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Human Resources (HR) FAQs

These are the HR Suite related questions we hear a lot and you'll find the answers below. But if you have others, please don't hesitate to contact us – we're here to help.

What is a Human Resources Management System (HRMS)?

An HR Management Systems (HRMS), often also referred to as HR Information Systems (HRIS) or “core” HR software are the employee systems of record and remain key to human resource administrative processes. HRMS is becoming less focused on back-office. Employee self-service, wellness, and engagement features, as well as analytics dashboards for managers and executives, drive adoption beyond HR administrators. HRMS today is less strictly a system of record, with a category-wide focus on things like mobile, actionable insights from big data and predictive analytics, and integrated workforce and/or talent management capabilities. It is also worth noting that as the employee system of record, HRMS is very closely connected to payroll tasks although payroll is widely considered to be a separate activity.


What key features should I look for in an HRMS?

Today both HR and line of business are looking for efficiency improvements - faster HR procedures, as well as productivity and innovation gains through improved employee performance analytics, leadership training, compensation forecasting, and workforce modelling. You must get clean data into the system to enable this. The importance of a system to efficiently get data in/out cannot be overstated.

Key features include:

- HR Data Management: A complete view of the organizational workforce across business entities, divisions, locations, departments, cost centres, etc. With a primary source of truth for core employee and talent data, via a current centralized interface, to make smarter people decisions to improve business performance.

- Employee & Manager Self-Service: to keep workforce data timely and accurate and provide employees greater access and control of their own data while freeing up HR to focus on strategic initiatives.

- Automation and standardization of admin processes by routing documents, requests, forms, and tasks through configurable approval workflows to reduce errors, costs, and paperwork.

- HR Planning: to help ensure accurate and efficient headcount planning and trend analysis at scale. This is focused on headcount management processes with today’s BIG data and analytics tools which reduce risk, increase efficiency, and protect the integrity of headcount planning.

- Visualization & analysis: Multi-dimensional, highly visual BI to identify correlations, easily filter, and find employees. Simple, clean, and intuitive employee identification based on a variety of data in the related system; without knowledge of or need for complex reporting.

- Benchmarking: Comparison of employee data with peers in external companies. Advanced reporting capabilities to compare data between or amongst subdivisions or subsidiaries. Ability to visualize comparisons against custom, external, and internal business segments across a variety of metrics.


What potential pitfalls or opportunities should I be aware of when considering HRMS?

As HR processes become digital, HR and line management must agree on a new charter for the HR function. HR professionals that used to drown in emails, Excel sheets, Word-based forms, and paper, increasingly leave transactional HR tasks to relevant employees and managers. What started as simple employee and manager self-service portals are evolving into full-function employee and manager applications. Transactional HR tasks disappear as a result, while new opportunities arise for HR to do more strategic work mining digital HR data and getting actionable business insights. However, HR must carefully balance long-term aspirations with short-term efficiency and responsiveness in answering immediate requests.

- Both HR professionals and line managers expect HR to perform new innovative tasks. Many of these tasks, such as employee performance analytics, were very difficult or even impossible without the digitalisation of HR processes.

- As appraisals are increasingly managed in HR applications, the possibilities of extracting information and using it to perform tactical and strategic planning are massively expanded.

Major challenges include focus on more HR analytics and planning and on the intersection between employee performance, skills, and compensation, and skill requirements, both tactically (workforce modelling — fitting the right skills to the right task) and strategically (matching employee skills to future skill requirements).


Why is Employee data so important?

People data, also known employee data, can be defined as datasets describing people in organizations. People data is information and insight that an organization has available on its various pools of people collected from any one of their system such as HRIS, payroll, benefits, workforce management system or talent management system.

What are the Benefits of People Data?

Organizations already hold a vast amount of people data to start analyzing and tying to business metrics. Consistently accurate people data improves cost management, eliminating hidden expenditures and facilitating trustworthy company-wide insights that can drive the business. By simplifying your data and taking charge of the processes around it, you can liberate your organization to do a wealth of things successfully.

One of the great advantages of an organically built talent management system is the unified data model across the employee lifecycle that lies under the surface. With Cornerstone, you can access talent data from all of your talent management processes seamlessly from one source. With Cornerstone Analytics Suite, organizations get sophisticated technology including the power of predictive analytics, to gain deep insights about their talent. As a result, organizations can have healthier leadership pipelines, improved innovation and higher returns.


