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Newsday Names LBi Software a Winner of the Long Island 2018 Top Workplaces Award

2018 top workplaces

LBi is proud to announce that we have been awarded a 2018 Top Workplaces honor by Newsday. We’d like to thank all of our employees, who made this happen.

The list is based solely on employee feedback that was gathered through a third-party survey that was administered by research partner Energage. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

According to survey responses, some of the things we do well include:

  • Senior Management understanding what’s really happening at LBi
  • Heading in the right direction as a company
  • Making sure our employees feel genuinely appreciated

Of course, we received some constructive criticism, as well, and have been working on some action items to improve in areas that we’re lacking.

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Top Ten Reasons RFPs May Not Be Necessary

RFPs

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?
  10. 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.

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The Potential Risks of Multi-language Capability in HCM Business Solutions

multi-language in HCM solutions

More and more companies, both large and small, are building a multi-national presence. These organizations often have employees in several countries, speaking different languages. Even domestic businesses may have a multi-lingual workforce, commonly with workers speaking Spanish, French, and multiple Asian languages, for instance. In those companies, the ability for HR to effectively communicate with this diverse group is critical to success.

The most comprehensive HCM software solutions, such as LBi HR Help Desk, offer multi-language support, often via integration with Google Translate. HR staff and employees have 2-click access to over 90 different languages, which translates each page on the fly and remembers the user’s selection every time they log in.

That may work fine when translating drop-down menu items and static text, but what about freeform text boxes? What happens with common slang expressions or regional colloquialisms in the translation process? What happens if the employee’s or HR’s true meaning is literally lost in translation? Google Translate does a fine job with standard text words and phrases, but doesn’t always properly convert slang and similar idioms. Even the most comprehensive translation engines can get it wrong all too often.

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Rewards & Incentives

Rewards and incentives and employee engagement

Every employee loves incentives and rewards and they can be part of the tools that help keep engagement with your company. They can come in the form of cash bonuses, salary increases (and/or promotions) or prizes (tangible gifts). Generally, incentives are considered more like the carrot on the stick – achieve management’s stated goals and you receive the gift. Rewards on the other hand may be given ad hoc after an employee performs well above expectations, without any awareness of a potential recognition.

So which method can potentially help management achieve peak performance from their employees? In this blog we will only consider positive awards. Negative incentives (threats of termination or demotion, for example) will be saved for a future blog. And we aren’t talking about traditional holiday bonuses.

Let’s take a look at some of the various incentive options that could trigger an award, and the recommended award types:

Incentive/Reward Plan Award? Award Type Meet stated goals Not recommended unless the team as a whole is well below plan/quota N/A Exceed stated goals Yes – can be ongoing Raise or bonus One-off performance contest Yes – occasional Bonus or prize Top producer for a period Yes – ongoing Bonus Special activity – e.g., best new idea, charity work, etc. Yes – occasional Prize Recommends a new hire candidate Yes – when candidate is hired Bonus Unexpected performance above & beyond Yes – as one achieves this designation Bonus or prize Random lottery game Yes – occasional Bonus or prize

How did I select specific award types depending on the activity?:

Award Type Reasoning Raise Permanent, used for rewarding ongoing or longer-term success. Bonus Cash is king. When the achievement is one-time and high-value to the company. Everyone likes cash. Prize Fun, different, unexpected — when the employee’s special performance doesn’t necessarily impact company performance, and the award impacts general morale.

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Combining HR Help Desk Data with External Data Sources

hr help desk data

LBi HR Help Desk is known for its flexible reporting templates – more than 15 templates HR can access to build a wide array of powerful and productive custom reports. These templates in aggregate provide end users with access to virtually all of HR Help Desk’s data fields.

Using HR Help Desk’s export feature, data points may be combined from multiple templates to provide an even greater capability to build specialized reports and analytics. But what about merging data from non-HR Help Desk systems for literally limitless analytics capability?

Today, in many industries analytics is the name of the game for companies seeking a competitive edge. IT departments are often inundated with custom analytics requests from every department and business group. You want a custom report? Take a number. Don’t call us – we will call you.

So what can HR do to accelerate delivery of their custom report requests? This blog will demonstrate how to use Microsoft Excel and one single key function plus Pivot Tables to combine data from literally any source into a single table, ready to slice and dice.

That’s right. Specifically VLOOKUP and Pivot Tables together are the keys to HR analytics nirvana. Perfect? No. Limitless? No. But you will be amazed how easy and flexible it is to create a wide variety of reports using your help desk data combined with data from other sources.

Let’s say you want to analyze the demographics of employees that have submitted harassment or discrimination claims. You are primarily concerned about patterns of abuse by age, gender and/or race – neither of which is tracked in HR Help Desk. Additionally you want to analyze whether your recent diversity training was beneficial in reducing complaints.

Here are the basic data points and common location you need to create your reports:

Data Field Data Location    Employee ID (key field) HRIS, Help Desk, Talent mgmt Employee gender HRIS Employee race HRIS Employee age HRIS Date of complaint Help Desk Category of complaint (i.e. discrimination) Help Desk Date of diversity training Talent mgmt

Notice the key field must be included in each export table. This field ties all tables together.

Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. From each system (HRIS, Help Desk, Talent Mgmt) create an extract of the above fields and open in Excel. Place each table in the same workbook, each in separate worksheets.
  2. Highlight each table and create a name for each (i.e. HRIS_table, HD_table, TM_table). Make sure the Employee ID is the 1st column in each table.
  3. Open the HRIS table and add the Complaint Date, Category, and Training date column headers. The table should look something like this:
  4. Now for the magic formula – =VLOOKUP(lookup cell, in this table, return this column value, false)

Enter this formula in cell E3: =vlookup(A3,HD_table,3,false) , where “3” is the HD_table column for the Complaint Date.

Copy this formula down to the last row. Your table should look like this:

Now repeat these steps for the Category and Training Date columns. Now your table should look like this:

  1. Your table is now ready for pivot table analysis. Click anywhere in the table and select Pivot Table or chart from the Insert menu in Excel.

Below are just a few of the pivot table/chart analytics you can create in just a few mouse clicks:

Complaints by age range

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Why Participate in the 21st Annual Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey

Sierra-Cedar Survey 2018

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
    • To cloud or not to cloud
  • How and where analytics is being used
  • Much more…

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Determining the True ROI When Investing in New HCM Systems

HCM ROI

Your decision to implement a new HRIS system may or may not factor-in a potential return on investment (ROI). Some systems are necessary regardless of cost (i.e., Payroll). Others (talent management, for instance) may require some level of financial justification.

Then there are some systems that clearly demonstrate a solid ROI. One obvious example is replacing a manual time and attendance collection process with an automated one. Automated T&A systems dramatically reduce time collection and processing hours (thereby reducing FTE’s), and reduce errors down to almost 0%. Not to mention stricter adherence to payroll policies.

Take the following example:

  • 500 employee company with an average $45,000 annual salary = $22,500,000 annual payroll
  • According to the American Payroll Association automating T&A can save a minimum of 1% of payroll = $225,000 annual savings
  • A typical SaaS-based T&A system (clocks, software, services, etc.) for a 500 employee firm will generally cost <$100,000 annually for a top-name system
  • That equates to a virtually instant ROI ($100K annual investment to save $225K annual payroll expense)

One caveat is the inclusion of hard dollar savings (i.e., less paper used) vs. soft dollar savings (i.e., FTE time). Why aren’t FTE savings a hard dollar benefit? Because payroll departments rarely cut headcounts, even if they can. More often than not, underutilized FTE resources are reallocated to other responsibilities.  But the overall benefits are still obvious.

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Leasing HRIT Systems vs. a SaaS Model

leasing vs. saas

Not all monthly payment plans are created equal. For the moment, let’s not address deployment technology (shared vs. dedicated server, hosted vs. on-premises, single tenant vs. multi-tenant, etc.).

Let’s just address exactly how you pay for HR systems. At the highest level, you can write big checks up front or you can make monthly payments (sometimes a combination of both). Writing big checks generally means you are essentially buying a software license (actually you are buying a perpetual use license) and paying for associated professional services. You “own” the system.

In a traditional SaaS model, you may pay something up front for implementation, but subsequently you make monthly “rental” payments in return for having access to the system. Generally there is a minimum term of maybe a 24-36 month commitment.

Deciding how to pay for the new systems boils down to where the available funds are appropriated — either capital (buy) or operating (rent) funds. That is right; you are essentially buying or renting the system, though the contract language may not state either terminology.

