Spotlight on HR Technology: HR Cloud

Recently, a contact of mine reached out to me when he noticed that I had a love for technology, especially when it dealt with Human Resources. He informed me that his employer, NEOGOV, had come out with a platform geared towards the private sector. After a quick chat about what this platform did and the future of it, I was eager to be shown a demo.

HR Cloud really takes HR management systems and HRIS to a different level. It allows you to have a full view of your employees by centralizing all your employees’ data and records. Anything you need to research on an employee (such as position, performance reviews, pay, PTO, and so on) can be easily accessed on one cloud-based platform. HR professionals that work remotely or travel over a region can appreciate being able to access this secure information from anywhere.

I’ve done the operational side of HR before, so I know how annoying and frustrating it can be to have to log into multiple systems or deal with a slew of paperwork when handling on-boarding or off-boarding processes. It was nice to see that HR Cloud was a one-stop shop for all your on-boarding/off-boarding needs. HR professionals are able to customize the necessary paperwork and processes to fit their specific needs. Additionally, it is organized nicely so HR can see what has been completed and what still needs to be done. Having all these processes located in one place makes it quick and efficient.

HR Cloud even offers a self-service portal for new hires. This can help new hires get prepared and engaged before their start date, on their own time. They can do anything from: completing pre-employment paperwork; review the organization’s mission and values; and even get involved in trainings and videos. This can help ease employees into their new role with the company and get a head start.

Being a lover of social HR, I enjoyed the fact that this platform supported social collaboration. You are able to get feedback, manage projects, visually see organizational charts, and pass along real-time messages. Along with this, it also has options for employees to see their career planning options. Employees can easily compare their current role and skills against the position they’re targeting. Additionally, they can learn the necessary steps they’d need to take to achieve that career goal. Expectations are clearly communicated and employees can easily track their progress. It’s always nice to see that employees are able to take charge when it comes to their professional development, and this platform really makes that an option.

But it doesn’t stop there- managers also will be able to track their employees’ progress, as well. With the performance management system, managers and HR can easily monitor individual performance against goals and expectations. The platform allows them to easily track, cross-organizationally collaborate, and document. All information is neatly stored there so auditing and referencing is easy. Managers can effortlessly see how employees are progressing and provide solid feedback with reporting and visual dashboards.

After being impressed by the demo, HR Cloud informed me of some of their future plans to make this platform even more mobile. Needless to say, I think HR professionals can sincerely benefit from this solution, mainly because it organizes it all in one user-friendly platform. No more logging in to multiple systems, toggling screens, and cross-referencing against multiple resources. It’s all right there: visually; analytically; and documented. And even if you do have trouble finding the information you need, status updates can show you who the last person was that updated the record so you can easily reach out to them for clarification. Sounds like a dream come true for the HR professional!

Read more about HR Cloud and schedule your Demo today: http://hrcloud.com/

 

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Bitrix24: Social Workplace Collaboration Made Easy

 

Recently, an employee of Bitrix24 had reached out to me in regard to their social workplace collaboration platform. Of course, I was intrigued by this because I find these types of tools to be fascinating. Over the past couple years, I have been researching, testing, or using different SaaS to see how it can help organizations be more efficient. Naturally, I wanted to hear more about this and learn about the features it can offer an organization. Stephen Ankenman of Bitrix, Inc. was kind enough to speak with me in regard to their concept.

Ashley Perez (AP): What is the core concept of Bitrix24 and why did you decide to develop this idea?

Stephen Ankenman (SA): “Small businesses need classic intranet tools and social collaboration just like enterprises. Our driving philosophy is to unite the management of a company to a single platform that can handle all standard company operations: vertical and horizontal, internal and external.”

AP: What are some key features that help employees collaborate and coordinate more effectively?

