People Operations and the Modern HR Professional

January 14, 2015 Doug Devlin

Are you a modern HR professional?  I sure hope so, because growing companies with high-value employees are requiring that human resource departments depart from traditional 20th century principles of compliance and risk avoidance to become more employee-centric.  In order to attract and retain key talent, more companies are realizing they are not equipped with the proper tools or resources to meet the needs of today’s workforce.  To address this problem, my fellow co-founders and I announced today the availability of Zumanthe premium human resources solution for people operations.  Zuman delivers powerful people operations from the cloud for growing companies to access payroll, benefits, analytics, self-service capabilities and On Demand HR Experts, easily from one data set and one partner.

Click here to read the official press release.

What is People Operations?

People Operations is a shift in the mindset, and reinvention, of the typical HR department. Many companies, such as Google and Facebook, have moved to a people operations model, prioritizing the employee as the main customer of HR and delivering innovative products to their workforce.  But you don’t need to be the size of these companies to evolve your HR department into a people operations organization. By making this shift, your HR department can:

  • Be more strategic about the resources and talent you hire to serve your valued employees.

  • Put in motion a strategy that delivers customized products to different segments of your workforce (employees, freelancers, virtual employees, etc).

  • Develop impactful and actionable analytics that move the organization forward.

By transforming your HR department into a people operations organization, you can transform you HR team into modern HR professionals.

The Modern HR Professional: Now and the Future

In a recent 2014 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Survey, 92% of HR leaders stated that they have no confidence that their HR teams have the skills needed to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow’s global environment and deliver innovative programs that drive business impact.

HR is broken. How you might ask? Well, there are three reasons I believe that have caused HR to become such, in which the problem can only be resolved through the efforts of a modern HR professional.

Reason #1 – Government Law Alphabet Soup

For the past seventy years, the HR mandate has been to be the primary enforcer of strict and narrow one-size-fits all rules and regulations.  These laws and regulations started during the Industrial Revolution and continue all the way through today with the Affordable Care Act.  I’m not here to argue for or against these regulations.  Many of them have been put in place for a good reason – to protect the rights of the workforce. The real problem is that today’s human resource departments have been shackled by these laws and regulations (e.g. FLSA, FMLA, COBRA, OSHA, HIPAA, EEOC, ADA, ACA) and expected to keep pace and stay compliant. The result, HR must staff their department to stay on top of these laws, which affects their budgets, forcing them to deploy sub-par technology to their workforce, which creates a divide between HR and their valued employees.

Reason #2 – Antiquated and Non-Scalable Technology

In most organizations today – every department has been moved to the cloud.  Sales and Marketing have cloud-based tools such as SalesForce.com, Marketo and Eloqua. Finance and Accounting have Netsuite, Intaact, or Xero.  These tools increase the efficiency and productivity of the department for scale.  As for HR, it has been completely left behind.

In most HR departments today, products with the intent to help with recruiting, onboarding, benefits administration, payroll, retirement, and performance and learning management often come from different vendors that don’t talk to each other and are often siloed. To keep a steady stream of data flowing, companies have to cobble these segmented solutions together – or manually rekey the same data over and over again from one application to another.  This creates data quality issues and errors that increase the total cost of ownership within HR departments.

Reason #3 – Determining Who is HR’s Customer

In most HR departments today, the HR leader is faced with a real dilemma, who is the customer they are serving? In order to fundamentally change the way HR is deployed within organizations, HR must focus on the real customer – their valued employees.  To do this, they must deeply understand that each “customer” or each “buyer” is different.   HR leaders can take a page from the marketing playbook and deploy the same methodologies that enable companies to attract and retain their own external customers:  branding, demand generation, understanding the unique challenges of each buyer and the user experience.

So where does this leave today’s HR professional? In a good place actually! Through the use of Zuman, as well as through the adoption of people operation best practices that are focused  on your high-value workforce, you as a modern HR professional are set for the future.  Even when something unimagined becomes the new normal, such as employees requesting to be paid in Bitcoin, (yes, Zuman offers the ability to get paid in Bitcoin through a partnership with BitPay) you now have one single-source solution, Zuman, to support your HR needs.

The future of HR is now! Are you ready? I am, as well as the entire team at Zuman. Join us on this journey to transform human resources, benefits and payroll into the strategic, employee focused, modern people operations organization that HR was always meant to be.

Doug 

About the Author

Doug Devlin

Doug is the Chief Executive Officer of Zuman. He co-founded Zuman after serving the past 17 years as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at TriNet (NYSE: TNET). Doug graduated from California State University at Chico with a BS in Business Administration, and received his MBA from Golden Gate University.

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