4 Ways an HRIS Drives Business Transformation  (and Makes HR the Hero)

4 Ways an HRIS Drives Business Transformation (and Makes HR the Hero)

by Shannon Oswald, Chris Lee
July 01, 2024

Today’s Human Resources leaders must improve staff performance, develop an agile and adaptable workforce, create a positive work culture and help the organization save money by reducing turnover and improving staff productivity. That’s a tall order when you’re in the business of people.

The good news: human resource information system (HRIS) platforms such as Workday Human Capital Management have come a long way in helping HR leaders take the reins on the HR, payroll, benefits, compliance and other aspects of people management. If you’re looking to redefine your operations, improve employee experiences and reduce costs, it’s important to consider how an HRIS solution can help you drive transformation across four critical business needs:

  • Aligning HR with business outcomes
  • Improving your HR operating model
  • Becoming an employer of choice
  • Helping your people thrive

Align HR Initiatives With Business Outcomes

When senior leaders see opportunities to grow a business segment or expand to a new market, they don’t want to hear that HR can’t meet their hiring needs. Business strategy should inform your people strategy — but without data, it’s tough to know when to hire, how many people you’ll need for a growth initiative or when you should realign staff resources to address economic shifts.

People data, such as qualified applicant pools, succession plans, compensation reports, hiring metrics and compliance statistics can help you build a business case for new hires, equip leaders working on a contract, avert a PR crisis or respond to staff needs. But if you don’t have cohesive and accessible data, it’s tough to make business decisions, particularly in emergent situations.

How HRIS software helps align HR with business outcomes

When you employ HRIS tools that unify your people, operations and business data, you can confidently make decisions, identify risks and pivot with changing business conditions. Here are some real-world scenarios for how HRIS software makes HR a strategic business partner.

  • Get in front of potential crises. Say a new regulation introduces more compliance requirements. If you don’t have a clear picture of your related workforce costs, you may be caught scrambling to react to the changes instead of planning for them.

    Another all-too-common scenario is when a current or former employee tells everyone who will listen that you have pay disparities and bias in your hiring processes. If you can’t back your leaders with trustworthy staff performance and engagement data, you can put the business at risk.

    An HRIS can help you gather reliable data and support business leaders when crises do occur. Writing the press release and reactive media statements is much easier when you can point to performance, cost and process metrics.

  • Conduct current and future workforce planning to reduce risk. HRIS tools can help you plan for current and long-term staffing needs. When all your people data is in one place, you can identify skill gaps, establish succession plans and plot talent development strategies that support long-term business goals.

    Maybe you have multiple people eligible for retirement in a particular business unit, which can put the unit at risk for poor service delivery. If you have immediate access to workforce planning data, you can identify promotable team members, when to start recruitment efforts and how many people you’ll need to add to the team.

  • Measure and report on HR initiatives. If your HR team is still using spreadsheets to analyze employee surveys, benefits and compensation studies, it’s past time to upgrade your systems and processes. It’s tough to tie feedback to initiatives when it’s all stored in shared folders that get dusted off a couple of times a year.

    An HRIS solution can help you capture the ongoing impact of HR initiatives and inform business leaders more quickly and efficiently. The system can integrate your survey results with employee performance data and help you identify patterns and areas for improvement. And, it can help you create visible action plans to address needs and track progress to ensure your staff’s feedback aligns with business priorities.

Improve Your HR Operating Model

Not long ago, most organizations had an “HR person” for each function: timekeeping, leave tracking, payroll, onboarding, benefits administration, etc. Then COVID’s sudden in-person workforce disruption drove a rapid shift to a self-service model. This met a long-time desire for employees and HR to move the administrative work for compliance, pay and benefits tracking to a single portal where staff can do much of it themselves.

However, many organizations didn’t immediately see efficiency opportunities by aligning these functions in one cloud-based solution. They had legacy systems that “worked” well enough. But, as HR has become more of a strategic player, the business case for a full-scale HRIS solution has come to the forefront.

How HRIS software improves your HR operating model

  • Self-service tools support a shared services HR staffing model. The self-service tools today’s HRIS solutions offer don’t just improve efficiency and employee satisfaction. You also can refocus your HR team to be a resource for your staff instead of a clearinghouse for time tracking and benefit adjustments.
  • Fuel operational decision-making with a true understanding of your staffing costs. An HRIS empowers HR leaders to answer operational questions related to growth, business capital or economic conditions. For instance, if your company is considering a merger or acquisition, knowing the total cost of talent overhead is important. Where is there overlap? Where can you realign staff resources to avoid duplication? Where will there be potential downsizing?

    The same goes for knowing the numbers you need to deliver quality results. You can gain that deeper insight as you establish operating budgets with that data at your fingertips. This agility in planning and forecasting for overhead costs is where HR leaders can truly embrace transformation and support business outcomes.

  • Create a unified source of HR truth. An HRIS solution can help HR leaders overcome the infrastructure fragments that hold many companies back and provide real-time data on people metrics that affect organizational decision-making.

