Checking Benchmarks: 18th Annual HR Systems Survey White Paper Released

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HR systems survey results released

The annual Human Resource research survey by Sierra-Cedar was released in late October.  Insights from the survey offer a glimpse of the present and future state of the HR industry.

Sierra-Cedar is an enterprise consulting interest.  Since 1997, Sierra-Cedar has conducted an HR research effort, now in its 18th year.  During that time, HR tactics and technologies have undergone tremendous change and growth, encompassing first thoughts about ATS systems to the actualization of machine learning with predictive analytics.

This year, the survey involved over one thousand organizations, encompassing more than 20 million employees.  Survey feedback came from companies of all sizes with national and global reach.

In several ways, 2015 marked the year when the tide turned irreversibly toward technology.  More than 50 percent of reporting organizations note they are on board with SaaS and Cloud solutions.  Integrated data, business, and talent-driven strategies are becoming commonplace.

A changing environment that favors HR tech

Following are some highlights of the Sierra-Cedar 2015-2016 Survey White Paper:

Service delivery is in transition:  The delivery of HR services continues to mature.  The HR environment is transitioning from administration to a service center.  With better technical HRMS support, HR personnel can focus on two key areas:

  • Customer service: Increase engagement and value to consumer employees
  • Training: Facilitate education to employees on self-service tools and mobile applications.

Key facts underpinning HR service initiatives include:

  • Global organizations continue to seek the means to consolidate HR services across regional offices.
  • Development of workforce management applications declined slightly in the past year, possibly due to compliance and other concerns.
  • Mobile HR applications and services continue to grow. This year saw an increase in mobile HR of more than 90 percent, in the form of help-desk, HR portals, and employee service centers.  A similar or larger increase is expected in the coming year with pairing of information and mobile services into convenient apps. Sierra-Cedar points out the mainstream truth, “mobile is no longer a new technology, but one that is becoming a standard tool by which organizations do business.”

Emergence of organizational types:  Sierra-Cedar identified two high-functioning types of HR organizations—data-driven, and talent-driven businesses.  Differences and advantages include:

  • Data-driven organization: These organizations display business intelligence process maturity, and successfully make use of best practices and strategic alignment. According to the report, data-driven organizations are able to stay financially competitive and enjoy status as an “employer of choice.”  Data-driven companies display a higher level of performance than others who do not invest in HR analytics, strategic thinking, diverse data sources, and the use of metrics to inform decision-making.
  • Talent-driven organization: Companies with a strong culture of talent-driven decision making offer leadership in areas that include career and succession planning.  These organizations also use HR analytics to increase employee engagement, identify retention risks, and make strong recruiting decisions.  Focused on the whole employment life cycle, these organizations enjoy greater profit per employee than non-talent-driven organizations.

HR system budgets:  Spending on HR systems will be variable in the coming year.  While large organizations continue to increase spending, small- to medium-size enterprises are likely to decrease their budgets or stay with current spending.  Small companies are now rapidly acquiring HR tech.

HR social applications:  Use of social media applications in business settings is relevant but slowing.  Look for competition in the social space for tools that support employee networking and collaboration.  Tools mentioned by survey respondents include Yammer, SharePoint, Google, Jabber, and others.

Points for the coming year

Almost anyone would say the coming year will see more jostling among HRMS, and greater synthesis between Big Data and recruiting.  Sierra-Cedar suggests taking steps to identify as a data- or talent-driven model.  For both, the fundamental recommendations remain the same: improve on the basics, invest in culture, and consider innovation through focused use of HR tech.

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