2012 New Year’s Resolutions for HR

New Year’s resolutions will certainly top many to-do lists this holiday season. They are as predictable and recognizable as a Christmas fruit cake. The new year is a fresh start so new goals and resolutions, new plans, new dreams and new directions are certain to fuel the thoughts of HR professionals throughout the land. Here are ten recommended New Year’s resolutions for HR professionals in the SMB (small to mid-sized business) space.

  • Eliminate Paper. There was a time and place for paper forms to effect change within an organization. That time, however, has passed. Technology adoption throughout the US has reached such a level that employees are expecting HR to direct them to a website to update a change of address, W4 election, and benefit decision.
  • Automate General Ledger Interface. Some HR practitioners have likely checked this off a previous year’s resolution list; however, there are far too many companies that have not pushed their payroll provider to automate the Payroll to General Ledger interface. It is one of the simpler tasks to automate, but, unfortunately, most payroll providers will not proactively suggest this on their own. So, make a friend in your accounting department and automate this manual task for them.
  • Automate (and Enhance) Timekeeping. There are varying levels to this particular resolution. Some organizations may need to automate what is manually performed today. Other organizations may have automated the collection of time yet are now ready to further enhance their labor management by creating real-time OT management reports, automating scheduling, and leveraging forecast/budgeting tools. Wherever HR is on this spectrum, automating the collection of time and the proactive management for the organization’s largest expense (labor) should be a primary goal of 2012.
  • Integrate Disparate Technologies. HR professionals are a creative bunch. When faced with a problem, they can typically find a way to track and manage employee data via a series of one-off solutions. However, there are far too many HR departments that have built systems or databases one at a time to solve a specific problem. In the end, HR ends up with a myriad of Excel files, Access databases, and one-off technologies that are not integrated in any way. As a result and for example, a new hire must be entered/tracked in several spreadsheets and systems. This duplicate entry will almost always yield a poor result. Through a sound technology strategy, HR can achieve this critical 2012 resolution by unifying these disparate technologies.
  • Evaluate HR Shared Services. For years, building an HR Shared Service Center was a goal for every Fortune 1000 HR department. What was once good for the goose is now seriously being considered by the gander. Mid-sized companies (200 – 2,000) are now assessing the ROI of an HR Shared Service Center.

Each of these 2012 resolutions are easily attainable with the right focus, assistance, and independent guidance. What you don’t need is a vendor touting themselves as the “be-all, end-all” to your HR problems. What you do need is a knowledgeable resource who can cut through the sales-speak to help you arrive at the right answer for your organization. You may also want a bit more of that Christmas fruit cake, but I’ll leave that for another blog. Happy New Year. Here’s to a great 2012! Cheers.

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