South African companies today face a number of human resources (HR) and payroll related challenges, from talent development,
and always-changing tax regulations to employee engagement and performance management. During 2016, they will turn to technology to achieve better alignment of HR with their business needs as well as to take the pain out of payroll management.
Some of the key trends for this year are as follows:
1. The cloud will power new applications
Cloud-based applications will continue to transform the HR and payroll environment in 2016; they are the key enabler for many of the other trends I discuss below. The cloud is making it easier for mid-sized and large organisations to modernise their payroll and HR environments. It also allows small businesses to cost-effectively automate their payroll and HR processes.
Once in place, cloud solutions allow enterprises to mobilise their business processes, access rich data for decision-making, and replace old stored business applications with more integrated platforms that give them better visibility into organisational performance.
2. Mobile employee engagement will come to the forefront
Employees – especially Millennials – want dealing with an employer to be as easy as banking online or via a mobile app. Thus, the mobile device is becoming the most import touch point for relationships between HR departments and their stakeholders, including employees and managers.
Many companies already allow employees to use mobile apps to file expense reports and leave applications, change personal details, and access their payslips. In future, employees will increasingly access career and training information, performance feedback, and other important data from mobile apps. Such apps must be attractive, easy to use, and functional so that users will love coming back to them.
3. Data will drive decision-making
One key issue for HR departments is how they can refocus on strategic talent management, skills development, building the employer brand, and performance management when compliance demands so much of their time. When they automate routine processes, they can free up hours for the more strategic aspects of their job.
Automated systems also capture rich data HR managers can use for talent analytics that give insight into trends such as staff churn, the costs of training and development, employee and organisational performance, and the skills they may need to attract and develop to support the business’s future growth.
4. Integrated HR systems will stretch from recruitment to performance management
We are seeing the worlds of payroll, HR and business management solutions move closer together as organisations adopt integrated solutions to gain better control over their workforce costs and create stronger engagement with employees. One benefit lies in the fact that data and transactions don’t need to be captured multiple times across different business applications.
In addition, such systems give HR teams a complete view of their relationships with employees, from on-boarding to engagement, talent development and performance management. This empowers HR to react to the needs of the workforce and the business in a more agile manner.
5. Online recruitment will continue to take over
There are many tools that can streamline the recruitment process, from managing job applicants and filtering CVs, to interviewing and screening candidates, and right up to the on-boarding process. Though the human touch will always be important in HR, companies will extend their tools such as online applicant tracking, talent communities, social media and internal career portals.
Online platforms give organisations direct access to people in Africa and abroad who are looking for jobs, as well as the tools they need to publish their jobs to the Web and track the applications they receive. These tools help automate a lot of the paperwork for them, while providing access to high-quality candidates.
6. Compliance challenges will keep growing
The regulatory and tax environment is likely to continue to become more complex as it has over the past decade. Since major legislation changes are imminent, such as the recent changes to retirement reforms, it is becoming even more crucial to use technology to perform complex calculations to eliminate human errors. For South African businesses active in other parts of Africa, the challenge lies in managing many different labour and tax regimes in an orderly manner using an integrated suite of business applications.
Sandra Swanepoel is the Managing Director for Sage HR & Payroll.