bsoco: How do you see the future for the human resources function?
Patrice Poirier: The human resources function is currently changing quickly, and as far as I'm concerned this trend is not over. In the past few years, the HR departments have started to participate in the organization's strategic decisions. Before, most HR services made sure they complied with current regulations. They were only managing personnel. We feel this approach is a thing of the past, because the demand for integrated HRIS has been increasing. The HR departments are asking for global solutions to help them follow-up on performance indicators that target the optimization of companies. This vision has little in common with the compliance approach.
This new way of thinking definitely gives more power to the HR departments in organizations. When this department starts to pay attention to the organization, and not only to HR administrative details, it sets itself apart from other services in the company. It stays in touch with global objectives and becomes a credible and strategic spokesman for other sectors in the company.
bsoco: What is the role of the HRIS?
Patrice Poirier: The HRIS is a strategic tool that is absolutely required to support the vision of the HR department. Without this tool, it would be difficult to get all the administrative tasks done in this department. In addition, without a centralized HR database, it's nearly impossible to cross-check all the elements involved in HR management (administration, recruitment, training, talent, time management, work accidents, occupational risks).
bsoco: How much time does it take to implement an HR project?
Patrice Poirier: It depends. The most optimistic vendors will tell you a few days. In fact, you must first get a clear picture of the situation, and define and document clearly your objectives and processes.
This first phase is crucial if you want to establish a solid base for your HRIS. No one would build the foundation of a home, without knowing how many stories the building will have. The same principle applies to the implementation of an HRIS. The "analysis" phase can take more or less time depending on how well the department is organized.
The rest of the process is fairly straight-forward, because it's the result of the initial analysis. If the initial needs analysis was well done, the rest is only a matter of technique. If you selected the right tool, you will be able to reach your objectives.
In terms of implementation time, it's difficult to give a straight-forward answer to this question, because several variables must be considered. Let's say a project should last between 3 and 12 months, depending on the size of the company and the number of modules that must be implemented. However, there are always exceptions and decisions that may reduce or extend this period.
bsoco: Do you have any advice to give to complete successfully an HR project?
Patrice Poirier: I mentioned this earlier, but I think it's important to emphasize this. The project manager must know the objectives right from the start, and must keep them in mind for the whole duration of the project.
These objectives must not change every week. If you change the project's scope along the way, this will become costly in terms of time and money. You're better off to spend more time thinking about where you want to get than to start a project without really knowing the final objective.
bsoco: Are you preparing anything new for the rest of 2016?
Patrice Poirier: Some new features are expected before the end of the year. The most important one is the release of a new social reporting module. This module will be integrated to our HRIS, and it will allow our users to produce CSR reports (corporate social responsibility), economic and social database, or any other report that requires data collection and the calculations of HR indicators.
Social reporting becomes more and more important: the social and economic database, CSR reports, reports on gender equity. The indicators that are most difficult to manage are coming from HR because they are constantly changing (number of new hires, terminations, age, etc.) Combined with our other HR modules, our new module will provide a global solution to companies to free them from hundreds of hours of work each year.
Other important new features are expected at the beginning of 2017. You will be notified soon. At SIGMA-HR, such changes are not optional, they are part of who we really are.
bsoco: Thank you for your answers.