Many companies require departments to issue RFPs for new business software systems, often when the cost estimate exceeds a certain dollar amount. Unless there are legal requirements that mandate an RFP process, consider these ten reasons why you should research alternative acquisition options.
- With today’s internet, gathering competitive information on products and vendors couldn’t be easier. Why bother with an RFP or RFI if the goal is information gathering?
- Many vendors, as a matter of policy, will not respond to RFPs, believing there is already a preferred vendor in place. Your well-intentioned RFP could inadvertently be excluding qualified vendors.
- RFPs tend to unnecessarily prolong the vendor selection. If you already have a preferred vendor or two, focusing on them will save time and generally produce a quality choice.
- Vendors want your business and will often lie or exaggerate their capabilities in RFP responses. Researching vendors and engaging them 1 on 1 will provide a more honest assessment. It’s easy to lie or stretch the truth in a written RFP response, but much harder to do so when asked face-to-face in a presentation.
- If the ultimate goal of an RFP is to gather competitive quotes from already screened vendors, consider a less formal RFQ. You will save time and generate the same desired result.
- RFP questions are often all over the map, intermingling true requirements, nice-to-haves, and even completely irrelevant questions. Nothing discourages prospective vendors like entire sections where they must respond in the negative. If you must issue an RFP, stick to your known requirements, and consider an RFI instead.
- If you are considering releasing an RFP for a new system, chances are you already have a qualified vendor in mind. Why muddy the waters with several new and often confusing proposals when you already have confidence in your first choice.
- Consider researching and selecting a short list of vendors and go straight for demos, circumventing the Q&A process. RFP decisions are almost always made after the demo. So head straight for the presentation/demo. You will save time, and likely make the same selection.
- In most business software categories, there are usually one or more “safe bets” — older reputable companies with large install bases. You have heard the phrase “No one was ever fired for choosing xxx”. There is a reason they have that level of reputation, so why not make that safe bet?
- If your department has a requirement to issue an RFP for purchase of systems above a certain threshold, consider finding a qualified solution that falls within that cap. Even though a cheaper system may be lacking in some functional areas, they may simply be “good enough”. You may just look like a hero by saving your company time and dollars.
It’s that time of the year — the 21st annual Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey is upon us. This is probably the most comprehensive survey for HR users, covering virtually all aspects of HR technology use, from the traditional integrated HR/ERP systems to the latest emerging technologies and innovations.
Some of the most important questions you may have are answered in the survey results, such as:
- What are the latest trends in HR technology
- Who are the leading vendors
- Best of Breed vs. single-source integrated solution
- What systems are my peers and competitors using
- What systems are my peers and competitors considering in the next 12 months
- What systems provide the greatest efficiencies and ROI
- Where the most/least money is spent
- By vertical market, how strategic is the HR organization perceived
- Who is upgrading and who is not, and why
- Data privacy & confidentiality issues
- How and where analytics is being used
- Much more…
Beyond the typical interview questions (“where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, or my personal favorite, “what is your most negative trait?”), many companies do attempt to evaluate job candidates at a deeper level. Canned questions usually garner canned responses, nullifying the purpose of the question entirely. Therefore, some creativity needs to be used to ensure responses are candid, revealing and truthful.
The sole purpose of interviews is to determine the candidate’s potential ability to perform the job, as well as their ability to assimilate into the corporation’s culture. The skills and experience questions are generally straight forward, while the assimilation questions often miss the mark entirely.
“Do you work well with others?” Duh!
“How do you address conflict?” Better.
And forget about that oh-so-common resume rhetoric; “Team Player”, “Self-Starter”, etc. Right! Who isn’t?
So how do interviewers cut through the rhetoric and BS, and get to the heart of the issue —”who is this candidate…really?”
These past five years have been good. Good for LBi, and good for LBi’s clients. Our organization has seen a tremendous amount of success and unprecedented growth, and we’ve been honored to help our clients reach their full potential as we continue to grow.
Whether we’re helping our sports clients create better teams through improved draft picks, signings, and trades, or helping our HR clients with innovative HR case management and call-tracking workflow solutions, we have a long history of success with our clients across the board.
And it’s paid off.
In just five years, we launched LBi Dynasty, our custom sports analytics solution, and now we have clients in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association. We’re incredibly proud to have clients in three of the four major sports leagues and 20 percent of the teams in MLB. And we’re proud of how our HR clients continue to grow through HR HelpDesk, as well.
These past five years have been incredible, and it’s all thanks to our clients and our amazing employees. It’s because of them that we can make this announcement.
We’re very excited to announce that we purchased a 25,235-square-foot building for $5.4 million in March of 2017. This three-story building is located at 999 Walt Whitman Road in Melville, New York, where we’ll occupy the first and second floors of the building. And it’s all thanks to our clients, our employees, and the past five years of unprecedented growth.