What is HR Analytics?

HR analytics, also called talent or people analytics, is the application of considerable data mining and business analytics techniques to talent data. Analytics that measure performance and efficiencies that matter to HR only. Examples include: time to fill a job requisition, number of people trained, number of people with certain competencies, last year’s attrition, estimated attrition for next year, estimated number of candidates to have in the pipeline based on estimated attrition, which source provides the best candidates, compliance reporting, diversity reporting.

What are the benefits of HR Analytics?

The goal of human resources analytics is to provide an organization with insights for effectively managing employees so that business goals can be reached quickly and efficiently. HR analytics does not only deal with gathering data on employee efficiency. Instead, it aims to provide insight into each process by gathering data and then using it to make relevant decisions about how to improve the processes. The challenge of human resources analytics is to identify what data should be captured and how to use the data to model and predict capabilities so the organization gets an optimal return on investment on its human capital.

Cornerstone Analytics offers a suite of people analytics products that apply sophisticated data science and the most refined machine learning system for talent management to help organizations harness the power of real-time talent data and more efficiently and effectively manage their people. The Cornerstone Analytics suite includes, Cornerstone Reporting, Cornerstone View, Cornerstone Insights and Cornerstone Planning.


What is workforce Analytics?

Workforce analytics is an advanced set of data analysis tools and metrics for comprehensive workforce performance measurement and improvement. While people analytics focuses on the personnel aspect, workforce analytics focuses on the workforce on a slightly larger scale. Workforce analytics can be measured in a number of ways – whether it be company specific measurements, measurements across an entire industry, an examination of a group of jobs, or something else, the data applied to analytics is dynamic. It analyzes recruitment, staffing, training and development, personnel, and compensation and benefits, as well as standard ratios that consist of time to fill, cost per hire, accession rate, retention rate, add rate, replacement rate, time to start and offer acceptance rate.

What are the benefits of Workforce analytics?

Workforce analytics can be used to help refine and improve assessments that potential candidates for employment and current employees have to take. Organizations can benefit greatly by employing powerful analytics solutions backed by data science and machine learning for managing and fostering talent, helping them make more objective decisions while saving cost and time. Executives, business leaders and HR professionals require the tools to make data-based decisions on whom to hire, simulate headcount plans and get recommendations to address challenges.

Cornerstone workforce analytics offerings remove the barriers for organizations who want to answer important talent management questions but aren’t quite sure where to start. With the volume and variety of talent data growing exponentially, and the velocity at which this is happening, Cornerstone Insights and Cornerstone Planning can help organizations take the power of big data from insights to action.


What Are the Benefits of Data Warehouse for HR?

A data warehouse for HR can contain aggregate historical talent data, which may be analyzed to reach critical business decisions related to talent management. Despite associated costs and effort, most major organizations today use data warehouses.

When it comes to making decisions, access to the latest information is crucial. All Cornerstone reports are generated in real-time leveraging our real time data warehouse and give you access to what is going on right now in your business. You get real time access to the right data in the right hands at the right time. Schedule reports to be delivered to key executives at the moment of need. Roll out slick, graphical dashboards from across the talent management suite to your managers and let them access the data they need most. One of the great advantages of an organically built talent management system is the unified data model that lies under the surface. With Cornerstone, you access real time data from all of your people management processes seamlessly and from a single source.


What is Human Resource Planning?

Human resource planning is the continuous process of systematic planning to achieve optimum use of human capital. The objective is to ensure the best fit between employees and jobs while avoiding talent shortages or surpluses. The four key steps of the HRP process are analyzing present talent supply, forecasting talent demand, balancing projected demand with supply and supporting organizational goals.

Planning needs to be flexible enough to meet short-term staffing challenges while adapting to changing conditions in the business environment over the longer term. It starts by assessing and auditing the current capacity of human resources.

Analyzing Present Conditions:

The first step of human resource planning is to identify the company's talent strengths and weaknesses. A comprehensive audit of the skills, demographics, qualifications, experience and compensation helps to determine if these statistics are in line with the company's goals. Does the firm need to hire more staff to compete in a future marketplace, or are more automated tools necessary to capture more market share from competitors? Is the status quo acceptable, or should the company accelerate skills development efforts?

