The role of Human Capital Management in the workplace

By Ronnie Toerien

The world of work has been changing for some time, particularly over the last decade as emerging technologies equipped enterprises with the tools to operate with greater efficiency, innovate and explore a new potential. However, unprecedented events in 2020, have accelerated this transformation at an unimaginable pace.

With mandates to work from home if possible, the disruption of traditional business models is being driven by pure necessity. Like other contemporary, cloud-based business systems, Human Capital Management (HCM) has a vital role to play in ensuring business continuity, and resilience, as we march into the new world of work.

First and foremost, cloud-based HCM is essential to provide continued access to and support for remote workers, and at the same time safeguard the safety and health of employees. In the case of the latter, one product example is Oracle’s Workforce Health and Safety solution, currently free to all Oracle HCM Cloud customers. A business’s workforce is its greatest asset and should remain its greatest concern. Especially now. With employees scattered, the data collected, and analytics generated, by next-generation HCM solutions become crucial to combat absenteeism, identify at-risk individual employees and formulate a succession planning strategy across an entire organisation.

Crises, and the manner in which they are handled internally, can have a major impact on talent retention and acquisition, which will have a knock-on effect for business delivery. Reassurance through empathetic communication is essential. Empowering employees with information about the company’s strategy during such periods, as well as providing open channels for two-way conversation, gives people a sense of belonging to an organisation that is looking after and listening to them.

Going hand in hand is the need to help grow employees. Learning and development are often affected when enterprises embark on crisis cost-cutting, but the current climate is the perfect opportunity for HR to equip staff for new roles, or take advantage of employee skills and use them in new ways (possibly gig economy opportunities) that support the organisation, and the individual’s own professional growth.

It is important to note that the new world of work is under a microscope. Business success is no longer solely reflected in revenue. Public perception can have a powerful impact on customer behaviour, as it spotlights caring organisations and their opposite: those enterprises taking advantage of a situation and their staff.  Cloud-based HCM applications help make work inherently more human-focused.

The new world of work is also notable for its drastically altered business processes. Older ways of working are often proving too inflexible to overcome current challenges. Cloud HCM plays its part in breaking down rigid division, not only between departments but data sets as well. As a powerful integration tool, it can bring together information and related components that do not naturally connect. For example, analytical tools can be combined with a combination of absentee data and workforce plans to model scenarios and combat skill gaps in reality. Such is the case with newly available Oracle Analytics for Fusion HCM, which seamlessly draws together and uses cross-functional data.

Cloud HCM’s’ removal of barriers applies to people too. The future of work is about connection, and contemporary applications equip employees to work more diversely within an organisation, collaborating with colleagues across the whole company ecosystem. Hierarchies and silos have given way to a flattened organisational structure of diverse networks working towards a single goal, opening the door to innovation and greater operational agility.

The foundation of a lasting, successful business process change is a culture shift. The latest HCM tools break down resistance to new systems, especially now as workers engage with the modules regularly from their remote work location. HCM is ushering in acceptance of a whole new way of working, with the likes of voice-commanded digital assistants proving their time-saving value, and other benefits, to users.

The new world of work is unquestionably one of co-existence between humans and autonomous systems, underpinned by the likes of machine learning and robotics. Just as traditional HR helped to streamline an employee’s entrance into an organisation, maximise their contribution and bolster their employability, cloud HCM is fulfilling the same function. This, while bringing together man and machine, which is key to business success in the future of work.

(Ronnie Toerien is Oracle HCM Sales Development & Strategy Leader for Africa).



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