I read an interesting article recently about a recruiter that became furious when a candidate, who had originally accepted a job offer, reneged after reading multiple negative online reviews about the prospective employer. Apparently the recruiter became extremely belligerent to the candidate, seeing an expected paycheck fly out the window.
Where to begin listing what’s wrong here?
- The recruiter works for the employer, not the candidate. Therefore the candidate is under no obligation to do anything at all, much less accept a potentially bad job offer. The candidate is however expected to be professional during the recruitment process, but that is up to the judgment of the recruiter.
- The candidate should put his/her best foot forward when working with recruiters. There are lots of fish in the sea, and regardless of how one perceives themselves, often times they are just a number among many numbers of candidates. Not to mention likely burning the proverbial bridge with a recruiter that secured them a real job offer – not a guarantee in today’s job market.
Would you hire a highly skilled and experienced prime HR candidate for the price of an entry level clerk? What if your new employee is guaranteed to:
- Save the organization valuable time and dollars
- Resolve HR cases faster
- Free up other HR resources for more strategic work
- Guarantee consistent adherence to company policies/procedures
- Increase employee satisfaction
- Electronically archive and manage all HR case history
- Assure adherence to government regulations
- Automatically generate and distribute valuable analytical reports
- Track patterns of issues & resolve them before they fester
Additionally, what if your new hire will:
- Work 24/7/365
- Never take a day off
- Never complain about anything
- Require no paid benefits
- Will do everything you ask (within the job description)
- Never make a mistake
- Do all of this – guaranteed
Interested? Meet LBi HR HelpDesk 6.0, your new superstar. LBi HR HelpDesk is your loyal and dedicated partner, dedicated to helping you build and maintain a successful HR Shared Services operation.
Having an HR Help Desk is great for answering employee questions, resolving issues, and running analytics on what is actually happening in the workforce. But frankly, when you think about it, all of these benefits are more reactive than proactive.
HR Help Desk captures in real time the good, the bad, and the ugly in the day-to-day work life of the company’s employees. The question becomes then, how can I anticipate issues before they occur? As we have discussed in previous posts, analytics are a tremendous help but they are still based on past (albeit very recent) actions.
The answer lies in survey tools. There are many very good web-based survey apps, but products such as LBi HR Help Desk already include one. LBi’s HR Help Desk includes a free survey utility that provides admins with the capability to create custom surveys and associated reporting on the collected data. Admins can create and modify surveys at any time. New surveys can be posted then removed and replaced after reports are run, or data is extracted for use in analytic engines.
We’ve been talking a lot about our LBi HR HelpDesk 6.0 update, and for good reason. It’s the most powerful HR case management solution out there, and its many improvements were designed to make your life easier.
Because that’s the whole point of an automated HR case management solution, right? To streamline the process and mitigate the hassle, freeing you to focus on talent management and your employees to focus on their work. Unfortunately, so many help desk software solutions complicate the process and exacerbate the headache. They employ inefficient design and interfaces that do anything but lighten your workload. Even with our HR case manager, we saw room for improvement, and so we created LBi HR HelpDesk 6.0.
As we listened to feedback from our clients, we realized that one of our main improvements would be user experience and accessibility — for both HR and employees. Why? Every time someone logs on to LBi HR HelpDesk, we want them to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly. The interface and design should be user-friendly, enabling users to complete tasks efficiently and come away from the whole experience with a general sense of enjoyment and ease. Joy and HR reporting? Yes, it’s possible.
In my business, responding to RFIs, RFQs and RFPs are a part of my daily work life. If you want to win the business, you must accept these requests as a mandatory function during the sales cycle.
20 years ago, questionnaires focused almost entirely on the business application up for bid; features, functions, bells, whistles, and the like. Technology questions primarily centered around the technology platform – Windows, Solaris, SQL Server, Oracle, web vs. client-server, etc.
In today’s cyber security threat world, IT has essentially commandeered the process, and now RFPs are often heavily weighted on security questions. Frankly, many recent RFPs that have crossed my desk barely touch on the relevant and in-demand application features, in favor of addressing IT Security issues. In a few cases, it has been hard to find the actual application questions buried in one of many Excel tabs (worksheets).
Is your HR organization performing at peak efficiency levels? Do you understand how your peers are managing their firms; companies with the same issues and challenges you face? They can only expose new and potentially productive ideas.
How can you broaden your knowledge of industry trends and cutting edge business tools? The answer is in the HR industry’s most comprehensive annual survey, the Sierra–Cedar 2016–2017 HR Systems Survey, 19th Annual Edition.
In partnership with Sierra-Cedar, LBi Software invites you to participate. The survey is now available at www.Sierra-Cedar.com/hrssv45 until the deadline on July 1, 2016. All responses are confidential and only used in aggregate results.