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We Moved to a Bigger Space Thanks to You

LBi Software New Building

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.

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Risks & Rewards of Applying for Internally Posted Job Opportunities

internal job posting

Many companies have a policy of posting available positions internally prior to seeking candidates in the open market. There are many advantages to this policy for both the organization and current employees. For employers, hiring from within can save time and money (i.e., recruiting fees). Additionally, the company already knows the potential internal candidate, lowering the risks of hiring a seemingly qualified candidate that was better at interviewing than actually performing the job at hand.

Recruiting from within the organization also shows employees that they have opportunities for growth within the company, helping to minimize the loss of quality workers that may feel unimportant or otherwise stagnant in their current role. Employees that are bored or generally not satisfied in their position are a clear flight risk.

It is common knowledge that training new hires is far more expensive and time consuming than training current employees.

So why not hire/promote from within? For one thing, it generally leaves a resource gap in the employee’s previous position. Stealing from Peter to feed Paul, as they say. For another, it can create animosity with the worker’s current co-workers, who may feel overlooked or forced to take on their colleague’s former responsibilities.

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When 1099 Workers Function as Full-time Employees

Many businesses occasionally (or even frequently) require the services of part-time and/or specialty contract workers. Workloads may be seasonable. New projects require talent that is not currently available on staff. The business cannot find qualified permanent employees. Whatever the reason, sometimes the company must hire 1099 workers.

1099 workers generally consume fewer HR resources because they are provided with fewer benefits, and they are paid without tax and other deductions. Generally they are not entitled to holiday pay, or any PTO pay. However, their hourly rate (or fixed base pay) is usually higher than their coworkers performing the same or similar tasks.

Here-in lies the potential problem. What if the 1099 “employee” actually works full-time and truly functions essentially as a full-time employee, particularly if the worker has been with the organization for many months, or even longer?

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HR Help Desk – Reporting & Analytics

customizable reports

LBi HR Help Desk provides a wide variety of standard and customizable reports that HR can use to improve their operations, as well as delivering analytics that can impact the entire organization. Whether users run standard reports or extract specific data points to use in external analytics systems such as Excel, Crystal, Business Objects or others, LBi HR Help Desk serves up the data HR demands to gain the most benefit out of their Shared Services systems.

Take a look at the key data items HR Help Desk collects in just one standard report template:

  • Case Details:
    • Employee ID
    • Employee Division/Department
    • Open/close dates
    • Days open
    • Overdue status
    • Case priority
    • Tier 0,1,2 response (resolution via self-service, Agent assistance, or escalated)
    • Case Owner
    • Case Originator
    • Case Category/subcategory
    • Issue & resolution text
    • Case created via (email, phone, portal, etc.)
    • Employee’s preferred response mechanism (phone, email, etc.)

From this single basic report template, users can extract data to create very powerful analytics, such as:

  • Case owner overdue performance comparison
  • Employees making excessive calls to HR, and the reasons for the calls, by department
  • Overdue status by case category/subcategory (i.e. comparing 401K issue status to Payroll issues)
  • Evaluating the self-service knowledge base effectiveness
  • Cases requiring the most escalation
  • Detailed Case load by date range (i.e., peak periods for specific case types, for planning/resource scheduling purposes)
  • Much more

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Should Performance Reviews Include Information from Social Media?

social media

In other words, is it acceptable to judge an employee’s performance on activities that occur outside of the office, even if those activities include disparaging the employer? Though laws and policies are different in different states and jurisdictions, the question is still valid.

It may seem obvious that employees (and really everyone) should not compromise themselves in any way online, but the facts show otherwise. People simply do dumb things all the time and post them for all to see. In reality, anything posted online in a publicly accessible page could be considered fair game to anyone else who decides to use that information freely.

What if the employee is posting a job search on LinkedIn? Is it reasonable that the employer’s view of the employee be impacted one way or another? Management may decide to cajole the employee with a positive review (and associated bonus). Or they may prefer to cut the cord and let the employee go prior to him/her actually resigning. In employment-at-will states, employers don’t even have to give a reason for dismissal, as long as the termination is not violating other laws such as discrimination.

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Is Cross-Training Employees Good for Business?

cross-training

The great majority of new employees are hired for a specific role within the organization. But in many cases new hires (and tenured workers) may be exposed to other functions they were not initially called on to perform. For instance, a payroll clerk may be called upon to handle some related employee benefits tasks. Or a shop floor worker, who has been trained on a particular discrete machining job, may be needed to temporarily substitute for another, absent employee.

Certainly employees, who are multi-faceted and can readily handle new challenges, are a tremendous asset to their employer – and to their own personal career aspirations. However, some employees may relish new responsibilities while others don’t.

Whether a company provides formal, structured training, or encourages learn-as-you-go on-the-job training, unquestionably employee training and education is good for business. But what happens when employees are pulled out of their comfort zone to handle unfamiliar duties? Unfortunately this occurs in companies large and small. “Fire drills” arise at unexpected times (hence the moniker “fire drill”). Unless a company has the ability to hire short-term temps to fill in the resource gaps, the situation quickly becomes “all hands on deck”.

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Using HR Help Desk Statistics to Determine HR Staff Requirements

hr analytics for staffing

The following post first appeared in 2015. 

Much has been written about finding the optimum ratio of HR staff to employee size. A SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Study has published a suggested ratio based purely on employee count:

The formula to calculate the ratio would be:

(HR Staff Count / Employee Count) x 100

For instance, a 1500 employee company with 10 HR personnel would have a ratio of 0.67, somewhat below the supposed target staff according to the table above (10/1500 * 100 = .67). In theory, based on the chart, 12 HR personnel would be optimal to manage 1500 employees.

SHRM suggests that not all HR staff should be factored into the count. Generally it is recommended to only include HR professionals who work as generalists, and those in areas such as benefits, compensation, labor relations and organizational effectiveness. They suggest that payroll and other specialized roles should not be included in the count.

Obviously this is an imperfect method and is loaded with multiple potential downsides. It does not take into consideration factors such as your industry, business specific circumstances, and the skill/experience of each individual HR worker. It also opens up the door to possible unsubstantiated staff cuts if your ratio is on the high side.

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The Evolution of Enterprise Software Selection

enterprise software selection

Back in the 80’s, when PC DOS-based (later Windows) Enterprise software sales began to increase, individual departments started to exert some control over the selection of applications. Previously, software decisions were largely left to IT and finance, with some level of input by end users and departmental stake holders.

Prior to the advent of the PC, Enterprise software was primarily mainframe based, and therefore very expensive to operate and maintain. Companies typically supported only 1 computer platform, so decision #1 was to find software that ran in that environment. The PC changed all that. In the early days micro-computer software was initially written for a single PC and user, as networking of PC’s was in its infancy (remember Novell Netware?). Software was also primarily meant for a single-function – such as for bookkeeping, shop-floor control or time tracking.

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Is Telecommuting Right For You and Your Employees?

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the new trend towards open office environments – no walls, no cubicles, and no privacy. The argument towards better collaboration and team spirit may or may not justify this almost draconian office design concept, depending on your point of view. Certainly any drastic change in your office design is going to garner at least mixed reviews and varying levels of acceptance.

In that last blog I suggested as an alternative offering employees the option of telecommuting if their functional role would lend itself to working remotely. Unfortunately not all jobs can be performed from home, but many can, at least occasionally.

So let’s explore the positives and negatives of telecommuting. First, can you check all of these eligibility boxes?:

  • Your work substantially is conducted on the phone and/or computer
  • Your work is generally conducted outside of the office anyway (i.e., sales or service)
  • Home computer work does not violate company security policies
  • Face to face meetings with managers and coworkers are infrequent or can be scheduled when you are in the office
  • You don’t require access to physical documents (file drawer stuff)
  • Management does not tend to micro-manage staff

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Are Open Office Environments Conducive to Greater Collaboration & Productivity?

Or not? There is a current trend in designing new office spaces around a wide open concept, in extreme cases providing seats at long contiguous tables in lieu of individual desks. The days of semi-private cubicles may be numbered. Partitions of any type are becoming scarce in many companies, even for managers and some executives.

In complete contrast, back in the 1980’s when Microsoft moved its corporate headquarters to a brand new campus in Redmond Washington, virtually every employee was provided with a private office — 4 real walls and a door (and a window for the lucky ones). And how did that work out for Microsoft? That’s in the history books.

