2010 Trends: Get HR Basics in Order

The optimistic belief that globalization will lead to unlimited growth has come to an end. As has been mentioned above, the world is somewhat flat, but not as flat as we initially assumed. Legislation, cultural and religious differences determine and influence how we live our lives in different parts of the world, sometimes even in a country, in a phenomenon termed Glocalization. It refers to the creation or distribution of products and services intended for a global or regional market, but customized to suit local laws, flavors or cultures.

Glocalization is critically relevant to HR. Enterprises that operate worldwide are looking to standardize their core HR systems globally. But even though they design global standards and procedures at the corporate level, often HR policies must remain region or even country specific as a result of legislation. Many organizations struggle to find a global service delivery model that serves their needs when it comes to HR and benefits programs. Instead of adopting a variety of best-of-breed programs, they require an integrated global solution that delivers seamless HR services, while imposing global corporate standards integrated to adhere to local demands and responsibilities. In addition, these solutions must offer self-service to control or reduce costs and improve transactional accuracy.

In recent years, we have seen the emergence of cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service, meaning the location of technology systems is now irrelevant. Cloud computing enables businesses to move to an IT model where they use computing resources (network, server, storage) OnDemand and where applications are centrally served. Cloud computing-based solutions are based on a variable compensation scheme, highly automated IT architecture and virtual IT infrastructure to deliver services and therefore are uniquely suited to support HR. The cloud is enabling HR to be more agile, more productive and more flexible when designing OnDemand support systems.

With companies focusing on cost-efficiencies and scalable, flexible solutions, a growing demand for HR outsourcing across the globe can be seen. Since its inception around a decade ago, HR outsourcing has been steadily evolving, and many companies are now familiar with this concept. They are starting to use HR outsourcing as an integral part of their HR service delivery strategy, integrating OnDemand, OnPremise and BPO to suit their unique business needs while allowing for flexibility:

  • OnPremise – Traditionally companies bought software licenses, procured a server, then installed, configured, maintained and patched the software themselves. In this model, software is installed, made available through a network and runs exclusively for one company. Custom solutions, control and personalization are its key benefits.
  • Business Process Outsourcing – In this model, companies shift the responsibilities for transactional HR processes to an external service provider. This frees up HR staff to concentrate on more strategic tasks and allows the company to focus on the core of the business – without having to think about IT maintenance or HR administration.
  • OnDemand – Also known as Software-as-a-Service or ‘cloud computing’, this model delivers functionality without in-company IT implementations. Companies don’t buy the software or the infrastructure – all they need is a web browser to access the software remotely, and they pay a subscription fee. This model is often chosen for the short roll-out time and high flexibility it offers. OnDemand software is installed centrally and offers similar but configurable functionality to all subscribers, from a standardized, scalable, multi-tenant application environment.

When implementing Hybrid HR, companies don’t commit to a single deployment model, but combine different delivery models, designed to perfectly match their HR, IT and business needs. A combination of models brings the added advantage that past investments in OnPremise solutions are not lost: they can be incorporated into the Hybrid HR service model. In addition, the model also ensures that companies can rely on the in-depth knowledge pool of service providers for areas in which they are not as knowledgeable themselves, or to which they do not want to dedicate internal resources. As specialized OnDemand service providers can usually spread these costs over more customers, this creates a very effective model.

A hybrid service delivery model is not complete without integrated self-service to bring HR closer to employees. People increasingly perform their transactions via the web and are comfortable with entering personal data online in real-time. When you think of it, booking your flights online is not very different from browsing a training catalogue and signing up for a class. However, successful adoption requires a personalized user interface and minimal hurdles (or clicks) to perform HR transactions. Information, tools, and actions must be presented based upon a user’s role, preferences and priorities. Getting a spotless user interface into place is a key requirement, especially with users that are used to RIA (rich Internet applications), Google-simplicity, and iPhone-like interfaces. The Hybrid HR service model ensures that managers and employees have a central place to go for easy access to the resources they specifically need to manage their personal and workforce data.