How efficient is your HR organization? Is there room for improvement (there always is, right)? Just as importantly, how well run is your group compared to others in your industry, or in the market in general?
Whether or not you believe your HR organization is performing at peak efficiency levels, understanding how your peers are managing their firms, companies with the same issues and challenges you face, can only expose new and potentially productive ideas.
Since you are not likely to call on your competition to compare notes, how can you broaden your knowledge of industry trends and cutting edge business tools? The answer is in the HR industry’s most comprehensive annual survey, the Sierra–Cedar 2015–2016 HR Systems Survey, 18th Annual Edition.
In partnership with Sierra-Cedar, LBi invites you to participate. The survey is now available at www.Sierra-Cedar.com/hrssv45 until the deadline on June 30, 2015. All responses are confidential and only used in aggregate results.
The pool of job candidates is vast and diverse, yet head hunters and hiring managers oftentimes struggle to find the “right” people to fill key positions because they lack soft, or interpersonal skills. And unfortunately for those prospects who don’t necessarily fit into the company culture, their job satisfaction is short-lived once the imbalance becomes obvious. He or she could end up obviously unhappy, leaving managers to fill the positions yet again.
So, how do you go about selecting the right candidates? First, take a look at this list of administrative steps you need to take prior to the interview. Then, when you’re face-to-face with candidates, follow these tips for conducting an effective interview that will help you determine who is (and isn’t) a good fit for the organization.
1. Behavioral interview with a twist
Dig deep into the minds of your prospects. Forbes recommends focusing on the details of each scenario presented to get the candidate “off script.” You have to ask questions for which canned responses won’t cut it.
For example, if you ask a management prospect to describe a time when they helped resolve a conflict between subordinates that was stifling production or efficiency, don’t settle for the canned response involving mediation or anything similar. Instead, inquire about how he or she evaluated individual personalities and past performance of those involved to help determine which approach was best to eradicate the issue.
If the interviewee struggles, it doesn’t mean they weren’t prepared since most have memorized the generic responses for “Tell me about a time when…” and “How would you handle…” questions. You’re just forcing them to think outside the box, which is paramount if you want to get a better understanding of how they respond under pressure or in unique situations. Although the candidate might be perfect on paper, you need to be sure his or her problem-solving skills and overall personality align with your expectations.
2. From where does the candidate draw inspiration?
The catchphrase, “birds of a feather flock together,” is applicable here. By asking job prospects where they look for inspiration, you can learn a lot about behavioral patterns, notes Entrepreneur. Work ethic is also part of the equation; individuals who are inspired by the hard work of others tend to strive for greatness. Plus, they’re more likely to wake up each morning motivated to tackle what lies ahead and work toward overcoming new challenges. …Read More
Recently, two new clients opted to implement LBi HR Help Desk without, at least initially, the Employee Self-Service Portal feature. Though the great majority of clients do deploy the Self-Service Portal, there are still a number of clients that choose to continue with phone and email case requests.
LBi HR Help Desk does provide features that help automate call-ins and email initiated tickets. For instance, HR Help Desk supports Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). With IVR/CTI technology, calls into HR can automatically be routed to the appropriate agent, and instantly open the employee HR Help Desk Masterfile screen ready to verify and engage the caller. More advanced telephony integration can be implemented where employees can generate cases via the touchtone system, similar to phone-based banking, though this option is less common.
Many companies subject potential new hires to various levels of testing to gauge overall skills and personality traits. Sometimes the tests are required to confirm specific required skills, such as expertise in a particular programming language or general typing skills. Other tests analyze fundamentals such as math and writing proficiency. Some employers actually subject candidates to SAT/ACT high school style tests. I am very good at math, but I haven’t brushed up on my trig recently. I better engage my high school kid to help prep me!
It is certainly reasonable for hiring firms to validate the skills detailed on candidate resumes and in interviews. After all, many people do lie or at least embellish their experience and training. Making a wrong hire can be very costly to any organization, and ultimately places a black mark on the terminated employee.
But can employers go too far? And what about those character tests, sometimes known as a predictive index? These tests attempt to identify the prospective employee’s personality traits (i.e., is he a Type A personality), and match them to the preferred traits of the open position. Typically developed by psychologists (but not always), the results of these tests can and do make or break the candidates chances at landing the job, sometimes regardless of the candidates actual skills and record of achievement in previous employers.
The expectations of HR continue to grow — to be more of a strategic player in the organization as well as to provide increasingly user-friendly services to employees. HR could use a little HR help from some friends.
Among those friends is an automated HR case management system, built specifically for HR departments to improve HR service delivery and provide HR self-service. This kind of solution can be just the kind of HR help that HR needs today.