Now companies like Facebook and others are literally breaking down the physical barriers and counting on greater employee engagement within the organization. In fact, Facebook’s headquarters is the largest open office environment in the world (see picture).

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How to Capitalize on Your HR Help Desk Data

hr helpdesk dashboard

You just invested in a shiny new HR Help Desk solution. You integrated it with your HRIS systems. HR and employees embraced the new tool. The new reports are awesome. Management now has a handle on the day-to-day workload. Problem areas are being identified and corrected. Love the new system.

Is that all there is? Isn’t that enough to justify the investment? Yes, but… let’s take it to the next level with analytics. Reports merely summarize the data; the Who, What, When and Where. Are you ready for the Why and How? Hopefully so. However, as they say – garbage in garbage out. Without the right data (and complete data) faulty analytics could send HR down the wrong mid and long term path.

The finest HR Help Desk systems are very good at collecting the right data points which HR can use to track trends, expose pain points, HR’s performance impact on the entire organization, and more. The Help Desk is designed to capture the right data, but it is up to each HR user to collect all of the data.

First and foremost, every contact between HR and employees must be captured as a case.  Most HR Help Desk systems offer a chat feature, and most of those allow a chat session to close without creating and saving as a new ticket. LBi HR Help Desk is designed such that a case must be opened first before initiating a chat dialog (we call it Employee Interactions). This feature forces the chat dialog to be saved to a permanent case record.

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Harnessing Big Data with HR Technology

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment
big data

The prominence of big data’s role in business has been growing steadily over the last few years. Today, it has reached every area of business, creating even a new name for data-driven companies — the “quantified organization.”

And HR has been no exception. In fact, the concept of people data has created a huge buzz, expanding ideas of what HR thought was possible with solving issues such as employee engagement, recruitment, retention, and more. But with all the scraping and storing of scores and scores of data, companies have run into a new conundrum — putting that data into action.

However, 2016 has seen new hope for the application of big data in HR. Deloitte University Press recently reported that the percentage of companies that feel ready or somewhat ready to use this data in people analytics jumped from 24 percent to 32 percent this year — one-third greater than last year.

Why all the hype? Sierra-Cedar reported in its “2014–2015 HR Systems Survey Results” that organizations with an environment of data-driven decisions have a 79 percent higher return on equity than non-quantified organizations. So it’s no wonder that businesses are beginning to look for the tools and methods that will best put their invaluable stores of data to work.

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To Cloud or Not to Cloud (Your HR Help Desk)

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment
Cloud Computing and Saas

As you are evaluating new HR Help Desk solutions (or really any business software system), one primary consideration is always the software and hardware platform.  SaaS? Hosted? In-house? “Which is better for my business”?

The choices are actually more varied than you might expect. Some vendors may offer only one option, while others such as LBi offer many choices.

As I have stated in previous blog posts, your system selection process should first evaluate if the system functionality substantially meets your requirements, and the vendor has a proven record of high quality support. Once that has been determined, then platform and architecture should be next in line for consideration. Somewhere in there is price — and we will get to that shortly.

Let’s walk through the most common deployment options, and their perceived pros and cons: …Read More

Increase the Security of Your Company Data with LBi HR HelpDesk 6.0

HR HelpDesk and Data Security

We created the new LBi HR HelpDesk 6.0 based on insightful feedback we received via polls and interviews with our users. One of the things we heard the most? A need for tighter security.

If data security is important to any department, it’s mission critical for HR. Because HR produces and gathers a high volume of sensitive information about your employees and company, the risk of that information being leaked or hacked is a real concern. In a world of digital communication and computerized or cloud-based information storage, all of your company’s conversations, documents, and data regarding benefits, payroll, complaints, hiring processes, and more can be vulnerable to exposure. When looking at an automated case management system for HR, it’s crucial that you’re able to have absolute confidence in your system.

Our users saw room for improvement to the security of our HR case manager and call-tracking workflow solution, and we listened. With LBi HR HelpDesk 6.0, we’re proud to provide you with not only a more user-friendly and functional update, but the most secure version of LBi HR HelpDesk yet. …Read More

How We Determined and Prioritized the New Features for HR HelpDesk 6.0

HelpDesk features

At a sales meeting last week I was asked how LBi Software determines and prioritizes the new features we add to HR HelpDesk. The answer was easy; we poll our users of the various versions – from the Free version to the Enterprise version. At least I thought the answer was easy. The tricky part is always in the prioritizing.

Making a list and checking it twice

Polling your user base is easy in concept. Setup a poll for the SaaS clients (Free, Pro and ProPlus versions) and have the Product Managers call the Enterprise clients directly. Should you have a predefined list of questions?  If so, aren’t you seeding the results?  How do you get the actual user preference? Should you use Free Form questions?

One easy solution was to take all of the SaaS features that were rolled out over the last 2+ years via continuous improvement and ask the Enterprise clients to indicate which ones would be important to them.

So we did all of the above — created Surveys, directly called select Pro and ProPlus clients, called all the Enterprise clients. We then gathered all the results and prioritized.

Prioritizing the list

Here is the problem, we prioritized the list. We lost some of the user preference. Sort of like a parent rearranging the kids list for Santa. The “we know better” attitude takes over. But in HR Case Management we do not know better than the user. In fact, in any application that is the case.

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What’s New: HR HelpDesk 6.0

At LBi Software, we offer innovative, comprehensive HR technology made by HR people, for HR people. So when we make changes to our software, we’ve got you at the forefront of our minds. We’re excited to announce HR HelpDesk 6.0 — the newest version of our case manager and call-tracking workflow solution that creates a rich and powerful knowledge base on the fly.

What’s new with HR HelpDesk 6.0?

Think tighter security, easier access, and better reporting. HR HelpDesk 6.0 will provide users with a modernized and simplified interface for easier employee access, better security, report improvements, and more.

We want the new HR HelpDesk to help you help your people. And you should be able to do that in a way that is safer, more efficient, and less of a headache.

We completely redesigned the Employee Self Service Portal and embedded a Google Translate service with over 99 languages to allow you and your employees to access the portal with ease and communicate in any language you need.

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When RFP Questions Cross the Line of Reasonability

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment
RFP

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).

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How Personal Should Employees Get with Personnel?

By | Compliance | Leave a comment
personal privacy for personnel

Employees often forget that HR works for the company, not them. HR has an obligation to keep personal employee information confidential, but there are limits, often not clearly spelled out in employee handbooks and other HR policy documents.

If an employee has personal “issues”, i.e., serious illness, legal problems, divorce, moving out of town, etc., that may potentially impact their performance at work, then HR can and will inform management of the problem. They have every right to know if employee performance may suffer due to personal circumstances.

HIPAA regulations are clearly written regarding release or sharing of an individual’s health information. But HIPAA does not cover 100% of situations where there is sharing of such material. For instance, one HIPAA provision states:

“The Privacy Rule excludes from protected health information employment records that a covered entity maintains in its capacity as an employer…”

One could read into this that anything you share with HR can go into your employee record, and therefore be exempt from HIPAA compliance.

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Should You Ignore Questionable Social Media Posts from Job Applicants and Employees?

Over the past decade, employer reviews of social media accounts rose by around 500 percent, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Employers report using social media to investigate potential new hires and to communicate with — and check up on — existing employees. While the practice of involving social media in the employer/employee relationship is still being debated, if you do decide to review social media, you might not want to take every post into account.

Social Media Isn’t a Complete Picture

Brands today know that social media isn’t a complete picture of any person or company. A single joke made in poor taste or a photo of a night partying doesn’t actually tell you much about a person’s skills, work ethic or overall personality. Instead of reacting to single pieces of content, look for a pattern or trend that would be concerning for your workplace. If you refuse to hire anyone who has at least one questionable social media post, you’ll have a hard time finding any candidates.

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How to Mentor New Hires

A mentorship is an excellent way to help a new employee learn the basics of your company and its culture. No matter what size your corporation, start by introducing each employee to their mentor at orientation. The employee can then pose questions to the mentor during and after the onboarding process. After the onboarding process is complete, you may be interested in having the mentee shadow, regularly talk with, or be formally trained by the mentor.

