Hierarchy, roles, responsibilities… Knowledge is power, they say and, traditionally, it’s the framework for deciding who should know what. But with flatter organisational structures and less inside-the-box working, the modern workplace is more about knowledge sharing than hoarding. Transparency is the watchword but how can your choice of HRMS support that?
First of all, simply by making information more easily available. For individuals, this includes access to their own personal data and the updating rights to keep that data accurate. Between individuals, shared team calendars drawing on time and attendance and workforce planning data mean that departments and project teams can view and organise each other’s time.
There’s a very pragmatic issue around HR services: not only is your HRMS the tool by which those services are delivered, but it can also be the source of information about those services, helping users find what they need with a minimum of trouble.
Not only does this make your employees lives easier, but it also makes HR processes a lot smoother and easy to work with. In fact, availability of information also enables greater strategic HR decisions leading to more efficient processes which, according to recent HR software research, is the most popular reason for implementing HRMS in the first place.
Then there’s the option of information sharing between systems and software; for example, between HRMS compensation data and your accounting system. We often don’t think of “transparency” between machines but both systems are drawing on the same database and sharing relevant data, HR service efficiency improves.
Building on the above sharing of information between teams and colleagues, there is also the option of more document management system features, such as being able to share documents, resources and tools among teams – this is good news for any team but it’s potentially game-changing for teams that are scattered geographically or working together temporarily on a project.
Furthermore, an HRMS’s DMS can also be used to share and disseminate relevant information, top down. Team briefing is a great method of encouraging discussion and feedback but sometimes you just need to impart information. Have important documents or updates about corporate strategy? Why not share them via HRMS? Everybody receives the same message at the same time.
An extra benefit is that any organisation that values dialogue and information-sharing often has a more open approach to change and adversity, and also tends to present a more unified (and positive) brand image to the outside world.
So-called social HRMS tools link teams and individuals, sidestepping traditional silo structures. Wherever relevant, employees have the capability to share knowledge, tools, insights, conclusions, resources… it’s more of a crowd sharing approach to work that potentially invites support from everyone, depending on what they have to offer.
As well as projects, HRMS checklists can also be used to organise people-focused activities. For example, team building activities to help employees both work and play together, with a positive impact on teamwork.
Finally, don’t forget the opportunities for openness and transparency during the HRMS project itself. You’re selecting and implementing a major piece of business technology. It’s a project that requires widespread consultation of stakeholders and sharing of information. Though that process would undoubtedly be easier if you had various HRMS tools (in this case, the egg definitely comes before the chicken; at least, the first HRMS you buy, it does) the project encourages openness and transparency; the first such impact of your HRMS.
Dave Foxall has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years and is a regular HRMS World contributor. He writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.
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