First, however, you want to make sure your HR case management solution is designed specifically for HR departments. A system built for IT’s needs and repurposed for HR will fall short of the mark in several ways. You can read more about why that is in our blog post “HR Delivery Excellence Demands HR-dedicated Case Management: True Temper Tools Would Agree” and dig even deeper into the topic in our white paper “Case Management: The Backbone of Excellence in HR Service Delivery.”
A centralized and automated HR case management system can be a huge asset in managing talent better for companies of any size — even overcoming the shortcomings of many larger and more comprehensive HR technology, information, and talent management systems.
Consider, for example, how an HR help desk can solve the challenge of gathering and maintaining critical employee information in a single location rather than having it spread across disparate databases and in paper files. In fact, there being a central, secure repository of data and records — without replacing current and separate systems — is one of the significant advantages of an HR case management system.
When an HR help desk or case management system is incorporated into a comprehensive talent management strategy, any organization can take advantage of full life-cycle support for employees, ultimately contributing to measurable performance gains. The best HR case management systems, like LBi HR HelpDesk, are designed to work seamlessly with a company’s HRIS software as well as their leading talent management applications.
Unified HR case management overcomes the potentially costly and time-consuming challenge of having critical employee information spread across disjointed databases and traditional paper files. …Read More
The importance of efficient, accessible employee self-service portals and HR self-service systems continues to grow — especially with the continuing influence of several key trends in workplace behavior and expectations, as well as in personal lifestyles.
Among the most significant of those trends driving the demand for more sophisticated employee self-service applications are:
- Greater need for flexible work hours
- Growing acceptance of remote working options
- Increased use of SaaS-based applications and programs, as well as other types of cloud-based HR solutions
- The boom in tablet- and smartphone-based platforms for workplace systems
- The continuing tsunami of “mobile everything, everywhere” communication
Flexible working hours
The continued expansion of businesses across time zones and into international markets is also driving a greater need for flexible working options in every area of the organization. In response, HR technology needs to play a major role in keeping remote employees engaged. A compelling employee self-service portal empowers employees, boosts engagement, and saves HR immense amounts of time. …Read More
Sometimes the derivation of a word describes it perfectly. Wiki is one of those words. It’s from “wikiwiki,” the Hawaiian word for “quick.” And if a human resources wiki does anything at all, it makes quick work of updating and distributing relevant knowledge across the entire scope of HR topics, vastly improving HR self-service.
Yet many people in HR don’t fully understand wikis and wiki knowledge bases, or the power of wikis to save time (for HR and employees), reduce administrative headaches and oversights, and heighten employee engagement. How? By ensuring that people can get the most current information they need when they need it — and know the information is accurate.
Marc Solow, Deloitte Consulting LLP’s HR Shared Services Practices Leader, was cited in a recent blog post that really hit home for us. In a nutshell, Solow identified several HR trends occurring as a result of changes in technology. We agree with Solow’s insight and think the benefits of cloud-based automated HR software solutions — including HR case management — provide examples of what he’s talking about.
Five of the trends Solow identified are:
- Applying differentiated HR service delivery within organizations
- Showing a preference for cloud-based solutions for HR tools
- Transforming HR processes with social and mobile technologies
- Leveraging specialized outsourcing to drive better outcomes
- Consolidating processes of transactions to move value up the chain
Usually when you hear the phrase “HR self-service,” it’s in the context of how its features can benefit employees and HR. It’s true that organizations of almost any size that have a robust, user-friendly, and meaningful employee self-service application also have higher employee engagement and more-efficient and data-rich HR departments compared with their counterparts that lack HR self-service solutions.
But there’s anther entire segment of the workforce that can also benefit hugely from HR self-service: managers and supervisors. Workplace trends suggest that HR leaders would be well served to consider ways to leverage HR self-service to support managers and supervisors. They’re the people whom research increasingly shows play a crucial role in retaining top employees and helping HR deliver its mission.
Contrary to common wisdom, the benefits of an HR call center are not limited to enterprise-level organizations. The value of being able to help employees easily access HR information and get answers to their questions can also benefit smaller businesses by reducing stress on HR administrators and yielding crucial call-tracking data.
For starters, an HR call center is a valuable HR resource that frees administrators to focus on more demanding tasks. As an HR data system, a call center can provide meaningful information such as the frequency of employee calls regarding specific HR topics and the number of calls needed to resolve cases.
With this kind of HR data, HR leaders in organizations of any size get greater insight into how policies and benefits are being communicated. You can determine where messages and communication to employees need to be improved, and where call center processes could use some tweaking.
If you’re like most HR leaders, you keep a lot of plates spinning. Your act includes everything from scouring call-tracking data in your case management system (searching for ways to improve employee self-service) to staying abreast of the most recent topics in human resources news and workplace trends (seeking efficiencies, cost savings, and increased productivity).
