Saturday, July 30, 2005
When I was making a decision regarding my current job, I interviewed with each of the 3 major HR consulting firms (Mercer, Towers, Wyatt). In the end, I chose the one that I feld I connected with on a organizational and personal level. I also went with the one which went out of their way to let me know they wanted me. I have not regretted this decision for a second.
So I'll be the first to admit, it's usually not about the technology. But this is why I pay so much attention to the HR strategy that goes on. While I'm sitting around designing processes for people, if I'm doing it in a vaccuum without seeing the bigger picture of what the process drives, I'm a failure. That said, let's talk some more about the technology!!!
Friday, July 29, 2005
2) PeopleSoft (if you can get Oracle to sell it - very rare)
3) Lawson (8.0 only - 7.x would be ranked lower)
4) ADP Enterprise (you must be willing to outsource payroll)
6) Cyborg (tied)
6) Ultimate (tied)
8) Ceridian HR (once called eSource)
I know there are other vendors, but I come across these most often. I only include Cyborg because Hewitt is forcing it on all their HRO clients now. PeopleSoft is being sold rarely and only if you have lots of money to give Oracle.
The top vendor is SAP - they have the technology, functionality, full range of ERP, and one of the best portals on the market. After SAP (ignore PS for the above reasons), you have Lawson and ADP Enterprise. Lawson jumps this year with the release of 8.0 and the elimination of their COBOL processing engine. However, ADP Enterprise will get even with or leapfrog Lawson next year as their integrated portal technology matures. With ADP, Lawson and Oracle filling the mid market (2000 to 15000 employees) space right now there just are not enough good options. Oracle has always underperformed in the HR space, Lawson is not a serious ERP and ADP forces the PR outsourcing. Lawson and ADP are the better players here but simply don't have the depth to compete against SAP. If you want good ERP, go with Oracle, but HR will suck. If you want a quality vendor and service relationship, go with ADP who will also provide you with stability. Lawson is just a ho hum average player.
The bottom of the list (Cyborg, Ultimate and Ceridian) are just the players that win a few deals every now and then. They either don't have the sales force, R&D, functionality, or vendor stability to make it in the market at this moment.
Notable mention 1: I have heard very little about "Fusion." Fusion is Oracle's next ERP suite that combines the best of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Oracle. Personally, I think it's just going to be an integrated look and architecture for PeopleSoft HRMS, Oracle Financials, and JDE SCM. But what do I know. There is mysteriously little coming out of the Oracle camp, and usually I'd hear some whispers of what's going on. Well, we're a few years from product release anyway.
Notable mention 2: Dave Duffield (PeopleSoft founder) will be officially launching the new company shortly. It's aimed at the mid market and will be a subscription based enterprise suite, but anything from Dave is worth mentioning.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Hewitt says its study of nearly 200,000 workers who participated in their
companies' 401(k) plans found that 45 percent elected to take a cash
distribution upon leaving their jobs. The remainder either kept their savings in
their current employer's 401(k) plan (32 percent) or rolled the money over to a
qualified IRA or other retirement plan (23 percent).
Don't people realize what the huge hit in taxes and early withdrawl fees are? If people are going to cash out, just don't bother investing!!! You'd just lose money!!! (I'm not saying not to invest - just keep the cash in the retirement fund)
Critically, employee access to buildings and access to systems must be turned off immediately. For these 2 elements, IT needs to know by the time the termination happens or very very soon after. I found this nice about.com article about IT and terminations. Most terminations are peaceful, but disgruntled employees need to be removed from having access to these systems and property asap.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The 2 big trends in improving HRSD these days is the implementation of call center and outsourcing. We’ve probably talked about outsourcing enough, so I’d like to concentrate on call centers. First off, let me say it’s not for everyone.
Call centers are great for a number of reasons:
– Employees have 1 place to go to get answers.
– Calls are tracked until resolution
– Call center reps are trained to handle difficult situations
– Metrics on actual service delivery are easily obtainable.
