Your HR deserves better
HR employees have to deal with lots of activities and services that seem disconnected, at least from a technical point of view. They receive requests for new employees and positions from various units, prepare and upload job ads on the company’s website, review received job applications, forward suitable applications to corresponding teams and units, organize interviews based on the position and target unit’s preferences, receive feedback and – upon admission – devise employment contracts and plan and execute the onboarding process. As for current employees, they provide various services including issuing official documents and certificates, organizing educational programs and workshops for personal and professional development of employees and handling numerous other personal, legal and financial cases and activities and status reports. And often, they do not have proper tools to manage and steer all these interconnected procedures without too much unnecessary manual work.
Scenario I: silo tools, overwhelmed HR staff and lack of unified reporting and monitoring
The HR department in Company A has various tools for different topics, e.g. vacation requests, employment contracts or wage & salary management. It pays about 200K per year for those few tools. The rest of the activities are tracked in Excel, and documents are handled on a file server. During the recruiting process, they mainly use email to communicate with other departments and the applicants and store information on job ads, job applications and expense management in various large Excel files. As an example, an HR employee needs to communicate manually with website admins to update job ads, and send informational messages, notifications and reminders by looking into her calendar or the aforementioned Excel files. She then has to prepare a contract by copy-pasting information and contact IT and other relevant departments in order to trigger necessary on-boarding steps. She also has to provide meaningful reports on number of job applications, expenses, contracts and requests. This reporting process takes a big chunk of her time since a few Excel files need to be merged, and the resulting diagrams have to be extracted and put into a PowerPoint presentation. All these activities consume a huge amount of her time and energy.
Moreover, management does not have real-time status reports and monitoring measures, since the reports are generated in intervals, sometimes weeks later.
Tool and process chaos
Scenario II: generating synergy by means of fully interconnected, integrated and automated modules
Company B has HR Synergy Solution as its main platform and steers almost all its internal processes on that platform. Since different modules for job ads, job applications, interviews, contracts or on-boarding steps are interconnected, an HR employee at Company B has to carry out the minimum necessary manual work in order to manage all required activities. Activities are carried out based on an agreed workflow that includes all necessary steps in the process, and data is validated at every step automatically. Communications are done and protocolled either systematically on the corresponding case in the tool, or automatically by the system, if possible. Reminders are sent based on different status and defined deadlines and any report can be generated automatically and be available by a click in real-time. The reports are also connected to the actual data, so that decision makers can explore the provided data and make sense of different situations and results. And the most interesting part: Company B pays less than 50K yearly to use this platform.
Not many companies wish to find themselves trapped in Scenario I. However, that is sadly often the case. The question is how to make the transition from Scenario 1 to Scenario II, and reap the benefits on all financial, personal, legal and technological layers.
Managing HR processes with codecentric’s HR Synergy Solution
We use Jira as infrastructure for workflow engine, user and reporting management, and customize different interconnected workflows to create a personalized solution based on all organizational, legal and technical requirements within a company. By help of various add-ons, we have created a landscape on which HR departments can handle recruiting, contract management and on-boarding process seamlessly. Management also has direct access to dashboards. Statistics and monitoring information are available based on what insight decision makers need and what cockpit an HR employee requires to easily handle his or her daily work. All steps than can be automated and are carried out automatically. This includes emails to applicants (e.g. for requesting information, informing them about a decision, etc.), notifications to other departments (e.g. about the results of an interview) and reminders to whoever is in charge of a certain step and has passed a deadline. Via various APIs, communications and interactions with other systems are done automatically. This includes the IT department for creating a new account, or the finance department for registering an application cost or a contract.
And as for all agile tools, our solution is not a finished black box, but an infrastructure that can be modified and adjusted continuously, based on new organizational, legal or technical demands.
How does it work?
The concept of end-to-end process management
HR processes & services
End-to-end process management is a novel mindset that views seemingly isolated procedures within an organization as part of a bigger picture, which is the underlying process. This concept was introduced and theorized by Michael Hammer in his distinguished book, Faster, Cheaper, Better. From his point of view, procedures interact with each other by either triggering, updating or completing each other in a one- or bidirectional manner. And this interaction needs to be considered within a broader context, especially for reporting (KPIs) and accountability.
In the context of Human Resources, for example, the recruiting process is seen as the underlying ground that connects procedures such as job ad management, job application screening, interview planning, contract preparation and on-boarding. The process starts with an open position in form of a job ad, and ends with an admitted applicant starting their career in the company. Traditionally, companies use different tools for these procedures, ranging from Excel, email, Slack or Trello all the way to specialized tools for specific procedures (e.g. vacation management). This approach was inevitable until a decade ago, since the software industry was not able to produce a secure, scalable and easily customizable infrastructure to support all these different procedures in a coherent, fast and low-cost way.
The technology simply wasn’t ripe for such comprehensive development and rapid adjustments. This brings us to the newly emerged concept of low-code platforms.
Low-code platforms: 3D printers of the software industry
Low-code platforms, including Jira, WordPress, Salesforce or Drupal are built upon the concept of software development by configuration, which means using flexible configuration panels instead of writing, compiling and deploying hundreds of lines of code. It immensely reduces the development, test and rollout time and takes advantage of modular implementation and add-on-based expansion.
These platforms generally provide an infrastructure with basic functionalities and modules such as user administration & authentication, permission concept, dashboards, a workflow engine, communication venues (via e.g. sharing and commenting functionalities), custom content types and web-forms. They also provide an open API for third-party vendors to develop add-ons (apps) with particular purposes and functionalities (e.g. PDF export, BI reporting, visualizations, attachment management, dynamic forms, API management, etc.).
The time of buying a software and having to deal with its limitations and to come up with various workarounds in order to get the job done is passed. Now, companies can get a pre-configured platform, and then adjust it to comply with their requirements fully and reliably.
Jira, a platform to enable end-to-end and fully-individualized process management
Jira has proved to be one of the top low-code workflow engines in recent years. Its openness as a platform has also provided an opportunity for third-party vendors to fill the gap on areas where Atlassian itself is lagging behind. When a combination of well-thought-out add-ons are put together with a scalable permission concept, ANY process can be implemented on Jira (see for example Shaping a Digital Beauty with Jira, for a comprehensive guide), and within an astonishingly short timeframe.
In one case, for instance, 25 processes within a medium-sized bank were implemented and rolled out on Jira (together with about 10 add-ons), with a comprehensive BI reporting and systematic communication methods, all within 18 months by a team of one business analyst and one developer. Not many platforms out there in the market can provide such flexibility and scalability, let alone cost-efficiency.
Why is codecentric HR Synergy Solution one of the best in the market?
HR Synergy Solution is one pre-configured set of projects, dashboards and other modules on Jira that is optimized for HR processes. The pre-configuration includes settings and features that are required by almost all HR departments, which comprises of about 70% of total features. The remaining 30% is always completed by knowing the exact requirements of each HR department. Generalization and workarounds in software belong in the 20th century. It is now time to offer tools that are 100% individualized and can be adjusted constantly based on new requirements and situations. And that is what our HR Synergy Solution offers.
For more information contact Adrian Voigt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
codecentric HR Synergy Solution – Sample Management Dashboard