You probably also welcome all of the HR resources you can get as easily and quickly as possible — especially the knowledgeable advice of peers — to help keep those plates spinning.
Maybe you’d like to gain some insight into a particularly sensitive matter you’re dealing with today. An online community could help with that. Maybe you simply want to be in the know on the latest workplace trends or what’s new in HR tools. Blogs and professional organization websites can help there.
We’ve asked our team to offer their thoughts on some great — and free — HR resources. In no particular order, here’s what they recommend:
Guests at our HR Tech booth had fun playing Plinko for a guaranteed prize (vibration speakers, ear buds, USBs, water bottles…) and a chance at four Chromebooks and four Kindles.
The hottest prize at the booth was the vibration speaker — a cool gadget that magnifies the sound of your smartphone via vibration (no bluetooth); we had a lot of fun giving those demonstrations.
Our booth theme was HR HelpDesk Rated “E” for Everyone – HR HelpDesk, our innovative Case Management software, comes in four versions for organizations of varying sizes.
The E also stands for:
- Employee Engagement
- Efficient Case Management
- Easy Sign up – no credit card required for free trials
- Encompassing Pricing
- And any other “E” word our marketing people could come up with.
We also generated some buzz on twitter at #EforEveryone.
We live in the self-service era — self-serve check-out lines, pay at the pump, YouTube do it yourself videos… I just fixed my mountain bike by watching a YouTube video on how to adjust the disc brakes. It is just faster to do it ourselves. I didn’t have to drop my bike off at the shop and waste any time. Also, there is a bit of a self-esteem lift involved when you fix it yourself. Recently I fixed my garage door opener by ordering a $10 part and watching a YouTube video. (Although when I started it I did not realize the video was “1 of 5” and it would take me 8 hours to do it. But time management will be saved for another blog post.) The key was even though I wasted a tremendous amount of time, I felt good that I had fixed the door by myself.
An HR Knowledge Base can contain all types of employee information — benefits guide, code of conduct, policy information, PC FAQs… It is more than just an online Employee Handbook. The key to a knowledge base is the information that allows the employee to easily find answers to their questions. So properly indexing the knowledge base is essential. The knowledge base should have search engines that allow an individual to type in a question. It is much more than an FAQ.
A good knowledge base and supporting tools can empower your employees to find the answers to their questions themselves. This both saves HR time and engages your workforce.
The best thing about computer technology is instant access to information any time, anywhere. Smart phones and tablet computers are a godsend in today’s fast moving world. Don’t agree? Just ask Siri or Skyvi (Google’s version of Siri). Now you can find a movie, a restaurant, a gas station, plumber, or anything else you need with just a few taps of the screen.
Pew Research estimates 58% of American adults have a smart phone, and 42% have a tablet computer. Clearly smart device owners understand the power at their fingertips and are realizing significant productivity gains, at least in the category of personal time management. So it stands to reason that mobile information access would provide similar benefits in the workplace, right? For instance, an HR self-service app that delivers virtually instant answers to all of a worker’s employment-related questions, right on their PC, phone or tablet? Well, this is true…if the content is comprehensive and the search tool is simple to use.
The combination of case management and self-service technology gives employees the power to answer their own questions and take care of many of their own HR and benefits tasks at a time of their choosing and from their own desks — or even from home. Employees are increasingly expecting their online interactions at work to be as easy and personalized as their online consumer experiences. Online workplace applications — including HR programs — are now considered table stakes for businesses of all sizes to reach and support their employees.
This means that by implementing these solutions, the company is also giving time and resources back to HR. Fewer HR hours need to be allocated to answering employee questions and managing routine paperwork. And that means more time and resources to focus on strategic business tasks and planning.
Studies show that the right self-service system, like that in LBi HR HelpDesk Pro and ProPlus, can accurately address and resolve 80 percent of all employee inquiries. This is particularly significant for SMB organizations that are still operating with a traditional HR department and a manual case management system or resolution process.
Wikipedia describes at-will employment laws as follows:
“At-will employment is a term used in U.S. labor law for contractual relationships in which an employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason (that is, without having to establish “just cause” for termination), and without warning…[and] an employee may be similarly entitled to leave his or her job without reason or warning.”
Like many well-meaning HR policies, at-will laws in practice may be a double edged sword. On the surface at-will regulations appear to be beneficial for the employer and employee, though with some negative implications.
An employee can quit with no advanced notice, freeing the departing worker to “jump ship” Friday afternoon ready for the next new career move the following Monday without skipping a beat professionally. After all, it is the employer’s prerogative to immediately dismiss the resigning employee whether or not they offered the traditional two week notice. If this were to occur, the employee could potentially have a costly time gap between the old and new job. So why provide any notice at all?