The Role of Mentorships in Small and Large Companies

In small companies, mentorships bring together experienced employees and new, often younger employees. The relationship builds the bond between people of different generations and strengthens the connections within the company. It also allows operations to proceed more smoothly. In large companies, mentorships train new individuals who would otherwise get lost in the crowd. The mentor becomes the “go-to” person for the new employee, who might not know how to approach higher-ups and may not understand complex hierarchies. In both small and large companies, the mentor acts as a resource for the new employee. The mentor remains a stable, helpful guide who anchors them in place and makes them feel at home.

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Adding Unconventional But Practical Client-Requested Features

Talking to customers (and prospects) about the software products and services you provide is extremely important to ensure their ongoing satisfaction and exceeding of expectations. Whether you have a formal process such as user groups, online survey forms, or just picking up the phone to gain feedback, customer input is critical to your business growth.

Your clients will tell you what they like, what they don’t like, and what they would like to see in future software releases. With this input, your business solutions will stay ahead of the curve competitively.

Although it is impractical to accept every new feature suggestion, those that fit within your business strategy, and have gained some consensus from multiple clients, will be destined for new versions.

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The 3 Things Millennials Secretly Want from You (Hint: It’s Not Higher Pay)

What Millennials Want

Labor demographics are changing rapidly, and as a generation, Millennials now make up the largest percentage of the workforce. As a result, this group has a strong influence on management practices. Smart employers are adapting to new ways of doing business in order to stay competitive. Those that choose to stick with traditional methods of attracting and retaining workers are quickly becoming obsolete, because they haven’t recognized that Millennials want much more than a simple raise in pay.

Flexibility: Work/Life Balance Isn’t Enough

To attract Millennials looking for their next job, it’s not enough to tout “work/life balance.” With today’s technology, most employees have accepted that they are always available by phone and email. Millennials are comfortable with a BYOD (bring your own device) culture, and they prefer video chat, instant messaging and texting to in-person communication.

Instead of work/life balance, Millennials want assurance that they will have flexibility in where, when and how they get their work done. Some are calling this “work/life blend,” in which employees are free to take a few hours for a child’s soccer game in the middle of the afternoon, with the understanding that they will catch up after the kids are in bed.

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Sierra-Cedar 2016-17 HR Systems Survey

HR Systems Survey

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.

…Read More

Five Ways Data Analytics Can Help Your Business Succeed

data analytics

As a company grows, it can become increasingly important to ensure that the daily running of the business is as simplified as possible. However, even in today’s modern technological times, the vast majority of companies are still using outdated methods for managing employees. As human resources departments face increasingly complex business changes, the use of data analytics can make a significant difference in a company’s employee quality, as well as the overhead spent on hiring, training and even retaining good workers.

Simplify Hiring

In the past, many companies made the majority of their hiring decisions based on a couple of basic things. First, HR professionals reviewed stacks of resumes, setting aside the few that stood out among the rest. Then, they scheduled an interview with each potential new hire. Whether the interview process consisted of one or multiple face-to-face interviews, the hiring manager was still faced with a huge amount of responsibility in choosing the best candidate for each position almost solely based on their own personal instincts. Data analytics, however, enables the HR department of a company to make decisions based on specific data rather than the candidate’s appearance or personality traits.

…Read More

Top 10 Rules for PowerPoint

PowerPoint slides

OK, PowerPoint is cool. You can add strange sounds, video, odd text shapes, weird slide transitions, squiggly paths for text entrance, and many, many other unusual effects to your presentations. If you don’t believe me, just look at the presentations your 3rd grade child is creating in school.

But we are adults, presenting to adult audiences. No one is more impressed than you at the oddities you threw into your slide deck. Frankly, only you are impressed by your PPT talents. The rest of us get dizzy and distracted, and lose the point you are trying to make.

On the flip side, plain text on a plain background will put your viewers to sleep. I promise you that.

So where is the balance? Yes, there is one, and it starts with 10 simple rules to follow:  Here they are: …Read More

How Increased Employee Retention Enhances Your Bottom Line

employee retention

Most businesses grossly underestimate the true cost of turnover, and they pay the price when they allow strategic engagement and retention planning to fall by the wayside. Such initiatives are more than just good public relations. They create a culture in which employees stay with the company longer, are more productive at work and provide the priceless word-of-mouth and social media advertising that creates a high-quality employer brand.

Who Are Today’s Job Seekers and Why Are They Jumping Ship?

In a survey of more than 5,000 job seekers and 2,000 hiring managers, CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior Study made a startling discovery. Three out of four employees are open to or actively seeking a new position. While not all are sending out resumes during their time away from work, this figure represents the full extent of the population in danger of being wooed away by friendly recruiters looking for top talent through social media.

The study explored the impetus behind employees’ increasing willingness to take new positions. While the reasons vary from frustration with limited development opportunities to dissatisfaction with compensation and benefits, the underlying theme is low engagement. Employers are simply not offering the type of work environment and company culture that inspires staff members to stay.

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Confidentiality is Critical for your HR Help Desk

The single most critical difference between LBi HR Help Desk and more generic IT help desk systems is the concept of confidentiality. Any help desk solution can automatically route tickets to a specific individual or group based on company workflow rules. Generic systems may also be able to prevent unauthorized eyes from opening and editing particular cases.

LBi HR Help Desk goes a step further and literally hides any confidential cases from the view of unauthorized users. In other words, confidential cases will not show up on any user’s search results, filtered lists or reports unless they are assigned the case (or are the case owner’s manager). It is like the case doesn’t even exist to unassigned users.

In LBi’s hosted environment, even IT doesn’t have access to the entire database (unless explicitly approved by HR).

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How Big Data is Transforming Human Resources

Datafication How Big Data is Transforming Human Resources

Advances in technology have transformed the role of human resources (HR) professionals over the past 50 years. Today’s HR specialists are expected to take on strategic planning that adds value to the company’s bottom line — a big change from HR’s early days of basic data entry.

In the very near future, the role of HR will shift again. While strategic planning will remain at the forefront of HR responsibilities, rapid changes in technology are revolutionizing the way strategic decisions are made.

Linking Data Analysis to Strategic Planning

In a global survey of C-level executives, researchers at KPMG determined 82 percent of organizations plan to increase their use of data analysis to make human-capital-related strategic decisions over the next two or three years. Evidence-based HR will be standard practice, and HR professionals without the skills needed to analyze big data and apply findings to strategic planning will find themselves left behind.

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The Benefits of Custom Software Development

Packaged (off-the-shelf) software vs. a custom software solution — that is the question. Actually it’s not that simple a question anymore. Today there are many hybrid software alternatives, which start with a packaged solution that can be quickly modified to meet the customer’s exacting business requirements.

In the “old days” — remember PC DOS and mainframes — most business software was custom built from scratch due to the lack of availability of flexible industry-specific packaged systems. Yes there were some standard accounting systems, manufacturing systems, HR systems, etc., but in large part business software (particularly for large organizations) was written directly to customer requirements. Software was written in everything from low level machine code (0’s and 1’s), Assembly language, COBOL, BASIC and other “higher” languages. Many companies were rightfully wary of custom solutions due to the difficulty of debugging and supporting these systems, but often had no choice.

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How to Engage Your Remote Workforce

remote workforce

Many of today’s businesses have multiple sites around the country and around the world, and telecommuting employees are less uncommon than before. Technology designed to bring employees together despite their geography isn’t new; however, the growing trend towards employing remote staff members has organizations looking at this technology in a new way. Tools that were once too costly to share with employees working from home offices are now more affordable, making it easier to connect remote workers and increase their engagement, regardless of physical location. Employers have more options now than ever to bring their virtual workers closer to the business.

Creating Personal and Professional Relationships
One of the primary drivers of employee engagement is the personal and professional relationships between team members. Frequent communication and time spent face-to-face builds trust, making teams far more effective. However, remote employees find developing these relationships challenging, as their primary method of communication is through email and instant message. In fact, one study determined that a full 81 percent of virtual employees consider development of rapport and trust within a virtual team the number one work related concern.

Fortunately, travel is no longer required for face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing technology is now so economical that businesses can offer the option to all remote employees without incurring significant expenses. Staff members find they can fully participate in relationship building with colleagues through daily use of video conferencing applications, and they are comfortable with the technology because it is now an everyday form of communication between family and friends.

