The CIPD Festival of Work certainly lived up to its name. With more than 10,000 visitors, 250 exhibitors, and 160 different speakers, it was a bonanza of employment-themed insight and innovation.
We spoke to hundreds of HR & Payroll professionals over the two days, which gave us a chance to ask the question: “What is your biggest HR & Payroll technology challenge?”
And some clear trends emerged:
Systems that can’t talk to each other perpetuate the age-old problem of organisational silos, and the people we met at the Festival of Work understood the challenges this presents, including:
- Lack of visibility – when data sits in isolated databases, it’s impossible to generate a real-time global view of the state of the organisation
- Inefficiency – when you’re bogged down in complex and disjointed process, it wastes time and increases the risk of error
- Cost – running disparate applications wastes an enormous amount of HR and IT resource integrating, maintaining, updating and acquiring multiple systems
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It was clear that many people felt constrained by their current software. Systems without the flexibility create complication by forcing administrators to mould their processes around the frameworks dictated by their technology.
And where organisations have carved out workarounds, they said they often found themselves back where they started, buried in administration; manually reformatting records or carrying out excel spreadsheet admin so their sophisticated automation software can operate.
This, as one delegate eloquently described, is “completely arse about face”.
Business leaders need quick, easy access to data and reporting tools. But many of the people we met said they were hampered in this because of the way their HR data systems are structured, with people data siloed and incompatible.
A lack of real-time information also seemed to be a hurdle for many of those we questioned, where data entry processes meant that by the time information was available within the system to generate reports, it was already out of date.
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Digital base camp
Our COO Ben Bishop was on stage at the Festival of Work talking about the ROI of digital HR and how organisations can get themselves to Digital Basecamp, the stage organisations need to be at to ensure they’re ready to capitalise on the benefits of digitisation.
The elements of Digital Basecamp include:
- Be clear on objectives and measures
- Capture and maintain data
- Digitise documentation
- Automate processes
- Engage and equip employees
- Build analytics
- Ensure you have the right platform