A change of heart

12 May 2018

This article was featured in the June 2018 issue of the magazine.

Jeremy Campbell, chief commercial officer at SD Worx, sets out why payroll and HR must adapt to become the lifeblood of their organisation

CRM (customer relationship management) has long been a watchword for businesses, but the famous acronym is now taking on a new lease of life. Candidate relationship management is the phrase that should be on the lips of every organisation. Why? Because it is going to be a pivotal part of the modern business’s approach to talent management.

It signals a change in the way that organisations attract talent from an increasingly competitive market – but it should do more than this. It should make businesses think twice about how they retain and develop those employees and, ultimately, how they secure an organisation’s future.

Even in an age of automation and an increasingly digital workforce, the beating heart of any business is still its people. Taking talent management seriously is therefore more important than ever in gaining a crucial competitive advantage in your industry. It is time for human resources (HR) and payroll departments to take the lead and drive this change. To do this effectively, these teams must undergo a fundamental shift in the way they operate, from being a largely administrative function to a transformative one whose impact is felt across the whole business. This is a huge moment of transition for HR and payroll – teams must be prepared for change.


A challenging landscape

So, why is now the time for organisations to rethink their approach to talent management? Let’s look at your own team. The chances are that it will be significantly different to how it was set up ten or even five years ago. The most noticeable difference will be the number of permanently contracted employees who are on your books. Every year, more and more people are working from temporary contracts, feeding the gig economy. In real terms, this makes it much harder for companies to track and manage performance, especially if HR teams persist with dated methods. This scenario leaves decision-makers with only a limited view of engagement levels within the business and an uphill struggle to develop and hold onto their best staff. When you combine this with the challenges posed by a multigenerational and increasingly digital workforce, it is clear to see that HR and payroll teams are now operating in a different world. They need to react to thrive. 


...moment of transition for HR and payroll – teams must be prepared for change


From administrative to transformative

HR and payroll teams need to step out of their comfort zones and start taking the lead on issues that will impact the wider business. As the nature of the workforce changes, so too must the way that these departments operate. What was once a largely administrative function, now needs to become the dynamic, data-driven team that implements new ways of managing talent across the business. The difference this change in mindset can make will be huge.

Management teams rely on having a clear overview of engagement levels and staff performance to run a successful team. They need to know, on a day to day basis, whether key performance indicators are being achieved, if employees are receiving the right development opportunities or when someone has met the criteria to earn a pay rise. In the context of today’s jobs market, where employees are more likely to spend two to three years (rather than fifteen) in a role, getting these talent management processes right is essential. It could be the difference between retaining your best salesperson and losing them to the competition. Equally, when hiring staff, businesses also must be quicker. When employees are more likely to move frequently, logic dictates that they must be replaced as soon as possible to avoid any downturn in performance. It is clear the future health of every business relies on its HR department stepping up to become a driving force for change; but what are the practicalities of making this a reality?


Make technology your friend

If these teams are to transform themselves, they have no choice but to embrace technology. Trying to act differently with the same old tools will simply not work. Digitising HR and payroll will be crucial to ensuring that talent management processes are delivered consistently and at scale across a business. This will not only enable the organisation in question to create a sustainable model for a high-performing workforce, it will give HR teams the opportunity to focus their attention on work that will add significantly more value to the business. In this sense, getting talent management right will be inextricably linked to strong performance. The organisations that hesitate to change their mindset, will rapidly lose talented employees and market share. As ever, the power must go to the people.