Technology vs the Human Touch in Organization HR

Technology vs the Human Touch in Organization HR | 01/29/2019

Today, HR has consciously, and out of sheer business compulsions, moved away from 'administrative and control' orientation to a 'strategic and business partner' role in today's organizations. Companies have realized that HR has an equal role in reducing costs, increasing productivity from resources and the system.

Though some companies have completed this transition, many are still struggling with the changing duties of the modern HR Department.  It is no longer just the hiring, firing, filling out forms, pushing and maintaining document dossiers that forms the responsibility of HR, but value added strategic tasks like Human Resource Planning, Job Analysis and Competency Frameworks, Employee Motivation and orientation towards Organization Objectives, Performance Evaluation and Compensation, Skill Gap Assessment and Training have become the focus of HR function.

Business owners need to be more creative and innovative when it comes to implementing efficient solutions to the everyday running of their company. The fundamentals of business haven’t really changed in the last 25 years, however the tools certainly have and nowhere is this more evident than in the technology arena.

As a strategic partner in the Organization, HR has to flex itself constantly to meet future trends, legal issues and other threats and opportunities.

According to AME Info (2005), "one of the critical enabling technologies of this HR process automation is workflow, which removes the need for traditional paper-based approvals by replacing paper forms with electronic notification, reminders, routing, and approval".

HR process automation through organization's website which has links to forms, information and training material, eliminates the need for HR staff at multiple locations and allows workers in other time zones to access needed information on demand.

The automation of the HR field is sure to take a stronghold, with no limits on how technology could influence human resources in the future. HR will increasingly demand for more innovative solutions that provide a high return on investment and that have the ability to evolve along with their organization.

Technology is not a substitute for the 'human' touch and 'humane' approach. It is an enabler. At the end of the day, it must help us deliver business and organizational goals, make things better and easier for all-with features like speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Implementing a HR software system (HRIS) can deliver huge benefits, helping to improve operational efficiency and allowing companies to focus on how best to develop, deploy and retain their most important asset – their People. However, while most senior HR professionals are enthusiastic about the concept of global HRIS systems, many are unsure about what is involved and how to ensure that projects are successful.

Starting on a Competency Framework

Starting on a Competency Framework | 01/29/2019

A competency framework, depicts different roles in an organization defining the required individual competency levels for roles with in a function depending upon the level of hierarchy in the Organization chart. It does not necessarily imply that a function requires a set of competencies, the requirement growing higher as the level of of hierarchy as some competencies are needed more at lower levels though not highly valued at higher levels which might demand a different skill set.

In the current competitive environment, organization’s need to foster creativity and innovation lays a responsibility of being an enduring source of improved organizational capacity and competitive advantage. Involving and empowering employees, is critical for organizational flexibility and adaptability, as it helps people to develop their creativity and resourcefulness creating opportunities for employee involvement in decision making. Employee awareness of business consequences ensures that change and improved performance lead to mutual gains.

HRD is often concerned that they attract, develop, and retain employees who will adapt to a flexible and participative organizational culture. To achieve this they need HR policies which result in having the right people, in the right roles, in the right numbers and at the right time. It is important for organizations to appoint, retain, train, motivate and promote individuals who make the most valid contribution; not only in the results they achieve, but also in terms of the way they work. The extent to which an organization has the ability to meet its strategic objectives is directly related to the competencies displayed by its employees.

Competencies are the knowledge, understanding, practical and thinking skills needed to perform effectively to the standards required in employment. They are identified and demonstrated through sets of behaviors that encompass the skills, knowledge, abilities and personal attributes that are critical to successful role accomplishment.

A competency framework is the term applied to a complete collection of competencies and behavioral indicators. The framework comprises a comprehensive set of skills and behaviors to be inculcated in employees and management to enable organizations achieve high performance. The framework adds value to organizational processes such as recruitment and selection, training and development, career development, performance management, and reward systems.

