Introduction

As HR and business leaders of growing companies, our constant pursuit of creating an ultimate company culture can be exhausting. We face challenges that vary from managing a global workforce and remote workers,  promoting collaboration and communication, building retention, all above and beyond our bread and butter— managing ongoing core HR tasks. 

Challenges continue to grow in 2020, as workplaces encounter complications of a multi-generational workforce. A future dominated by digital natives playing by a new set of rules forces companies to view their companies through the lens of Gen Z, adapting to the workplace of the future.

Companies are paying close attention to the younger workers’ wish list to reduce attrition and build loyalty in the workplace. Research surrounding millennial workplace preferences, and why they leave, shows the number one reason for quitting was culture— as employees “didn’t vibe well with their office atmospheres”. The ability to work remotely was also an important factor for 63%, and 37% said a job with flexible hours is “essential”. The vast majority strongly prefer fast in-office technology, with some indicating that its absence would be a deal-breaker.

Human Resource professionals, your struggle is real! Business models are shifting, along with the changing expectations of employees. In most cases, legacy platforms weigh you down and impede your advancement in transforming your workplace for the future..

Luckily, disruptive HR technology provides more solutions than ever before to help overcome your challenges. Legacy systems that never considered the intricacies of the modern workplace are being replaced by ideal solutions designed for today, affording HR a vital role in this evolution. Let’s focus on the prevalent problems facing growing companies, and propose some great solutions.

Challenge: How to deepen employee connection to the company and to one another

Ever heard the term ‘Quitting Economy’? The new reality faced by present-day employers is one of fierce competition for talent who are quick to jump ship. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports indicate a peak in the number of employees quitting jobs in 2019, the highest rate since 2001. An economy with increased job growth decreased unemployment, slow workforce growth, and growth in demand for workers outpacing supply, all mean that today’s employees hold the power to select who they want to work for, and for how long.

The number of Americans leaving their jobs voluntarily is growing incrementally: 27% quit their jobs in 2018. Turnover trends show an 8.3% increase over 2017 and an 88% increase since 2010.

Continuing at this rate will result in a 35% voluntary turnover by 2023, which exposes companies to enormous risks.

Source

Contending with ongoing turnover means facing exorbitant costs to replace lost talent.  In response, company leaders scramble to create loyalty-building strategies that enhance employee relationships, appeal to a younger workforce and encourage people to stick around for longer. This trend, known as ‘employee experience’ is defined as a combination of three distinct things, regardless of the company’s industry, size or location:

PROVEN: COMPANIES WHO INVEST IN EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE OUTPERFORM THOSE WHO DON’T.

Company culture: The vibe employees feel from within the organization, its organizational structure, communication, leadership style, compensation, and benefits.

Technological environment: With technology relied on as the central nervous system of each organization, companies must consider which tools their people use to perform their tasks, communicate, train, etc… 

Physical environment: As a majority of one’s waking hours are spent in the workplace, business leaders must consider the physical workplace and its impact on employees to ensure their people will want to come to work and the environment is conducive to productivity.


It is proven that companies who invest in employee experience outperform those who don’t.  

“Experiential organizations had more than 4 times the average profit and more than 2 times the average revenue.  They were also almost 25 percent smaller, which suggests higher levels of productivity and innovation.”

Jacob Morgan, Futurist)

The notion of “Human Resources” has become outdated, much like those rigid and hierarchical corporate cultures that were once the norm. Employees today are viewed as people, not as human capital. The original trailblazing HR platforms were a reflection of the corporations that they were built for– top-down pyramid hierarchies with siloed departments, opacity and impersonality. User experience was never taken into consideration as demonstrated by their unintuitive processes and poor graphical interfaces. Just as organizations have evolved, today’s disruptive HR Tech solutions are built to enhance employee experience and build connections.  

Solution: How HR can maximize the employee experience

Contrary to the past, company cultures today are centered around transparency, listening, development and reward. Employers strive to create an irresistible organization to produce a  workforce that wants to come to work. Technology plays an important part in employee experience, and today’s winning cultural environments offer tools that address employee needs over business requirements. Companies are turning to attractive social platforms as a means of empowering employees, connecting them to company culture and maximizing their employee experience. 

