With a major shift in business technology over the past couple of decades, today's human capital management (HCM) solutions can seem both exciting and daunting for employers. Suddenly, the employee lifecycle — including payroll and tax, human resources, benefits, workforce management, talent management and more — can be handled comprehensively with automated online solutions rather than high-maintenance installed software. But how is an employer to choose in a market with such varying degrees of integration, ease of use, pricing and implementation processes? 

How to achieve best-in-class human capital management

With a major shift in business technology over the past couple of decades, today's human capital management (HCM) solutions can seem both exciting and daunting for employers. Suddenly, the employee lifecycle — including payroll and tax, human resources, benefits, workforce management, talent management and more — can be handled comprehensively with automated online solutions rather than high-maintenance installed software. But how is an employer to choose in a market with such varying degrees of integration, ease of use, pricing and implementation processes?

Below are tips for achieving best-in-class human capital management in today's complex market.

Evaluate your current challenges

What factors are causing inefficiencies and inaccuracies in your HR, payroll, benefits and other internal processes? Is process really the problem, or is it the technology driving your processes? Ceridian's 2012 HR Processes survey found that organizations' key HCM issues stem from a common source: "integrated" systems that rely on interfaces. Of companies surveyed:

  • 76% struggle with interface issues
  • 79% make the same change in multiple systems
  • 92% use manual workarounds to make their HR processes "work"
  • 51% often run out of time for audits during payroll close
  • 42% don't know which vendor to call when there's a problem
  • 28% fear they're out of compliance with regulatory and legislative guidelines

Evaluate your organization's unique struggles to ensure that you're basing HCM decisions off of accurate assumptions.

Take user adoption seriously

Richard Heyman, senior vice president and chief information officer of apparel and home fashions retailer Gordmans, Inc., said when his company was looking to improve their scheduling process they placed a high value on user adoption. "You can deploy a solution that meets technical requirements, but if your workforce finds it difficult to use, adoption will suffer," Heyman said. "We were willing to pursue a different solution despite having current relationships in place in order to ensure that our team embraced the new scheduling process."

Usability can have a significant impact on adoption. But what makes an HCM solution "usable"? In its 2011 and 2012 technology value matrices for workforce management, Nucleus Research listed drag-and-drop scheduling, role-based views, alerts, a built-in messaging center and mobile application access — all hosted online via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology — as features that promoted high usability.

Eliminate interfaces

Just because one provider offers all HCM systems online via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), that doesn't mean they offer a single application. "The market has been sold 'integrated' solutions for years, with the perception that an integrated system connected by interfaces will work seamlessly," said David Ossip, president of Ceridian Dayforce. "However, we know that any solution relying on fragile interfaces introduces latency, errors and a large amount of unnecessary manual processing."

According to Ossip, a single HCM application with one employee record, one user experience and no interfaces enables organizations to: 

  • Reduce implementation and training costs while increasing adoption and speed to ROI
  • Provide administrators with a simpler and more balanced work week across HCM functions
  • Process HCM data in real time, with no dependence on batch processes
  • Eliminate unnecessary administrative tasks and inquiries

When polled, Ceridian customers gave a single HCM application with one database and no interfaces an average 4.6 out of 5 value rating and felt this would cut their payroll processing time in half.

Avoid sunk-cost bias

Once you've determined how you will optimize your human capital management, all that's left is to justify the cost and time associated with implementing a new solution — a step that can often seem the most challenging of them all. John Orr, co-founder of Dayforce and senior vice president for retail strategy and execution at Ceridian Dayforce, warns employers not to get trapped by "sunk-cost bias."

"Our budget-conscious side tends to focus on dollars already invested in a solution as well as the perceived synergy of sticking with the same vendor for new components," Orr said. "But with high-cost maintenance and planned obsolescence that forces you to upgrade periodically, is staying the course really going to work out better financially than a quick and cost-effective SaaS implementation?"

Voice-Jul2012-hcm-infographic.jpgCeridian research found that when implementing typical disjointed HCM solutions, 70 percent of tasks were duplicated between the payroll and time-tracking systems. Best-in-class SaaS solutions without interfaces reduce implementation cycle time by 40 percent and costs by 30 percent by eliminating these redundant tasks.

All implementation processes aside, retail customers with thousands of employees around the world have told Orr that implementing the right solution for users and operations must remain the most important factor in their decision-making process. "In today's competitive market, you have to do what's best for your strategy, not just your budget," he said.

For more information:

  • View our infographic about the transformation of HCM 
  • Meet Jenny and find out how Dayforce HCM helped her payroll process