Archive for the ‘performance management’ category

Playing the Hidden Object Game with HRO News

June 9, 2011

As one of NelsonHall’s research analysts, I follow what is happening in the various HRO markets. The simplest method is reading press releases, to which we add our commentary in our tracking service.  As a reader, you see a portion of this analysis in our HRO Insight Blog and HRO Insight Newsletter.

On my own time, I like to play basic computer and online games. One of my favorite types is hidden object games where you follow clues to solve puzzles. Occasionally, tracking press releases is a bit like a virtual scavenger hunt for the larger objective.

Let’s take a look at an example with Ceridian’s recent announcement of its acquisition of Versult Group, Inc. Versult Group is a workforce management consulting firm acquired to enhance Ceridian’s implementation, training, and support services for its InView Workforce Management (WFM) solution.  It is a straightforward article, easy to cover as is, and then I followed one clue to another and ended up with a richer story. HRO analyst fun!

Back in February 2011, Ceridian announced its partnership with Dayforce to launch InView.  The two partners began working together a year earlier to integrate Dayforce’s WFM software suite into Ceridian’s payroll and HR administration services and ready both teams for launch. Ceridian also made an equity investment in Dayforce, which had already raised $20m, including $10m from Bridgescale Partners in July 2010.

Versult was one of seven Dayforce implementation partners and Versult had already performed implementations with Ceridian. As a bonus to Versult’s experience with WFM system implementation, it brings its own mobile access application, Versobile, to Ceridian.

Ceridian intends to further develop this platform for its clients seeking SaaS-based HR services by integrating beyond the current HR administration and payroll services to create an end-to-end offering including: H&W, tax, pay cards, COBRA, recruiting, EAP, tuition reimbursement, performance management, and training.

The payoff so far is that Ceridian’s investments are seeing rapid initial client acceptance. The platform has already grown to 90 Ceridian customers, rapidly escalating from 20 in February 2011.

This is a good, well-thought-out strategic move for Ceridian. It gets to cost effectively expand its SaaS service portfolio, leverage the strengths of its current offerings, increase scope with its client base, and add an experienced implementation team. It also has an equity stake in WFM, an increasingly important service line given employer concerns with cost control and the capability for rapid and effective workforce scaling.

Let’s leave this chapter of the story with a puzzle. How long will Ceridian be satisfied with a partnership with Dayforce, the WFM software source, when it felt the need to acquire Versult, the implementer?

Now for HRO vendors large and small, how are you solving your piece of the HRO SaaS puzzle?

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

HRO and Talent Management by Client Market Position

April 21, 2011

Talent management, in all of its various forms, rises and falls depending on how clients perceive its importance at a given time. For high performing companies, it is never too far from the top of the mind.

The talent management services that are wanted and needed by a client can vary by the market position of the enterprise. According to the i4cp survey on The Critical Human Capital Issues of 2011, the top issues change in order of importance between higher and lower performing companies:

      Higher Performers                                         Lower Performers

1. Succession planning                       1. Strategy execution/alignment

2. Leadership development             2. Managing/coping with change

3. Talent management                        3. Leadership development

4. Performance management          4. Talent management

5. Knowledge retention                      5. Innovation and creativity

While many companies are returning to plans for growth, others are still struggling with getting performance improvement.

As the economy recovers, it will once again be harder to attract and retain needed talent. Aon Hewitt’s 2011 Talent Survey shows that engagement levels remain low, that there is a lack of confidence that leaders will retain their critical talent, and that middle management will be essential to business strategy execution and engaging the workforce.

Combine these items with an assessment of a client’s outsourcing maturity and a service provider can shape an offer to show how its services can meet the current and future needs of the client. For example, managing the succession pool for the very top deck is easy enough to do without commercial tools, but it is harder to gain visibility into middle and direct management, or hard to source jobs, without supporting tools and access to standardized organizational data sources.

A company low in outsourcing maturity and lower in performance within its markets may just need a few basic tools to increase process efficiency at the lowest possible cost. Anything too complex may go largely unused and bring complaints of being oversold or not worth the price. The highest warning signals must go to a lower performing organization that does not understand the roles that only its own managers can play – the best HRO services in the world cannot substitute for leadership and this is especially quickly apparent in the talent management arena.