Adding a Personal Touch
Increased use of inexpensive video conferencing, instant messaging and other forms of communication are proven relationship builders, but they can’t entirely replace the personal touch. Consider organizing regular in-person meetings, first when the team is formed, and then at least once a year. Spending several days together gives virtual colleagues an opportunity to develop solid personal relationships through informal interactions, which facilitates effective collaboration through virtual channels later. …Read More

The Risks and Rewards of Utilizing Offshore Technology Services

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment

The availability, skillset, and quality of Information Technology (IT) resources varies greatly from organization to organization. Regardless of company size, IT resources may be readily accessible when needed, or not. And frequently not. Whether HR has a large application development project to manage or merely needs a special one-off data analysis report, more often than not the IT backlog will dictate the timing of the project delivery date. And the nature of IT’s skills will determine the quality of work.

For more business and mission critical projects that simply cannot be delayed, HR must turn to outside vendors, which is generally the best decision anyway. Service providers that specialize in HR usually can deliver a more reliable, robust, scalable, and extensible solution, because that is their specific area of expertise. Not to mention on-time and on-budget delivery is now governed by a contract and not internal priorities. This becomes a cost savings as well when you add in the advantages of SaaS and cloud hosting.

After all, if your home air conditioning system breaks down, most people would call an HVAC technician over a handyman, right? You might pay a little more but the service will invariably be superior.

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The Client / Vendor Business Relationship

Currently I am reading Things That Matter, by conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer. It is a compilation of articles the author has published over the last few decades covering a wide variety of subjects of greatest importance to him, and in his humble opinion, topics that also impact the general public.

The topics range from the personal to the political to the existential. Subjects range from his view of Winston Churchill as the single most important person to humanity in the last 100 years, to how and why the American Kennel Club is attempting (albeit inadvertently) to dumb down the most intelligent of canines, the Border Collie.

This book got me thinking — what are the things that matter most to me? I will save that for my first book. However, I would like to opine on a particular subject near and dear to my heart — and hopefully yours — things that matter in vendor/client relationships. Even if you are not a business person, you cannot avoid daily vendor/client relationships. Think about the coffee you just bought at Starbucks or the gas station attendant that filled up your car.

Some relationships are one-time events but many are not. And in business, vendor relationships are often long term in nature. Whether the vendor is supporting your HRIS system or cleans your office, business relationships typically span a number of years. Knowing that in advance, why is it that occasionally either the vendor OR client will still attempt to take some unfair advantage of the other party – even though animosity can and often will create lasting tensions beginning early in the partnership, yes, partnership? Hidden costs or product misrepresentation are common vendor transgressions. Unpaid invoices and new “scope creep” demands are just a few client offenses.

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LBi HR HelpDesk Tips and Tricks – Extracting Data From Reports

HR HelpDesk Data Tools

All good Help Desk report writing tools offer multiple data sorting and filtering options, providing the user with the specific view they require for a specific report. But what if the resulting report presents some extraneous data, or possibly is missing desired data points that may not be included in that particular report template?

Novice and non-technical users generally are not provided access directly to the underlying database, and even if they were they wouldn’t know how to use it for customized reporting. Crystal and other popular report writers, often used as the reporting engine in business applications, try to provide a reasonably simple tool for creating or modifying reports, though these tools are far too complex for the average user.

And don’t bother contacting IT for assistance. Take a number and they will get back to you.

So, how would you like to run a report thinking “I don’t need these 2 fields, but I would like to add a different field; and create a different presentation of the report. And accomplish that in a few mouse clicks.” That would be nice, right? …Read More

The Importance of Multi-Language Capability in HR Software

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment
Multi-language

If your organization is multi-national, then you already understand the requirement for multi-language versions of business software. Whether the software application is employee-facing (i.e., HR Help Desk or Time & Attendance) or not, your multi-national workforce may necessitate the adoption of systems that provide multiple language versions.

However, even very small organizations can have the same or similar language issues. In the US today, there is tremendous growth in the Hispanic population, as well as steady immigration from Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The chances of SMBs having some predominately non-English speaking employees are very high. Proactive companies are providing English as a second language classes for their foreign-born employees, helping them assimilate into American culture.

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Five Powerful but Easy Microsoft Excel Tips for the Novice

Here are a few of my favorite, and often used, Excel features. These selected functions can greatly simplify daily Excel tasks. They are non-technical and easy to remember.

1. Naming ranges

Have you ever gotten lost trying to enter a complex formula, or understood whether it has even been written correctly? Which formula below would be easier to understand?:

  1. =SUM(A5:D5)*SUM(D7:F7)+SUM(Sheet2!C9:C14)
  2. =SUM(Quantity*Cost)+Overhead

The next time you need to reference a range of cells or an individual cell in a formula, just highlight that range or cell and click on the Name Range dropdown box (directly above Cell A1), and type in a descriptive name. Now, when you write the formula use the range name instead of the actual cell range.

Use this feature especially when others need to access and review your Excel sheet. Naming ranges will speed the review and auditing process.

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Determining the ROI on HR Business Systems – or Not

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment
HR Systems ROI

Return on Investment (aka ROI) implies at some future point you get your money back after the investment is made. There is an initial financial investment, and an eventual “return” of those dollars (and then some, hopefully) down the road.

Depending on the system being implemented, calculating your potential ROI can be simple math or a much more complex process. Are there truly hard-dollar quantifiable savings — elimination of paper records and storage, staffing cuts, etc? Or are the savings more in the soft-dollar category, such as time saved or greater employee satisfaction? Probably, with HR systems, it will be a combination of both.

 

Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership

First you have the task of attempting to accurately quantify the numbers. How much does all that paper actually cost? And did the staff cuts force new overtime pay for the remaining employees, cutting FTEs with little to no drop in overall payroll expense? Did employee satisfaction improvements result in measurable productivity gains and/or lower turnover? Can you even determine that?

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HR System Integration vs. Application Interfaces – A Tutorial

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment

Literally (not virtually) 100% of LBi HR Help Desk clients require connectivity to their internal HR system (or application), and often to other systems as well, such as Payroll, Talent Management, data analytics systems and others. These connections may range from real or near-real time, to hourly, daily, or even less frequently.

Connectivity (we will discuss integration vs. interface shortly) can be one directional or bidirectional, depending on the client requirements. Therefore, it is critical for HR to carefully plan which systems need to be connected, and to what level.

Vendors will primarily use the term “integration” generically when discussing data connectivity; but what is the difference between integration and interface? And why should you care? You should care because different connectivity methods require differing skill sets and timeframes. If your IT staff is short-handed you may run past deadlines and deployment goals, not to mention presenting ongoing support concerns.

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Don’t Use Your IT Help Desk for HR

Don't Use Your IT Help Desk for HR

When seeking a new case management system for HR, many HR organizations opt for the easy decision of using the company’s existing IT Help Desk solution. Why not? It has similarities to an HR specific system. It has been used successfully by IT for years. It’s feature rich, lower cost, and possibly even no cost to expand the system into the HR department.

Then comes the painful reality of critical differences between IT focused systems and HR-centric systems. And as many people know, once a system is in place it will be very difficult to replace later. You will probably have to live with your selection for years to come.

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SaaS and the Cloud: They’re Different

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment
SaaS and cloud computing are different and do not mean the same thing

Why are cloud computing and SaaS (Software as a Service) so often used interchangeably – incorrectly? Well, clearly, most assume a SaaS offering is in the cloud due to its inherent low cost. But that is not true; a SaaS application could reside on a fixed or virtual server. Likewise, cloud computing should not imply SaaS: any application, including single tenant apps, can be hosted in the cloud.

Vendors and service providers put their own spin on SaaS and the cloud to suit their needs, which makes it even more difficult to understand the differences.

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HR Technology: Ensuring Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality

By | Data Security | Leave a comment

Regardless of what software and hosting they use, all HR leaders share one thing in common: They want to be sure their HR applications can deliver three mission-critical objectives — privacy, security, and confidentiality.