For those not able to implement a call center on their own, the big 3 consultants (Mercer, Towers Perrin, Wyatt) are all experts at this stuff. If you are comfortable handing it off to an outsourcer, this is also an opportunity.
A fully centralized call center is not for everyone though. If needed, centralized call centers should be supplemented with field deployed generalists who are on-site to provide support. The level of service provided by each can be variable depending on the organizations needs.
I haven’t read this (because I don’t have the budget to pay for it), but keep in mid that when you do anything like creating a call center, outsource, or implement new software, you will not achieve the service delivery enhancements you’re looking for unless you actually consider the redesign of your processes.
Monday, July 25, 2005
I stumbled across this article on data privacy and what problems outsourcers are having. My general opinion is that even with the heightened awareness we have in the U.S. about data privacy and identity theft, HR organizations have not really thought much about how their vendors treat employee data and the security measures behind it.
Most of our outsourcing relationships in the U.S. fall around 2 areas: first does the vendor comply with Sarbanes Oxley, and second, do they provide an appropriate amount of value (service vs. cost) to the relationship. Based on my experiences, most clients simply trust that employee data is going to be safe.
As more and more outsourcing goes on, clients are at greater risk. What I always find disappointing is the pure amount of denial that seems to happen. We always see surveys that say only 70-80-90% of companies outsource anything at all. This would mean that 10-20-30% of organizations think they are 100% in-house. If someone outsources payroll or benefits administration, that’s easy to see. But what about background checks, COBRA, FSA, 401(k) administration? I’d say that maybe less than 1% of the U.S. Fortune 1000 are fully in-house.
All of the above examples between payroll, benefits, background are areas where you are giving away sensitive employee data. The environment changes when you start talking about offshoring.
"The Indian BPO industry is in its infancy, and when one tends to hire 400 to
500 people every month, we often fail to scrutinize the employees closely,"
conceded Mphasis chairman Jerry Rao at a National Association of Software and
Service Companies summit in June.
Now I don’t want this to be a negative commentary on offshoring, and anyone who has been reading this blog knows that the economic advantages to offshoring are theoretically obvious. (Intro to MacroEconomics 101). What I want to bring up is the idea that most organizations simply are not focused on their vendor’s employee population, whether domestic or offshore.
The laws governing privacy and information access vary from country to
country. India makes it relatively easy to obtain information, while Japan has
strict privacy regulations. Hong Kong has a fairly strict information-protection
act, and European countries adhere to Safe Harbor regulations, which prohibit
the transfer of personal data to non-European Union nations that don't meet the
European standard for privacy protection.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Vendor 1: Consulting firms. To be honest, most of the onboarding portals I’ve seen are applications that were custom created for a client. Organizations that have thought about onboarding thus far have mostly gone out and built it from the ground up. This is mostly because until very recently, onboarding applications didn’t have the market momentum to justify the cost for a software vendor to create one.
Vendor 2: Recruitmax Aloha. This has got to be the mother of all onbaording applications. You don’t have to have Recruitmas to buy this module. Single dedicated portal with rich functionality, robust API’s (read: interface capabilities), and portals for your recruiter, administrator, manager, and even your vendors!!! The successful onboarding application will deliver data, checklists, forms to your new hires and provide fulfillment functionality to the desired process owning system. If that did not make sense, basically an employee can put in basic information, and 2 hours later the network administrator has all the computer access information set up.
Vendor 3: Enboard is an onboarding only application for small and midsized companies. Without the robust portal experience above, it’s fits the needs of organizations that just want some simple self service functionality.
Vendor 4: Virtual Edge Salute. Almost every ATS vendor will have some sort of onboarding solution consisting of a portal and data interfaces. Virtual edge does a good job with workflows and multi-department collaboration.
Vendor 5: Deploy Solutions provides an onboarding module as part of it’s “talent” suite. As I mentioned above, every ATS vendor will have something, but Deploy provides a rather disappointing onbaording experience. The robustness of the portal is lacking and simply does not allow the interactivity between multiple parties that other solutions offer.
