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Internet Solutions That Supercharge HR

Special Advertisement: HR wants to move from paper-pushing to strategic planning and decision-making. Workforce asked industry leaders to talk about powerful Internet solutions that can move HR to the next level.

October 17, 2001
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Human resources wants to free itself from the paper chains and participate in their companies' strategic decision-making.With its powerful capabilities for recruiting and managing people, the Internet can help. Workforce asked leaders in HR's Internetrevolution to talk about the solutions that can move HR to the next level.

Randy Cooper
Chief Executive Officer/Founder -
Opus Solutions
Cooperfounded Opus Solutions in 1989. He has more than 15 years of experience inthe IT software field, with emphasis on HR, payroll, and benefits systems.Opus provides e-volution®, a suite of Web-based HR management tools thatincludes the HRMS engine used by 20 Fortune 100 companies.
 MartyFahey
President,Chief Executive Officer -
Webhire
MartyFahey joined Webhire in 1996, as chief operating officer. He becamepresident in 1997, and CEO in 1999. Prior to Webhire, Fahey was theco-founder and CEO of Vertigo Development Group, Inc., and was among thefirst 30 employees at Lotus Development.
 JeffKoven
VicePresident, Marketing-
Cyborg Systems, Inc.
AsVP of marketing, Jeff Koven is responsible for corporate marketingcommunications, customer relations, product management, and sales support.He focuses on identifying changes within the business world, and theirimpact on today's HR and payroll requirements.
 DonRamer
CEO-
RecruitUSA Inc.
DonRamer has more than 27 years of experience in the recruitment industry. Asa founder and key manager at several employment management consultingfirms, he specialized in change management and cost reduction throughalternative recruitment strategies and resources.
 JimE. Spoor
President/CEO-
SPECTRUM
Priorto forming SPECTRUM in 1984, Spoor had a very successful 25-year humanresource career, including a broad range of human resources experiencewith executive-level responsibility for global HR operations.
 LouisTetu
Chairmanand Chief Executive officer-
Recruitsoft
Priorto joining Recruitsoft, Mr. Tetu founded Berclain Group, Inc., a globalprovider of supply chain management solutions, acquired by Baan in 1996.He was president of the company from 1989 until his departure to headRecruitsoft.
 BillWarren
Presidentand CEO -
Wowemployers
Warrenspent more than 22 years in recruiting and human resource management withRockwell International and General Foods Corporation before founding thefirst Internet employment site, Online Career Center (OCC).
The Internet is continuing to revolutionize business. How does this technologydirectly affect HR practices?
 

Randy Cooper: Internet technology empowers the entire business andemphasizes the strategic importance of an organization's HR function. Itallows organizations to distribute the opportunity and responsibility ofacting on HR practices beyond the HR department. Moving the processes andinformation closer to the managers, supervisors, and even front-line employeesallows them to make better decisions faster. This also gives the traditionalHR department the ability to focus on strategic information and decisions.

Don Ramer: The Internet has made HR professionals "larger thanlife." Job-posting technologies allow
recruiters to reach a much higher portion of qualified candidates and bettermanage applicant tracking. Proper technologies can triple the effectivenessof staffing managers. The effect also can be detrimental: HR practitionersmust beware of "vaporware" applications that are not solutions,but hindrances to their work styles due to missing capabilities, poor workflow, or other inefficiencies.

Jeff Koven: The Internet brings a continuing promise for an e-businesscommunity through which you can expand the services you offer to your employeesby providing links to other services (i.e., benefits providers, health-careadvice/providers, travel services, money-management services, etc.). Theresult is that HR practices are much less administrative and far more strategic.HR will no longer be the "middleman" in transactions. Instead,employees will have direct access to relevant outside service providers.

Bill Warren: When I founded the Internet's first job board in 1992,no one really knew the impact the Internet would have on our industry. Theintroduction of e-mail, online networking, and job boards has dramaticallyimpacted the daily routine of recruiters. Moving from the "media"model to the "relationship" model, the Internet has streamlinedprocesses, decreased recruiting costs, and reduced the time-to-fill. Thishas been accomplished through the implementation of human capital managementsystems.

Marty Fahey: The Internet has dramatically improved the speed andquality at which HR professionals recruit. It's also proven to be the mostefficient way to locate, evaluate, identify, and qualify job candidates.HR organizations have quick and direct access to thousands of potentialadvertising locations, each with its own constituency of candidates. Today,it is essential for HR organizations to focus on the applicant experience,with timely responses and frequent touch. By doing so, HR will extend itsrecruiting network and stand out among the competition for talent.