Competency frameworks usually take one of two forms:

  • a customized, role-specific competency framework that contains very detailed behavioral indicators related to specific roles and responsibilities.
  • a common, or core, competency framework that comprises the competencies that are appropriate to all roles and responsibilities, across all levels, in an organisation. This type of framework may provide a basis from which specific, role-based competency frameworks may be developed.

Competency frameworks are more thorough than the traditional job specification that provides information on the knowledge, skills and ability required for a particular role. More importantly they provide:

  • a statement of the behaviors that are expected, valued and rewarded in the workplace Ð individuals will be more likely to achieve high performance by having a clear understanding of the behavior and approach that is expected of them.
  • a framework for integrating Human Resource Development processes such as selection, training and development, coaching and mentoring, succession planning, monitoring and evaluation of approaches to managing change.
  • a common and consistent language for discussing performance and potential at individual, group and organizational levels.
  • a means of matching people to work requirements and career opportunities.

The below competencies can be appropriate to all roles and responsibilities across an entire organisation e.g., employees, managers, staff representatives, team members and team leaders, the actual level of competency level varying according to the role concerned.

  • Organisational and Business Awareness
  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Championing Change through Partnership
  • Overcoming Barriers to Change
  • Communication
  • Building and Maintaining Relationships
  • Develops and maintains good working relationships across all levels of the organisation.
  • Influencing
  • Data Analysis and Innovative Thinking
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Achievement Orientation

Need of the Hour - Lean and Agile Teams

Need of the Hour - Lean and Agile Teams | 01/29/2019

Continuing my thoughts on business, its definition, evolution and sustainability, would like to delve on  trends which are prevalent in cutting work force count or axing training budgets whenever there are recessionary trends. But, are organizations taking into consideration the negative impacts that these steps are attracting ?

I am certainly of the opinion that business is adding value, and not charity. It is not the firefighting measures taken and their efficacy that I am interested in writing about, but on what might be more appropriate preventive initiatives to avoid getting into situations which force organizations to take these steps.

Problem Statement:

In our globalized and interconnected economy, organizations need to manage with dynamic market conditions, customer demands, technologies, availability of resources and costs. Most Organizations have taken the path to recruit,  to handle these pressures and resolve the same. But this approach, brings with the inevitable - a need to retrench, when the going gets tough.

Change having become an inevitable constant in the ever dynamic business environment, how does the Organization adapt the Strategies and Plans keeping its Human Capital update to ensure that the long term business goals are reached ?

The only solution to this is to be transparent and making executives empowered and more engaged in their work processes and continually inviting suggestions for improvement.

Competency Frameworks:

Each position or role in a function of the Organization should be assigned requisite set of competencies along with the skill level that the incumbent executive should possess for effectively carrying out his / her responsibilities. Recruitment based on interview rating sheets to assess the interviewee against the specific requirements of the position and regular reviews of executives based on a 360 degree assessment of the executive on the applicable competencies, shall significantly contribute to effective deployment of training resources for maximizing the Organizational Readiness.

Clear indicators can be provided to recruiting agencies or campuses on the expectations from the job applicants, and induction programs designed to effectively orient the recruits live up to the functional and behavioral aspects of the roles that they are recruited for.

Employee Engagement:

To fight against attrition and rising costs of new recruits, it is a proven fact that retaining existing work force through suitable measures like having a right organization culture, proper succession and career planning measures in place and identifying ways to synchronize individual participants and organization goals, etc would go a long way to ensure engaged employees and high morale in the human capital there by ensuring that no stone is left unturned to make the business goals come true.

Participative Management:

Having a proper system in place, where the executives can know where they stand, and make suitable requests for intended trainings to help advance in career, based on expectations of various positions in the organization, would make feel empowered in driving his career and also inculcate a feeling of ownership which should significantly help in binding the executive to the organization. Similarly, collecting inputs from Executive when ever he takes up a new role within the organization and debated by co-participants who interact with that role, would help the executive to clearly develop an understanding of the responsibilities of the role being taken up and a sense of ownership which also brings in a sense of responsibility and effectively result in his true performance and in the best organizational interests.

These measures would facilitate lean teams effectively perform the roles and positively contribute to ensure business goals achievement. Across the globe, lean and agile teams, are what are effectively proving more successful and not necessarily only in software development industry.

Time and Attendance Online

Time and Attendance Online | 01/29/2019

When complex leave programs are administered manually, it is costly and cumbersome to monitor eligibility, leave requests, approvals, remaining leave balances, and enforce leave policies fairly and accurately, more so when the organization operates from multiple locations. Manual methods are error prone, and could result in leave abuses and costs related to absent staff.

Benefits to the Organization

  • Improved Leave Management,
  • Fair application of leave policies,
  • On-line attendance logging,
  • Real Time Processing,
  • Integration with Attendance Logging Systems,
  • Easy data uploads, where necessary,
  • Organize and monitor attendance and leave data,
  • Streamlines operations, and
  • Lower leave administration costs.

Benefits to HR

  • Maintains applicable leave balances and shown to the employees in real time,
  • Empowers the organizations to get reports in real time,
  • User defined Leave Types with eligibility, applicability, carry forward and other rules,
  • Apply location wise leave types, standard holidays, working days of a week, and
  • Reduced margin of errors in leave entitlement calculation.

Benefits to Employees & Managers

  • Online leave application & approval,
  • Online access to leave balances,
  • Online access to leave transactions for processing and approvals,
  • Facility to delegate authority for processing leaves transactions during absence, and
  • Tentative leave plans of Colleagues for planning vacations without affecting work.

The system is flexible and customizable to suit the requirements of different businesses. The advantages of Metier TAO include lower cost of ownership, as the same is available on SaaS model on a monthly subscription basis.

Employee leave management is basic HR task and one that affects all employees. Metier TAO - Time and Attendance Online is a web based - single leave management and attendance tracking system that integrates these two tasks.

Employees no longer have to chase their leave requests and HR does not need to follow-up with people to reconcile their absences.


  • Real-time integration with Attendance Logging system (GPRS based),
  • Online application for leave without the need for paperwork,
  • User defined work flows for Leave Approvals,
  • Applicant and Approving Officer can see complete leave records and approval history,
  • Leave records are updated automatically once applications are approved / cancelled,
  • Leave records may be printed out or generated into reports,
  • Leave records may be exported to any back-end system for payroll,
  • Facility for approving authority to delegate powers to any peer during absence,
  • Tentative and Approved Leave calendar to know who is planning leave and when,
  • Leave carry forward,
  • Location based leave sets for multiple location operations,
  • Grade wise eligibility and credits,
  • “My Leave History” to display leave requests status, leaves carried forward, credits in current
    year, availed and current balances,
  • Attendance Administrator role – to mark attendance of multiple executives.

Unique Advantages:

System has provision for various leave types to be defined along with details of annual credits of the same - location wise and grade wise, where applicable. The leave type specification includes, whether

  • is gender specific – making the same applicable as specified,
  • to allow future leave or not – accident leaves, etc,
  • to allow start or end date to be a holiday (Tours / trainings may start/end on a holiday), &
  • Maximum of permissible days in a single request (not mandatory)

Depending upon the user defined work flow for the specific leave type, the system automatically carries the request through the required steps, presenting the same to executives donning the specified portal roles, for comments, approvals and intimations to all concerned to complete the job cycle.

Leave sets are defined for each location, wherein standard holidays, working days of a week and applicable leave types and number of days for each leave type (either across all grades or grade wise) are defined by the administrator in December for the ensuing year.

The system takes inputs from the attendance logging systems where available. A portal role “Attendance Administrator” is assigned with special rights who can supersede the data logged in by the attendance logging system. All employees are assigned an Attendance Administrator who can mark the attendance or absence of their concerned executives within 7 working days.

The application also has a provision for executive explaining his absence due to other reasons like tours, training sessions, forgetting access card, etc which shall follow a work flow for suitable acceptance by concerned authorities and attendance marked.

The executives can also tentatively plan their leaves and vacations which shall be displayed on a calendar to assist other executives plan their vacations to ensure that their department performance would not be affected.

Provision included to have a specific location, work in lieu of, when the same is closed due to local reasons.

And More .... Specific Customization possible, where necessary.

Adopt Best HR Practices – 1

Adopt Best HR Practices – 1 | 01/29/2017

Adopt Best HR Practices

zippyHR aids the industry, adopt best HR practices and ensure compliance to the defined standard practices with features for data mining and improvements to the business operations model as a whole.

  • Self service model, wherein the executive is prompted to complete the task on hand by the system without intervention from concerned department,
  • System tracks attendance and computes leave balances dynamically based upon the sanctioned leaves,
  • Instant payroll processing at the month end, prompting the executives of LOP's from 7 days in advance for suitable action.
  • Voucher creation and approval online for employee expense reimbursement,
  • Interview ratings based on skills required for the position in question,
  • Automatic initiation of confirmation / review cycles,
  • All year round performance appraisal with an opportunity for the executive keeping update the management on the issues / bottlenecks that he encounters to take timely intervention,
  • Periodic 360 degree assessment of skill levels of executives,
  • System identified training needs for action for training manager to keep organizational readiness at the best possible levels,
  • Computation of ROI of training spends through post training data collection regarding effect on executive's performance,
  • Pro-active participation of HR in Organizational development through facilitating strategic HR operations and to synchronize employee skills and performance to be in tune with business goals,
  • Automate your resume collection through an online engine which keeps in touch with the applicant for regular updates to the resume,
  • Online process documentation for internal Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's).

..... and more

Cloud Based Time and Attendance Online

Cloud Based Time and Attendance Online | 01/29/2017

A Company’s largest asset is generally the people who work for it and as such, payroll is often its greatest expense. Payroll must be done timely and accurately to avoid penalties and worker dissatisfaction. Companies lose an average of 5 percent of revenue annually due to payroll process inefficiencies, errors and fraud. Decrease the risk of payroll fraud and inaccuracies by reducing or eliminating opportunities for payroll errors.

New laws concerning payroll become effective once in a while, which should be tracked and affected in payroll calculations. It is always advantageous to business owners and executives to know about existing issues, recent legislation, common mistakes and current trends pertaining to payroll practices. The minute an employer becomes little more sophisticated and starts offering benefits, there are additional requirements which have to be adhered to, according to the prevalent laws.

Typically, payroll encompasses calculating and deducting required with holdings, paying workers, depositing taxes, filing the associated returns on monthly basis and at the year end. The various taxes must be deposited and their corresponding forms filed on time. Penalties and interest accrue for every day taxes are late. Employers are always ultimately responsible. When processing payroll in multiple states, differences in state laws and regulations present unique challenges to professionals responsible for compliance.

Employers oftentimes don’t understand payroll complexities. This can lead to improper with holdings calculation, late payments and not knowing when, how and whether to pay workers overtime. Employers sometimes mistakenly or purposefully determine a worker is an independent contractor when they are really an employee. Employer needs to have an inspection process or a way to validate that things are being done properly.

Lately, more and more aspects of payroll are being handled electronically. Methods include direct paycheck deposit, debit cards, credit cards and electronic funds transfers. For a small / medium business person, payroll can be a big headache when tried to do in-house, it would significantly ease up to have a payroll company handle it for them.

The options available for employers today are to deploy a payroll software or to outsource the payroll operations, but the issue of tracking attendance and the self service model for employee to participate in the process can only be made available by deploying a solution which brings the best of the mentioned two options.

Web-based Time and Attendance information system allows employees access, with a secure password, to their individual payroll records including pay slips and his / her earnings record. All the relevant documents, certificates, etc can be digitized and maintained in an electronic repository, accessible only to the administrator and the concerned employee, made available through self-service on logging into the system.

Our experts in payroll, lodgement/s and disbursements can handle your payroll for your employees working any where in India – with no hassle on your part and at a nominal cost per month. We track the payroll setup, legislation, compliance and other details for you. We focus on your smooth functioning and with an exclusive call center to ensure our presence, just a phone call away, ready to help solve your payroll and attendance logging issues.

Features – Time and Attendance Online

  1. Employee Portal
  2. Company News and Events
  3. Leave Balances
  4. Leave Applications and Processing
  5. Training History
  6. Employee Document Repository
  7. Organization Chart
  8. Image Gallery
  9. Internal Administrator defined Leave Types & Work Flows

TAO - Time and Attendance Online

Advantages of Outsourcing your payroll:

  • Improve company focus,
  • Gain access to world-class capabilities,
  • Manage difficult or out-of-control functions,
  • Reduce or control operating costs, and
  • Gain resources not otherwise available.

Using a service provider to manage the payroll function costs 30 per cent less than performing those functions in-house. And those that move to a service provider for multiple functions see even better savings — up to 43 per cent less than in-house processing. Initial implementation costs are much higher when installing an in-house system when compared to using a service provider.

Payroll Processing - the Genuine Nuances

Payroll Processing - the Genuine Nuances | 01/29/2017

We hear from most HR professionals that they get busy with the payroll processing towards the end of every month. And it is a common sight, well through the next month when views are exchanged over phone, email or direct interaction for making reconciliations on adjustments and the same reflected in next pay cheque. It is also not uncommon to observe that payment has been disbursed to an employee who is no longer on the rolls, without making due adjustments.

The factors taken into consideration for payroll computing include,

  1. Absence from duty to be considered as LOP
  2. Available leave balances
  3. Absences attributed to on duty, trainings, sanctioned leaves, etc
  4. Statutory deductions & taxation
  5. Overtime payable
  6. Incentive and rewards for sales and marketing
  7. Allowances like food, travel, LTA, fuel, phone, etc
  8. Keeping track of PF, ESI, Insurance for permanent / contract / temp as applicable
  9. Taxation, travel, local conveyance, transportation allowance, etc payable to retainers, interns, probationers and consultants who are not on permanent rolls
  10. Bonus, cash awards, incentives, HRA, special allowances applicable
  11. Track of various forms to save up taxes in time and providing inputs to employee for tax planning
  12. food coupons, canteen, fuel coupons, corporate credit card

Looking at a bird's eye perspective of the issues in payroll processing, the problem appears to be with the factors which are taken into consideration for computing. These are constantly changing and coupled with additional factors like individual egos, non-cooperation, unions, the task of the HR becomes magnified when they try to reconcile  the absence from duty and find justification to pay for overtime hours, where applicable, to the employees.

Computation power and collaboration capabilities have grown exponentially with the emerging technologies, and there are payroll applications built to compute considering the latest statutory obligations like PF & taxation - with user defined inputs or with online updation from software vendor’s servers. These applications are also designed to allow for specific grade based allowances, perks, etc to be taken into consideration.

HR needs to focus on defining policies and keep abreast with the latest updates on statutory rulings, passing on the onus of payroll computations to accountants, equipped with the right tools to handle the computation of payroll and recoverable amounts. This can be achieved by automating the attendance logging and offering a self service portal to employees for explaining their absence to get the due pays as well as make their claims for overtime and special allowances with due approval following a work flow as per decided policies.

HR should be facilitated to focus on devising strategies to manage people well, building up the employee's engagement in organization goals of retaining and growing clients while also retaining its attention towards attracting more talent and planning their career growth. Towards this HR has to get involved in business, understand the line manager's perspective on requisite behavioral and functional skills for effective performance and design and deploy suitable training programs for motivation, people management and skill enhancement to ensure hand in hand growth of the human capital and the organization as a whole.

Evolving and Sustaining a Business

Evolving and Sustaining a Business | 01/29/2017

Business is not making money - as perceived by many today. True business is filling a need and adding / building value through either their service or product - whether B2B or B2C.

Definition of 'Business'

An organization or enterprising entity (individual or group) engaged in commercial, industrial or professional activities. A business can be a for-profit entity, such as a publicly-traded corporation, or a non-profit organization engaged in business activities, such as an agricultural cooperative.

The days of old age projectors is over with newer digital projection systems coming in and release of movies on new media, thereby affecting all involved. In which case, business units which did not adapt evolve by keeping up with the emerging technologies / trends, it is simple to derive the reason of their death.

The changes keep happening, all around, in technology, attitudes of evolving generations, local conditions, availability of raw material, resources, etc which decision makers should continuously keep tracking and take a call based on inputs and available options, to be there in the race.

Another most important aspect is that as the organization evolves, and grows in numbers in revenues or human count, it becomes very important for the leaders to plan for compliance of the root themes that helped them evolve to this stage rather than getting complacent.

Businesses with a vision, and run with some core values of culture, ethics and customer focus should keep adapting to the changing environment and move forward, though passing through tough times once in a while, which should be taken full advantage of as an opportunity for learning and to conduct a thorough introspection on the road maps.

For businesses which strive purely on temporary phases like political clout, etc., success and failure would also swing based upon the changes which occur, and how they fight back in times of adversity to last till good times come back again.

My personal opinion, no business fades away, as long as the driving force keeps going.

Whether it is a small proprietary concern or an enterprise, it is very important that the business be felt as an entity which should have its own identity, and it becomes the responsibility of the entrepreneur or the board members to do their very best to help build the same, like raising, mentoring and letting the kin fly.

Human Resources Capability Model

What are the CEO's missing? | 01/29/2017

Before the start of any new venture or financial year, we see a lot of buzz on the business plans, cash flows, man power requirements, et al which are full of projections and expected results to be achieved over the next fiscal. These figures are then, driven down the line and performance rated against the achievement of the same, which again is filled with lots of personal whims and biases.

As important as any business plan, financial cash flows, the CEO should have a clear understanding on the HR function - the very need for one, objectives of HR function, measures of quantifying HR performance, and how HRD can participate in boosting the organization's performance.

Working 'at large', participating right from hiring people for the different roles and involving in all stages of employee life cycle, HR gets an opportunity to get exposed to various challenges being faced across the organization as well as an opportunity to have one to one interaction.

Being a key role, which can influence the personal and professional returns of the executives, HR can be evolved by the organization to be a key participant in achieving business outcomes. A properly designed HR function supports the Executive, line managers and staff with HR initiatives designed to:

Get the right people, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time.

The HR Capability Model sets out the skills required of highly effective human resource people, those who effect organizational change, build agency capability and strengthen the impact of HR on business outcomes.

Human Resources Capability Model

From a CEO's perspective, the performance benchmarks, would be:

  • Shareholder value - which includes investors, human capital and vendors,
  • Profit (Bottom Line), and
  • Revenues (Top Line)

which are influenced by factors, like

  • Product / Service Margins,
  • Product / Service Branding,
  • Customer Satisfaction,
  • Speed of Product Development,
  • Time to Market,
  • Output Quality and Market Expectations,
  • Customer Retention and Attraction,
  • Supplier & Partner Satisfaction / Retention,
  • Anything which can give Competitive Advantage ...

As can be seen from the factors which make a difference, it is the line managers and their teams who can significantly affect the overall organization performance.

Unemployment all around, but the growing skills gap coupled with a declining “work ethic” only adds up the to the woes of the CEO, emphasizing  the need to focus on the HR function to build the ability to successfully recruit and retain is a must-have for making the Organization Vision and Mission turn true.


Human Resources Capability Model

The job pool is drying up

What every CEO needs to know about HR