There are a lot of applications out there, and some are much better than others. Recruitmax and Virtual Edge will provide you with more functionality than you need to roll out in a phase 1 implementation. Both will provide functionality to grow into. Other onboarding applications will give you some basic functionality but may not give you enough workflow and data fulfillment to other internal business partners and vendors. If you have the money, I’d say that a custom application or Recruitmax is the way to go.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
BTW - for the record, global economies are a great thing. 4 Question quizes are questionable.
As long as we're talking about the major insecurities that the U.S. has about offshoring work to India and China, Workforce Online has a great analysis of knowledge workers and the growth of knowledge in different economic geographies.
Cobalt’s Bangalore R&D staff has accumulated the necessary domain knowledge and now assumes full responsibility for entire projects, including the most complex work. "The more typical approach is to send low-risk work to India, but that is a recipe for failure," Krishnamurthy says.
"The talent there is as good or better than in the U.S.," he says. "The large U.S.-based companies now investing in R&D centers in India--Oracle, Intel and Microsoft, for example--do not view them as adjunct facilities but as labs for original work.
As long as we're at it, here's a Watson Wyatt survey on offshoring regarding employer and employee opinions.
Monday, July 18, 2005
These days if you are a large employer and outsourcing part of your HR delivery, you should be approaching that outsourcing partnership with the desire to improve service delivery by some measure as opposed to simply reducing costs. This should be the objective regardless of how transactional or administrative the outsourced transaction is.
Co-sourcing is simply another buzz word that was created to help outsourcing consumers understand the impact of partnering with their outsourcing vendor. The term has outlived it's usefulness. I've heard variations from multiple vendors now including intersourcing. All of this is simply an attempt to explain the vendor relationship and allow it to evolve into a strategic partnership where both parties are trying to add value to the client organization.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Dave's Next Move (Dave Duffield's new company) is going to be pursuing the same strategy, except at the enterprise software level. They will be doing HR, PR, finance, etc... Dave has actually renamed the company in the last week, but I forget what it is and they don't have a website yet.
Anyways, it looks like decent scaleable HRMS is coming in a subscription web delivery in the near future. (some would argue it's already here, but "decent" is the critical word)
Thursday, July 14, 2005
There is a lot of proof out there that HRO and BPO are still going strong. Recent studies by The Everest Group, Workforce Magazine and others show the interest and implementation of HRO has expanded since the inception of multi-process HR outsourcing seven years ago. According to The Everest Group the number of employees covered has increased by more than 100-fold, to 3.7 million as of March 31, 2005. Additionally, competition among vendors and economies of scale have helped push down the price per employee for multi-process HR outsourcing contracts by more than a third both for large and very large companies. The survey also noted that since 2000, the total value of worldwide contracts has grown more than 250% to $12.5 billion in 2004. Not surprisingly, the more transaction-oriented the HR process, the more likely it is to be included in a multi-process HR outsourcing contract, according to the survey.
HRO Today Magazine recently released its list of the Top 21 HRO Providers. The top 21 are as follows:
- Accenture HR Services
- ACS Global HR Solutions
- Aon Consulting
- ARINSO International
- CGI Group
- Checkpoint HR
- Fidelity Employer Services
- Hewitt Associates
- IBM Global Services
- RSM McGladrey Employer Services
- Excellerate HRO (EDS)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
HRMarketer.com HR Industry Trends reports the top HR industry newsmakers as Mercer, Towers Perrin, Hewitt, Watson Wyatt, and Wal Mart!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Walmart joins the ranks the tier 1 HR consulting firms by merit of it's lawsuits.
I found this article interesting because Infinium has always had such an incredible lock on casino software. Not just for HR and PR, but for casino operations systems as well. When you get into Indian gaming, you often get non-Infinium systems because the Indian casinos don't like to do the same thing as Las Vegas casinos. Since this one is in California, I think this is an Indian casino. Also, I'm really troubled by claims from Ultimate that state they have good ROI justification over service bureaus (ADP and Ceridian) in the mid-market. I don't think you can go in-house with fewer than 10,000 employees and save much money.
