handbooks etc., followed by Health and Safety Induction. Departmental inductions then run outside of HR to cater for peoples specific requirements. Our next step is to standardise the departmental inductions and create a pro-forma to follow.
Do you currently have any systems which are supplied via SaaS and, if so, what advantages does this technology offer?
Only CIPHR at the moment. The SaaS environment is great for trouble shooting as support have immediate access to the system. Updates can be run instantaneously and outside of typical working hours. Cost is also a factor. There is no need to fork out for expensive software set ups as it can be installed remotely.
Do you use mobile technology within the organisation and, if so, for what purpose?
Currently using iPhones. I trailed using an iPad in HR for a week but the compatibility issues with our systems made things long winded. I think it also sends out the wrong impression, especially when there is a focus on cost. The iPhones are used by managers and are great for emails and messaging.
Does your organisation currently use Social Media as an on line marketing strategy or client communication and, if so, which channels?
Not at the moment. It is something we have been looking at all year. LinkedIn would be a great addition to our recruitment arsenal but again cost and practicalities need to come into the equation. All marketing and communications outside of the business need to go through corporate marketing. We need to approve internal communication strategies first then look to move outside. Social Media is a great tool if used effectively, otherwise it can become another “fad” for recruitment – this is why we are evaluating as much data as possible to gain a true picture of what we can do.
What is the most challenging aspect for your HR department currently and how do you deal with/overcome these challenges?
Consistency of processes and communications. Technology is helping us with this, however training is needed to bring the team to the same level in all aspects of this technology. Workload is always a challenging aspect of an HR department because you need to be able to continue with the day to day tasks while pushing forward with projects. How we deal with it? Time management is always key. The business must continue to run and we must offer a high level of service to employees. This comes first. Then you can start to look at training and development.
Do you currently deliver company processes via an on line portal and, if so, what are the benefits of this compared to a paper based system?
Currently we use a Talent Management System and holidays are booked through our T&A system. Paper is that reassuring feeling, whereas electronic still has some mistrust. We are investigating options of pulling this type of info into one place.
Have you noticed an increase in the number of on line applicants for positions within your organisation and, if so, why do you think this is?
No, but there has been a reduction to paper based applications. Due to the nature of our industry we have to be clever on how we recruit, I feel the days of posting an advert on a job board are diminishing – it is not cost effective anymore. You often spend more of your own time sorting through hundreds of applications, 75% of which are not suitable in the first place.
In your opinion, what are the 3 most important elements for any systems provider to possess?
Functionality, Accessibility, Usability. Downtime must be at a minimum, the system must do what we want and do it when we want.
Do you have an internal social intranet and, if so, what topics are covered?
We have an intranet but it is not used as the main communications portal. We use a briefing sheet each week and it is posed to the intranet to store rather than advertise. A “social” intranet is currently being evaluated.
What would you advise are the key elements to setup and administer an HR system?
Training and consistency. Simple and clear processes that allow someone who is relatively new to process a request. Anyone should be able to use the system with minimal training.
Where do see your internal HR system in a year’s time?
An on line portal with access to HR. To be able to share information quickly and effectively. Utilise current systems to benefit the plant, making changes and communication easier and smoother.