HR departments in small to medium sized organizations share the same employee issues that occur in large enterprises; the only difference being the volume of problems HR is confronted with. Labor disputes, morale problems, productivity issues, compensation inequality and more, are the bane of HR departments both large and small.
As one well known technology company proudly articulates, “There’s an app for that”. And there is. But until now case management software solutions explicitly developed to address the privacy and confidentiality requirements of HR have been out of reach for the SMB market due to the generally higher cost factor. Lower cost IT help desk and sales/support focused CRM systems, even Excel spreadsheets and simple email public folders, have long been considered “good enough” for smaller HR departments, and for some companies that is certainly true.
However, what happens when that emailed ticket declaring an employee’s sexual harassment accusation is inadvertently (or intentionally) BCC’d or forwarded to unauthorized eyes? This breach of confidentiality can be extremely costly for any sized organization.
We’re not here to say HR technology has ignored the small and midsize business market. If we did, we’d be cut to ribbons in a heartbeat. A Google search I just did for “HR technology for SMB” returned 29.7 million results. HR technology vendors have targeted the SMB user with cloud-based software to handle everything from recruiting and onboarding to performance management, time and attendance, career development and compensation.
Until now, however, no one has offered the SMB market a fully featured HR case management solution the way SMB companies really want to buy software — which means going beyond offering Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). That’s become table stakes.
Doing more for SMB buyers starts with offering free trials, just as SMB users expect from all kinds of other SaaS products. So LBi is offering LBi HR HelpDesk to the SMB market with free trials — including a free-forever trial for companies with fewer than 100 employees on the system.
Life is full of sad realities. One is that the SMB market has been vastly underserved by the HR technology industry. There’s one very simple reason: Despite the glut of cloud-based HR software, HR technology vendors have until now largely failed to sell products the way small and midsize businesses want to buy them. (For the record, we’re talking about companies with 2,000 or fewer employees.)
For starters, the HR technology industry has traditionally failed to let the SMB user “try it before you buy it.” They certainly haven’t wooed the SMB buyer with free trials like they offer to the enterprise customer. We concede that until now, we at LBi Software have been as guilty of this as our competitors, especially when it comes to our flagship solution, the HR case manager and call-tracking workflow system, LBi HR HelpDesk.
That’s a shame. HR leaders in the SMB market until now have never been given the opportunity to determine, without pressure or hassle, whether an HR technology solution could really benefit them (assuming, of course, other motivating factors also fall into place — factors like pricing and having an easy purchasing process).
Call us crazy, but we think HR buyers in the SMB (small and midsize business) market have been overlooked for too long. We believe HR technology vendors — including LBi — have failed to sell products the way SMB users want to buy them.
We think we’ve set things right.
LBi Software is proud to offer the SMB buyer HR HelpDesk, a fully featured yet affordable HR case management and call-tracking workflow solution. Of course, the powerful and robust enterprise edition of LBi HR HelpDesk is a highly configurable system that offers complete integration with HR, ERP, and email systems; advanced document management; options for on-premise hosting and licensing, or hosting on a dedicated server (for maximum security); single-sign on; corporate branding, and more.
But now we’re giving HR leaders in organizations with up to 2,000 employees the opportunity to launch a cloud-based version of LBi HR HelpDesk as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and start using it right away. And we’re doing that in a way that’s hassle-free — consumer-friendly access with no obligation to buy and a simple, one-step purchasing process.
LBi Software is pleased to announce that it has completed an expansion of its headquarters to over 10,000 square feet at 7600 Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury, NY. LBI Software also recently reached the 50 employee mark. In the last 18 months LBi has grown by over 30%! This expansion is to support the upcoming new offering of our flagship solution LBi HR HelpDesk.
The office expansion included new offices, new workstations to support 3 monitors per developer, meeting rooms, video games and a Ping Pong table.
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Before starting down the path of developing an RFP, it’s crucial to understand the ultimate goal of the journey. Not all RFPs are released with the objective of finding the best and most robust HR case management solution for a company’s needs. Other business goals for an RFP include:
- Finding the lowest-cost solution to meet the most nominal requirements
- Surveying the marketplace and gathering information for a future purchase
- Collecting ideas and information for building a system in-house
If the above is your reason for considering the RFP process, then please don’t.
A 2001 Gallup poll found that Americans who are obese or have chronic health problems cost their employers an estimated $153 billion per year in lost productivity. As the prevalence of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic health conditions continued to rise from 1999 to 2010 (and beyond), employers are looking for ways to keep their employees physically fit. The best employee wellness initiatives are those that motivate without harming morale.
Promoting Healthy Body Weight
Obese and overweight individuals are more likely to take sick days, require more doctor visits and experience difficulty performing efficiently at work, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An effective strategy to encourage weight management is to have a friendly interoffice competition. For example, departments might compete against one another to see which can log the most exercise minutes, steps walked per day or pounds lost (following a group weigh-in, so as not to put pressure on an individual). Tying performance to monthly rewards such as an office party, financial benefit, or flex time is a great way to increase motivation.