From 1985 until the present, we have been reacting against our earlier self-centeredness by turning to networks, because according to Stone, "we believe that to be busy and to be connected is to be most alive. Now we're over-stimulated, over-wound, unfulfilled."
The cycle we are now entering is one in which we try to find ways to regain control of our attention and to satisfy our longing for a quality of life and work that allows us to connect in more direct, meaningful ways, said Stone. "The next aphrodisiac is committed, full-attention focus. Experiencing this engaged attention is to feel alive. Trusted filters, human or technical, and trusted protectors will help us remove distractions and manage boundaries, filtering signal from noise, enabling meaningful connections; these will be the tools and technologies that allow us to take our power back."
Constraining information is "precisely the role of technology that tracks our activities, aggregates it and uses the information to direct our attention," said David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, a search engine that tracks the world of weblogs. "It's a technological tap on the shoulder that saves us time. Time is the scarce resource; you've got 24 hours in a day; that's it. Attention is basically time directed to purpose."
Monday, July 11, 2005
In my opinion, there are only several major BI OLAP tools:
1. SAP BW
2. Oracle OLAP Option
3. Cognos Powerplay
4. Business Objects
5. Micro Strategy
In my opinion, these vendors and tools offer the broadest range and highest quality BI tools. SAP, Oracle and Cognos also represent the largest vendors for this space. If you want to expand the search for a tool, Microsoft and Crystal Decisions also offer tools, but IMO the depth is not as good.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Actually, this is another one of those annoying buzz words. We’re going to call it business intelligence or BI. BI software is simply a tool that allows you to extract data out of a database. We’ll continue this discussion for a couple of posts, just like with onboarding.
For our purposes, BI tools will fall into 3 main categories.
- Report or query tools embedded into database software at the application level,
- Reporting tools external to database software utilizing an ODBC connection,
- Analytical tools external to database using OLAP technology.
We’ll leave it there for now. We will also not going to discuss embedded “query” tools specific to a vendor or application. We’re also not going to talk about IT directed tools at the database layer.
First of all, I’d like to make my first assertion that organizations spend too much time and money on multiple disparate BI tools. Finance has one, HR has another, CRM has a third. There may be more for the ERP or whatever else is out there. Organizations that are organized will also have a data warehouse. Organizations that are advanced but not organized will have multiple data warehouses – each with its own OLAP tool.
The goal is to centralize BI. If you can centralize all of your BI into a single ODBC tool, create a data warehouse and centralized reporting out of that into single OLAP tool, all of your organizational data needs can be served out of a single platform.
That’s all for today, we’ll talk more about tools later this week.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Then I think about the growth of talent suites. These suites are basically growing to encompass a large majority of HR functional requirements with the exception of core HR. Tese talent suites generally give employers the opportunity to double source vendors with one large talent suite and a core HRMS system.
However, Watson Wyatt's HR Technology Trends survey states that employers are more comfortable with multiple vendors than trying to get a vendor that does everything. The wonderful thing is that this is totally viable and possible with the good implementation of portal technologies.
Update on July 10, 2005:
Andrew wrote this about SAP eRecruit.
The minute a new colleague walks through our doors we work hard to motivate them to stay. Our “Welcoming New Colleagues” onboarding module in our manager’s toolkit helps managers to engage new colleagues from day one. This module outlines steps that a manager needs to take to ensure a new colleague is up and running on his or her first day. There is also an online component that allows managers to find all the forms they need in a quick-click fashion.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Let’s start this one off with a picture.
Let me first say that time also increases from left to right.
- So your first step would be recruiting and all the functions in the ATS system on the left.
- After that, you create an offer letter and direct the employee to the on-boarding site. This letter should probably have the hew hire’s userID and password as well. The letter may want to indicate that login cannot occur until the offer letter is returned, or whatever other contingencies need to be passed.
- Keep in mind that the new hire will not be able to log in until you have actually interfaced that person’s record from the ATS over to the onboarding system. You’ll probably need to have the appropriate field indicator in the ATS for this to work well. If your organization has contingencies around background checks, education verification or whatever, make sure that all that’s done prior to the data load.