Jim E. Spoor: For years, HR practices have centered on paper, filingcabinets, and paper shuffling. Now the paper can be eliminated, the filingcabinets emptied, and the paper shuffling reduced. Employees and managersinteract directly with their company's HRIS by having the access to performdata entry themselves. This is the re-engineering that people talked aboutin the '80s and '90s, but in the 2000s, it's a reality.

Louis Tetu: The Internet enables the complete re-engineering ofthe recruiting process for large, global corporations. Optimizing and automatingthe recruiting supply chain brings significant value and bottom-line benefitsto major corporations. Through the traditional recruiting method, the candidate,or the supply side, blindly mailed his or her résumé to therecruiter, to the demand side, without knowing or understanding the demandsof the recruiter. Online recruiting bridges supply and demand by permittingshared knowledge between the candidate and recruiter.

What are the advantages of an ASP solution versus traditional managementsoftware as it relates to different HR functions, such as HRMS, hiring management,benefits, etc.?
 

Louis Tetu: Contrary to what many believe, ASPs are extremely flexibleand made to fit a company's specific needs. The ASP model is more robustthan traditional software-delivery methods, and offers a variety of optionsthat can be tailored to fit each company's needs. Once a company implementsan ASP solution, the vendor manages the software so that the only requirementof the company is a Web browser. The software is installed, maintained,and hosted by the vendor.

Marty Fahey: ASPs provide the most up-to-date technologies deliveredover the Internet at a predictable monthly fee, with seamless updates tothe application and an intuitive user interface that demands little training.The ASP requires only minimal implementation time -- with Webhire solutionsyou can be up and running within days. The ASP service means the best customerexperience, because it is supported, managed, and tuned -- 7x24x365 -- bydedicated experts.

Randy Cooper: The largest advantage is reduced, predictable costsfor the management of the system. In the case of Opus Solutions' e-volution®service, the advantage is a very powerful system that many companies couldnot afford otherwise. Many ASPs as part of the subscription also provideregular updates to the solution's functionality "behind the scenes"for no additional cost. Additionally, because the ASP takes care of thesystem, the infrastructure, and other delivery factors, the client is ableto concentrate on taking care of business, not computer systems.

Jeff Koven: The primary advantage of an ASP solution is that theoperational functions of an HRMS are outsourced. The applications are hostedand maintained without assistance required from the company itself. As aresult, users have the ability to function as true HR and payroll professionals,rather than IT specialists. In terms of hiring management and other benefits,the advantage of an ASP is that in many cases it offers additional featuresand functionality that would be too cost-prohibitive to bring in-house.

Bill Warren: Human resources has commonly been known for being thelast department in an organization to receive current technology and thesupport needed for implementation and integration. While this trend is changing,the fact remains that technology is vital for HR to remain competitive inthe war for talent. An ASP offers end-users the ability to use the applicationfrom any Internet-ready PC, and also a company does not have the enormouscapital expenditure for the hardware and development resources.

What are the opportunities for HR in realizing significant cost savingsthrough Internet technologies?
 

Jim E. Spoor: Cost savings is only part of the picture. Sure, thereare actual savings as a result of employee self service and manager selfservice. However, the real gain is being able to share information and intelligenceproficiently, being able to communicate effectively, and being able to handleroutine transactions faster, better, and at a lower cost. Basically, Internettechnologies are "super-charging" the HR function and making itpossible to really focus on strategic issues.

Randy Cooper: There are two major cost savings. First, by givingaccess to the day-to-day information and processes to the front-line managementand employees, an organization's HR department can concentrate on issuesthat are more specialized as well as strategic. The department has moretime to focus on the strategically important decisions that affect the company'sbottom line. Second, people who know the system and the infrastructure handledevelopment and maintenance of the technology.

Louis Tetu: The average cost-per-hire in North America is approximately$6,000, and many say it approaches $10,000. With 30 million people changingjobs each year in North America, that equates to about $180 billion spenton hiring. By automating the process, a corporation can save tens of millionsof dollars per year. This is all enabled by allowing the recruiter and thehiring manager to spend more "face time" with candidates, ensuringa cultural fit, skills fit, and motivation to put those skills to work forthe corporation.

Don Ramer: The number one opportunity: consolidating workload. Whilethe burden of administrative duties can cripple HR departments, the Internetoffers many services that multi-task so you don't have to. Seek only Internettechnologies that integrate well within your system, perform multiple capabilities,and provide excellent customer service -- thereby consolidating your paperwork,billing, and time. Productivity will rise and administrative costs willlessen.

Are there specific types of Internet solutions you would recommend thatmight work best depending on company size?
 

Jeff Koven: I would recommend self-service solutions that make useof Internet technology. These solutions have high payback in the areas ofbenefits enrollment and pay-stub distribution. However, the cost savingsaren't as evident within smaller-sized companies. Small companies shouldbe looking for out-of-the-box solutions that provide extra services withouta great deal of overhead (i.e., updating/viewing personal information, onlinehandbooks, payroll forms, etc.).