Is work-life balance a myth? No, it just has different meaning and implications for different cultures. In the United States there is a trend towards encouraging employees to find a healthy medium between work hours and personal time. There is a widely held belief here that a happy employee is a productive employee. In some industries, employees are required to take all of their allotted paid time off. Others sometimes discourage long vacations greater than one week at a time. But today we are recognized as the most productive nation on Earth, though that belief is rapidly changing.
What about other countries and cultures? Certainly workers in China, South Korea, Japan and India, as well as other countries, are considered very productive. However, in those cultures generally work comes first, and sometimes to the exclusion of family and personal life. Disconcerting stories such as those coming from the Chinese factory Foxconn, are all too common. At Foxconn, employees often work seven days a week, eat in common cafeterias, and live in crowded dorms, though they rarely complain. On the contrary, many employees there are proud to work hard and strive for a solid middle class existence, which otherwise might be unattainable.
In these cultures, children are taught from an early age that hard work and personal achievement is the root of success and happiness. Anything less is considered shaming to the family. In school, “A” is the new “B”. Nothing less than “A+” is acceptable. Just look at the winners in the annual Intel Science and Siemens Competitions. They are consistently represented by a disproportionately large number of foreign born or first generation American students, often from Asian and Indian countries. It is truly hard to argue with success.
The percentage of employees that are contingent is quickly growing. Currently 18% of the total work force is contingent. Some are predicting this to rise to 50% of the Fortune 500 workforce! HR software and HR software vendors must be prepared to support this growing contingent workforce. Furthermore, this contingent workforce needs to be just as engaged as traditional full-time employees. We need to get the most from our employees whether they are permanent or contingent.
Contingent workers are not permanent employees and they know it. Depending on their contract or agreement with the firm, continued employment is always in question, as is the ability to move to a higher, more permanent position.
A contingent workforce may provide many benefits to the organization, such as helping to fill temporarily needed positions during uncertain times of unpredictable growth. But once those workers are in place they need to be properly managed. It is critical to understand that the disposition of contract workers is much different than the attitudes of regular full-time employees. Are they loyal to the company? Can they be trusted with confidential information? Are they at least as productive as regular workers?
The features of an automated HR Case Management System – from resolving cases faster and easier, to empowering self-service – can help create and heighten employee engagement.
For example, an HR case management system designed to serve HR keeps a record, instantly available, of every employee transaction. With just a couple of clicks, an HR team member has access to the entire history of a case. The employee doesn’t need to restart the process if he or she needs to follow up on a case. It’s obviously more efficient for HR, and it’s also an effective tool for heightening employee engagement. It shows employees that the company cares enough to handle their concerns quickly and knowledgeably – it brings consumer-like service to the world of HR.
It’s true that an HR case management solution is only one piece of a comprehensive HRIS solution. HR case management lives under the big umbrella of software solutions that help streamline the whole spectrum of HR management system functions, from benefits administration, to time and attendance, to performance reviews and succession planning.
Yet all of the pieces within an HRIS share two overarching goals: to help HR professionals manage their workforce more efficiently and to empower employees. Just as with a full-platform HR management system (HRMS), you also want an HR case management solution that will increase HR productivity by automating administrative processes and supporting HR on a strategic level.
Help Desk systems have become mainstream solutions in virtually every aspect of business operations, including Customer Support, Salesforce Automation, IT Support, HR Support, and more. Though there are many similarities in these applications, it is a keen understanding of the inherent differences that can make or break a successful deployment. Selecting a product that falls short of expectations in just one or two key areas can lead to time delays, as well as wasted (and potentially very costly) financial and personnel investment.
Never has this been truer than in selection and deployment of a new HR system, particularly HR Help Desk. For instance, a lack of privacy features in the help desk system can breach confidentiality agreements, potentially risking expensive and time consuming legal actions.
A well designed HR system, built explicitly for HR, will plug all of the security holes that may exist in some non-HR centric applications. We invite you to take this simple test below and score your current system against the best solutions, such as LBi HR Help Desk 5.0.
Give yourself 5 points for every question you can unequivocally answer “Yes”.
Recent research from British law firm EMW paints a distressing picture of employee data theft. EMW found that cloud computing makes it easier for employees to take enterprise data when they leave, and that court cases over theft of business information increased 56 percent from 2011 to 2012. Adopting “bring your own device”, or BYOD, in your business can leave you vulnerable to employee data theft when staff move on. Accept this, then take steps to minimize your risk.