Today’s HR technologies may resemble their predecessors’ core HR functionalities, but consumerization of the workplace has forced employers to mimic the rapidly advancing technologies we rely on in our everyday lives. With BLS data indicating that millennial presence in the workforce will reach 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2030, new technologies are designed to appeal to the younger demographic. 


HR TECH MUST PROVIDE THE SOLUTION

Consumer-grade HR platforms are aligned with a culture that holds every team player in high regard. This is exhibited through a company database with personalized employee profiles. Today’s work networks are dynamic, with cross-team collaboration resulting from today’s nontraditional/ relatively flat organizational structures. HR systems must provide holistic visibility of the workforce, recognizing an employee’s skill sets, unique traits, and connections that add value beyond their job description. HR professionals will benefit from reporting and analytics that enable the C-suite to make data-driven decisions.  

Intuitive and attractive user interfaces and engaging social user experiences take HR tech to a new dimension, offering engagement that is contemporary, social and fun. Having an online community with a distinctive social feel builds and reinforces company culture, bringing people together to create meaningful professional and social relationships through shared hobbies and interests. 

From sharing company news and through consistently clear communication, acknowledging achievements through recognition and kudos by managers and peers, your HR platform will inspire motivation and build connection. Your people will feel good about their workplace and take pride in their own contribution, regardless of their geographic location.

In cases where employees work remotely, or as companies grow in size and global footprint, an online social platform offers an organic way to build relationships among colleagues, preventing people from feeling isolated or disconnected, and inspiring a company culture that employees are less likely to turn their backs on.  

Modern HR tech helps you maximize your employee experience with:

  • Engaging social UX
  • Customizable onboarding
  • Kudos, Shout-outs, and culture tools Holistic view of people
  • Hobby groups and clubs

Challenge: Manage multiple sites, diverse talent and remote workers

Today’s global village means companies are hiring globally and engaging in business opportunities all over the world as they scale. New opportunities can present a host of circumstances that companies are not equipped to handle. While tangible costs of opening a new site are closely considered, intangible costs are often overlooked. People need in-person communication to develop a deep connection, learn each other’s strengths/weaknesses and build a trusting relationship. Remote workers use the latest high tech communications platforms, but it’s still hard to compete with close proximity.

How can business leaders get everyone working together for the same goals, regardless of where they are based? How can business leaders preserve the company culture of the original office as they scale? How does a company localize, while maintaining a unified company culture? How can one prevent a silo mentality from developing at those teams working away from the company’s headquarters?

Opening a new office in a different country may introduce challenges beyond cultural diversity, which require technological solutions. Systems must be customized for each site’s time zone, a schedule must consider global holiday calendars, and legacy platforms may be limited in their ability to synchronize with global calendars. Maintaining common work practices among various locations is not always feasible, especially when considering differing systems used for payroll and other business functions.

With every region abiding by its own governance, standards and best practices, HR platforms that are designed as ‘one-size-fits-all’ will likely include information that doesn’t apply across the board and is irrelevant in some geographies. This may negate local policies, legislation, and benefits, presenting a harmful scenario in terms of misinformation and legal compliance. Services & support offered to personnel must provide coverage for each timezone. Failure to do so may negatively impact users or delay implementations and launches, neither of which is acceptable in our fast-paced world.

Hiring freelancers continue to gain traction as the Gig Economy continues to rise and the Human Cloud affords such opportunities. Research reveals this demographic amounts to 35% of the U.S. workforce in 2019, with 57 million freelancers, a rise of 4 million over the last 5 years. This arrangement can offer a great alternative to hiring a full-timer, particularly where their services fill a one-time need for employers. Nevertheless, signing a contract, training, communicating, and compensating your gig worker can all present issues for your company.

Furthermore, remote workers, contractors, and freelancers are more likely to feel disengaged and excluded from the company culture. Physical distance may cause feelings of isolation, reduced productivity and collaboration. 

