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The Must Have Workplace Tech for 2021: Adaptable HR Software

Posted by Mathew French

2 March 2021

There's a lot going on in the HR tech space at the moment. After all the disruption brought about by 2020, businesses are scrambling to create digital ecosystems that facilitate the digital and remote management of everything work related. What does that mean for business, especially HR? It means that what organisations need most are what Josh Bersin calls 'adaptable' business solutions and adaptable HR platforms. What is 'adaptable' workplace tech, you might ask? In this week's HR Blog we unpack this emerging trend.

Everything Needs to Adapt, Including Technology

The entire global population has been forced to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances beyond our control during the last twelve months. Biological organisms have become pretty good at adapting, because if they don't, the result could be terminal. However, technology hasn't always followed the same biological imperative. If you've ever tried to integrate your Payroll solution with an HR solution, or your HR system with other business systems, you'll understand the type of issues that can arise when two rigidly coded applications bang up against each other. Despite the fact that business has been relying on technology for decades, it is surprising how hard it can be to get different business solutions to talk to each other and share data seamlessly. Integration is still challenging and the adaptability of a lot of today's software is still surprisingly minimal.

Then there's the adaptability factor of the software solution itself, irrespective of its integration capabilities with other solutions. The big question many businesses were forced to confront last year (especially HR departments) was 'Does my HR software adapt to meet the changing needs of my business?' And, more importantly, 'Does it provide the functionality to enable me to adapt the software itself, including functionality, quickly, easily, without code and with minimal cost?'

If the answer to any of those four factors is no, then you have a problem. If any of the business solutions you use (but especially your HR solution) doesn't make it easy for you to quickly and easily reconfigure the software to meet the changing needs of your business, then you've exposed your organisation to what is a potentially significant risk (and a costly mitigation process). Not to mention the fact that a lack of configurability and adaptability means you're either stuck with one way of doing things that you can't change. And, you might have to got back to doing certain things manually because your systems of work don't bend to your will. As we've all learned in the last 12 months, change is inevitable. When your organisation needs to change needs to change its way/s of working, you want software that can change with you.

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What is Adaptable HR Software?

Josh Bersin invites you to think about adaptable HR software this way. He says that in the traditional world of enterprise software, companies build applications. The application is essentially a set of forms, interfaces, and transactions that automate and integrate your work. In Payroll, for example, the software captures your hours and then calculates pay, taxes, benefits, and other deductions. It then captures the data, sends information to your bank, and sends notifications to you.

In areas like recruiting, you might use a suite of different applicant tracking systems, candidate relationship systems, or screening tools. In learning you use learning management systems, collaborative learning platforms, and learning experience tools. And then there are tools for onboarding, career management, diversity reporting, performance and goal management, social recognition, and the list goes on (and on, and on).

Bersin says that these systems are great, but they present a big problem. You, as a subscriber, choose all the ones you want (or the ones you think you need) and you might end up with a lot of different niche or specialised solutions. Then you need to make them all talk to each other in one seamless digital ecosystem. But after you've singed on the dotted line, you might just discover that all those different solutions you're using may or may not work well together. And they may or may not be configurable. Meaning, if you're lucky, your solutions (or applications) will talk to each other without expensive integration and development work. If you're even luckier, your solutions (or applications) will be highly configurable and enable you to completely transform the functionality to meet your changing needs without having to get the developers in to make those changes. Changes which, if the code base isn't flexible, will be extremely costly and time consuming (if not nigh on impossible).

However, if you're not lucky, then you will be using a range of different solutions and applications, they won't integrate easily, they aren't configurable, they don't provide a seamless experience to the end-user (your employees) and when you add up the cost per head of all your subscriptions, the dollars add up. A lot. 

