The HR department handles several key functions such as recruiting, onboarding, performance management and employee data management. One common characteristic of different HR functions is that they are heavy on data processing. Until the arrival of cloud-based solutions such as PeopleSoft, managers were used to handle key HR processes such as employee data management and performance management offline or on an internal platform.
The typical scenario was that while applications like PeopleSoft handled critical functions, a patchwork of other applications, many developed in-house, were designed to implement HR business processes.
Businesses needed to deal with a host of data-related issues and suffer sub-optimal process efficiencies due to this type of IT architecture. In addition, the cost of developing and maintaining these IT systems was also high and required considerable IT staffing. With the advent of the cloud, a number of benefits have started accruing to HR departments in terms of lower maintenance costs and reduced IT staffing requirements. Let us take a look at the 5 biggest benefits of cloud for the HR industry:
Improve the recruiting function
One of the core functions of the HR department is recruitment and onboarding. Like most HR functions, the recruitment process is data heavy, involving processing of resumes, interview scheduling, collation of interview feedback and rollout of job offers. Some processes such as resume processing have been managed through software applications for years, while other processes continued to rely on manual processing. HR managers became accustomed to having errors, mix ups and out-of-sync situations happen in the recruitment function.
Businesses can avoid many of these inefficiencies by using cloud-based software. Cloud-based software is designed for the bulk of computing to happen in the cloud, with universality of access from various device types. In this situation, many of the recruiting-related processes happen online in an efficient manner If a cloud-based HR solution is used, businesses can implement single-point tracking for applicants, from receiving resumes to screening, interview scheduling and rollout of job offers.
The use of cloud-based software also offers high quality data analytics. For instance, salary data can be used to do pay benchmarking. Data related to last employer and college or university can be used to derive conclusions regarding the relationship between candidate background and period of retention. The sky is literally the limit for this kind of HR analytics.
Improve employee satisfaction and business efficiency
One more avenue where cloud-based HR solutions can make a mark is by automating many of the data heavy processes. The list of such tasks and processes is very long. It includes timesheet submissions, leave applications, performance appraisals, self updates of employee data such as address and emergency contacts, income tax declarations, W2 downloads, self attestations, such as agreements to code of conduct, and information security policies. Enabling these functions via cloud software eliminates tons of paperwork, reduces errors and instances of incorrect data. It also improves employee satisfaction and business efficiency as a whole. There can be some tangential benefits to doing this that can be surprisingly impactful.
For instance, the implementation of cloud based automation can have a demonstrable impact on attrition. The second area is cost. While the maintenance of cloud software does consume significant dollars, if you consider this cost in the context of dollar savings attainable, the net ROI turns out to be pretty significant in the long term. Also consider the extent to which compliance requirements can be enabled by the installation of cloud software. With a single click, you can get a report to meet various kinds of compliance related needs such as timesheet compliance and employee compliance with self attestation.
Strengthen your employer brand and reputation
Most businesses today are faced with a constant “war” for talent on multiple fronts, trying to be noticed in the marketplace by prospective talent, by clients and by prospects. Every tiny edge that you can get matters, and it matters greatly. When you, as a business, make the decision to go for the implementation of a cloud-based HR solution, you are differentiating yourself in several ways. One, you are signalling to investors, customers, vendors, analysts, media, and the public at large that you are a player to be reckoned with, in terms of readiness to invest big, based on your vision for future growth. Secondly, it is a strong indication of your desire and ability to be at the cutting edge of the market. There is clear strengthening of your brand and reputation that consequently occurs.
Automatic software updates enable you to keep up with compliance
HR is one function of the organization that is extremely concerned with compliance aspects. One great advantage of using cloud based solutions as opposed to applications hosted on-site is that software updates happen automatically and accurately on a timely basis. This is of great value from a compliance point of view.
Every year, new business regulations pop up, such as privacy requirements for employee data and overtime related norms. Most of these regulations require organizations to generate comprehensive reports at frequent intervals and also certify that any software used conforms to the latest regulations. Cloud-based solutions help with both these aspects. Since cloud- based solutions are maintained by professional vendors, the relevant applications are frequently updated based on the most current regulations. Also, considering the fact that the applications come with built-in advanced reporting capability, generating reports for compliance purposes also becomes an easy task.
Provide data security
Businesses contracting with cloud vendors for the first time are often wary of how secure their data would be at hands of the vendor. All the more so for HR related data which is privacy sensitive, comtaining a lot of demographic and financial information.
The fact of the matter is that security aspects of applications and data are much better taken care of by the vendor when you contract them to deploy a cloud-based HR solution. The primary dimension to that is that cloud software is designed for security from the ground up, with apps and data being hosted remotely, and encrypted data being sent to the client side only on a need basis. The second dimension to that relates to managing and restricting both physical access and ID based access to data. This is also better taken care of by the cloud vendor.
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