YOUNGER GENERATIONS ARE MORE LIKELY TO FREELANCE

Solution: A global platform for today’s fast-growing organizations

A multinational company HR checklist:

✔︎ Multiple time zones and local workday
✔︎ Multiple holiday calendars for scheduling
✔︎ Customize local regulations & best practices
✔︎ Provide ongoing support around the globe
✔︎ Create office/ geographic homepages
✔︎ Engage remote workers & freelancers

Whether you’re heading up HR for a scaling startup or a company that already has a multinational presence, managing HR for multiple countries from headquarters is difficult. Juggling employment regulations and workplace customs from vastly different countries can wear you down fast, especially as you struggle to keep up with changes to regulations and benefits. To avoid wasting valuable time and resources, rely on an end-to-end HR solution that assumes the tracking and administration, so you are free to focus on growing your people.

Intuitive global HR software that centralizes employee information in multiple locales will support teams in multiple countries, tracking multiple holiday calendars, time zones and more. Furthermore, every employee— full-timers, part-timers, short term contract gig-workers and remote team members, is taken into consideration. Scalability means that even if a company starts off in a single location, the solution offers features to scale your business as you grow, whether to a second local site or to multiple locations and countries.

Visibility across the business will ensure accurate and relevant information for each geography, using customizable workflows and fields to adjust the platform to meet local needs, regulations and best practices. Each location/site is viewed as part of the whole company entity while offering the flexibility to meet its own unique needs.

Global HR solutions offer a single place to manage international employees, unifying and simplifying processes while taking into consideration local employment laws, benefits and other information.  Individual office homepages will present local office and country information, relevant key statistics, and company news connecting the local team with the global corporate culture and other offices, all while ensuring the HR practices are locally compliant across your global footprint.

Services and Support are addressed round the clock in each timezone, ensuring vital tech support during work hours in each geography.

An engaging virtual community connects every employee, regardless of their physical location. Social features draw in each team player, encouraging involvement and building a sense of belonging to the organization. This is particularly effective in equalizing the playing field for remote workers or contractors who feel detached from the company culture. This sense of belonging builds team spirit and has proven to inspire motivation, increasing productivity.

Modern HR tech helps you grow non-traditional organizations with:

  • Multiple holiday calendars
  • Multiple time zones
  • Office/country news feeds
  • Easily customize for local best practices Global support
  • Engage in-house and remote workers

Challenge: Core HR is neither intuitive nor simple to use

HR software dates back to the 1960-70s, originally used by companies to manage personnel data, for record-keeping and to meet regulatory needs. As ERP applications gained traction in the 1980s, Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and Human Resource Management System (HRMS) transformed transactions into business processes and data into information that enabled managerial data-driven and informed decisions. HRIS systems also included features aimed at attracting, retaining and properly compensating the workforce. These were highly customized, complex and expensive systems that involved major implementations of unintuitive software that took months to learn to use.

By 2000, integrated talent management systems stitched all HR practices together into an end-to-end, ‘pre-hire to retire’ solution for organizations. The advent of cloud computing shifted the HR offerings to more agile, mobile friendly solutions built through the eyes of the employee, with a focus on their experience, productivity, and career growth.

THE SHIFT IN HCM SYSTEMS*

Despite the tremendous evolution in HR solutions, here are some core HR challenges that continue to plague today’s HR leaders:

Employees lack the big picture outside their team bubble
People are oblivious to their company’s organizational structure, and lack opportunities to become better acquainted with it. They want to gain a broader sense of the way departments and hierarchies are set up, to help them do their job more effectively. Many employees would like to get to know their peers.

Limited communications channels stifle employees
Most formal communication is centered around an employee’s collaboration hubs, on platforms like Slack and Microsoft teams. This creates an exclusive community that diminishes the individual’s perception of the company. Preventing open communication between colleagues from different units can be a drain on HR resources, as employees reach out to HR personnel to answer basic questions. 

Broken onboarding processes
New recruits are known to have a poor onboarding experience— inundated by tedious paperwork and overlooked socially. HR and business leaders have yet to perfect the onboarding experience to include a set plan with a clear division of roles and responsibilities for every aspect.

