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Will Hutton

Will Hutton

Principal, Hertford College, Oxford University and chair of the Big Innovation Centre

Friday 20 Dec 2013
HR systems need to be more like Facebook if you are to meet the demands of your employees

HR systems need to be more like Facebook if you are to meet the demands of your employees

However, the employee was often forgotten in these early self-service implementations. Systems were complex and clunky, the user experience was poor. The result has been lower adoption, poor engagement, expensive training and low data quality. And in the worst cases, a kick-back against self-service, insisting HR deals with them end-to-end.

Over the last three or so years we have all witnessed a rapid and significant shift in technology and our acceptance and expectation has altered too. New devices hit our stores on an almost weekly basis. Tablets, smartphones, advanced web sites, apps, the list goes on. With these new devices employees now are demanding more sophisticated and smarter ways to interact with their employer.

No longer is it HR that wants to devolve holiday booking, or overtime recording to the employee to reduce admin and save cost. It is the employee that wants the convenience and simplicity of performing these tasks quickly, efficiently and often on the move.

The challenge for us all is that many of the HR systems have not been able to keep pace with this revolution in technology. They have not offered the ease of use, simplicity and accessibility that is now desired or even demanded. Systems offering advanced HR self-service transactions have to catch up with Facebook, Twitter, ebay, Amazon etc. to support the plethora of devices now available, provide simple yet fun experience of use, while still meeting the exacting needs of business rules and security policies of the corporation.

Even the most modern and well respected solutions on the market are struggling to keep pace. There are technology cul-de-sac's to be avoided along the way. Here is a simple five-point check list to consider when selecting technology to meet the needs of your now tech-savvy employees.

Can I easily access from anywhere, anytime? To do this the system probably needs to be in the cloud and needs to be provided in a way that the systems are up 24/7.

Can I run the system on any of the popular browsers - Internet Explorer is no longer enough! Check there is support for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari on iMac as well as the latest Internet Explorer too. Sounds simple, but many business-orientated web systems have limited browser support.

Will the self-service functionality run on my tablet - check out what is actually available and for what tablets, too many HR technologies provide simple functionality (not all the self-service functions) for apple iPad, but do not cover Android or Window tablets. Also many offer a completely different experience to the desktop, requiring users to learn different ways to complete the same task!

Can I perform common tasks on the move on my smartphone - again, many systems either do not offer this at all, or have an app for iPhone, that may do what you want, but what about Android, Windows smartphones, etc.?

Are the screens simple and easy to follow and understand and are they consistent across the various devices and modules - too many systems become complex and cumbersome. Clean, modern design with simple terminology and consistency is vital to ease deployment and maintain adoption of self-service as well as providing an integrated solution for all your HR, pay, pension and workforce management needs.

David Woodward is chief product an innovation officer at Ceridian UK