Human Resources (HR) Transformation to the Cloud: Why it’s more than just a technology change


Cloud technology—it’s been around for a while. If you’ve been under a rock, you might be wondering why you should move to the cloud. The cloud refers to the ability to have access to computers, information technology (IT), and software applications through a network connection. In other words, it is an intangible technological storage space that is accessible through an Internet connection. This technological shift has numerous companies migrating critical applications to the cloud to combat inefficient and redundant silos and unify teams and processes across the enterprise. Thus, when leading HR systems affecting everyone have transitioned to the cloud, it results in widespread cultural change and challenges in the workplace.

Today’s workforce is diverse. It is multicultural and multi-generational. With that in mind, you can imagine the cultural changes companies will face in transitioning critical human resource systems to the cloud with technology such as SAP SuccessFactors, Oracle Cloud HCM, Infor, Workday, and more.

In regard to the cloud, David Low, a global Vice President of SAP, said, “Strategies, processes, and technologies have to accommodate the needs and expectations of all of them.” To ensure this, cloud software vendors are paying close attention to the user experience and making it consumer-friendly as well as mobile. Younger generations may adapt quicker due to their acclimation to technology while older generations may struggle. A culture change for seasoned end users is that the cloud software is not easily customized, which will “require rethinking of processes and greater standardization” for HR systems.

What’s Your Approach?

For instance, some experienced employees may find learning easier with hard copies including step-by-step instructions on how to utilize the cloud. Meanwhile, millennials might find learning easier through microlearning, eLearning, gamification, and video tutorials so they can learn by watching and duplicating in shorter bursts.

In addition, human resources projects are global and require localization and translation to get all employees the right training to get on-board with the new technology and processes.

People Challenges

Some of the people challenges of migrating to the cloud include: creating end-user alignment and enablement, adapting to and educating different teams on process changes, and effectively communicating the changes to an entire workforce.

HR leaders can find integration to be a challenge in the transition to the cloud. To ensure a smooth transition to cloud-based HR systems, leaders must maintain close contact with teams across the functional spectrum. It’s vital to operate as one cohesive unit and to align all stakeholders to understand the changes and participate in the transformation. Executives also must be brought in to understand and support the people challenges of new processes—and be ready to provide budget for training, education and communications to bring all affected employees into alignment.

Another challenge is siloed teams. Today, HR processes like recruitment, onboarding, and payroll aren’t solely managed by HR. For example, accounting teams require access to payroll data. Essentially, there is a crossover where departments need access to information from other departments and changes to HR systems affect more than just the people working in human resources.

Finally, moving to the cloud in HR means that more employees will be able to manage and update their own information – whether they move and have a new address, get married and have a change in status, or would like to edit their withholding information on their W4 forms. An employee’s information might be held in different systems and people might not be used to accessing and updating their personal information themselves. This self-service model of support requires much more education and training for the entire workforce.

Clearly, there will need to be adjustments in the workplace when migrating to the cloud. There will be a culture change and challenges that HR leaders will face. However, it all comes down to the change management, education, and communication strategy and having a solid strategy and plan for the challenges of HR transformation.

Learn more in our webinar, “Dos and Don’t of HR Transformation,” recorded on April 4th, 2018.
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