In HR case management, here’s how those three important objectives are defined and achieved:

  1. Confidentiality — Cases are accessible depending on their category or type of case and on rules set up by the organization. Confidentiality is meant to protect the case because of its assumed sensitivity or for legal reasons, and also to protect the identity of the employee and others involved. Examples include claims of sexual harassment, employee theft, and complaints about managers.
  2. Privacy — Cases are accessible only by authorized users based on the type of case and, largely, on the desires of the employee. For example, an employee may have a general HR question and want the response to be kept private. HR may not consider the topic one that demands confidentiality. LBi HR HelpDesk ensures privacy between the employee and HR by letting employees determine how they receive their responses during the handling of their case — email, in-person or directly by phone, for example.
  3. Security — Security is all about protecting data and information, and it’s delivered in various ways:
    • LBi HR HelpDesk Enterprise, for example, uses a single-tenant model with hosting on its dedicated server option including a dedicated hardware firewall. In our SaaS multi-tenant model (Pro and ProPlus) the data is stored in separate schemas divided by client so that “records are not co-mingled”.
    • Data is “encrypted at rest” to increase security. Data at rest is any data that’s not moving over a network or temporarily residing in computer memory to be read or updated (an HR case form that an employee has downloaded, for example). Encrypting data at rest requires password-based access if the server is ever unplugged and rebooted — or accessed by an unauthorized user.
    • Key PII (personal identifiable information) data fields such as Social Security Number or Bank Account info are further encrypted at the field level.
    • LBi HR HelpDesk Enterprise hosting offers “intrusion detection” at the server level that’s physically monitored around the clock.
    • The LBi HR HelpDesk application (and all our applications) are designed and developed using the secure coding principles from the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).

…Read More

Keeping Confidential HR Data Confidential

At LBi, virtually 100% of the systems we develop and support maintain at least some level of private and confidential employee information. Along with the essentials of Social Security Number, date of birth, home address, etc., our systems may also contain work background information, personal health information and other personally identifiable data as well. Therefore, it goes without saying that our clients require the highest level of data confidentiality possible, since a data breach can be costly and inconvenient at best and financially devastating at worst.

Whether our systems are hosted by LBi or deployed on the client’s internal servers, data protection and security is always the #1 concern. During the project stage, critical questions are asked about the vendor’s security measures as well as the data security processes of the hosting provider — not to mention confidentiality features built into the actual system.

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Summertime in HR

The lazy days of summer are finally here. Time for that long-deserved vacation from work and the daily grind. Whether you are a shop-floor worker, business manager, or a senior executive, summertime is the most popular time of year to “vacate”.

Though most businesses don’t shut down during the summer, business activity often slows down because clients, prospects, vendors, and partners are also heading for the beach, mountains, or wherever their desires take them.

So now is a great time for HR to kick back and enjoy the relaxed pace, right? Yes, but… there are still SLAs to honor, paychecks to get out on time, and other workplace issues to address. Additionally, many employee self-service HR applications are supported on mobile devices, so employees can now engage HR anytime, anywhere, with the expectation that HR is there for them when needed. With staffing levels likely lower during the summer season, HR still maintains the responsibility to support the employee population, whether they are on the job or on leave.

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Help Employees and the Company Thrive by Supporting Continuing Education

Encouraging employees to continue their education can increase your company’s profits, improve productivity and create more committed employees. Spending around $680 on education and training per employee returns an annual investment of around 6 percent, according to a study from the Association for Talent Development. Give your employees the tools they need to succeed by helping them choose the best options for their education. Here’s how to get started.

Create an employee action plan
Before talking with employees about their education goals, determine what type of support the company will offer. Consider implementing a tuition reimbursement program, paying for books or supporting specific degrees or areas of interest. Businesses that can’t afford a tuition reimbursement program but still want to support their employees’ education can offer a flexible schedule for classes and study time.

Next, sit down with your employees individually and figure out an education action plan that benefits both the company and them. Ask your employee to draft up a proposal of what type of courses or degrees would benefit their career and how they expect it to fold into their day-to-day responsibilities while helping them grow professionally. Create guidelines for how time away from work will be handled and whether employees must pay back fees if they stop taking classes.

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Determining HR Staff Requirements with HR Help Desk Statistics

hr analytics for staffing

 

Much has been written about finding the optimum ratio of HR staff to employee size. A SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Study has published a suggested ratio based purely on employee count:

The formula to calculate the ratio would be:

(HR Staff Count / Employee Count) x 100

For instance, a 1500 employee company with 10 HR personnel would have a ratio of 0.67, somewhat below the supposed target staff according to the table above (10/1500 * 100 = .67). In theory, based on the chart, 12 HR personnel would be optimal to manage 1500 employees.

SHRM suggests that not all HR staff should be factored into the count. Generally it is recommended to only include HR professionals who work as generalists, and those in areas such as benefits, compensation, labor relations and organizational effectiveness. Payroll and other specialized roles should not be counted.

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Increase Productivity & Job Satisfaction with Employee Incentives

If your employees seem unmotivated, they might be in a slump. Only 30 percent of workers in America are actively engaged in their jobs, according to a recent Gallup survey. The decline in employee engagement reportedly began in 2008 during the Great Recession, when job security and unpredictability were at the forefront of concern and positive attitudes plummeted.

Today, human resources departments understand more than ever that rewards and recognition can play a key role in helping businesses increase productivity and create an overall happier workplace.

Reclaim your workforce by implementing an innovative rewards program that includes compensation, gifting, recognition, and perks. Here are a few ways to get started!

…Read More

Sierra-Cedar 2015-16 HR Systems Survey

Sierra-Cedar 2015-2016

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.

…Read More

Leverage HR Case Management to Help Keep Your Best Employees

Leverage HR Case Management to Keep Best Employees

Keeping top talent has become an increasing concern for HR, and it’s a challenge that’s expected to get more difficult, according to SHRM and others. Yet all too often, it’s only after the fact — during the exit interview and maybe not even then — that managers learn why departing employees are disgruntled.

“The only time the average manager thinks about retention is when she or he receives a resignation from an employee,” say B. Lynn Ware and Bruce Fern in their research report “The Challenge of Retaining Top Talent: The Workforce Attrition Crisis.” “We also found that most managers predictably attempt to talk departing employees out of leaving, trying to convince them that they are making a mistake.”

…Read More

Prevent Identity Theft from Happening to Your Small Business

By | Compliance | Leave a comment

Identity theft isn’t just limited to individuals. Businesses are also targets. Identity thieves steal personal information and use it to open accounts and make purchases. Luckily, there are certain things you can do to keep your small business safe.

Regularly Review Your Business Banking Agreements
Business bank accounts fall under the UCC, which states that businesses have less time to report fraud and identity theft than consumers do. Businesses also have more liability when it comes to fraud. Because of this, it’s important that you review your banking agreements. The organization Business ID Theft says you should be aware of your bank’s policies, especially those regarding your business’s liability for fraud.

Develop a Defense Plan
The U.S. Small Business Administration advises small businesses to develop a defense plan to ensure your company’s identity is protected. By designing a detailed plan you can protect your business’s identity as well as put an action plan in place in case your business falls prey to identity theft.

Use Encryption
By encrypting your data you will minimize your chances of having your identity stolen. Employees or outsiders can steal this data. However, according to Lawrence R. Rogers, one of the senior members of the technical team of Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, encrypted data is similar to shredded paper. The thief may be able to tape all of the little pieces of paper together, but it takes so much time and so many resources the data itself will be useless by the time he is done. …Read More

LBi HR HelpDesk: Delivering the Choices Our Customers Need

No business application can be all things to all people, but with the right team behind it, it can certainly come close. Rather than taking the “build it and they will come” strategy, successful software developers continually research their market and listen closely to what their customers and prospects are asking for.

You have spoken and LBi has listened. Whether your business is a 10 employee startup or a multinational conglomerate, LBi has an HR Case Management solution for you. From our LBi HR HelpDesk Free edition to the fully featured world-class LBi HR HelpDesk Enterprise, LBi has your business covered.

Designed explicitly for HR, and fully capable in virtually any industry, LBi’s 4 classes of HR HelpDesk cover every common client feature request from free and low cost online SaaS versions to in-the-box multi language support. Some clients desire the convenience and low cost of a cloud-based solution. We delivered. Larger and more security minded organizations still insist on dedicated server hosting or on-premises deployments. We delivered. Multi-language needs?  How about 90 different language options via the new embedded Google Translate on-the-fly language translation service? We delivered.

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HR Help Desk vs. IT Help Desk – It’s all about the Vendor’s Experience

Much has been written (including by yours truly) about the benefits of an HR specific help desk solution for the HR department, versus repurposed IT or generic CRM systems. Features such as enhanced security and confidentiality, HR specific workflow processes, and HIPAA compliance are well documented and are core requirements of most HR organizations.

In the end, however, isn’t it really more about the vendor’s expertise working with HR than it is about the application features? HR personnel may inherently know what they need in a help desk / case management system, but they cannot necessarily correlate their business needs with the features of a pre-packaged help desk solution. That task is left to the system’s implementation team (aka the vendor).

