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What if…Salesforce was your HR system?

Not social media and not exactly free but we’re thinking out of the box this summer and so I am including Salesforce in the line-up. The reason is, that you might actually be able to switch to SFDC for HR in the future. Remember a few years ago, when everyone was talking about Employee Relationship Management? Well, Salesforce does exactly that, but then for your customers. You can manage customer relationships, store their personal data, track opportunities, save notes on all interactions and send out mass-mails etc.

If you can do that for a customer, why not for an employee? The basic fields are all there, you just have to be a bit creative in applying them – and it’s not very complicated to rename them. Salesforce already has the capability to set up profiles for sales reps, to which you can add company and personal goals and track them in real-time, so all the necessary elements are there. The survey feature is useful if you occasionally want to track employee satisfaction. You can even include call center functionality and set up your HR Helpdesk. Finally, analytics allows you to track any data stored in the system, so you can build your own dashboards (not always easy). So the basic necessities for HR are included.

Salesforce provides Chatter for instant communication – I’ve used that tool frequently in the past to communicate with employees in my region. Since we have a corporate subscription to SF, the use of Chatter was free and we set up a group and made all regional employees member of this group. Everyone could post updates and respond to them – very easy to stay in touch and it was very popular to quickly share info or ask questions.

As you might know, Salesforce provides the platform so you can develop your own solutions on top of their cloud. There are a number of HR Solutions (FairSail comes to mind) that were developed on this platform.

Salesforce recently announced the introduction of Salesforce for HR so they are finally running with the ERM idea – took them long enough! It’s not the first time they venture out in the HR space – remember the Rypple acquisition? That was supposed to deliver continuous performance tracking within Salesforce. The idea of a social employee performance system, where employees would be in a constant appraisal cycle and “like”  each other’s work was maybe a bit too visionary at the time. Ultimately, Rypple ended up being rebranded as – which is mostly geared at improving sales performance.

Details of the new HR offering will become available over the next few months, and I will be eager to track them. No matter how sophisticated the front end (and this seems to be the focus right now), the key to a successful HR system still remains the backend functionality: it’s unclear how they intend to solve payroll, benefits and time. There is some information on API’s but nothing specific.

So what do you think? Can you imagine running your HR on Salesforce? Good idea? Or would you prefer to stick with the focused HR vendors? Please leave a comment and join the conversation. Thanks!