HCM Technology Made Simple

If we were to put money down on this year’s most-overused HCM term, it would probably be “humanization” — and believe me, I’m as guilty as anyone. However, there’s another word that’s often overlooked but no less important: simplification.

Last week I attended VisionWorkForce Software’s annual user conference and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of attention given to “simplicity.” Admittedly, I first thought of it as standardization before being politely corrected by Dave Vonk, Chief Revenue Officer for WorkForce Software, who said “Simplification is just as important as standardization. Software companies are famous for wanting to take on big challenges and while that’s admirable, alignment and simplification are what creates opportunities for speed.”

And really, there’s a lot of overlap between humanization and simplification. For example, when applying highly complex labor union rules to an organizations schedule, you could spend more time working with each individual employee’s schedule rather than try to ensure compliance. WorkForce Software’s application actually takes employees’ preferred schedules into account before letting its algorithms create the most personalized and efficient schedule for all concerned.

Simplicity as a philosophy extends far beyond tactical matters like scheduling. It’salsoimportant in design and interface (simplicity is a major factor in the “intuitive” quality of graphical user interfaces), coding, and even management and decision-making approaches favored by organizations.

Similar to how software companies approach most challenges, we consumers of HCM technology think of solving our most difficult problems before trying to solve the most common ones. There is certainly nothing wrong with the idea and it is often the best path, but it’s good to remember that cutting ten seconds from one task we repeat fifteen times a day is better than cutting an hour from a task that only happens once a quarter. After all, the whole point of technology is to make people’s lives just a little bit simpler.

Cliff Stevenson, (Twitter: @CliffordDarrell) Principal Analyst, Talent Management and Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

For more information on Brandon Hall Group’s research, please visit www.brandonhall.com.

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