HRMS without Workflow Isn't Fit for Purpose

Much of the value of any HRMS rests in saving time (and by association, resources and money) and the main way HRMS software saves time is through the automation of standard HR processes using HRMS workflow. After all, the HR function as a whole is replete with procedures governed by rules. Promotions, salary increases, recruitment, attendance on training courses, all follow laid-down steps and almost certainly require approval at key stages from the appropriate manager and/or budget-holder.

A Major System Differential

HRMS workflow is what differentiates between systems – the level of automation and the slickness with which it is executed. If your HRMS is more of a glorified staffing database, storing information but not actually relieving your HR people of some of the more tedious (i.e. routine) day to day administrative tasks, then it may be fair to suggest that your HRMS isn’t entirely fit for purpose.

“HRMS workflow is what differentiates between systems – the level of automation and the slickness with which it is executed”

The truly time-saving HRMS takes the mundane tasks and makes them paperless (and email-less) thus avoiding the traditional scenario in which memos fly around the organisation, waiting for each interested and responsible part to sign off on their fragment of authority before the change (hiring, promotion, firing, etc.) can be made. The outward appearance of such processes should be a smooth series of prompts and notifications, simply asking the minimum of relevant people to sign in and click here (or there, as the case may be). Anything else, and you’re not getting the value from your HRMS you could be.

Configurability is Crucial

What’s more, once again configurability is critical. The only HR process requirements that are truly universal are the ones laid down in a regulation or piece of legislation.

Recommended Reading: HRMS Selection Survival Guide - Find the Requirements for your HRMS

Other than that, every organisation is unique to some extent in how it handles its people processes. A good HRMS should be able to handle that: the functionality of the HRMS should be driven by the requirements of your organisation and not the other way around.

Processes First, System Second

But when we talk about automated HRMS workflows, even the best-designed system may fall down, because HRMS success doesn’t just depend on system’s workflows, it depends on the processes themselves. Those processes prefigure the system (although they may be reviewed and updated as part of the system’s implementation) and they must themselves be well-designed.

If the HRMS user experience process-wise is lacking, ask yourself: is there a clear process for this ‘task’ within the organisation? If the answer is no, you need to stop right there and fix it before you can consider blaming the software. Only when you are happy with the process can you ask whether the system has faithfully automated that process and (equally importantly) simplified it for the user?

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall