Larson Property Management Company is one of the largest property management companies in California, with more than 1,000 employees. The company provides a full array of commercial management and development services. These activities include complete management services for commercial office and retail buildings and apartment complexes; construction, repair, and maintenance of commercial properties; and financial management and billing services for commercial real estate clients. The company has experienced significant expansion over the past five years in response to the growth in apartment and commercial construction in southern California, and this expansion has resulted in the need to hire a large number of employees on an ongoing basis to staff its operations.
Larson Property Management has depended on a legacy HRIS to manage its applicant and employee databases. The system runs on a client-server computer system. The system was implemented approximately 10 years ago, prior to the company’s rapid growth and when it employed fewer than 100 employees. The system’s functionality is limited to the storage and retrieval of employee and applicant data. For recruiting purposes, the system requires a clerk to manually enter basic applicant data, the results of the application test, and whether or not an offer of employment has been made. Prior to this, applicants’ files were passed around to those who reviewed the materials and were sometimes misplaced, so trying to locate a particular applicant’s file was often a problem. The current HRIS has limited file storage capability for applicant and employee records and currently has reached its storage capacity.
Larson Property Management has decided to replace its legacy HRIS. One application module in the new HRIS that the company wants is a sophisticated applicant-tracking system (ATS). The primary objective of the ATS will be to provide a paperless hiring process. The basic functions of the new system will be managing the requisition and approval of job openings, storing resumes and job applications and retrieving through query functions the names of applicants who match job requirements, tracking a candidate’s progress through the recruiting and selection process, and providing automated reporting functions. The company’s managers also want an e-HR functionality that includes the Internet posting of job openings through the company’s website and external job-posting services, application and resume submission through the Web and through kiosks at various office locations, staff ability to access and use the system remotely through a Web browser, and online resume- and application-scanning capabilities.
Part of the design phase is modeling the processes that will be used in the system for applicant tracking. For Larson Property Management, this modeling will allow the system analysts to design an efficient paperless hiring process.
Larson Property Management is well aware that the design stage of the SDLC is critical for the successful implementation of the new ATS. However, there is considerable confusion about how to proceed with this phase. The HR and IT professionals assigned to the ATS committee have been meeting to plan the new system. From their planning and needs analysis, it is clear that a new HRIS application is needed, can save considerable time, and can result in more accurate storage and retrieval of applicant data for cost-benefit and other management reports.
The company has had several vendors provide presentations, with each vendor outlining its particular approach to the design of an ATS. But these presentations were primarily focused on the physical design of the new ATS. The HR and IT committees must now begin the design process, which must be completed in three months.
3 Note that this is the case from the vignette, plus added material.
Industry Brief: Jeffrey D. Miller, Deloitte Consulting
The world of human resource information systems (HRIS) has shifted over the past decade. Now more than ever, organizations are driving changes in human resources (HR) and their associated system based on business needs. All industries are witnessing increased global competition, which is increasing the need to manage talent and costs of HR services. An increase in generational expansion in the workforce is driving the needs to increase focus on employee engagement. These challenges are disruptions. HR has a clear opportunity to lead through the disruptions by focusing its strategy on resolving these issues. Transitions in HR operating models, alignment of policies, and business processes are the key for HR to resolve the HR challenges facing its business.
Through all of the disruption, technology is HR’s enabler. Organizations must remember this principle. Whether the organization is investing in a custom portal and related technology, enhancing an existing infrastructure, or implementing a cloud-based solution, the same rule applies: Technology is the enabler, not the solution to the business challenges. Using new technology to drive a poorly designed policy or process will result in a bad process, employee experience, and unmet executive-level expectations.
Organizations are changing their HR service delivery model to enable a greater impact in all industries. The focus: Adapt the operating model to attend to business issues and movements in the market. This shift requires HR to look at how it operates across many facets including recruiting, career management, acquisition and divestiture management, and how its technology enables the business needs.
The same global competition in the market is propelling changes in talent management. To remain competitive, there is a dramatic shift in the focus on understanding their talent base and aligning the skill growth to expansions and shifts in the market. The right process changes driven by the right information to make decisions related to recruiting, succession planning, and learning are critical to this effort.
The generational shift cannot be ignored. Many organizations are seeing up to four distinct generations resident in their workforces. Each generation has different needs and ways of working professionally and personally. This creates a need for HR and management to be sensitive and adapt the methods of employee engagement in day to day work, performance, provisions for career trajectory and learning. This area is especially sensitive to being overly burdened with technology—relying on exchanges and messaging through technology rather than employing the technology to concentrate and foster conversations.
Selecting the right technical solution for the HR needs is significant. Most applications offered meet the majority of any organization’s requirements. The real difference is in how the applications fit in driving the HR objectives and business needs of the organization. The selection, and ongoing monitoring, is becoming more closely aligned with strategy in many organizations. The selection is not a one-time decision. It is something that has to be closely managed. Innovation in HR technology is moving at a staggering pace. This pace will continue. The world of HR technology offers multiple options and investments levels. For HR to lead through business disruptions, the monitoring and review of technology’s fit with HR business objectives must be an ongoing and formalized role in the organization structure.
In summary, to have the greatest impact, HR must focus on understanding the true business and market direction of its organization, adapt its processes and policies to contribute to meeting the business needs and then implement the model and technical solutions, which enables the right level of information to enable decisions, employee engagement, cost management, and ease of maintenance.