What is the greatest impact that the Internet has had on HR with regardto time savings and time management efficiencies?
 

Marty Fahey: The Internet allows a real-time connection to information,offering universal, instant access to data from anywhere in the world. HRorganizations have a direct link to candidates all over the Internet, andin turn are able to find the very best people, as quickly as possible, andat the least possible cost. In general, the Internet has reduced the averagetime-to-fill by as much as 60 percent for many companies. In terms of cost-per-hire,the Internet has lowered recruiting costs dramatically due to reductionsin print advertising and recruiting fees.

Don Ramer: Where are those people who eight years ago said the Internet'sefficiencies would shrink our workweeks to 32 hours? It's an unrealizedpromise, but what the Internet has done is prevent HR professionals' workweeksfrom exploding to 50+ hours, thanks to the research capabilities, news services,data storage, ASPs, and other tools that have emerged as the demands onHR professionals' time have increased.

Jeff Koven: The greatest impact the Internet has had on HR is inthe area of self-service. It has offloaded a great administrative burdenfrom HR, and put responsibility in the hands of the people that know best,the employees themselves. The successful rollout of self-service applicationsresults not only in time and cost savings, but also in information thatis more accurate and employees that truly feel empowered.

Jim E. Spoor: Getting more accomplished faster and better is whatit is all about in the Internet era. Questions are dealt with and answeredquickly. Recommendations are routed, approved, and processed in secondswithout any paper. The "administrivia" is becoming less of a factorevery day. HR professionals have shaken loose from the standard work scheduleand are getting things done on a true 24X7 basis, and they are happier andmore gratified doing it.

What do you see as the newest HR product and service developments thatwill maximize productivity for HR on the Internet?
 

Jim E. Spoor: Mobility is the next major leap. True anywhere, anytimeaccess and interaction is on the doorstep right now. Powerful wireless handhelddevices, some with their own built-in phone and pager functionality as wellas full computing power, are now making full accessibility a reality. Truevoice interaction with the underlying systems, not just the old IVR, willallow users to fully bypass the keyboard. Data and reports will be displayedon voice request.

Bill Warren: Total integration is the future for Internet-basedrecruiting tools. Because of fragmented HR service offerings, many companiesrequire multiple vendors to accomplish their requisition-to-hire process.In the ideal world, a company should be able to work with one vendor partnerand have the ability to obtain the various services to attract, retain,test, screen, and manage the entire candidate relationship from the recruiter'sdesktop. This will be the future of HR technology to maximize productivity.

How can HR be poised to take advantage of these changes and developments?
 

Marty Fahey: The Internet has driven a fundamental change in theworld of corporate recruiting. People will always continue to make a company'shiring decisions; however, HR professionals must position themselves astechnological innovators and integrate the Internet into their recruitingprocess. Applying leading Internet technology to recruiter know-how resultsin shorter hiring times, reduced hiring costs, and improved overall competitivepositioning.

What are the top five questions you would advise companies to ask whenresearching Internet-related HR products and services?
 

Louis Tetu:

  1. Whether the vendor will investigate, analyze, and improve the company'shiring process or simply sell a software package.

  2. Do the company's strategies converge with those of the vendor downthe road?

  3. References from vendors need to be investigated before making a decision,as they are an excellent way to ask all questions and get honest feedbackfrom an unbiased source.

  4. Review the financial stability of the vendor you are considering.

  5. Scalability and security are essential.

Don Ramer: Focus on improving the quality of your department's day:What will this technology do to make my department more intelligent? Whatwill this do to make my staff more nimble? What will this do to make mea better manager? What will this do to make HR even more essential to mycompany's goals? And don't forget to ask for references; then call the clientsnot offered as references.

Bill Warren:

  1. What level of technical/customer support will you be provided in thebase price and when will it be available?

  2. Is the software flexible to mirror my company's internal processesor does it require customization?

  3. Is redundancy provided to assure non-interrupted service? This includesdual-site redundancy for power, hardware, or circuit failures and naturaldisasters.

  4. What measures are taken to assure data security and integrity?

  5. Does the software offer scalability to match your company's growthand changes?

Randy Cooper:

  1. Can your solution adapt and grow with my business, or must I changemy business
    to fit your solution?

  2. Can your solution integrate easily with my existing internal and third-partysystems?

  3. Do you provide both technical and functional expertise with your solution?

  4. Do you provide at least a 99.9 percent Service Level Agreement (SLA)?

  5. How secure is your service? Does your privacy policy meet or exceedmy company's policy?

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