HR Software: What do YOU want?

It’s often easy to point the finger of blame at sales teams of software vendors when we find that software isn’t necessarily fit for purpose. Having been both an HR tech customer and HR technology vendor implementation specialist I’ve experienced this finger pointing first hand from both sides of the fence.

Maybe sales aren’t to blame, maybe it’s time HR became more accountable.

 

Buyer Beware

Ahead of doing the coast to coast a good few years back, I needed to buy a new bike. So I asked the sales guys in the shop that my Cycle Scheme vouchers would be accepted at for advice, and I bought a bike from them. During the 140 mile bike ride I spent a lot of time with my friend so far in front of me that he was almost a dot on the horizon… how did he find it so much easier. We’d trained about the same?

Truth is, my bike was not fit for purpose. It was 3kg heavier than his, and had tyres that seemed to absorb the road. I’d been completely mis-sold by those devious underhand sales guys!

Of course, they’re not to blame. I asked the opinions of people who had likely never completed a 140 mile bike ride over varying terrain with some terror inducing climbs. It was their job to sell me a bike, they did their jobs. I was the consumer, I was accountable for the choice. I shouldn’t have asked a salesman for advice, I should have asked my peers, I should have sought opinions from those who had done the journey, who knew bikes better than I did. I was to blame.

The same is true when buying HR Software… or anything for that matter, but I work with HR software, so we’ll stick with what I know!

 

Peer to Peer Learning

I might be generalising here, but in my experience, the sales teams at HR Software vendors have rarely worked in HR. You understand your role a lot better than they do.

So, if you want to purchase HR tech to help improve your processes, reporting or employee engagement, don’t simply rely on vendor salespeople to educate you. You can’t expect them to be objective, or give you all the answers, or really even suggest anything other than the solution they are selling.

Instead gather advice from those who’ve ‘done it’ i.e. your peers and colleagues. As well as industry analysts, consultants or organisations like the CIPD that enjoy a degree of objectivity.

They can help you get a better understanding of the bigger picture and to decide what you need (and importantly what you don’t).

 

Key Steps in Buying HR Technology

Here is a helpful overview of the steps to go through as you investigate HR technology options which will help ensure you make the most appropriate HR tech purchase for you and your organisation:

  • Document your processes:  What do you do now?  Write it all down.  Spend time on this as it is vital in providing the basis of what your system requirements will be. Pay extra attention to items that are must haves, if you’ve got ways of working that are unique and important to your business, detail them, as your new system must be able to accommodate these.  Also look to the data used in these processes… are any fields absolutely mandatory to allow you to work effectively? Remember to also catalogue the infrequent events like redundancy, adoption leave, probationary period failure etc.
  • Look for improvements:  Okay, so you’ve documented all your processes. What’s working for you, what do you need to keep the same, what do you want to change completely and what could do with just a little hand from technology?  Categorise your processes as such and you’ll be able to see which products on the market will bring you the most benefit
  • Document your requirements:  This is an important step, document as much as you can, you can find templates for requirements gathering and for statements of requirements all over the internet for free.  I’d suggest finding one that uses a MoSCoW system (Must have, Should have, Could have and Wont have). Once you’ve documented your requirements, apply the MoSCoW system to it.
  • Share your requirements:  You’ve got your requirements, before you ask any vendors to come and provide a demo, let them see your requirements.  This gives them a chance to prepare a demonstration that shows that their solution will work for you.
  • Demonstrations:  This is the product of all of your work so far, there’s no point in any of this if you don’t physically see the products doing what you want them to do. You shared your requirements with vendors, they’ve had an opportunity to clarify those requirements if unclear. Make sure, especially for those must haves, that you see them in action.  This is on you, if it’s truly a must have you need to see it, you can’t complain afterwards that the product isn’t fit for purpose, you know your job, you know your company, you know your data, you know your requirements… see that it is fit for purpose or don’t purchase the product.
  • Business case:  Okay, so you have another job to do before you can breathe, the groundwork is done, but you want to make sure that your investment proves worthwhile.  Build a business case, explaining the financial outlay, the expected benefits, the required resource and the reward you believe will come following a successful implementation.  Justifying the spend will equip you with the knowledge you need to make sure you get the most from the product and that you get buy in from stakeholders at all levels in the business.  Again, you can find templates for business cases all over the internet, maybe even just ask peers in public sector for these templates, they’ll probably have experience of having to build statements of requirement and business cases as part of their procurement process.  Once your implementation is complete, come back to your business case and make sure you’re getting those benefits.

