Human resources is an ever evolving profession. Over the years, various changes in technology and the way organisations do business have shaped and molded HR in order to keep up with the increasing pace of working life. In this blog, we’ll be looking at how human resources have changed over the years. And, more specifically, how HCM software such as SAP SuccessFactors or Workday, has affected the nature of human resources as a profession.
Before the emergence of high-tech human capital management systems (HCM), HR professionals would manage personnel through on-boarding and the use of appraisals and reviews. On-boarding, which is also known as organisational socialisation, was the process through which new employees acquire the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours to become both effective and competent in their new role. Before they could be tracked digitally, KPIs and staff progression in both a team and individual roles were down to either the Line Manager, or the HR team to track and assess. This meant that the process would often take a while, depending on the number of staff working at a specific organisation. And, yes occasionally individuals could easily be overlooked.
Another stumbling block would often be employee paperwork. Personnel files where organised and kept by HR staff in a centalised office and, when the need arose, could be adjusted and edited. This again caused slow processing times due to the sheer amount of paperwork involved. And in addition, Human Resources staff were also responsible for managing sick leave and absence. This again would involve paperwork required either before the absence or once the member of staff was back from illness and would all have to be filed and kept for future reference.
Lastly, peer reviews and catch ups were also the task of HR professionals to organise and keep track of. Staff progression was, essentially, left down to those working in HR to deal with. This wasn’t ideal as human error, lack of knowledge of the individual and bias meant promotions were occasionally received due to opinion, rather than facts around performance.
Nowadays, the role of the Human Resource department has taken on a more holistic approach to employee management. Employers are now increasingly aware that if their top talent aren’t constantly being motivated or developed, then they might just lose them. The good news is, that through the development of powerful software such as SAP SuccessFactors, this process as gotten a whole lot easier. These systems are created to specifically track and monitor KPIs, absences and sickness, personal training and development and a whole lot more.
HCM software provides a more rounded picture of an individual and where they fit within the team and the business. They provide the ability to invite and collect 360 degree feedback from the individual, their peers and their managers, meaning that promotions and pay reviews can be judged more easily on the ability to do the job, performance and overall attitude. And, because HCM software gives access rights and privileges, it makes it easier for Line Managers, senior management and Human Resources to share and view information on an individual, meaning that nothing gets overlooked. Plus, businesses are now keen to appraise staff on a more regular basis, because they no longer have the burden of paperwork, which is great news for high performing employees.
These functions allow career progression and decision making to be based on fact and not just opinion to ensure that those members of staff performing well are recognised and rewarded accordingly. The American research and advisory firm, Gartner, describes HCM as “a set of practices related to people resource management”.