    For example, a large enterprise company was struggling to piece its people data together to tell a unified story and enhance collaboration across different departments. This stalled key decisions about expansion and scale. Implementing the cloud-based Workday HRIS eliminated the data silos, improved their data accuracy, boosted decision-making and increased overall operational efficiency.

Become an Employer of Choice

Recruiting top talent is hard. Keeping them is even harder. But making life easy for your staff from the first conversation through promotions to training and eventual retirement can significantly boost your company’s reputation. A focus on your employee experience can generate cost savings through lower turnover, a competitive advantage and market readiness.

How an HRIS helps you become an employer of choice

HRIS technology can help you join the “best places to work” lists or climb the rankings.

  • Start with the candidate experience. Is it easy to apply for roles within your current HRIS structure? Do candidates have clear communication during the application, interview and offer processes? Your HRIS can make or break this experience for your potential new hires.
  • Make onboarding seamless. Nothing is more frustrating about starting a new job than having to work through multiple emails or go on-site to complete onboarding compliance requirements. Today’s HRIS solutions can give new hires a checklist and connect them with all their onboarding tasks via a self-service portal.
  • Invest in retention triggers. When employees feel supported, they perform better, stay longer and tell your employer brand story for you. Your HRIS solution is pivotal in ensuring that retention programs run effectively and efficiently. You can use this technology to run and track professional development programs, wellness initiatives and recognition efforts.
  • Align your benefits with employee needs. When your staff requests a benefit option, such as selling paid time off to other employees, you can make strides in retention and recruitment by delivering it. But if you don’t have the systems in place, these initiatives are just “things we want to get to.” An HRIS helps you get to them now.
  • Centralize professional development and required training. Compliance training isn’t anyone’s favorite activity. It can put your organization at risk and frustrate your staff if the access and tracking are cumbersome. An HRIS can make this a better experience for everyone — and keep you in compliance with training and documentation requirements.

Help Your People Thrive

You have an opportunity to delight your staff, help them flourish and make HR a core business driver when you use HRIS technology. Think about why people leave their jobs:

  • They don’t feel challenged. LinkedIn’s 2024 Workforce Learning Report showed that companies with a strong “learning culture” have higher retention and more internal hires and promotions.
  • They don’t feel informed. Uncertainty in business strategy and financials are potent fear factors that get your employees polishing their resumés. When your staff doesn’t have access to transparent company communications or policies, they often start looking elsewhere.
  • They don’t feel supported by their manager. This is one of the biggest reasons staff leave. A supervisor’s influence and communication can make or break a team, and this shows when you have high turnover areas.
  • They don’t know what’s next. Quarterly or annual conversations are supposed to be opportunities for staff to share their hopes and dreams with your company. But when you don’t have a clear succession plan or professional development path, your staff starts to worry about their worth to the organization.

How HRIS tools help your people thrive

Outside of easing HR administrative tasks, HRIS software can be a key retention and staff empowerment driver. It doesn’t replace values or culture, but it can significantly improve the support your staff needs to flourish in their roles and grow with your company.

  • Support staff learning. Most cloud-based HRIS solutions integrate with learning management systems. And they allow you to present and track training and professional development activities.
  • Keep staff informed. Communication is vital to helping your staff trust your leaders. But communicating with a distributed workforce is hard. An HRIS can help you streamline communications so staff feel in the know with features like centralized communication platforms, self-service portals, real-time alerts and feedback mechanisms.
  • Help employees advance on their career paths. When you have a solid HRIS in place, you can show staff internal mobility opportunities such as internal job openings and career advancement options. You can also identify and tap high-potential employees through the performance management tools in your solution.
  • Strengthen the manager/employee relationship: HRIS functions to recruit and onboard staff, monitor time and labor, and track and enhance staff performance can bolster the manager-staff relationship. With more efficient people management and access to reliable performance data, managers can get ahead of productivity slips and coach their team members more effectively. Lightening managers’ administrative burden gives them more time to mentor and engage with their teams.
  • Help managers invest in staff performance and goals. By automating the performance review process, managers can provide better feedback more often, help their team members set and track goals, and report on team and individual progress. A more invested manager retains more staff.
  • Show employees you appreciate them. HRIS makes tracking employee recognition much more straightforward for managers – from birthdays, anniversaries and kudos to customer feedback and wellness opportunities. When managers focus on appreciation, staff feel more secure and valued.

Ready to Elevate Your HR Technology?

If you’re struggling with manual HR processes, siloed data and frustrated employees, it may be time to consider a modern HRIS solution that puts HR in the driver’s seat. Find out how our Workday HCM consultants can help you take the first steps to upgrade your employee experience, streamline HR processes and compliance, and improve data visibility and decision-making.

Transform Your Workforce and Your HR Processes

The world of HR is changing fast. Don’t let it pass you by. Our Workday experts can help you strengthen your HR technology and optimize your workforce management.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Shannon Oswald - Consulting | Armanino
Chris Lee - Sr. Consultant, Consutling - San Ramon CA | Armanino
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