- You should also give some thought to having your onboarding database be the primary data repository for your new hire data between the day of offer and day 1. This prevents you from loading data to your HRMS from 2 sources (ATS and onboarding) and minimizes any risk of conflicting data. In the onboarding system, the new hire can validate all the data prior to HRMS load (talked about later).
- Once in the onboarding database, there really isn’t much need for file transfers at any specific time. It’s more as you get the data. There’s a good chance that you can transmit new hire data directly to the network people so they can set up e-mail addresses ASAP. You might also have business card data (what name the employee wants to use) a few days later, so those fields can be transmitted to the appropriate person. It doesn’t really matter what technology you are using, so long as the data gets to where it needs to go in a timely manner. XML would be nice, but not every system is going to create or receive that. So in that case other asynchronous API’s might be needed. If all else fails, just pull a report and send it off in Excel or something.
- When does this go over to the HRMS? That’s actually quite a loaded question. I’ve been to companies that require the load to HRMS prior to day 1, and other places that have a high enough no-show rate that they don’t want anyone in there until they show up for work. This will be a tactical decision on your part, but my guess is that most companies can load data into their HRMS at least a few days prior to day 1. Keep in mind that once the core employee record is set up in HRMS, you can load any other data piecemeal. So if the employee sets up direct deposit preferences late, the interface will just refresh and capture latest changes.
For Part 3 (Systems and Vendors) I need to do a bit of research, so give me a couple days.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
OK – So I’ve decided that it’s time for a new topic other than employee engagement. Since Andrew has so kindly thought one up for me, I figure we’ll do something around on-boarding. In the next few days, I’ll be doing a 3 part series on the topic. I'm hoping this will also result in some good discussion in the blogs.
– Onboarding Definition
– Onboarding Integration
– Onboarding Systems and Vendors
So what is onboarding? First of all, it’s one of these annoying buzz words we have in HR these days. It is an important one though, and the practice has initiated all sorts of new tactics for recruiting and retention. Onboarding is the process of integrating employees into their new work environment. While this sounds simple, it really take a multitude of coordinated acts to accomplish this.
Timing: In my opinion, onboarding begins with the offer letter. Many people think that onboarding happens on day one with the orientation, but if you wait this long, you have missed several golden opportunities to shape your new employee’s view about you. From here on out – I’m going to just call these people “new hires.”
Goals: You have a precious few weeks to make sure your employee remains excited about their new opportunity. The misuse of these weeks could lead to the employee going after another offer, getting counter offers from the current employer, or just status quo (lack of heightened excitement). Similarly, you have a precious few weeks after the first day to make sure your employee gets off to the right start.
Pre-day 1 activities: The days between the offer letter and first day of work should be a pointed and disciplined flow of information both ways.
- Coming from the employee, you want some core data about the employee. They can fill out all the paperwork so you are not spending 2 hours during the first day getting signatures. These new hires can go to a secured website and electronically fill out and sign the necessary forms, or they can print these forms out and bring them in on day 1. I’m talking about your non-compete forms, standards of conduct, W-2’s, direct deposits, etc… If you are really cool, you might even have a form so business cards can be pre-ordered. If you measure offer to day 1 retention rates, this is a huge impact. Can you imagine showing a future employee a mock-up of their business card on-line 2 weeks before their start date? And the network forms for day 1 connectivity and e-mail? Do that one too.
- Disclaimer: I should note that I’m not a lawyer, so I offer no judgement, but some companies have questioned whether they can ask their hew hires to “work” without paying them. It’s just something to consider. Most new hires would happily do this work.
- Coming from you, the employer, are all the standard day 1 communications, but in a pre-day 1 form. That website you directed them to with all the forms? It’s also going to have related communications. You can’t ask them to sign the standards of conduct form if they have not read it. You might have recent positive press releases, the employee handbook, profiles of successful employees, and materials that reinforce the employer’s brand. If the employee is sufficiently excited about you, they are going to read this stuff. And while you are keeping them excited about you, they are less likely to be looking elsewhere.