For instance, HR needs the ability to tag particularly sensitive cases as confidential, viewable and accessible strictly to the case owner.  But most IT-modified systems don’t deal with the concept of confidentiality. What is confidential about a PC error or someone’s telephone not working – common tickets in an IT help desk system.  Can the vendor (and product) handle that requirement appropriately?

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Increase the Influence of Your HR Data to Win Friends and Influence People

One of the key imperatives from the C-suite for HR this year, according to the CEB’s Leadership Council Research, is to increase the influence of HR data in the enterprise organization.

In fact, developing and applying measurement strategies that “ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and business alignment” is among the 10 best practices of “high-impact HR organizations,” according to research from Bersin by Deloitte.

Yet only 8 percent of senior HR leaders “believe they are getting returns on their talent analytics investments, and only 15 percent of business leaders have changed a decision in the past year as a result of data from HR,” according to the CEB report.

It’s a sad irony, considering the mountain of people data at HR’s fingertips.

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Automated HR Case Management: Helping Move HR From an Administrative Services Provider to a Service Organization

Over the last decade, HR has gradually evolved from being a provider of administrative services into a service organization. HR today provides greater value for the business and delivers a breadth of automated people functions. As a result, HR technology, HR data systems, and HR resources are all now tasked with delivering valuable services for the entire enterprise organization.

HR no longer merely provides benefits administration. HR today is tasked with helping drive strategy, burnish the company brand, influence retention and recruiting, identify workplace trends, and more. For example, research from The Hackett Group, a global strategic business advisory and operations improvement consulting firm, found in 2013 that HR leaders were focusing on strategies for “process improvement, including cost reduction and standardization of processes, data, technology, and organizational culture; improving the effectiveness of talent management; obtaining more value from data to enable better decisions; and expanding the use of technology.”

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HR Technology: Giving HR Better Data, Not Just More Data

Deloitte’s recent report, “Global Human Capital Trends 2015,” is a wake-up call for HR leaders who are paying attention. For starters, the report ranks learning and development as the third most important talent management challenge facing business this year (the most important challenge was culture and engagement, followed by leadership).

But while three times more companies rated learning and development as very important this year compared with 2014, only 40 percent of respondents rated their organizations as “ready” or “very ready” in learning and development in 2015. That compares with 75 percent in 2014.

What that means is that while we keep hearing about how rapidly business is changing and how HR is transforming, HR continues to fall further behind. HR leaders need to take stock and decide what role they’ll play and how they’ll deal with the changes.

One part of the problem is that HR is being inundated with data, and the C-suite is asking HR to step up and play a more strategic role. But often those skills are not necessarily in HR’s wheelhouse. More to the point, more data is rarely the answer.

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Big Data Analysis for the Rest of Us

Ok, we have all heard about Big Data. But we leave the techie stuff up to our highly skilled IT folks, in order to tame those massive volumes of information so we neophytes can make sense of it all. Enough has been written about the value of Big Data, so we won’t repeat the obvious here. The cold hard fact is that Big Data, when fully understood and properly analyzed, is a game changer for many HR organizations.

That’s just great when you have a fully staffed IT department waiting by the phone for you to call with a new analytics project request. Oh, they are busy right now? And maybe for the next few weeks or months? Sound familiar? Unfortunately, those of us that crave that big data analytics value proposition just didn’t graduate from college with a computer science degree. Humanities, psychology, business, accounting, maybe. I don’t know about you, but my form and analysis professor (music major here) never mentioned Big Data. Not once. Sonata Rondo form structure, yes. Big Data, no.

To be clear, serious analysis like that discussed in LBi’s recent whitepaper “The Power of HR Analytics in the Quantified Organization”, requires careful planning and execution. In order to answer tough questions such as “What drives high-performance sales teams?” “Who will be our best leaders?” “How can we change behavior to improve customer retention?”, we need IT to be all-in with HR. Big Data analytics in HR must encompass more and more non-HR data sets such as sales and supply chain data. Additionally, as the whitepaper suggests, by embedding these services within business process applications, real-time analytics with current data can readily accelerate management and executive decisions, thereby truly creating a competitive edge.

However, we may just occasionally be forced on our own to jump into the Big Data pile heap and figure it all out. It can be done. Trust me.

The answer lies in Microsoft Excel’s glorious Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts. Just one slightly techie skill. Not too much to ask.

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Without a Goal and a Plan, Big Data and Powerful Technology Will Only Move HR So Far

What does the datafication of HR mean to you? What about for your organization? How do you think the role of HR technology has changed to meet the demands of the quantified organization? Which trends in HR technology do you think will have the next most immediate impact on HR practitioners, their organizations, and their employees?

How the datafication of HR fits into the quantified organization is the focus of a new paper from LBi Software in which several observers of the HCM space weigh in on this timely topic. In a nutshell, here are my thoughts on the subject, drawn from the paper’s conclusion:

  1. The first important thing for HR to have when it comes to using big data is a goal. Yet having a goal for big data — having a project, a hypothesis, a strategic business pain you want to understand more clearly — is probably the most overlooked element when an organization of any size sets out to develop its people data through new technology.
  2. The second important thing HR needs if it wants to fully leverage big data is the necessary tools to analyze the data from throughout the organization — not just from HR’s people data.

Without those two linchpins, the power of HR technology and its trends for the future will fall short of expectations.

LBi sought insight into what HR leaders ought to be thinking about when it comes to using more-powerful tools for gathering and analyzing data; how HR technology has evolved as part of the growing demand for people data to help drive business decisions; and what HR technology trends will have the most immediate impact in the datafied organization.

We reached out to five engaging and diverse industry thought leaders:

Encouraging Employees AND Employers to Use HR Self-Service Tools

self-service

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.

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Putting "HR Help" Back in the HR Help Desk

HR Hep

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.”

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Manage Talent Better with an HR Help Desk

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

Great Employee Self-Service Portals: Now More Than Ever

employee self-service portal

 

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

How to Green Up Your Workspace

Have you ever noticed that you feel different when surrounded by nature or when there are plants nearby? New research conducted by the University of Exeter shows that employees are happier and up to 15 percent more productive in work environments with plants than in environments without any greenery.

Green Is Good for Productivity

Academics from the University of Exeter, the University of Queensland, Australia, and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands carried out a long-term experiment comparing employees in two large commercial offices in the UK and the Netherlands. They monitored one office with plants and one without plants and measured employees’ perceptions of air quality, workplace satisfaction, concentration and productivity levels. The results show significant increases in all three areas of employee perception in the work environment with plants and a 15 percent increase in productivity. Researchers believe that the plants help employees to be more physically, cognitively and emotionally involved in their work.

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The Importance of ROI When Evaluating Ancillary Business Systems


There is a general category of software based business systems that is considered mission critical to most organizations. Very few companies can operate without a general ledger package, a payroll system (or service), HRIS system, as well as industry specific systems for time and billing, manufacturing, distribution, etc. Final selection of these applications (often through an RFP process) is generally based on a combination of factors such as required functionality, ease of use, integration with other internal systems, and cost. Ultimately, regardless of whether these systems can actually save time and/or money, the business needs them and choices are made.

Where ROI (Return on Investment) analysis starts to become a greater factor in product selection is when internal business units (such as HR) are seeking out ancillary systems, sometimes referred to as “bolt-on” solutions. Examples are Data Warehouses, HR Recruiting systems, Performance Review systems, Case/ticket Management, etc. Products in this category may not be viewed as mission critical to the entire organization, but rather are considered more business critical — important primarily to the specific business group seeking the solution. In other words, the company would not shut down without them, although business operations could likely be greatly improved with them.

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Managing Human Resources Service Level Agreements (SLA)

By | Compliance | Leave a comment

With the advent of productive office automation systems in HR, management now has the tools to create, track, and effectively adhere to standards of service delivered to their employees.  Modern HR systems for time and attendance automation, case management, talent management, and more all provide the ability to set unambiguous SLAs and analyze actual HR performance results.

So what is the best process for defining specific SLA standards for specific tasks and functions?  Some tasks, such as handling FMLA requests or payroll errors, are likely already defined by the government or your current company policies.  But since newer, more comprehensive computer systems provide the ability to be much more granular in task management automation, service levels for many other discrete tasks may now have to be developed and agreed to.

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3 Design Tips to Increase Office Productivity

There are some office configurations that are simply more conducive to productivity than others. A 2013 survey of 42,000 office workers by the University of Sydney found that open-plan spaces — those that have employees seated in large spaces without walls separating them — lower office productivity and morale. Researchers concluded the lack of privacy, personal space and perpetual noise were the biggest factors in lowering productivity.