If you go through these steps you can be confident that you will know what you want from the HR technology at the outset and then select one that is fit for purpose.  And those poor, innocent sales guys and gals are no longer made a scapegoat and can sleep easy.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article do get in touch.  I’m always happy to share my own experiences if you’d like to know more or ask any questions, feel free to connect and send me a message

Handy 2019 Sage People Checklist

With the New Year nearly here, we’ve put together this handy checklist of Sage People end-of-year housekeeping tips to ensure you start 2019 with Sage People running smoothly.

Our 2019 Sage People Checklist:

  1. If you use exchange rates and they need to be updated annually, do remember to update them.
  2. Check that Sage People licences for all leavers have been deactivated and review that there are enough licences available for your medium-term requirements.
  3. Remember to create absence adjustments for 2019 for those who have them.
  4. Check date ranges on scheduled reports to ensure they mirror the company financial year.
  5. Remember to post your Christmas and New Year messages on your Employee Self Service or better still schedule them to appear/disappear.
  6. For those using strategic objectives, remember to edit the strategic objectives picklist to align with the companies 2019 Corporate Objectives.
  7. Remember to check that Snapshot reporting is working and is scheduled to run in case you need headcount figures as at the end of the year.
  8. Ensure that public holidays (bank holidays) that are not set as “reoccurring” are entered for 2019 (and beyond if you have future years).
  9. Remember to check that Hold Absence Balances has been set to run, as this is very useful for reporting.
  10. Those using the Resource Manager, remember your new Active Resource Plan for 2019 to track the budgeted and signed off New positions.
  11. Remember to check that Carry Over has been set up on your absence accrual patterns.
  12. Consider setting up and using Pulse surveys to capture feedback from employees for an end of year engagement check-in.
  13. Also consider using WX Reports if you don’t already, they can give Managers insights into their team’s performance over the last year, including absence, objectives and recognition, and ensure they can effectively track performance over the year to come.
  14. Finally, schedule any annual compliance notices to appear on the Employee Self Service and track which employees have signed the agreement.

Or alternatively check out our Sage People managed services packages where we take away the hassle of making sure Sage People is running efficiently. Call us on +44 (01908) 030360 to find out more.

2018 Colleague of the Year Award…

A huge congratulations to Jamie Wilkins who has been selected as the ‘2018 Colleague of the Year’ by the Tugela People team.  Jamie joined us in January 2018 and quickly made a positive impact with his keen understanding of people management and HRIS systems, and hunger for learning.  Some of his achievements include:

  • Since joining, Jamie has been promoted from a HRIS Consultant role to HRIS Technical Support Consultant
  • Establishing and leading Tugela People’s Managed Services Offering
  • Organising our successful MacMillan Coffee Morning

Charles McGregor, Professional Services Manager, said ‘Well done to Jamie, a well deserved recognition from his peer group for his efforts here at Tugela People to date.

By WOWing our colleagues Jamie lives and breathes the Tugela People values. His tenacity for developing solutions to meet not only our clients requirements but to support our colleagues as well is how we should all aim to approach the implementation of HRIS solutions.’

Well done Jamie!

New Managed Service for Sage People

We are delighted to announce the launch of our highly anticipated Sage People Managed Service offering. Our new monthly support service is both cost-effective and flexible, and can be bespoke to your specific requirements.

With our advanced technical assistance, you can benefit fully from Sage People’s highly customisable interface and ensure that Sage People delivers what it promises, including:

  • A personalised employee self-serve portal,
  • Increased team efficiency and productivity through automation,
  • Enhanced visibility of your global workforce.

As the first Sage People Partner in the UK we can leverage our Sage People tech expertise and HR process experience to your benefit.  So, sign up to our Managed Services offering and enjoy optimum performance and enhanced the return on your Sage People investment.

 

Why use our Sage People Managed Services support?

