The field of Human Resources is often viewed as a cost centre. It’s a department that is far less likely to see generous funding. HR can be viewed as an operation that supports the departments that add value to a business, rather than adding value in its own right.
What if technology could change these perceptions? What if the incorporation of cloud computing had the potential to change the way HR works altogether? We think it does.
What is cloud computing for HR?
In the past, HR departments have purchased licensed software and used it to manage personnel data. This software often becomes inefficient over time as older versions are deemed too expensive to update, or software is asked to complete functions outside of its specifications. The software can also take up sizeable storage space, and is at constant risk of server dysfunction or data breach/theft.
In contrast, cloud computing for HR means converting company data from a paper-based system or software-based system into a fully online application located in the ‘cloud’. The HR applications (‘apps’) are specifically designed to be efficient, responsive and secure. Shifting company HR to the cloud can be incredibly beneficial for a company – here are some reasons why.
- Costs are reduced. Instead of paying for installation fees, annual licensing, additional server space and for staff-hours spent on paper-based administrative tasks, a budget-friendly monthly subscription is paid and nothing else needs to be done.
- Modern, interactive UX. As the workforce takes on younger generations of staff, they expect user interfaces to be intuitive and pleasing to interact with. Cloud based apps are modern and easy to use.
- Access can be customised. Each staff member can have access to their personal data, including accrued leave and benefits. They can update contact details as required. Various departments or individual managers can have broader access to information related to training, leave requirements or payroll data, for example. This access can all be logged and tracked for security purposes.
- Adaptable (to a point). It is possible to adapt cloud based software based on a user’s geography or preferred language, for example. It may not always be as customisable as commissioned software, but often streamlined efficiency is actually better in the long run, and can eliminate so-called legacy issues inherited from old software limitations.
- Compliance management. It’s very simple to update policies and run reports to measure employee engagement. Running cloud based software also reduces the need for scheduling software updates and other security measures.
A hands on example of how cloud computing for HR can make a huge impact
Consider the process of on-boarding a new employee. There are often endless piles of paperwork to be filled in and distributed (banking and tax information to payroll, shift availability to rostering manager, personal details to HR/admin etc). On top of completing forms, often policies need to be sighted and signed off, in person. Depending on the detail, this can take anywhere from an hour to a full day (not to mention the time it takes to enter that written data into the HR software).
Imagine a different scenario. A new employee is welcomed with an email containing a secure link to a cloud based application. They can fill in their personal information, saving progress as they go. Policies can be read through, and even a welcome video from the CEO can be played. A list of first day FAQs can be made available. Various levels of access and security means that required data is able to be accessed by the appropriate departments with a click. HR needs only check the profile for completed information, and to personally welcome the new member on the first day.
And that simplicity and cost saving is just the beginning of what cloud computing can do for HR.
HR can add value to an organisation
If a company commits to cloud computing for HR, the administrative loads are greatly reduced. This creates far greater opportunity for HR to spend time analysing data instead of processing it. Using a cloud-based application and its collated data, HR teams can begin to identify opportunities for growth, for example, or underperforming departments or stores. Bringing solid data to a meeting to be analysed in conjunction with other financial and performance figures can give management a far greater understanding of the business. It doesn’t take long for the in depth ‘people analysis’ to create value for decision makers. It can also be used by HR to direct spending and training to areas that need it most. Refocussing the agenda back onto the ‘human capital’ of the business can see incredible results in a relatively short time.
Depending on the capabilities of the application and of the HR team, online training can also deliver big budget savings with no loss of effectiveness. Training videos and online tests have a ‘one and done’ quality that only requires creation once and revision every 12 months, rather than in-person delivery every time. This training can also be location independent, meaning employees can undertake the training anywhere with secure wifi, rather than being corralled together at a set time and place.
These two ideas alone can reposition HR as a valuable contributor to the success of a business. This is just the beginning. How do you think cloud computing for HR could change the way you do business?
About EC-MSP, Your trusted IT Support Partner
EC-MSP are one of the most trusted IT support providers in London. If you would like more help advice and support on exploring the potential of the cloud, or have other business IT support needs, contact us today to see how we can help.