HR lacks visibility and oversight over people analytics
As HR shifts from purely qualitative to a more measurable role, HR leaders need to be connected to people data to track and measure their own efforts for reporting and optimizing purposes. There is often a black box or blind spot when it comes to which metrics to focus on and how exactly they should be measured. HR needs to be held accountable in order to grow the workforce and culture of their company at scale.

The Complexity of compensating your global organization
The core payroll function becomes exponentially complex once you are compensating for a global workforce in multiple currencies. Add to these local regulations, taxes and local benefits.

Solution: Core HR that’s fun, not painful

Consumer-grade HR technology is designed for employees first, HR departments second.
Clunky HR systems filled with arduous tasks have been replaced with intuitive workflows and friendly user interfaces that streamline core HR processes. 

Built as ‘fit for purpose’, these applications require no customization, and are adaptable to company requirements. Every feature aims to integrate easily into your employee’s daily work routines, streamlining and simplifying approval cycles and other processes. 

A 360-degree view of the team
A company-wide employee directory opens cross-company lines of communication and offers a bird’s eye view of the organization. This familiarizes your people with colleagues and provides context into how they fit into the puzzle.

Let bots answer boring questions
Bot technology is used to deliver rapid answers to repetitive HR questions from employees while freeing HR teams to focus on higher-level tasks. 

Employee-owned time management
Time management is easily tracked via desktop, mobile and Slack® and absences are natively propagated through the system so that people, teams, and tribes will never need to look for a “missing” employee who is on vacation or out sick.

Flexible onboarding workflows
Using multiple preset, yet customizable workflows, onboarding processes ensure nothing is overlooked and your newest hires can quickly bond with your company’s culture, values, and people. Gamification and superior design turn the process into an experiential journey.

Use surveys to get answers
Friendly surveys let you closely monitor changes in employee sentiment, while HR KPIs deliver both ad-hoc and preset reports with metrics that enable your continuous improvement of HR services and employee experience.

Simple compensation workflows
Compensation management takes the bulk of the work out of payroll management in a multinational workforce.

Modern HR tech streamlines core HR processes, including:

  • HR KPIs and talent analytics
  • Personal employee profile
  • Employee timeline
  • Dynamic people directory Customizable workflows
  • Payroll and compensation management

Challenge: Fast-growing companies require a platform that easily adapts to changes and needs 

Rigid core HR
Basic HR solutions offer minimal and rigid features to manage HR functions including vacation, time and attendance, talent and culture. While some providers may be more feature-rich in core HR, they are rarely capable of sustaining company growth and scale. These solutions require flexibility and adaptability to meet each company’s business needs. HR professionals lack visibility into employee attendance, productivity, and efficiency.

Inability to scale
Legacy systems used by small and medium-sized businesses are not built to sustain company growth and scale. HR technology must be flexible and adapt to meet the changing individual business needs of growing companies. Many solutions are suitable for one specific company size only. The moment a company outgrows its system, HR and management have no choice but to undergo an entirely new sourcing, selection, and launch process. This is extremely time-consuming, expensive and taxing in terms of effort and the toll it takes on employees.

Rigid onboarding processes
Just as company culture varies from one company to the next, an onboarding process varies between companies, departments and individual positions. One size fits all onboarding solutions lack the ability to be customized or personalized, causing a new hire’s first interaction with the company to feel canned and impersonal.

Limited digital document storage
HR is a particular administrative area of business with an abundance of paperwork, that easily overwhelm and inundate HR personnel. Legacy platforms offer minimal digital storage solutions, some without any options for searching and sorting important documents.

Poor HR reports
Many older platforms lack the sophistication required for Human Resource professionals to access clear and customized reports. 

Solution: Flexibility and customization

The future of HR is agile
Today’s disruptive HR solutions are agile, offering customization and flexibility to meet the specific needs of your business with minimal assistance.

Flexible, scalable HR
Flexible core HR allows for customizable processes, site settings, time-off policies, and workflows that allow companies to scale and easily change processes as they grow. Unlike old systems, current platforms mirror the modern workplace, supporting non- hierarchical organizational structures such as “tribes,” and enabling companies to hire and manage teams with ease as they scale.

