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Salesforce Industries Summit

BPM + HR = A Lean, Mean On-Boarding Machine

By Miguel Valdes Faura
Feb 9, 2012 5:00 AM PT

Let's face it, even though it's 2012 and the recession technically ended in 2009, we're not out of the woods yet. If anything, this recession has made businesses of all sizes think critically about their processes and optimize their current resources to maximize efficiency.

BPM + HR = A Lean, Mean On-Boarding Machine

HR processes are no exception. In fact, HR managers are under more scrutiny than ever before, and their goal in 2012 and beyond will be to ensure processes such as recruiting, on-boarding, payroll, performance reviews, vacation request, etc. are efficiently managed and measured.

The truth is, processes are implemented differently from one organization to another and packaged HR applications are both costly to acquire and implement as well as constrained in flexibility. In addition, the various processes are dependent upon other departments and systems.

Recruiting, increasingly grouped together with selection as "the selection process," is a key process for human resources managers today.

New Is Expensive

Careful consideration needs to be given before hiring full-time employees, due to the immense costs frequently involved. Studies by human resources expert Richard Galbreath found that the cost to replace a range of employees can be 50 to several hundred percent of the employee's salary. Depending upon the costs and requirements, outsourcing the recruitment, hiring part-time employees, or simply increasing overtime of existing employees may make the most sense.

The HR manager and hiring manager must of course weigh the internal environment for the advantages and disadvantages of hiring from within while also considering the external environment in terms of the labor market, legal issues, discrimination, etc. Even after all recruiting and selection factors and decisions are taken into consideration and an offer is ready to be made to a candidate, the process still has crucial steps left. For example, background checks and employment verification must be done. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that up to 40 percent of applicants lie about work history and education, as discovered by ADP Screening and Selection Services.

After recruitment, on-boarding is the next key process for human resources managers today. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) describes on-boarding as helping "new employees adjust to their jobs by establishing better relationships to increase satisfaction, clarifying expectations and objectives to improve performance, and providing support to help reduce unwanted turnover."

Behind this are a myriad of processes to perform such as: obtain an e-mail address and laptop from the IT department, receive a login to the CRM system, sign up for payroll with the accounting department, enroll in the company health plan with the insurance provider, receive job training within the employee's department or from an external provider, etc.

It's desirable to capture and automate the processes, precisely as the HR manager requires, and implement those as an application that can then be integrated with other systems as needed and finally measured against key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are increasingly the commonly accepted gauge to monitor and drive success in corporate departments, and of course human resources is no exception. Human resources processes need to be measured in a methodical manner to not only drive value of the human resources department, but also to deliver accountability, ensure solid governance, and ultimately build credibility throughout the organization.

The BPM Advantage

In order to deliver such results, the first step is to methodically capture and define the business processes behind what is to be measured. Business process management software can help not only in capturing the processes but also in measuring the performance of those processes in reports and dashboards that can be easily tracked by the appropriate stakeholders.

BPM can automate and optimize common HR processes such as on-boarding and recruitment by leveraging tools that help managers such as a database builder for applicants. Job posting sites may have internal portals, recruiters may send emails with resumes in PDF formats, and internal candidates may hand physical copies of their resumes. In addition to having multiple resume formats the HR manager may have to deal with a larger volume of applicants. Therefore, it is necessary to build a database of applicants to maintain applicants' data and to act as a central repository that can be accessed by various stakeholders.

BPM can help collect interview feedback. For example, interviewers may be required to respond to an evaluation sheet, provide free text comments and submit additional documents about the applicants. Therefore, it is important to capture all information provided by the interviewers in a central repository to provide a complete view on the interviewee.

BPM can offer managers powerful active notification procedures that allow them to be notified with issues as they arise while other employees are performing specific tasks of the on-boarding. The purpose behind having an active notification procedure is to alert the HR manager as early as possible of problems with on-boarding of new hires. Typically, HR managers are well-versed with adding new employees, but various issues rise from other employees performing specific tasks within the on-boarding process. For example, lack of equipment and lack of necessary paper work are common examples that bring things off track. The advantages of having an active notification procedure implemented is to allow HR managers to take a corrective course of action as issues rise to expedite the on-boarding process.

A report that shows a list of employees being currently on-boarded and the progress of each individual on-boarding process is vital for estimating cost, predicting potential issues and forecasting start date for each individual new hire. Monitoring the progress is a key element in producing and visualizing KPIs to ensure that the process is going smoothly.

In 2012, we'll see HR managers being even more pressed to assemble a top-notch team while keeping costs down and ensuring smooth processes that help keep their businesses running like well-oiled machines. If there is a silver lining in the state of affairs in the last couple of years, it's that 2012 should be a year when businesses start seeing the results from years of trimming excess fat and leveraging flexible tools such as BPM software to manage and optimize their businesses.


Miguel Valdes Faura is CEO of Bonitasoft.


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