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"Full-Stack" Workforce Development

In More Posts... — by Nicholas R. Larche, Esq.

successful workforce development: happy colleagues

According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report, human resources departments have graded themselves with a C+ for driving talent solutions. Instead of wallowing at a C+, human resources departments should be thinking C#.

HR has a lot to prove in the information technology sector. Recruiting highly technical talent is becoming more and more difficult. Retaining and developing that same talent seems to be an afterthought to getting a body in the door. It’s time to take a hint from our full-stack web developers and become full-stack workforce developers.

A “stack” refers to the layers of technology used to build a web application. A “full-stack web developer” refers to a software developer who is capable of performing tasks at any level of the technical stack in which they work. In essence, they have the ability to develop software over the full spectrum of a given web application.

Traditionally, apps are composed of a “back-end” (some sort of database and some sort of server-side language to interface with that database – i.e., that which runs on a server) and a “front-end” (some sort of client-side language – i.e., that which runs in a browser). For instance, an ASP.NET application might run on a SQL server database beneath a C# back-end, beneath a JavaScript/CSS/HTML5 front-end.

Thinking in terms of workforce development, the full HR stack would include five separate technologies, the majority of which could speak to and integrate with the foundation of the stack: a human resources information system.

Human Resources Information System

A human resources information system (HRIS) is the bedrock of any full-stack HR department. An HRIS allows you to streamline and simplify your business processes while at the same time enabling you to quickly and securely organize your workforce data in one centralized system.

One of the premier benefits of an HRIS is that it enables HR departments to integrate all of their data points in one convenient location. This allows HR to process more thorough reports and perform more detailed analyses of their workforce. This data may include such things as personnel information, onboarding materials, benefits, performance assessments and PTO. With the data-tracking process optimized, HR practitioners can spend less time on spreadsheets and more time on what really matters: their workforce.

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Benefits Operating System

While few companies enjoy being in the “business of benefits,” even fewer companies have invested in advanced benefits operating systems (BOS) to reduce the time and stress of benefits administration.

Forget manual entry: A BOS provide automated, full-scale solution to benefits administration. The modern BOS comes equipped with the capability of carrier connections that ensure benefits election data gets to the right place in real time.

The majority of BOS solutions are rules-based, allowing team members to enroll in only those benefits for which they are eligible at any specified point in their tenure with the company. Some BOS software, merged with the advantages of the private marketplace, even allow team members the opportunity to shop for benefits the way they would shop for goods online. This empowers team members to take control of their health and wellbeing by connecting them with highly customizable benefits offerings.

Applicant Tracking System

Companies in highly competitive industries understand the importance of talent acquisition and the need to invest in sustainable solutions that optimize their recruiting and onboarding processes. Today, many large and small businesses alike have implemented an automated applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS enables hiring managers and recruiters to manage their organization’s talent lifecycle from sourcing through onboarding.

The advantages of an ATS should not be underestimated. The ideal ATS can store candidate profiles in one centralized database, allowing the company to reconnect with previous applicants when hiring needs change. It also allows for users to perform advance reporting and analysis of their current talent acquisition model (e.g., which job sites are effective, target audience determination).

With nearly half of all job seekers transitioning their career search method from desktop to mobile, it is critical that today’s careers site be mobile responsive. This allows for your careers page to automatically adjust to fit the screen of any smartphone or tablet. Some advanced ATS solutions offer a variety of additional features, such as automatic job distribution and calendar integration.

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Performance Development System

The process of performance development has been a topic of much debate. One of the largest companies in the world has boldly scrapped annual performance reviews altogether. No matter what side of the debate you land on, what we do know is that the most effective feedback is that which is given in real time. Done correctly, the performance development process should drive organizational improvement.

Companies considering doing away with the paper-driven annual review might consider a bolder approach. With advances in performance development software, HR can oversee this process seamlessly and managers and their direct reports can benefit from the performance development process all year-round. What makes today’s performance development software so revolutionary? Imagine an interface that promotes continuous feedback, while historical feedback remains available at your fingertips to keep both the manager and the team member aware of both the progress made and the goals still outstanding. The goal of performance development is two-fold: 1) to develop our team members; and 2) to help our managers effectively manage. So, why not give them the tools to do both?

Today’s performance development software provides interfaces for three users: the manager, the team member and the administrator. The administrator is given both the authority to initiate the performance development process and the access to track progress in real time. The administrator may also send “accountability nudges,” prompting one of the other two parties to engage in the performance development process. Advanced performance development systems still allow companies to customize the performance development process in order to fit the needs of their organization.

Culture & Engagement Tools

Studies have shown that almost 90 percent of hiring failures are due to poor culture fit. Companies that understand that each hire is a long-term investment, and that unwanted attrition is costly, are looking at culture in a whole new way. Culture and engagement platforms are capitalizing on quantizing. These solutions are based on years of workforce research that indicates that team members who fit the culture of the company they work for and the teams they work on tend to perform better and stay longer. Integrating culture assessment tools into the recruiting process greatly improves the likelihood that the company ultimately hires the right culture fit and enables managers to better navigate the interpersonal dynamics of their respective team.

Workforce engagement is not a static event – it fluctuates constantly. Through the use of regularly administered “pulse surveys,” HR can identify the teams that need the most support and determine the extent to which they need it. Generally, a pulse survey contains only a limited number of questions. The questions may remain constant in order to establish historical engagement levels, or they may change in order to measure the health of the company or a specific team amidst atypical events, such as an office move or a restructuring.

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Learning Management System

A learning management system (LMS) is a software application used for the delegation, administration, and documentation of e-learning modules. Companies seeking to create a culture based on learning and development are looking more and more closely at such systems. While the offerings of any one LMS may vary, companies may look to LMS software for compliance training (e.g., anti-harassment training), leadership and management training, and even developing everyday workplace skills (e.g., Microsoft Office). With bundled e-learning modules easily accessible and seamlessly assigned, companies may develop a culture of learning and make compliance a cinch.

Full-stack web developers are able to navigate and perform tasks at any level of their technical stack in order to build successful web applications. Why shouldn’t HR do the same to build a successful workforce?

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