One tool for your global team
Global tools adapt to support local cultures and customs, including national and religious holidays and workplace customs, whether by sharing Shoutouts or personal announcements about family events.

Personalized onboarding processes
Studies show that companies whose employees had a positive onboarding experience see 91% retention in their first-year employees, demonstrating the ROI of a successful onboarding strategy. Tailoring onboarding processes is critical to ensuring your new hire’s positive employee experience. Customization enables unique processes that cater to every department, level, or role.

Challenge: HR needs to facilitate better communication and collaboration among their people

Legacy HR platforms are mostly web-based, with little or no mobile accessibility. This prevents users from performing quick tasks on the go, such as clocking in/out, requesting time off, work from home or notifying of illness. This poor accessibility translates to a decrease in usage and platform stickiness.

Old solutions typically rely on a long list of tech tools, using siloed systems that refuse to partner with each other. This includes directories, top ATS, developer tools, integrations, and partners. A dependency on large tech stack means these legacy systems will reject the concept of open-source / API.

Company tech stacks are large and overwhelming, with each solution demanding time and resources to navigate and learn. Hindering adoption and stickiness slows down HR business processes, which requires open channels of communication. 

While some companies prefer to limit internal communications within their preferred collaboration hub in Slack, it’s often incompatible with siloed HR solutions, resulting in excess bloat for employees, managers, and HR. This poor user experience is exhibited by multiple tools and logins disrupting workflow, amounting to overwhelming delayed requests and frustration.

Other organizations use Microsoft Teams as their preferred collaboration hub. While Teams offer many workplace solutions, none of them include HR technology. Both of these vital work tools are siloed, causing excess bloat for employees, managers, and HR professionals. The flow of work is complicated by multiple tools and logins, amounting to decreased productivity and delays by perplexed users. 

Poor integrations with Slack / Microsoft Teams also impact the employee onboarding process, preventing a newcomer’s effective introduction to the right channels and those who lead them. A sense of limited transparency leads to confusion, poor engagement and flawed employee experience. 

Solution: Collaboration and workflow

Today’s cutting-edge solutions aim to incorporate HR processes into the employee’s work routine and natural flow of work, using their preferred tools and without unnecessary complications.

Unlike older platforms limited to the web, mobile-first technology enables individuals to clock in/out, notify of availability, and authorize processes with ease.

Your company may be outgrowing excel sheets or looking to give your dinosaur of an HRIS platform a much-needed facelift. In either case, companies today use multiple leading third-party applications to stay ahead, and your ideal solution HR integrates with these valuable applications seamlessly, allowing you to continue working with the tools most valuable to you.

By connecting to applications through Zapier, leading HR solutions can integrate with Application Tracking Systems (ATS) — for recruit-to-hire processes.

Custom workflows can be developed with ease using Open API.

Compatibility with leading platforms includes
G Suite, Microsoft Azure, Jira, Slack, and Microsoft Teams further ensure processes move from the HR department to the real world of work with ease.

HR tech improves productivity and collaboration with:

  • Easy-to-use, native mobile app
  • Smooth recruit-to-hire process via integrations with top ATS Native integrations with Slack and MS Teams
  • Zapier integration
  • Open API

Conclusion

Today’s HR professionals are tasked with creating a workplace culture that’s radically different from what we’ve seen in the past. Today’s workforce, all four generations of them, want to feel welcomed, nurtured, and informed; to be considered and heard, recognized and rewarded.

And, with such a competitive job market outside, none of this is optional. Culture creation and management have become core HR tasks, even though legacy HR platforms lack the sophistication needed to support this new workflow.

In the fight against attrition, how is a tool-strapped HR team supposed to succeed?

Culture-focused HR technology is the scalable solution for reducing attrition, increasing engagement, managing distributed teams, and connecting different roles and levels within your organization.

Integrating culture and collaboration into what we know as core HR will streamline processes, maintaining traditional workflows while making space for the best HR that’s yet to come.