Future of work

Insights into the future of work

by Marianne Langlois

NGA HR recently sponsored ISG’s ‘Future Workplace Summit’, a theme we feel is vital to support and contribute to with insight and thought leadership. I was asked to participate in a discussion during the opening day’s HR Tech Workshop, “Keys to a Successful Transformation: How to re-design your delivery model around your new technology,” to provide insight into NGA’s own experiences with clients’ digital transformation journeys.

Some of my takeaways from the day:

Not everyone is as far down the path on the digital transformation journey as we may think. All of the participants were very engaged and asked great questions, some indicating that their organizations are still addressing more basic decisions, like which HCM product to buy.

Those that have chosen and implemented cloud HCM products find that they are not as intuitive as the advertisements promise. Even with the vast improvements of Cloud-based over ERP systems, companies are still struggling with the “user-experience”.

Transition enablement is huge and still accounts for 70% of the noise and lack of project success on digital initiatives. One participant, who had completed a global HCM implementation (80+ countries), talked about all the post implementation change transition support still going on across their organization, months after implementation.

PaaS and extensions are truly emerging as a way that companies can pragmatically live with the standardization that Cloud systems drive. These innovations are bridging the gaps between standard, out of the box, configurable systems and the unique needs of the business. So, while the standardization brings the ability to upgrade more seamlessly, it does not mean that the upgrades bring the flexibility that companies need with their HRIS platforms.

The need for a single “HR Experience” within an organization is essential. While we accept that information comes from and needs to go to a variety of places, we still do not want to have to sign on to multiple systems to access it. People want to go to one place and see all the information they need.

Cloud systems are successfully taking the work out of HR, but in some cases placing it at the feet of managers and employees. Perhaps it is because self-service capabilities for managers and employees are so prevalent, there is more work being pushed to these groups that was previously handled by HR. Taking up some of the tasks, like transfers, promotions, approvals, hiring and terminations, are not as intuitive to managers that may not have the occasion to do these transactions as often as HR did before. This leads to confusion and frustration across the manager ranks as they see their workloads increasing without the corresponding support.

At the same time, HR departments are inheriting more of the work formerly handled by the IT departments. While cloud systems are very configurable, they require a HR process mindset first and foremost to ensure you fully optimize the build. So, while some of the administrative work moved away from HR, they inherited some of the work that might have been done previously by in IT. Cloud-based systems require more knowledge of the process itself to be configured so HR is now more hands-on with system set up and configuration activities. While this is not a completely technical skillset as it has been in the past, it is requiring HR departments to reassess their future skillsets.

HR tech like automation, RPA and bots are increasing in popularity, and everyone wants to get in on the action. The expectation is that with API, AI and bots all of our data can, and should, be together in one place. The idea of a basic presentation with access to multiple systems had a lot of heads nodding.