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HR is new strategic player in the boardroom!


“HR plays such a pivotal role. Now is the chance for HR to be the strategic player in the boardroom.”

That was the message from SuccessFactors global vice president of product marketing Rob Bernshteyn as he kicked off his keynote on Day One of the SuccessConnect conference in Paris. “We’re in a completely different situation today than we were two or three years ago. The situation is somewhat bleak. We face a global recession. It means some confusion and some decision paralysis. It means change in the way you deal with human capital in your business.

“There are some initial reactions from companies. One is defensive. Let’s reduce budgets. Let’s retain key customers and get greater share of wallet. Let’s cut headcount without thinking about long term. Some take offensive posture. Let’s seize buying opportunities and unify the workforce. Whatever the reaction, the workforce will have to do something completely different. We all know that the workforce is 70% of the operating expenses of company. You want to hold on to your top talent. Companies are nervous they will lose best people at this time – and they’re right to be worried. Approximately 5x can be achieved from some people rather than others. Have to find the reason for them to stay. You may also be under pressure from executives already to cut your workforce.”

Bernshteyn addressed the latest addition to the SuccessFactors portfolio, Stack Ranker. “Your current performance management faces some challenges,” he said. :”Your ratings may be outdated. It’s November and there may be people in your organisation who have not been ranked. You may not have rankings for some. New employees may be unrated. You may have tie scores that don’t provide insight. How do you differntiate what’s happening in terms of performance. You may not have time to go through intensive reviews.

“Stack Ranker lets you do three things. It lets you rank your employees in a rich way. You can do it in a way that makes sense for your company. it also lets you analyse the people in your group. You can spot the winners without a formal process. You can also act. You can identify middle performers and get them on development courses. You can also spot the low performers and take action.”

He went on to discuss some future product plans for the company. “The best source of talent is through employer referal. We will make it possible that with one click any employee in the company can send a requistion out to a colleague they think would be good. You will get a viral marketing campaign around recruitment. Many of you have global organisations. We are launching a multi-language career posting.”

There are also some more far-flung ideas that are being “scoped”. One of these would be an Ad Hoc Report Builder which will be very intuitive to use and produce on-the-fly reports. There will be new operational and executive dashboards. Customers have also requested document attachment functionality. Customers have also asked for greater integration between performance and goals integration. Then there will be upgrades in the areas of compensation planning. “Line managers often push back against compensation planning. We’re going to offer a slider-based interface that can be used to evaluate compensation plans and enable them to make the best decisions,” said Bernshteyn.

“We’ve only scratched the surface of human capital management, Workforce planning is massively underserved by IT. Companies don’t have the tools to support them. We have a lot of the data that you use for workforce planning. What we plan to do is give executives the power to model their workforces with that data and that insight. Then there’s multi-dimensional analysis. We want to give much deeper insight into the data that’s in the product. We also want to do more with video and voice, have multimedia experiences.”

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