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matt-frost_1's picture

Kill the HR Information System & Build Something Useful for Everyone

By Matt Frost on June 12, 2013

In addition to HR Information Systems, this hack also impacts Talent Deployment and Org Development.

When pondering how the elimination of job titles/descriptions might work, system enablement came to mind.  

Let's face it - today, few outside of HR log into an HR Information System.  It's not useful for daily business, problem solving, and team building.  

The name we use, HR Information System, is also challenging.  The name implies that this is just a data repository to be used by HR.

I don't know what to call this revamped system I'm thinking of, but let's start with the 'Agile Talent System'.

The Agile Talent System would inclue many of the modules/functions that exist in the typical HRIS today (Workday, etc.): Core Employee Data, Compensation, Benefits, Performance, Succession, Learning, Recruiting, etc.  But in addition, the Agile Talent System would function as an internal recruiting tool, a way to pull people in (remember, these employees no longer have titles and do not sit in closed-off functions) to solve business problems via short-term or long-term projects, and day-to-day interactions.  

The Agile Talent System would contain the following data elements, in addition to what already exists in an HRIS today: a list of each employee's passions, experiences, interests, skills; a list of the company projects and the ability for each employee to start a new project, and a tie between the projects and the business outcome they seek to achieve (simple fields, such as grow revenue, grow margins, eliminate waste, etc.).

The Agile Talent System would enable a pull system.  Without job titles/descriptions, it would function enable peer-to-peer interaction and team building, made possible by employee data and project data.  The Agile Talent System would be the sole driver of the company and day-to-day responsibilities.  The Agile Talent System would be 100% transparent - everyone across the company would be able to see the list of ongoing and upcoming projects - and if the skills can't be found or developed inside the org, an employee would have the ability to open the role to outside talent/contractors.

In addition to the elements described above, we'd surely embed a gamification element to make this competitive and fun.  If an employee successfully completed a project that increased sales by 10%, that would be visible to the whole company (maybe a golden badge, or a picture of the employee with a cake from a colleague).

I think a lot of these point solutions exist today - LinkedIn displays skills and experiences for external recruiting, Yammer helps employees connect to solve exceptions/tough problems, project management tools help teams manage projects.  

A new work environment requires a different system - something integrated and transparent, a one-stop shop.

Let's kill the HR Information System, build something useful for the whole organization, and impact business results.

HR process being hacked:HR Metrics and Information Systems

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nigel-cox's picture

if your vision is for a stand alone HR system then I'd argue that you are not being ambitious enough. The challenge I see is avoiding multiple platforms (it would be great to use the same platforms as the other operational teams use) yet have some of the specific functionality that comes with some value adding processes such as talent and career management.

matt-frost_1's picture

Thanks for the comment, Nigel. I agree with you completely - the HRIS should not stand alone.

I believe there is data available in today's HR information system that would be useful to the entire organization. Building additional functionality, including opening up the talent data (individual strengths, weaknesses, education, experiences, interests, awards, degrees, etc.) to everyone, could turn the system into a tool used to build agile teams (consisting of employees outside of your particular function/business unit or contractors not currently on your radar).

Maybe I'll put together a visual to accompany some of my thoughts.