SA: “Content can be shared instantly to any subset of users, whether it is a comment or file. Internal notifications, automatic reporting, and the activity stream replace a lot of email and greatly reduce the need to repeat information. For some companies, simply having anywhere, anytime access to files, tasks, and other data is a game-changer. There are also Business Processes available in the CRM and file library which can draw on other parts of the intranet, such as the company structure, instant notifications, and tasks to keep operations running smoothly.”

 AP: How does this SaaS help all levels of employees communicate and socialize?

SA: “The Activity Stream keeps users informed of everything that pertains to them and provides commenting and other methods of instant feedback (public or private). The social layer of Bitrix24 provides discussion threads directly attached to objects such as tasks and files, and spontaneous conversations can be started, shared, and enhanced with new files, pictures and videos.”

 AP: How has this helped project management?

SA: “Any number of project groups can be formed. Tasks inside groups can be viewed as a Gantt chart and are visible to all users.  With a group-only activity stream on the front page, it’s very easy to get a snapshot of what is going on.”

AP: What are the different features that help employees navigate to find relevant documents, knowledge-base, information, and resources?

SA: “ Search is very powerful in Bitrix24.  Search covers file content, comments, tasks, wiki entries, the CRM and other objects. It’s important to note that simply having all of these objects under one roof provides a distinct advantage for Bitrix24’s search.”

AP: Is Bitrix24 flexible and mobile? If so, please explain.

SA: “Bitrix24’s CRM is highly customizable to reflect products, sales stages, contact types, and all other nuances that are unique to each company’s sales process. In the intranet side, the access system lets you share what you want how you want and with whom you want.

“Business processes, available in the CRM and document library, allow highly specific workflows to be created according to the very specific needs of a company concerning approvals, conditions, and drawing in information at various stages of the workflow.”

Recently, I spoke with an individual, Jim Sweeney, who had started using Bitrix24 for his start-up company’s needs. As he had stated, “I’ve used other platforms before that seemed much more entailed and weren’t really necessary for smaller companies and start-ups like my own.  Bitrix24 helps with communication, organization, and project management. It’s simplified and user friendly so it’s very easy to find the information that you’re looking for. It helps organize each person in our group so we can clearly see what the next milestone is and what the next due date is. It helps us easily link our tasks to our process mapping.

“I can see it being really great for project management, and is especially good for inter-office communication. This is extremely helpful because all of the team members of my company is scattered throughout the country. The communication features are so clear and easy to use that we can get straight to the point rather than having to mess around with customization features.

“The selling point for this platform over larger platforms is the pricing (it makes it easy for small start-ups) and that its simple- I don’t need all the features that larger organizations need. It works for us. There is a very small learning-curve. For smaller companies, we don’t have time to waste on trying to learn every aspect of a platform. We’re more concerned about getting our product/service up and running. Bitrix24 takes away the hassle and allows us to get to what matters.”

After speaking with Stephen about Bitrix24 and also hearing some real, customer feedback, I’d have to say I’m impressed with this. Sometimes having too many customization features can be daunting, confusing, and can actually slow down productivity. I like the fact that Bitrix24 allows companies and users to get straight to the point and makes using the SaaS a lot easier.

If you’re interested in learning more about this company, please feel free to go to www.bitrix24.com

Human Resources Technology Made for Management

Some managers believe that micromanagement is needed to be able to verify that their employees are productively performing. Some managers believe that doing “walk-throughs” can help create a presence and also help them manage more effectively. Although these methods may have helped managers get a clear picture of how efficient employees were working, there seems to be new technology emerging that actually helps managers manage more effectively. Additionally, this technology helps document work progress more accurately to help Human Resources during performance reviews. This technology is once again helping HR and the business as a whole.

Companies like 4 Spires and Workday are developing useful software and technology to help HR, management, and subordinates to not only be more social, but also more capable. Work management technology helps managers to easily delegate tasks and project needs to employees. This software helps increase communication, shows status updates, and even shows which employees are contributing to what. This helps managers cut down the time that they do walk-throughs and micromanage and allow them to actually spend their time managing.