  • Save time.  We take the administrative burden from your team – managing everything from deploying new functionality made available with new releases, to fixing configuration issues and setting up new workflows, rules, company notices, reports etc.
  • Enjoy peace of mind.  Our proactive partnership approach helps you to harness the power of Sage People quickly and efficiently so you can rest assured that you are making the most of Sage People investment.
  • Frees up HR to focus on transformational activities.  We ensure Sage People executes your transactional HR tasks efficiently and is able to provide the analytics and insights needed so you can focus strategically on improving your HCM and talent management processes.
  • Flexible support options.  Our monthly support packages can be scaled up or down to meet your requirements. You decide how much support you need and how you use it best for you, your people and your processes.

 

Find out more about our Managed Service for Sage People

For prices or to find out how the managed service for Sage People works, contact us online or call us on +(44) 1908 030360 today. And let us help ensure that your Sage People system is up-to-date, secure and optimised for best performance.

 

The Fight against a Toxic Company Culture

How many companies have you heard of that have a ‘toxic’ environment? One where the workplace is characterised by negative attitudes, poor interpersonal relationships, bad work styles which affect the morale and productivity of employees and impacts on efficiency, customer service and the profitability of an organisation.

 

Employee engagement and company culture

So how do you improve employee engagement?  Several studies have shown that a ‘toxic’ or negative company culture can be improved by high levels of employee engagement and effective communication irrespective of market and business.

But this does not mean an organisation just saying “we’ll send out emails to all staff” as both communication and engagement needs to be so much more than this. Employers need to open two-way dialogue at all levels, involve employees in the decision-making processes and ultimately promote engagement in the company mission and values. This process has two benefits, the first is that employees feel informed about the direction of the company, allowing them to promote this externally. The second is that the company attracts applicants that have the same values and objectives.

When employees feel involved and engaged in the direction of the business, their commitment to the company and its goals increases, lending to a higher retention rate and improvement to overall company culture. With current staff aligned with the values of the business, it sets the foundations for new employees to know that they are part of the larger organisation.

 

Using HR technology to engage employees

So, to increase employee engagement within your organisation you involve them, try to see the world through their eyes and stay connected with and be aware of their milestones and issues.

HR technology now plays a vital role in helping to promote consistency in management styles and enables a continuous two-way dialogue. This gives employees the opportunity to share their workplace issues and helps to develop trust.

Enlightened organisations are ditching the annual appraisal in favour of continuous assessments and are increasingly using instant feedback tools.

While the needs of staff may vary, organisations must understand the basic needs of their employees to be valued, recognised and respected. Whilst HR technology cannot replace the personal touch it does provide a quick, easy way to manage employee data and facilitate employee engagement in a consistent, continuous way.

 

In conclusion

While investing in employee engagement has not always been high on the agenda. The increasing evidence showing the positive correlation between profitability and employee engagement has meant improving company culture has become a boardroom priority. Forward thinking organisations are turning to HR technology to help facilitate these initiatives especially in competitive markets where companies have to work leaner and more efficiently than ever before to stay ahead

So, watch this space as employee engagement is used in the battle against toxic workplaces with HR tech providing increasingly useful tools for managers.

New Appointment: Charles McGregor

New Appointment Charles McGregorWe are delighted to welcome Charles McGregor to the newly created role of HRIS Professional Services Manager here at Tugela People. This key new international role is integral to our vision be the worldwide, go-to partner for people services.

Charles will lead our worldwide Sage People Implementation team drawing on his extensive HRIS and Sage People experience from both a client end user and the product / implementation perspective.

Previously Charles was a Senior Associate at Palladium (GRM Futures Group) where he oversaw the Fairsail implementation project before moving to Talent Rover (Salesforce based ATS) as a Solutions Consultant.

Thomas Schilling, Managing Director, says: ‘As we continue to grow and develop here at Tugela People I am thrilled that Charles has joined the team and is committed to ensure that we deliver on our aim to wow our clients.  To this end this pivotal role will help to drive process improvements and share learnings so we continue to deliver seamless Sage People services across the globe. A very warm welcome to Charles’

 

Tugela People Spring Conference

Tugela People Spring Conference 2018

We’re back from another invigorating Tugela People conference packed with Sage People training, team-building, company updates, meeting new team colleagues and knowledge sharing sessions.