What’s at Stake if an Employee Walks
When an employee leaves, he carries with him knowledge of your products, services and workflow. Employee laptops and phones will have enterprise and client emails, strategic information, work documents and other data. Since employees may leave for a variety of reasons, every policy should take this into account. Employees who transfer to another office or take a medical leave may need to keep business information, while those who resign, are laid off, or are fired should not keep data.
Phone, email, text, instant message (IM), in person? Unfortunately, many younger workers have grown up in a world where face-to-face (or even phone) communications are not deemed necessary in order to interact effectively with others. The nuances of verbal communications have given way to graphical emoticons and cryptic acronyms. Why bother interpreting visual or audible cues when there is a Smiley face for that?
Have we forgotten about the importance of body language and vocal inflections? In the animal kingdom virtually all creatures converse, not with the written word, but rather by sight and sound. And they apparently are quite successful at it. If sophisticated communications within species through visual and audible means is the product of millions of years of evolution, what does that say about humans and texting? Is this really the next phase in our evolution… or not?
Almost every organization has a formal, written Mission Statement. These statements have at least two primary purposes — to clearly state long-term corporate goals, and to generally set the guiding principles by which employees conduct themselves internally and with their customers.
Mission Statements are top-down mandates that every employee must follow in their daily professional lives. Often it is the responsibility of HR and middle management to monitor (formally or otherwise) their employees to ensure adherence to corporate policies, including those broad principles detailed in the Mission Statement. So how can “the mission” be efficiently monitored day to day, week to week, and beyond, particularly in larger organizations?
This past summer three of my favorite TV shows ended: Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Burn Notice. Each one was very successful yet only one remained on top until the very end. Why is that? Did the others lose their way or just ride out the series like a cash cow?
As far as the reasons behind the failures of Dexter and Burn Notice, they are a matter of personal opinion. Dexter clearly had jumped the shark and, given the series plot, it got less real with each additional microscope slide. As for Burn Notice, in my opinion, it tried to be like the competition and turned from a fun campy A-Team-like show to a lame spy thriller.
“The right tool for the right job.”
That’s been the advertising slogan for True Temper tools since at least 1907, when the Cleveland-based company was called American Fork & Hoe. The catchphrase is just as true today as it was then, and not only when it comes to forks and hoes.
Without the right technology for the right job, it’s highly unlikely any mission will achieve its optimal outcome. Sure, the job might get done. But at what cost? What will be left out or left behind? How much better could the job have been done with the right tools – with the benefit of software and a system, for example, uniquely designed to accomplish that particular job?
Guests at LBi Software’s HR Tech booth participated in a game to try to solve the puzzle of HR Technology:
Each player would add a piece to the puzzle and try to guess the message. The first correct puzzle guess won a Microsoft Surface and each correct guess after that was put in a drawing for a second Microsoft Surface. Participants would also win a prize for just playing: Kindles, iPod Nanos, ear buds, Amazon gift cards, 8GB flash drives and water bottles.
This weekend my friend, an HR Department Head, asked me if he was being too hasty in replacing his legacy HCM system. After all, his entire department had invested so much time and money into it: learning the nuances, customizations, interfaces… So I asked him what was wrong with the current system. His response was that it does not do everything they want and it is too costly to maintain (expensive upgrades and annual fees). He predicted that the new software’s payback period was less than 3 years.
The use of HR technology to heighten employee engagement is still evolving. In some respects – and despite so much that’s been written about it – applying the features of HR and HCM technology to boost employee engagement is still in its infancy. But in other regards, the trend is already starting to become passé.
The practice of tapping into existing legacy HCM systems to drive employee engagement will soon be outdated. Here’s how Brandon Hall Group and The Starr Conspiracy put it in their recent white paper, The Future of HCM: 7 Trends That Every HCM Provider Needs to Know: “There’s one certainty within this uncertainty. These legacy HCM systems will all eventually go away forever. HCM players have taken novel steps to hasten the progress of this slow death.”
As with every other aspect of human capital management today, success increasingly depends on engaging employees. And that means HR must give employees consumer-like online experiences in their work life as much as possible.
Why? Two overarching reasons:
- HR has gradually and increasingly taken a page from marketing’s playbook. Savvy HR leaders today know the value of actively soliciting feedback about – and keeping abreast of – employees’ needs, wants, preferences, and concerns; developing relevant and actionable data from that knowledge; and responding accordingly.
- Also like their colleagues in marketing, forward-thinking HR leaders are aware of – and responding to – the shifts in employee demographics, social networking, mobile computing and connectivity, and online consumerism. Just like consumers, employees want increasingly to be informed, connected, and empowered.
HR technology that supports this trend – while balancing it all with privacy and security – fosters a more engaged, more productive workforce. An HR case management system that features an engaging employee portal, an accessible user interface, and unconditional security offers one big step toward treating employees as consumers. The results: a more engaged and more productive workforce.