A company called Rypple has honed into Gen Y needs and created a social-performance management platform. This platform is used for work goals, feedback, and recognition (all which are highly desired by millennials). In addition to this, employees are able to create their own goals and welcome other employees to help them achieve their goals. This allows management to once again see who is involved in the process, be able to provide feedback during one-on-one meetings, and even offer rewards and recognition (much like you would see in gamification).

Not only does this technology help managers ensure everyone is doing their part and staying on target to reaching their assigned projects/goals, but it also helps the Human Resources department when it comes to performance reviews. This technology helps keep accurate documentation of each employee’s performance and contributions throughout the year. This can help HR make informed decisions about an employee’s performance rather than basing it off of potential biased opinions or questionable information.

Simply stated: technology is once again making a huge impact in business. From a HR standpoint, this can make their jobs so much easier when it comes to being compliant and fair to employees.

More reading on this technology:

Work Management Software

Tech News: Salesforce Debuts Rypple (also, Photo Source)

Spotlight on PeopleMatter: Company Culture and HR Technology

A little over a year ago I started realizing that I needed to research deeper when it came to finding an ideal company that offered all (or most) of the things I wanted and valued. I was tired of submitting a resume to the same generic job posting. I hated that unsure feeling I’d get when I would interview with companies. And I really hated when I started a job and was almost instantly disappointed. With all of these thoughts floating through my head, I decided to start my employer search by simply Googling two things I loved: human resources and technology. I clicked on the first company located in Charleston, SC (where I currently reside) and my mouth instantly fell open as PeopleMatter’s webpage loaded on my screen. I was awestruck.

PeopleMatter encompassed HR and technology in a way that I could have never imagined. The technology was practical, efficient, visually appealing, and mobile. It made it easy for busy managers to manage their talent. PeopleMatter’s platform consists of the following SaaS areas:

  • Hire: The Hire platform handles all of the recruiting, tracking, and on-boarding processes from start to finish. It organizes the company’s:  applicant tracking system (ATS) functions; background checks; job assessments; tax credits; I-9s; and on-boarding paperwork and processes.  Being that I’ve worked in HR before, I’m well aware of how frustrating it can be to have multiple logins for several vendors that handle these processes. It was a relief to see that PeopleMatter found a way to take the hassle out of the on-boarding process.
  • Learn: Assigning and tracking employee training has never been easier. This learning management system allows managers to easily select and assign specific training for different job functions. Managers can upload PDFs, videos, and other training material for employees’ review. Managers can use this tool to keep track of an employee’s progress and test scores. Additionally, this system can run reports to show metrics of which training materials seem to be working and which might need to be tweaked.
  • Schedule: Scheduling is a breeze with this platform. Managers can create schedules and effortlessly share it with employees. Employees can even use the free mobile app to view schedules, request time off, and switch shifts on the go. Managers can use this system to ensure that all shifts are covered and to ensure that the company isn’t incurring unnecessary costs by double-scheduling employees. Efficient and effortless.
  • Engage: This area will be coming out soon but will be sure to grab managers’ attention. The tool will be designed to create incentive programs to help motivate and engage employees (every manager’s dream!)

But PeopleMatter’s sleek and engaging SaaS platform isn’t the only thing that caught my attention, it was also their impressive company culture. After reading about their company culture, I was sure to track their growth and development via social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. As the year went on, I saw that their company was getting bigger and better in all areas. Employees generally seem to love working here. Some of the reasons why PeopleMatter’s culture rocks:

  • CEO, Nate DaPore, actually takes the time to use social media to tell the world about exciting news going on within the company, his employees, and his clients. To see a CEO of a company that is this openly invested in the business, his people, and his customers… well, there are no words. Judging by what I’ve seen, I’m sure he has an infectious passion that inspires those around him.
  • VP of San Francisco, Mark Deaton, took the time to have a phone call with me. When we ended our conversation, all I could think was, “Wow.” Mark had a management style that moved me. He talked about how he truly cares about his employees and that he has a drive to help them succeed professionally and personally. His conviction was tangible. He believes in his ability to do to good by his employees so much that he actually invited me to connect with some of them to discuss his management style. That level of confidence seems to prove that he follows through with what he says.
  • PeopleMatter involves all their employees in events to support and promote their clients, both new and old. It’s nice to see that everyone is involved in the company’s success and all the pictures seem to show that they’re having a good time.
  • PeopleMatter is random which makes the employees excited to see what’s in store for them each day they come into the office. From firing random cannons, to Mario Kart wars, to randomly doing a cross-country RV road trip- who knows what they’re going to get into next.