A highlight was the African drumming team building session on the second day which ended in a show to welcome and WOW our VIP Sage People guests.

A big thank you to everybody who took part and travelled to be with us for our Spring conference – especially our wonderful Sage People partners. All in all, a great event full of laughter, collaboration and enthusiasm. We are already looking forward to the next one

Latest Sage Business Cloud People Odyssey Release

And so the epic Sage Business Cloud People journey continues with the latest, aptly named Odyssey release which was announced last month and is now being delivered across the platform.

Sage Business Cloud People Odyssey release includes:

1.)  An enhanced onboarding process

2.) The ability to add comments to Timesheets

3.) Extended and enhanced field coverage to support US Payroll requirements, including:

– New fields on Salary and Absence objects for Pay Code

– New fields on the Benefit Plan to hold Employer Match and Employer Match Limit percentages.

– Enhanced validation for the Social Security Number field, now linked to Work Location

Preferred Partner Perspective

As preferred partners we are excited to be rolling this latest release out for our customers who want to ensure they fully benefit from the latest enhancements. In particular, we are excited by the enhanced onboarding process in the new release which enables easy identification and controlled visibility for Pre-Boarders. A useful addition.

So, watch this space as Sage Business Cloud People continues to improve and finetune elements as part of their continued commitment to deliver a people management solution which not only meets todays requirements but future ones as well.

If you would like any help in upgrading the Sage Business Cloud People Odyssey, or would like to discuss any points raised in this article please call us on 01327 317701 or contact us

Embracing Continuous Performance Management

Here at Tugela we welcome the continued move to continuous performance management among our clients as they embrace the new functionality introduced in the recent Nautilus update of Sage Business Cloud People.

 

Continuous Performance functionality update

The new release consolidates key components required for performance reviews to a single place. Objectives can be reviewed and updated with all the relevant info to hand, giving a better, more informed / interactive performance review experience.

It now also facilitates continuous review type conversations that allows you to capture and manage two-way feedback on an employee’s performance throughout a review period. Managers and employees can add comments, actions and goals – they can either keep it informal, or add a formal check-in process.

 

Factors driving the shift to Continuous Performance Management

Here are some of the main reasons the traditional yearly appraisal is being phased out:

  • Managers are embracing continuous performance management they are finding that the regular one-to-ones or ‘check-ins’ with their staff enable them to give real-time feedback and reduce Recency Bias that could skew the annual appraisal. With these more frequent interactions they can also address performance issues and deliver recognition in a flexible, timely way. According to CEB, roughly 90 percent of HR managers believe that the traditional review process does not give an accurate picture of an employee’s performance. While continuous performance management collects feedback data throughout the year so managers enjoy a more comprehensive picture of an employee’s actual performance.
  • Employees expectations are shifting. They not only live in an increasingly self-service world where immediate feedback is the norm but expect more in terms of career development Also, as Generation Y’s preferences and motivations filter into the workplace this is set to continue.
  • Technology is facilitating this shift away from the laborious annual review process. For example, the next generation of software like Sage Business Cloud People’s Nautilus release is helping to make the transition easier. In part because the interface is already familiar and easy to use but mainly because it saves time and with global screens adds value for all the users in the process.
  • On a broader scale, organisations recognise the benefits to their bottom line as this increased communication and interaction results in heightened employee productivity and performance, whilst also reducing employee turnover as a result.

 

In conclusion…

We believe continuous performance management is an effective, cost-efficient way to boost morale and increase productivity and is here to stay as the next generation of HR software makes the process relatively painless and easy to manage. And we’re pleased to see this transition being so wholeheartedly embraced by all involved in the process.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article please contact us.

How to Fast Track your Sage People Implementation

As a Sage People preferred partner with over 75 Sage People implementation projects under our belt, we are often asked what’s important to ensure a successful implementation.  Here are six elements that we suggest are in place at the outset, to ensure that your Sage People implementation stays on the fast track:

  1. Make sure your project has a quantifiable business case
  2. Think about the end-to-end business process rather than just the software features
  3. Ensure senior management buy-in
  4. Identify sufficient time is made available for the project
  5. Make sure your data is consistent and accurate
  6. Focus on user adoption and training early on

Why a business case?

