Workforce Disruption – Will Your Workforce Destroy Your Ability to Compete?

As the world shrinks, the need to compete internationally introduces new challenges. Small to mid-sized global organizations are especially tested by the need to manage a diverse, multi-national, multi-lingual, multi-generational workforce who are often being courted by your competitors. Understanding your people and ensuring they are satisfied, engaged and committed is critical to maintaining a competitive edge. Is your HR software ready for the next wave of workforce disruption? This article explores the top 7 reasons why many organizations are preparing for the war on talent by moving to a cloud-based HR solution.

John Brown runs a mid-sized manufacturing company headquartered in North America. Highly specialized, he supplies mining, oil and gas and exploration companies with drill bits that are used in remote locations. When the drill bits break, they need to be replaced immediately. Downtime costs John’s clients thousands of dollars a minute. To meet global demand and deliver high quality service, John has locations where his clients are. South America, Africa, Russia, Australia, Canada and the United States.

John’s biggest challenge? Managing a multi-national, multi-lingual global workforce. John isn’t alone. There are an estimated 200,000 small and medium sized businesses facing the challenges of how to compete in an increasingly complex global economy by finding and retaining the knowledge-workers they need to be successful.

In a recent report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by the SHRM Foundation entitled The Challenges for Human Resource Management and Global Business Strategy, managing people is becoming the top challenge for most businesses. Dramatic shifts in workforces across both developed and developing nations, a multi-generational labor force, cultural diversity and virtualized working conditions all contribute to shifting the power of employment away from the employer and into the hands of highly selective employees who have more choices about who they work for, when and why.
John’s largest Achilles heel as he expands operations is his workforce. His existing HR system is a bolt-on to a market-leading payroll system; however, it is inflexible and difficult to manage. Designed for a North American workforce, it doesn’t allow for foreign currencies or multi-compensation packages. Making the modifications will be expensive and John does not have the time or budget for a lengthy project. He has gone that route before and the experience was unpleasant with project over-runs of close to 100% while John’s unique workforce management needs continued to remain un-met.

Top 7 Reasons Why John is Deploying a Cloud-Based HR Solution
1. Flexibility – In today’s ever-changing world, agility is critical, particularly when it comes to managing a global workforce. The ability to add and remove people quickly while offering them custom packages that take their unique requirements into consideration is a must. For example, John needed to quickly staff up a remote location in a new country for only 12 months. He needed to comply with tax and labour requirements as well as a compensation model that could adhere to strict over-time and weekend needs. John’s North American office was able to quickly configure the changes needed to onboard local talent correctly, easily and efficiently.
2. Multi-Lingual Capabilities – With operations around the globe, more than fifty percent of John’s workforce do not speak English natively – if at all. Asking these employees to sign on to an HR portal to do simple tasks such as make a vacation request is not possible in a solution that only supports a single language. But the cost of developing several language specific front end pages is also expensive and time-consuming. Using a cloud platform and enabling translation APIs, employees can view their information in the language of their choice without any configuration or customization required.
3. Unique Compensation Models – Attracting talent means more than simply a great paycheck. Signing bonus, commission structures, vacations, education support, low-interest loans, moving allowances and so many more elements go into finding and keeping your people. The ability to structure unique models that can be tailor-made down the level of each individual is a must. And these structures will vary from country to country. For example, John needs to modify packages based on the cultural expectations of specific regions, ensuring minimum compliance standards are met while also ensuring that employee promises are kept.
4. Mergers & Acquisitions – John’s company is growing – both organically and through acquisition. Acquisitions are always a time of unrest and a time when John is most vulnerable to valuable staff members leaving. The ability to restructure departments and people, merging multiple companies with simply a few clicks enables people to quickly see how the new structure will affect them, where they fit in the organization, how reporting lines are being implemented, enabling strong communication processes to be followed assuring employees of their value and continued worth.
5. Learning Solutions – Maintaining compliance and staying current on everything from health and safety through to green commitments and sustainability efforts is a big part of John’s HR mandate. Offering region specific training, testing, evaluating and coaching while measuring an employees’ ability to perform both before and after demands a flexible, configurable solution and another reason why John is moving to an HR cloud.
6. Scorecards, KPIs & Reporting – Real time people management demands real-time reporting. Helping employees understand how they are being measured and delivering accurate feedback to both them and their managers lets people know where they stand, when they are performing well and where they may need coaching for improvement. People
7. Succession Planning and Recruiting Management – Sometimes John can find the perfect employee at the wrong time. Or there may not be an open headcount yet for an employee with leadership potential. The ability to track, manage and help develop great employees into even greater leaders is not only good for the company, it is great for retention, improves staff morale and fosters a culture of engagement and commitment from the staff John needs to retain to remain world-class.