Post day 1 activities: Most of this is coming from the employer, but of course it’s almost all collaborative. Having the website up does not exempt you from running orientation. You still have to do that. However, you should now have a day 1, month 1, quarter 1, and year 1 goal. Here are some ideas:
- D 1: Orientation. Not just filling out paper orientation, but a real one where you have trained people integrating new hires into your brand (I’m hoping Regina has more to say about this). After or along with orientation, pass out those business cards we mentioned before. Hey, you collected the data, why not get them early? If you have salespeople who you want to get on the street immediately, can you imagine their reaction to that? Phone and computers or laptops. I have been employed by enough companies who made me wait 2 or 3 weeks before I got my laptop. Hey – If you want to pay me $#### a day to do nothing for a couple weeks, I’m game for that… Get these poor guys hooked up for day 1. Once again, we had the data, so let’s execute on it. Nothing sucks more than being a new employee, being excited about the opportunity, and then sitting at your desk reading company brochures because you have no e-mail, no computer, and no phone!!!!
- M 1: The new hire’s manager should be well prepared to go through all the job and performance standards. This should be a proactive session letting the new hire know what’s expected, but also quite a bit of setting goals as well. M1 should also contain quite a bit of training, or whatever type of company integration you do (mentorships, coursework, etc…). Also don’t forget to check on the benefits. Not getting benefits right on the first try leaves a nasty feeling for new hires.
- Q 1: Is really the same as M1, but I leave it here to remind you that as part of the onboarding plan, you really have to formalize the follow-up processes. So follow up on the performance and job expectations, and continue the training.
- Y 1: If everything has gone according to plan, you should have much better retention rates in year 1 and hopefully your employee engagement is inching up slightly. Employees will better understand their working conditions with a well thought out plan to get them integrated into the company, and you should reap healthy rewards from it.
Next time we talk about integration and how you get all the required systems to work together.
Monday, July 04, 2005
This article basically says that the world may not be ready for full on telecommuting yet. Even those who could telecommute 100% of the time wind up in the office a couple times a week.
"On the days I work from home, I get to relax and be more focused," said Wheeling, a Hewlett-Packard project manager who lives in the foothills town of Rough and Ready. "But the rest of the week I get to socialize."
It's a pattern captured in nationwide statistics. About 24 million Americans worked from home during at least one business day a month in 2004, up from 11.6 million in 1997, according to ITAC, an association that promotes alternative work locations.
"If you're the only person telecommuting, your life is hard and lonely. As more people telecommute, the communications channels shift, and then the people
at the offices all want to work at home," said Roitz, who said about one-third of AT&T's salaried employees telecommute full time. They are, however, urged
to meet face-to-face with their managers at least twice a year.
Friday, July 01, 2005
One of the other new buzwords besides "talent" is "onboarding." Onboarding is not only the new hire experience. It is everything that happens from the moment an offer letter is extended to the time your emplyoee is sufficiently indoctrinated into the organization and is competently productive. In other words, Andrew is correct when he says "the candidate’s understanding of you changes throughout the process (a very strong indicator of how likely they are to integrate when they join)" To create a successful recruiting experience in the eyes of the organization, the employee must be retained. Therefore, it is critical that the organization view the recruiting experience to last longer than day 1.
Onboarding should consist of the
- pre day 1 activities (preferably some sort of on-line pre-hire transfer of knowledge, policies and information),
- new hire process (how quickly do you get the employee the tools needed to work and how well do you orient him/er)
- Post day 1 activities (how do you continue to aclimate the employee in the first few months)
- post M1 and Q1 activities (how well do you begin the process for career development and job training)
Organizations should easily find that there is large ROI associated with quality onboarding primarily through decreased turnover in the first 18 months. I think I wrote about this once before, but you should remember that no ROI is useful unless you have first measured the current state benchmark to compare future results with. So as Andrw says "You should be looking at measuring at all stages, right into their first year. You need to track the changes over time."