For many projects, the approval to proceed would not have been achieved if there wasn’t a clear business case with financial justification to support the investment.  However, in some cases projects are signed off with only high level justification.

Having a clear quantifiable business case will ensure the project is focused on delivering value quickly to the areas that are most important.  It also provides a measurement for assessing whether the investment is delivering the return expected post go live.

Why end-to-end business process?

A new People system should deliver new ways of working involving a wider audience outside HR.   Going into a project with a view on how the process is going to work and who is likely to be involved at which stage, will make it easier to define the requirement.   It will also help to identify whether your business has any non standard requirements or whether you could change your way of working to adapt to a standard process.

The HR business processes should all be aligned with each other e.g. recruitment and new starter activities.    If you don’t consider the end to end process parts maybe missed off such as the on-boarding process.

Why stakeholder buy in is so important?

Senior management may have signed off the expenditure but their buy in needs to go further. They need to be fully committed, leading by example and proactively getting their teams buy-in.  We find a useful way of engaging with the senior management team is thinking in terms of Heads, Hearts, and Hands.

  • Hearts… belief that this is the right thing to do for the business and themselves personally.
  • Heads…  frequent, targeted communications to understand why the change is necessary.
  • Hands…  leading by example.

The importance of senior stakeholder commitment cannot be overstated in terms of fast tracking your implementation.

Why ensure sufficient resources are available?

It’s an obvious question but often the day job becomes more important than the project and a small delay could have a knock-on effect, creating additional cost and delays to the project.   It is important to understand what your responsibilities are on the project, when you will be expected to perform the task and whether there is any preparation beforehand.

If a budget constraint is driving more internal effort to deliver the project, it is important to make sure that the resources are available for the coaching sessions, otherwise they will not be trained sufficiently to carry out specific tasks.  This could result in the system being set up incorrectly or result in unexpected errors during the testing phase.   If this approach is being adopted be very clear on what the tasks are to be performed and what level of skill is required.   Sometimes it becomes cost prohibitive to involve internal resource rather than quickly involve an implementation expert with years of experience.

Why is accurate data so important?

If your data is incorrect and inconsistent you will not be able to easily migrate it into your new system.  Your system will be set up with your business structure, policies and rules and if the data you have does not match those held in the system it will reject the data upload.  For example, if you have a department set up in the system and there are different variations on the department names, it will only accept the record which matches the department in the system.

Our recommendation is to start reviewing the data as early as you can as this activity can be quite a time consuming activity.

Why focus on user adoption and training at the outset?

As Nabil Al Zarouni said ‘If no one is using the solution, it is not a solution at all’ and we all know that change is difficult. So, we suggest at the outset prioritise both user adoption and training, rather than treating it as an add on.

It takes time for people to accept, and ultimately buy into new ways of doing things and by focusing on user adoption at the outset will help ensure stakeholders buy into the new system more quickly. Communicating early and often with your stakeholder groups.

Offer effective training that can provide users with hands-on learning using real data and scenarios (we prefer to use data that the users know, as it is easier for them to understand and internalise).  Then don’t stop there. Once users have used Sage People, provide follow up training to build on their knowledge as they will have different questions and issues to address.

 

In conclusion

To fast track your Sage People implementation project, and ensure you maximise your return on your Sage People investment, consider outsourcing to a partner who has an in-depth understanding of HR processes alongside the system’s capabilities and limitations.

The benefits of working with an experienced implementation partner

An experienced implementation partner will not only bring Sage People system expertise to the project, but will add value by sharing their knowledge of HR best practice. They can also explain the various implications of configuration choices and provide guidance on getting the most from the system.

Outsourcing to an implementation partner generally means less headaches and more support. Also, you can avoid the steep configuration learning curve, and instead focus on value adding process enhancements and championing user adoption.

They also bring instant credibility to the project and provide guidance to ensure that the common pitfalls are avoided so that the project stays on schedule and on budget.

 

To discuss any of the issues raised in this article or want help to fast track your Sage People implementation project, please call us on  +44(0)1908 030360 or fill in the form and we will be in touch.