I wanted to put a spotlight on this company today because it does have a lot of great qualities to it. The technology is amazing and I can’t wait to see what new platforms and features they come out with in the future. Additionally, their culture is one that I can easily say that people would feel lucky to work for or with them.

Links:

PeopleMatter. 

PeopleMatter Platforms.

PeopleMatter Culture.

Twitter: @PeopleMatterHR

How Benefitfocus is Winning with Their Culture

For those of you that know me by now, you probably can tell that I really enjoy researching and writing about company/workplace culture. For whatever reason, learning about a company’s culture is a passion of mine. I find it fascinating that each company has a unique “personality” which allows their employees to either embrace or reject it, thus determining the level of success or failure a company has. I strongly believe that company culture can make or break a business. It is quite a mix: it’s delicate and needs to be handled with care, and yet it holds a certain level of power that can control the fate of a company.

First, I would like to say a big heart-felt “thank you” to a company headquartered here in Charleston, SC. Benefitfocus took notice of my love for company culture and was so kind to send me their book, “Benefitfocus: Winning with Culture”. I just received it the other day so I haven’t finished reading it yet, but it’s been inspiring so far. Their culture is very impressive and could easily give some of Silicon Valley’s top-dogs a run for their money. Companies that are struggling to find that “good cultural balance” might want to pick up a copy and take some notes. It seems to be working very well for them.

Something that did stick out at me so far was actually located in the beginning of the book. The author discussed some of the challenges that Benefitfocus faced when trying to create and maintain the culture that they have today. The company admitted that it wasn’t easy: there were days when employees were stressed out and irritated because of heavy workloads and tight deadlines; there were external factors that tried to get the company to conform to what was “normal”; and they had to find the right balance to try to make all employees as happy  and engaged as they possibly could.

Although there are many challenges, the company has managed to maintain it the best they could. I could tell they were successful in their efforts because the book had an endless amount of employee accounts in which they talk about the specific reasons of why they love the company and what qualities make them excited to come to work every day. Normally, I’d be skeptical of that many employees promoting a company brand in such a positive light. However, while going through my job hunt, I’ve had plenty of friends that work there (or have worked there) that gushed about the company. I’d have to say, you know a company is good when the employees speak highly of it even in private conversations. Reading and hearing about their stories made me smile, laugh, and actually feel a bit jealous (Yeah, so, maybe I’m a brat). Simply stated: It made an impact.

It’s situations like this that show me how important culture is. This company is notorious for celebrating, especially celebrating the individual. Because these employees feel like they’re appreciated just for being themselves, they’ve become more invested in the company. They’re committed. They’re willing to work as hard as possible. All this dedication and hard work has aided the business to grow at rapid rates. Their name and their software are becoming more well-known throughout the world. At this point, I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. Not only is this good for business, but this PR is actually helping the company attract quality talent, as well.

I don’t normally read detailed books about specific companies, but I can easily say that I’m enjoying this so far and look forward to reading all of it. Yes, it does interest me because it deals with culture but it’s more than just that. I find it refreshing to see a company so committed to the happiness of its employees. Benefitfocus knows and understands that its employees are its greatest asset, and the company treats them as such. It’s also nice to see the conviction in the employees’ statements when they say they honestly love working there. I hope more companies consider the benefits of having a solid company culture and work on creating and/or improving theirs.

Links:

Click here to read more about their culture and watch some of their videos.

Click here to request a copy of their book.