HR solutions come in many flavors and with lots of features. Some provide the basics for tracking employee life cycles, hiring, firing, raises, etc. Some focus on finding talents like managing resumes, interviews, advertising and integrating with job sites. Others include payroll processing and benefits management. These systems provide a lot of value to HR managers and departments for mid to large companies, enabling them to manage the day to day HR activities as well as track the dynamic database of employees joining or leaving the company.
As companies reach higher process maturity levels and start to document and enforce structured business processes, many of these HR systems begin to struggle. For example, what if your organization required a process for approving raises that depended on a number of approval steps. Or what if company policies defined rules that determined the necessary approvals based on employee job title, pay raise amount or role. Most of these HR systems typically provide some basic approval process if any, and deviating from that process becomes a large software development customization effort, if at all possible. Thus HR Managers resort to email, paper (manual) or spreadsheet based ways to track these changes and approvals to work around the limitations of the HR System. This is what I am referring to as the HR gap.
Business Process Management Platforms have emerged as a compelling solution to this problem and to fill the HR gap. These systems are designed for the rapid modeling of a workflow process through a drag and drop interface, with the ability to route forms and data between people. In the case we just described, the BPM platform would allow the HR Manager to define the workflow process of approvals, along with the various rules. Once a request is made (could be for a raise, promotion, transfer etc.) through the system, the manager is notified by email and can then login to view the status of the request, respond, approve or reject the request. The system provides a real time status view on where a request is, reminders for past due requests, and can even be setup to interface with the company’s HR System once the request is approved.
In addition, the workflow engine maintains an audit trail that tracks the requests, comments, decisions, both in real time and as a historical record. This enables companies to mitigate the risks involved in making such decisions by demonstrating they followed their processes and policies as defined. Not only do companies using BPM platforms save time in processing these requests, they reduce costs by eliminating paper forms and unnecessary mistakes. Employee morale is improved and HR departments are empowered with a process platform they can manage and control, without any programming or technical resources.
If you would like to see a examples of how HR departments are leveraging BPM platforms, click here.