A higher performing company with a trusted HRO service provider partner may be ready to add a fully integrated talent management suite (perhaps with consulting services) to connect with and add value to existing services, and use advanced workforce analytics to attract, retain, and develop talent for the future and for today’s business results. Here, the client/HRO partnership can be nicely synergistic, enhancing both parties.

Companies ready to improve performance and grow are great candidates for HRO. Just be sure to understand each clients starting position and show how HRO services and partnerships can help each one reach its various goals with a service plan and path that is just right for them.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

Employee Engagement, High Performance, and HRO

April 13, 2011

Employee engagement is down to the lowest levels seen in many years. Low engagement makes it hard to be high performing and can later raise turnover as employment opportunities improve.

  • In early 2010, The Conference Board found that only 45% of employees were satisfied with their job, the lowest rate seen in the 22 years of the survey.
  • This year, the 2011 Aon Hewitt Trends in Global Employee Engagement survey found that 56% of employees are engaged on average, down from 60% in the prior year, the largest year-over-year drop seen in 15 years. Declines were seen across Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America, with only Latin America showing improvement.

My colleague, Gary Bragar, has consistently brought attention to the engagement topic because it is important and makes a difference for all: employers, employees, and HRO service providers. It can also make quite a difference! Aon Hewitt’s research indicates there is a strong correlation between employee engagement and financial performance. Organizations with high levels of engagement (65% or more) outperformed the total stock market index and had shareholder returns 22% higher than average in 2010. Companies with low engagement (45% or less) had shareholder returns 28% lower than the average.

Naturally, employee engagement that contributes to high performance business results is first and foremost a critical issue for C-level and management teams and there is a myriad of advice available, including consulting services from many of the HRO providers. Every organization, industry, and market has a life cycle and the management challenges will vary depending upon the stage. Accenture’s new book, “Jumping the S-Curve,” identifies three s-curves and outlines the critical issues for each cycle, including the importance of transitioning from one stage to another.

I see within the very insightful Accenture management advice opportunities for HRO contributions. For example, to climb the cycle of business success based on a winning idea, you need to reach a threshold of capabilities and competence and to attract and keep top talent in critical areas to maximize growth without collapse. As the cycle of achieving business success begins to end, new talent problems can arise as turnover increases due to fewer advancement opportunities and talent poaching. As a new cycle starts, a change may be needed in leadership and business competencies at the executive and other levels. Talent needs to be continually monitored, nurtured, and refreshed – all appropriate to the current and next cycle of the enterprise and what is happening in the broader market and economy.

Layering talent management services (e.g., recruiting, staffing, performance management, succession and career planning, and workforce planning) on top of a capable HR system for employee data management that’s supported by HR analytics can go a long way in helping clients see where they are now, identify gaps and emerging issues, and use HRO services and support to achieve a truly high performance-based business transformation.

Linda Merritt, Research Director, HRO, NelsonHall

HRO Themes at the HR Tech Conference: Portals, Platforms and Self-Service

October 7, 2010

If you’ve never attended the HR Tech conference – which was in Chicago last week – I highly recommend finding a way to do so next year (and not just because the venue is changing to Las Vegas.) It’s always a top-notch conference with a superior speaker line-up, and a great forum for meeting with HRO buyers, providers and pundits.

With my eyes and ears focused, of course, on all things HRO, the key themes I witnessed – during both public sessions and private meetings with providers – were portals, platforms and self-service, all geared toward improving the customer experience and getting work done as quickly and easily as possible. By-the-drink-pricing and quick solution implementation were also key focuses. Some examples:

  • Caliber Point’s recently launched multi-tenant HRO service, called Republic. For mid-market organizations with between 2,000 and 15,000 employees, it’s a SaaS solution based on Oracle and includes software hosted and maintained by Caliber Point covering payroll, recruiting, performance management, compensation, employee benefits, time and attendance and reporting. Pricing is per employee per month by country, which covers both software licensing and BPO services, and implemetation can be completed in as quick as six – eight weeks.
  • ADP’s new portal and mobile developments, to be launched by early 2011. I must admit that increased mobile access to HR information, anytime, any place, didn’t wow me until ADP used the example of getting a listing of your in-network benefits and providers on your mobile phone. Think about it…you’re out of town on holiday – without your laptop – and you cut your foot on a piece of glass on the beach or sprain your ankle while skiing. You could pull your insurance card from your wallet or purse and call the 800# to find a local in-network provider. But, with instant access to the information on your mobile phone, why wouldn’t you take the quick route?
  •  Mercer’s integrated rewards and talent management offering, called Human Capital Connect. The technology platform includes performance management, succession planning, compensation and incentives. While a third-party provider can’t replace an in-house manager’s performance management responsibilities, Mercer provides not only the technology but also consulting for implementation, training, change management and execution, and a dedicated client team to ensure success. 
  • IBM’s transformation of its HRO client Kraft’s employee portal, with enhanced self-service, phone-based call center support and live chats with call center specialists. During its session at the HR Tech conference, Kraft stated IBM’s recently established Manila HR Services Center is getting high marks for customer satisfaction and intuitive and user-friendly employee self-service. And we can anticipate this contract, which will further roll out into 2011, will continue to support Kraft’s approximately 140,000 employees, per its acquisition of Cadbury, with the same improved employee experience, including further enhancements to live chats.

Yes folks, today and into the future, we’ll see rapid developments in portals, platforms and self-service. But these technological developments won’t remove the “human” element from HRO. Rather, they’ll increasingly support the way humans need, want and expect to accomplish their tasks and jobs, at an increasingly attractive price point.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Compensation – a Critical Component of Performance Management (and a Process Ripe for HRO)

September 3, 2010

Let’s cut to the chase here. While compensation is not always the primary reason people change jobs, I think we’ll all agree we should be appropriately compensated for the work we do. And while it can be challenging and time-consuming for companies to find the data they need to determine market- and role-appropriate salaries, not doing so can lead to loss of top talent. This issue came top of mind to me because of two occurrences this week.

First, Kenexa on September 1 acquired Salary.com for approximately $80 million. Kenexa provides talent management services including RPO and performance management – both software and advisory services – and additional talent management services that help improve employee engagement and retention. In addition, Kenexa’s 2X Perform Platform (which will be available H2 2010) will contain performance managment components including goal setting, appraisals, succession planning and compensation management. Salary.com provides compensation software and content. In addition, it has a database of compensation information across thousands of job positions. The acquisition of Salary.com not only enhances Kenexa’s ability to provide compensation management; having Salary.com’s benchmark database will enable Kenexa to help its clients ensure they are paying their employees market-competitive salaries to aid in talent retention. 

Second, on its September 1 analyst briefing upon completion of its acquisition of Workscape, ADP not only spoke about the merits of Workscape’s benefits administration capability, including health and welfare, but also about the importance of Workscape’s talent management capability, notably its compensation planner. ADP today provides performance management services including succession management and learning management, in part via its partnership with Cornerstone OnDemand, With its acquisition of Workscape, ADP has added compensation management to its performance management offerings portfolio.

The importance and impact of compensation as an integral component of performance management cannot be underestimated. While supervisors are, and will continue to be, ultimately responsible for performance management, including compensation, they need the right tools, technology and insights to effectively do the job. HRO providers that offer the full mix of performance management capabilities – robust tools and technologies, as well as advisory services – are best positioned to support their clients performance management needs. And there is definitely opportunity for growth in this space. According to NelsonHall’s June 2010, “HRO Issues and Opportunities” report, only one-third of buy-side executives have outsourced compensation administration, and it is the second least outsourced service/component of multi-process HRO deals.

My advice? Providers, beef up your compensation management offerings, either organically or via partnerships or acquisitions. And buyers, evaluate your current compensation management capabilities. If they fall short, either due to lack of insights or resources, consider engaging the services of an HRO provider with expertise in this process. You have everything to gain by ensuring talent retention through the right compensation plans.

Gary Bragar, Senior HR Outsourcing Analyst, NelsonHall