HR forecasts demand based on the strategic goals of the company. HR managers may examine market trends, industry analyses and technological improvements to come up with ways to meet the company's goals. Forecasting retirements is also one major facet that needs consideration when businesses assess future staffing levels.

Striking a Balance with Planning:

Gap analysis that lays out specific needs to narrow the supply of the company's talent pool versus future demand. Should employees learn new skills? Does the company need more managers? Do all employees play to their strengths in their current roles?

The answers to these questions let HR determine how to proceed, which is the final phase of the process. HR must now take practical steps to integrate its plan with the rest of the company. The department needs a budget, the ability to implement the plan and a collaborative effort with all departments to make the plan happen.

The goal of HR planning is to have the right people in the right jobs at the right time. Because the goals and strategies of the company change over time, HRP is a regular occurrence.


What is HR Benchmarking?

HR Benchmarking is a process of collecting data on various aspects of HRM systems from either world class or highly comparable firms or large numbers of firms worldwide, using the data to evaulate the performance of your own firm, and thereby identify areas that need improvement.

Benchmarking HR Outcomes

Irrespective of the value of benchmarking HR processes, knowing how competitive your firm is or how efficient it is on the HR metrics important in your industry will tell you if there is room for improvement and how much has to be achieved to remain competitively viable.

Comparing your HR performance metrics such as employee turn-over, overtime usage, satisfaction levels with similiar or competing firms gives additonal meaning to these numbers. HR metrics can be purchased, either from specialist consulting firms or through the memberhsip of benchmarking clubs rather than doing this yourself. However, many types of HR data can be benchmarked, for example:

- Voluntary turnover rate per annum

- Unexcused days of abseentism per employee

- Average payroll expense per 100 FTS staff per annum

- Cost of recruitment per recruit

- Ratio of HR Staff numbers per 100 FTE employees

- Exit costs

Source: HRINZ Business Peformance Course.


What is a Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) Software suite?

HCM suites enable core HR, payroll, talent, workforce management and HR service delivery processes. Cloud human capital management (HCM) suites deliver functionality that helps organizations attract, develop, engage, retain and manage their workforces. To varying degrees, these solutions support a variety of HCM capabilities, including:

- HR administrative functions (admin HR) — Include core HR (organizational and employee data, employment life cycle processes, transactional employee and manager self-service), benefits and payroll administration. May also include occupational health and safety, grievance tracking, travel expense management, or other areas.

- HR service delivery (HRSD) — Includes direct access to policy and procedure guidance for employees and managers. May also include integrated case management, knowledge base and digital document management.

- Talent management (TM) applications — Include recruiting, onboarding, performance management, compensation planning, career and succession planning, learning and development, and workforce planning.

- Workforce management (WFM) — Includes absence management, time capture, time and attendance evaluation, task/activities tracking, budgeting and forecasting, and scheduling.


What level of localization is offered by Cornerstone HR?

The HR part of the product does not provide out of the box localization or country specific pre-delivered functionality for recording employee data. This is a functionality gap compared to other leading core HR applications.

We manage the gap by designing country specific forms with relevant fields as required using the Cornerstone forms functionality during implementations. An initiative is underway to make some of these forms available as templates, so these can be positioned as almost ‘out of the box’ solutions. Cornerstone supports 42 languages.


Is CSOD HCM compliant with local regulation?

Usually it is Payroll applications that need to be compliant with local regulations. HCM applications, particularly, HCM application which do not have payroll functionality can only provide country specific fields like NI number (UK), SSN number (US), right to work etc. to aid regulatory record keeping. See response to 2 above.


Can CSOD guarantee that we will be GDPR compliant?

Cornerstone does provide a system which enables clients to apply GDPR principles. However, organizations cannot absolve themselves of their responsibility by solely relying on systems.

GDPR aims to ensure that everyone involved in processing data is accountable, no single application can ‘guarantee’ GDPR compliance as it involves processes, procedures and practices to ensure personal employee and candidate data is protected and respected when used by employers.


Can Cornerstone HR help get rid of old systems, simplify and have only one Core HR solution?