Your HR Software Needs to Adapt to Your Business Needs Too

What if you had an HR system that was more flexible than rigid. More configurable than restrictive. More, as Bersin puts it, 'like a Swiss army knife and less like a chain saw?' What he's pointing to is the fact that across the board, business needs platforms instead of just solutions or applications. The new workplace needs technology that provides organisations with a 'toolbox' that lets you build what you need, in addition to having configurable Apps, Wizards, Widgets and Dashboards built-in. And these platforms should make it possible to do this without resorting to needing a developer to touch the code. What Bersin is saying is that you need configurable, Codeless, Cloud HR tech. That is what makes truly adaptable HR software. Here at Subscribe-HR, we understand this, because that's how we built our HR software right from the beginning. As a platform offering, not just a product. Building a platform takes time, but in the end, it creates the most adaptive and scalable model possible and gives customers enormous value. 

What Business Learned in 2020

Agility is everything in business today. It is impossible to predict precisely who you need to hire, what jobs people will be in, or what location and travel policies you will need from one month to the next. However, businesses do need to adapt to, and implement, a plethora of changing processes to meet a constant stream of changing circumstances. Therefore business needs, not just in HR, but across the board, a technology toolset that can adapt to these sometimes rapid changes.

To operate in a highly disruptive environment, business now has an imperative to mitigate risk by using workplace tech that is both configurable AND adaptable. For HR Professionals, the golden ticket is a highly configurable HR platform that will let you design and create workflows, forms, business rules, widgets, APPs and all the tech you need, without needing to rely on code. That's because one size does not fit all. And, as we've all learned, things change. And they can change rapidly, significantly, and frequently. The software you're using to run your business must be agile enough to do the same. A highly configurable platform (and the Apps, and solutions they support) will provide templated functionality that works for you out of the box. They also make it possible for you to reconfigure that templated functionality with ease. That way, you're accessing built-in digital agility and leading-edge technology without the extra cost of developers editing the code (if the application even allows you to do so).

Bend Your Workplace Tech to Your Will

What this new breed of software platforms do is - they put you in control of your workplace and #HRtech. It means companies small, medium and large have the power to 'configure' the platform to do new things. How that looks in practice is that users can leverage the power of the platform to access a broad range of functionality all under one roof. That functionality can then be tailored to meet the unique fingerprint of your business. For example, you can access and tailor all aspects of candidate sourcing, attraction, and recruiting and then also use the system for onboarding, cross-boarding or offboarding, goal setting, performance management, employee engagement surveys, and even internal mobility. This type of configurable platform-oriented workplace tech enables organisations to implement different business rules for different user groups in different ways. For examples, it lets you make it possible for hiring managers, recruiters and management share the same workflows and reporting with ease. That's all possible because the system is adaptable and has been designed with change in mind at the heart of the code.

So take heed of the lesson from 2020. In today’s world you need agile systems that can adapt, morph, and change to meet new needs. Follow Josh Bersin's advice and look for configurability and adaptability in all the HR platforms you subscribe to from this point forward.

Get Started Today With a No Obligation Free Trial

Are you still managing your employees manually? Or are you using an HR solution that isn't flexible or agile enough to meet your needs when they change?  To mitigate risk, improve productivity and reduce cost, your business needs adaptable systems of work. Now you can use Subscribe-HR's Codeless, Cloud HR software platform to seamlessly manage every touchpoint of the employee journey from the first hello, to the final goodbye. Everything you need is under one roof, and is highly configurable, so you will never get caught out with inflexible software again.

Want to try it out? Get started right away using our 7-day FREE trial, which gives you no obligation access to the fully configurable functionality of the Subscribe-HR platform. 

Get instant access to our out-of-the-box, templated functionality to get up and running quickly, then use our powerful and flexible configuration tools to adapt your unique HR process into Subscribe-HR. This is the crucial first step in creating a flexible #HRspine that improves the flexibility, efficiency and effective management of employee information.

You'll be amazed by how fast and easy it is to set yourself up.

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Topics: performance management, E-Recruitment, hr software, Josh Bersin, Onboarding, Codeless cloud HR software, Adaptable HR software, HR software platform, employee survey

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