Putting Away the Crystal Ball – A Better Method to Plan for the Future

February 28, 2017

Written by: John A. Hinojos

One thing that has always amazed me when working with clients, was how much I was told about the current processes and what was working, but how little everyone had thought about what the technology and processes would need to look like in the future.

This has been an issue with HR and HR systems for as long as I have been working in the industry (over 30 years).  Originally, HR was not seen as an integral part of the business operations, and very often were not included in the corporate strategy or business planning.

As the world economy has changed from a manufacturing focus to a service/technology based economy, HR has begun to impact the profitability of the organization as the nature of our current economy is based on labor costs, and not mostly on raw material costs.  Given the ever changing role of HR in the company profitability, it will become more important for HR to think about future planning and not only the planning for today’s operations.

To plan for the future, you need to know which direction the Board or CEO of your organization is moving.  This is not information that is always readily available to HR, but there are ways.  Here are a few steps to use when assessing your future needs:

  1. Understand the HR Strategy

This should be the easiest step.  If you have a good relationship with your Senior VP of HR, schedule some time to discuss the future.  Find out the direction he/she feels the organization is headed, and how it will impact HR systems.  Particularly focus on any changes which may materially impact the status quo of today’s world.

  1. Understand the IT Strategy

Unfortunately, this is a step which is often missed.  Many people assume that IT will continue to proceed in the direction that it is currently operating, but only getting the latest technology.  This is not always true and, in some cases, can be a dangerous assumption.  Many times there has been a decision to leave or move to a particular technology which has not been communicated.

When assessing a new technology, always plan to spend some time with the CIO to make sure you will be moving your HR technology in the same direction.  As much of the HR systems offered today are SaaS based, make sure that there will not be legal or data privacy issues which may need to be addressed when using a SaaS product.

  1. Understand where the Senior Management is Moving the Organization

For most people this is perhaps the hardest to assess.  You may not always have access to the Senior Management at your organization or they may be in a completely different office, but it is very important to talk with this level of management, as they will have some insight which may not be public knowledge.  They would know if the company is planning to go in a new direction, a new country, or geographical region.

If you do not have access to these people, check if your Senior VP of HR can find out information.  This is also a very good area to use an outside consultant, as they can often gain access to senior managers and get information a staff member may not be able to obtain.  Consider all your options to obtain this information, but the critical item is that you have this insight to include in your strategic direction.

Once you have had a good discussion with all three key areas, it will be easier to access your future HR technology needs.  This is a crucial step, for without knowing where your company will be in 2, 3, or 4 years, the technology you select may only work for a year or two.

At HRchitect, we offer all options for consulting services which can help you assess the future needs and directions for your HR technology.  This can be either in assisting you to create an HR Technology Strategy, assessing the correct HCM technology through our secure evaluation/selection process, helping to implement and conduct change management, or optimizing your current system to help you move toward the future and maximize your return on investment from your current technology.

John Hinojos

About John A. Hinojos, Vice President of Consulting Services

John is responsible for leading and building HRchitect’s consulting services operation. He joined HRchitect in 2000 and has over 25 years of Human Resource and HRMS experience, with more than a decade at a senior level. His primary areas of expertise include Human Capital Management systems, such as core HR, Employee Performance Management and Talent Management Systems. He also facilitates Strategic Planning sessions and assists with the HR and Payroll systems impact of Mergers and Acquisitions.  John also is a Certified Professional of Human Resource Information (HRIP).

John co-developed and teaches Introduction to HR Systems, Successful HR Systems Selection, and Fundamentals of Project Management certification courses for the International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). He has been a frequent speaker at industry events on human capital management software evaluation, selection and implementation.

Prior to joining HRchitect, John served as President of Triangle Business Solutions, an HRIS consulting firm in San Diego. He has also held HR and HR systems management positions at several Fortune 500 organizations, including W.R. Grace and The Seven-Up Company. John is a founding member of the International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM) and served on the IHRIM International Board of Directors for 10 years.