The use of an HR Information System brings value in terms of productivity and profitability, ALAIN SOUNY explains how.
Technip, a world leader in project management, engineering and construction with state-of-the-art technologies, has been serving the energy industry for over 50 years. With a growing workforce of 40,000 people in 48 countries, the company is headquartered in Paris. Standardisation is a constant challenge for any organisation, especially when the company has a presence in multiple countries. Technip believes in the ´One Technip´ concept irrespective of its multi-cultured resources to scale up its operation and create a unique brand identity globally. This called for an alignment of key business deliverables across functions. Driven by this ´One Technip´ concept, a common HR data referential has been implemented enabling storage of employee records irrespective of physical location of the employee within the group. This has formed the core basis for the HR Information System (HRIS).
What is HRIS?
The main objective of HRIS is to formalise global and local business processes (recruitment, talent, compensation and benefits). It plays an important role in the harmonisation of centralised processes without compromising on local specific needs. To summarise, the role of HRIS is to quickly implement HR systems in a harmonised way that are utilised not only by HR specialists but by business heads and, most important, by employees on a day-to-day basis.
HRIS is responsible for information systems towards internal customers. There is also a change management aspect to HRIS focused on new tools related to communication, conducting training sessions and feedback surveys. Reporting is another integral aspect of the system that has a significant contribution to business decision-making. Last but not least, HRIS ensures upgradability, scalability and sustainability of the IT architecture implemented.
HRIS implementation has helped Technip increase its productivity by harmonising, automating and delegating HR processes. Processes and tools are harmonised across the group with the use of best-in-class practices and solutions in the market.
Activities are delegated to managers and employees via a workflow and employee or manager self service. Other activities are automated too; calculations and controls are made by systems.
On the other hand, profitability has improved by reducing the number of manual tasks, outsourcing non-core business activities (payroll, survey, and user support), making processes and flow transparent and traceable to avoid compliance issues, and simplifying mergers and acquisitions. Profitability improvement can also be enhanced through the creation of an HRIS business activity or product line that is more applicable to the digital or IT sector. In this case, the newly created business activity is in position to provide innovative solutions to core business functions with high value and flexibility. At the same time, HRIS technology provides the required administrative backbone to the organisation to manage regular HR jobs such as workforce planning, payroll and reporting.
Important aspects of the Technip HRIS implementation strategy are the approach, whether the process is global or local, and the architecture. The implementation approach is top-down for the global critical processes - performance appraisal, objectives setting, internal mobility, recruitment, leave management system (LMS), job competency referential or job grade and workforce planning - while the on-demand approach is preferred for local processes (leave management, payroll, HR management systems) where one global platform is deployed as per local requirements.
Moving forward, the software as a service (SaaS) approach was followed for all standard processes managed at the corporate level (performance appraisal, LMS and mobility) with less room for customisation.
The role of HRIS is also extended to advise different entities and tie-ups present in different countries on solutions leading to the selection of one global HR Management System (HRMS) to be implemented to simplify upgrades. The selected HRMS is based on SAP with limited customisation. To standardise all the policies and practices in 48 countries with local specificity taken into consideration, Technip had to find a way to add flexibility to the systems deployed, hence, global and local widgets are plugged on the company´s SaaS and SAP solutions to manage the specificities.
On the top layer, innovation is the keyword to simplify HR systems: mobile offline application strategy to improve access to reporting and online mobile application to simplify workflows. In coming years, we will see companies going more and more the digital way, whether it is brand management or campus recruitment. The impact of technology and rise of the ´extended workforce´ together will offer companies the flexibility to hire skilled professionals temporarily - to meet a specific business need or stage in business development. Using the extended workforce concept, companies are trying to take a structured approach to how they manage the different tiers of their workforce.
Tier-I will comprise full-time employees that HR manages on a regular basis; the Tier-II may be preferred suppliers for specific initiatives (IT, supply chain type of work); and a third set of workforce is evolving to provide support in different stages of the business lifecycle, especially applicable to handle the seasonal cycle of the retail sector. Further, the concept of enterprise social media will result in efficient talent management.
The two upcoming challenges for HRIS implementations in India and Asia are the implementation of HR systems and the development of HRIS competencies in the local market. We also have a wide range of other issues when it comes to successful implementation
of HR technologies, from phasing out data management through Excel to implementing HR systems compatible with the work-from-home concept.
Data security is an important challenge we will be facing. The HRIS team will also have to take into account the cost constraint for global solutions versus local solutions for projects in Asia - personal administration and organisation management are not too affected by local specificities whereas time management and payroll are highly local-specific and hence the implementation of global solutions at the local level is a costly affair.
In terms of people development, e-learning and partnership with universities will play a critical role to secure HRIS skills in the company. The last challenge from the people´s perspective will be the development of a talent pool with the right approach and skill to facilitate the transition to a digital era.
The competitive advantage
Indeed, HR digital transformation is a must-have for competitive advantage. HRIS being in charge of this digital transformation has an even more critical role in the organisation than ever and will enable the HR to function as a strategic partner for business.
About the Author:
Alain Souny, India HR Director & Group HRIS Head, Vice President, Technip, joined Technip Group in 2010 and was in charge of creating the corporate HRIS department in Paris. Currently, he is an expatriate based in Mumbai. Prior to joining Technip, he had over 20 years of experience in the industry.
Large user coverage: Impact on all employees
Data sensitivity and confidentiality: Impact of errors is substantial
Overall, HRIS has to address multiple variable factors related to implementation
Applications criticality: Salary increase, payroll and reporting for top management
IT architecture complexity