Often organizations start their journey with this aspiration. However most soon realize that data from multiple sources, including local payrolls, local time and attendance systems, benefits providers, local, specialized and cost - effective HRIS or flat files cannot be effectively included within one global HR platform. These applications will need to continue to coexist. Cornerstone can be the primary source of truth if organizations are absolutely clear about the data that they want to master in the system.


How does Cornerstone HR handle PII?

Sensitive PII can be stored as an encrypted custom field and can be decrypted this when exported to a third-party software provider.

Sensitive PII related to Social Security Number and Date of Birth can also be stored for a user via the standard fields on the user record. This information is encrypted and decrypted directly within Cornerstone, and is fully permission based. More Sensitive PII fields that support encryption and decryption within Cornerstone will be supported in the future.

Cornerstone has always enabled the application to be compliant, but we put the actual management of compliance in the hands of our customers. Over the years, CSOD has become an extremely configurable solution, supporting many of the local regulations. With Cornerstone HR, CSOD supports configurability to enable many organizations with their compliance needs. When clients need help with this, Cornerstone or a partner can offer assistance.


How does the solution handle local compliance?

Cornerstone has always enabled the application to be compliant, but we put the actual management of compliance in the hands of our customers. Over the years, CSOD has become an extremely configurable solution, supporting many of the local regulations. With CHR, CSOD supports configurability to enable many organizations with their compliance needs. When clients need help with this, Cornerstone or a partner can offer assistance.


How does CSOD’s HR product handle Absence Management?

SSO integration allows any user to login to the e-days portal from their Cornerstone account. Additionally, certain master data (such as OU) flow over through e-days via the integration. Users can do all their absence requests, approvals and view their balances in e-days. - Integration with CSOD pages Cornerstone views: Managers and Employees can request and approve absences, view their balances and have a team absence calendar directly in Cornerstone. End Users will not need to leave Cornerstone, giving them a seamless experience.


Does CSOD have localized templates for i.e. master data management to comply with local regulation?

The short answer is no. However, we manage the gap by designing country specific forms with relevant fields as required using the Cornerstone forms functionality during implementations. An initiative is underway to make some of these forms available as templates, so these can be positioned as almost ‘out of the box’ solutions. Cornerstone supports 42 languages.


Does CSOD provide out of the box forms for standard HR processes?

The short answer is no. However, we manage the gap by designing country specific forms with relevant fields as required using the Cornerstone forms functionality during implementations. An initiative is underway to make some of these forms available as templates, so these can be positioned as almost ‘out of the box’ solutions. Cornerstone supports 42 languages.


Does CSOD provide full support for Position Management?

Cornerstone has a talent driven approach to HCM and is user centric. We are however planning to release a new functionality which will allow our clients to tie more attributes directly to a position, making administration a lot easier. With this new functionality we aim to develop the ability to group any OUs and some User Record Fields together on a new “Position Seat” object. We do not aim to create true Position Management – Cornerstone will continue to keep focus on Talent Management, with the User at the center.


Does CSOD provide industry or standard HR reporting?

‘Standard HR reporting’ means different things to different people. Cornerstone HR enables slicing and dicing of data based on various attributes and it is possible to generate a large number of commonly used core HR reports.


What controls do you propose in terms of data control (for instance is your solution able to control social security number, …)?

It is possible to define a required format for custom fields. When a required format is defined, any data entered into the custom field must match the required format. This enables you to ensure that data is entered into the custom field in the proper format. The required format is defined using a Regex Pattern.


What level of support does CSOD provide for Personal Data Management?

Support includes (but is not limited to) Employee ID, Personal Information: Full Name, Preferred Name incl. History of Name Changes, DoB, Address, Personal Contact Details - phone, email, etc., Emergency Contact Names and Numbers, Gender, Record of Disability or Special Needs, Active Military Service obligations, Languages, Language Preference, Car Registration, Motoring Penalties, Immigration Status Cornerstone HR can be used as Employee Data Hub, with free form and import of data from other HR and Payroll systems. Any view/read/write/modify/delete rights can be managed precisely, taking into account any specific regulation. CSOD stores a number of configurable pick list and freeform values as part of the user data including: user ID, name (First, Middle, Last, Suffix), email address, phone, fax, original hire date, last hire date, username, division, position, grade, cost center, location, manager, approver(s), language, and many customizable fields.


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