These results contradicted the industry-accepted idea of open-plan spaces benefiting work environments. They also showed that the layout of your office can make all the difference between a distracted staff and one that is content and comfortable, and thus productive. Here are three additional ideas to help create an environment that boosts morale and subsequently, productivity. …Read More

HR Technology Is Changing to Work for David and Goliath

If there’s one thing we learned coming out of HR Tech this year, it’s that HR technology is truly evolving to provide software solutions designed and intended from the start to work just as well for smaller companies as larger ones.

It’s true that HR technology designed for companies with fewer than 2,000 employees has been around for at least a handful of years. Steve Boese, one of the most influential surveyors of the HR technology landscape, wrote in 2009 that there already was “no shortage of competitors” with systems for storing the “demographic, work history, and sometimes payroll and benefits information” for the non-enterprise organization.

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HR Tech 2014 Recap: HR HelpDesk Rated “E” for Everyone

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment

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.

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Why HR Needs Technology Rated “E” for Everyone — #HRTechConf

With more than 25 years of experience creating and delivering intuitive technology solutions that simplify HR administration, we’ve learned that regardless of the number of employees in an organization, HR wants more than just technology that works. They want innovative solutions with robust capabilities that their employees can access anywhere, backed by quality support. LBi offers all this and more, with a tiered, pay-as-you-go pricing model for organizations of all sizes.

To learn more about how cloud-based case management can change HR administration in your organization, keep reading. Our technology is rated “E” for everyone — find out why.

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Operating a Centralized HR Help Desk Across Multiple Geographies & Time Zones

By | HR Efficiency | Leave a comment

Operating your centralized HR help desk, or any centralized HR system for that matter, in multiple geographical regions can be challenging at best, and at worst painfully difficult to manage. There are language constraints, SLA differences, general work-day availability issues, HR policy variances from region to region, and other issues unique to global organizations.

The easy answer might be to take a decentralized approach with multiple systems managed locally, though that solution presents an entirely different set of problems and complexities, such as multiple system integrations, added IT resources, complex reporting, higher costs, system management, etc. Obviously there is no easy answer.

There are very few truly global HR systems available, and those that exist can be cost prohibitive and difficult to maintain. Just because an organization is global in structure does not mean it is particularly large in size or replete with available IT resources, or enjoys the budget necessary to acquire such systems.

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Win Big with HR Technology Rated “E” for Everyone at #HRTechConf

By | HR Technology | Leave a comment

If you’re a business leader in HR or IT, the annual HR Technology® Conference & Exposition is one event you don’t want to miss. HR Technology® is the world’s largest expo of HR technology products and services — attracting industry experts, thought leaders, innovative software vendors, and senior HR executives and practitioners. There isn’t a better venue to evaluate your technology needs — and the organizational processes that enable your buying decisions.

LBi Software is proud to be a vendor at HR Technology® for the fifth consecutive year, and we will be showcasing our automated HR case management suite, HR HelpDesk. If you haven’t yet registered for the event, you can save $500 as a guest of LBi Software if you register by Sept. 22 with promo code LBI.

At the event, we’ll be revealing our robust, yet flexible tiered solutions for companies large and small — whether you have 50 employees or 50,000. The new versions of HR HelpDesk are rated “E” for Everyone, focusing on empowerment, effectiveness, efficiency, ease, and encompassing pricing for organizations of all sizes.

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“E” for Everyone: HR Technology From SMB to Enterprise — #HRTechConf

For more than 25 years, we have focused on developing and providing solutions that make the complex world of HR administration simpler and easier. In that time, we have learned a lot, including these two important things:

  • Today’s companies want robust and flexible HR software with great service and support.
  • The best technology is simply the best technology — and shouldn’t be limiting for companies large or small.

In other words, powerful programs shouldn’t be reserved for enterprise-level businesses, and agility shouldn’t be limited to small and midsize businesses.

Our automated HR case management software prevents employee issues from falling through the cracks or becoming bigger problems down the road. It complements talent management software to identify potentially costly patterns of personnel issues, reduce risk, and maximize HR productivity by reducing help calls by up to 75 percent.

Simply put, we have put the power in the hands of each employee — whether you have 50 or 50,000 people in your organization.

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The ROI of HR Case Management

Implementing automated HR Case Management/HR Help Desk can save you money. This post will show you how to calculate that savings.

If you have a traditional manual HR call center with no automation you already have efficiencies in handling the incoming queries compared with a traditional HR staffing system. But you still face the challenges of providing accurate and consistent information, as well as the problem of managing the call center and staffing it with HR professionals. The bottom line is that many of the challenges inherent in a manual process tend to remain, while the biggest potential for reducing costs through an automated system are not leveraged.

Upgrading your call center with an automated HR help desk will help you address these problems and lower operating costs.

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Secure HR Case Management

By | Compliance | Leave a comment
Secure HR Case Management

The last thing you need is for employees to distrust HR. It can happen when you don’t have a system in place to route confidential cases, such as harassment or manager dispute cases, to strictly authorized personnel. It can also happen when you use a manual system that fails to ensure that you’re compliant with HIPAA, PHI, PII, and safe harbor regulations. There can be fines of up to $250,000 for violations (and imprisonment of up to 10 years for knowingly abusing or misusing an individual’s health information). …Read More

The Rise of HR Knowledge Bases

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.

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ESS…Build It and They Will Come…Not Necessarily

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.

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The Power of Combining HR Case Management with Self-service Technology

SMB Employee Self Service

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.

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Are Employment-At-Will Laws Really Good for the Employer or Employee?

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?

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Why SMBs Are Using HR HelpDesk

SMBs and HR HelpDesk

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.

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Is the 360 Degree Employee Review Method a Good Idea?

Are 360 degree employee reviews particularly more or less fair to the employee? Let’s start with defining the 360 degree review process. 360 degree employee performance reviews encompass comments from the employee’s managers and peers, customer feedback, HR statistics such as patterns of absences and late/tardy occurrences, as well as actual performance measures.

Additionally, some companies monitor their employee’s social media sites, looking for more clues into their overall impact on the organization. Some reasonable weight is assigned to each of these processes in order to assess the total picture of the employee’s value and contribution to the business.

Seems fair and complete, right? Well they certainly can be, as long as the proper weight is applied to each component of the review, and subjectivity is minimized. For instance, an employee may have achieved 100% of his MBO’s, but for various reasons is not viewed favorably by his/her peers. Does that really matter in the long run? Another employee might have successfully completed all of his projects on time and within budget, but management was quietly expecting more cost cutting measures, though not openly mandated. Is that fair?

Traditional employee reviews focus primarily on performance compared directly to assigned objectives, with additional consideration given to other mitigating factors such as general employee attitude, leadership qualities, attendance, etc. But 360 degree employee reviews take a truly holistic approach and effectively become the “balanced scorecard” of employee reviews.

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Changing the Game for SMB HR: Case Management Your Way

SMB HR Case Management

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.

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Why Do HR Technology Vendors Continue to Overlook the SMB Market?

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).

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Finally, an HR Case Management Model Designed Uniquely for the SMB Market

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.

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LBi Software Expanded Staff and Headquarters!

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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Do You Really Need to Issue an RFP?

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.

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Healthier Employees Make for a Wealthier Bottom Line

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.

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Is Work-Life Balance a Myth?

Work-Life Balance

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.

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Keeping Your Contingent Workforce Engaged

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?

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HR Case Management Can Boost Employee Engagement

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.

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For an HR Case Management Shopping List, Consider Five Features of a Full-platform HRIS

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.

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Is Your HR Help Desk System Smart Enough? See if it Passes the Test.

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”.

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BYOD: My Employee Resigned – And His Smartphone Is Full of Business Data

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.

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What Is a Company’s Most Valuable Asset? Its Employees

Recently I closed one of the biggest contracts of my career. The last key piece that sold it was “our employees”. During one of the sales meetings the prospect’s CFO said something profound – “after all, it is not so much about choosing Company A over Company B as it is with being comfortable with the people from Company A”. The CFO liked the team that presented the solution but he wanted to be assured that the team that will execute it was just as good. So I sent him the name and bio of everyone who would be assigned to the project. We then followed that up with an in-person presentation of all the team members. The next day we got the contract.

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How Your Employees Communicate with Each Other Does Matter

By | HR Efficiency | Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

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