RETHINKING HR OPERATIONS

Digitising human capital management

by the Australian Financial Review

For businesses with employees, having good human capital management systems and processes in place has always been important.

But the rapidly changing dynamics being experienced across the workforce, including the significant increase in contract workers and the number of full-time people now working remotely, means having optimal systems has arguably become more critical than ever.

It’s why more and more businesses are turning to fully integrated, scalable and customisable human capital management digital solutions to manage and proactively engage with their employees.

These solutions are enabling employers to interact with their workers at every touch point, from the moment they hire people right through the full cycle of their employment.

As well as full payroll management, businesses are wanting platforms that provide advanced features such as paperless employee onboarding, online induction and learning modules, performance management benchmarking and measurement capabilities, and easy access to employee and business analytics.

And another vital need is having a robust compliance framework around everything, because getting employment processes correct from the very beginning is essential.

It’s not only imperative to have employment contracts that are applicable to different workforce types and employment conditions, but ones which are fully compliant with the workplace laws applicable in specific jurisdictions.

Not having that compliance overlay potentially brings serious business risks to the fore.

If the constant stream of litigation against businesses over workers’ contract breaches is any guide, the contracts area is still a pain point.

Sean Donnelly, chief technology officer of Australian digital human capital management platform Expedo, says a key reason why some businesses are being targeted is simply because the contracts they’re using are not up to date in terms of current workplace laws.

“If a contract is wrong, it’s a problem right from the employment or contracting stage,” Donnelly says. “Employing people incorrectly is a significant commercial risk for any business.

“A lot of businesses get their contracts from their lawyers when they start up, and eight or nine years later they’re still using the same contract.

“At the end of the day, their lawyers don’t remember what they gave them until there’s an employment issue. They wouldn’t know how many people have been employed through that contract, or even how to keep their customers up to date around changes in laws.”

A key feature of Expedo’s platform is that it provides its users with a wide range of industryspecific employment contracts that are legally compliant, which effectively eliminates the risk of a company running into employment contract issues down the track.

“Everyone wants to talk about pay issues but don’t respect the compliance upkeep across the employment life cycle,” Donnelly adds. “Expedo provides a framework for the management of a workforce.”

The workplace contracts on Expedo’s system are fully customisable, enabling the inclusion or exclusion of specific contract clauses and the ability to make additions and amendments over time.

The system also enables users to upload their own employment contracts and then seek legal input, either from Expedo’s employment lawyers or from an external firm or other type of specialist.

“There’s a lot of smarts in the system that lets a company or HR manager configure how they want to employ people.

“There’s full visibility over how many employees are using a contract, and as workplace updates come up we proactively notify customers of changes and which employees have been affected by those changes,” Donnelly says.

Expedo’s lawyers also feed into the compliance system by publishing compliance updates for companies as well as workflows on HR processes and functions.

Being able to manage occupational health and safety issues, or other types of employee risks, is critical.

“Most small-to-medium sized businesses really don’t know how to navigate certain incidents in the workplace correctly,” Donnelly says.

“There’s usually quite a few steps you need to follow to ensure that you’ve done the right thing by the employee and, if it’s a workplace complaint, that you’ve followed the right process.

“Expedo includes all the workflows to execute those things in a compliant way.”

External law firms and HR consultants can also use the system to proactively engage with and manage their own business clients, including viewing analytics on potential employment risks.

In addition, employers can add performance metrics to different responsibilities so employee reviews be streamlined.

“Everyone can see their learning plans related to those positions, what the next job steps are, and the expectations for those positions,’’ Donnelly says.

“We all know that employment is the biggest cost for a business and a critical path to its success, but many of them probably don’t put resources into it as much as they should.’’

Yet, it’s also clear more and more businesses are tapping into sophisticated human capital management solutions that give them and their employees greater confidence, visibility and compliance protections.

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