This may ring a bell: You have a meeting in two days with the leadership team and you’re tasked with providing the status of the company’s workforce compliance program. Your team (and quite often it is a “team of one”) needs to quickly extract information from several different corporate systems. This could include anything from the Human Resource Management System (HRIS) for employee information, to a large spreadsheet used to track human resource and compliance activities, to a Learning Management System (LMS), to showing employee training completion rates.
We’ll refer to these collectively as “point solutions.” Since each point solution gathers, tracks and exports information differently, it is up to you to aggregate the data into a single compelling and meaningful report complete with visuals that illustrate trends in your overall program.
The Risks of Manual Work-Arounds
If that bell is ringing – probably clanging loudly – take comfort that you are not alone. I’ve seen this many times while working with people with similar problems.
Some companies acquired a point solution years earlier to address a specific business problem. But as workforce compliance and database requirements grew and became more complex, the point solution did not keep pace. This left compliance managers with a patchwork of point solutions, or they were forced to create manual systems to work around limitations, such as the infamous spreadsheet.
In other companies, the person that selected the point solution did not fully understand their company’s needs. The net result is the same: long term manual work-arounds and the acquisition of more point solutions to compensate.
You’re Wasting Time and Money
In either case, it has been a waste of time and money to use highly-skilled professionals to compensate for the shortcomings of point solutions that were not designed to be integrated. And while staff may view these short comings are “just part of the job,” it also puts your company at risk.
- You cannot see the “full picture” without significant effort
- The company risks losing or missing key data about an employee or an internal compliance trend
- Lack of automation puts key workforce compliance activities at risk of falling through the cracks
- Planning for the future is difficult since the compliance program is in a reactive state (Event “X” happened; put “N” in place to address it)
Transitioning away from established job duties and multiple point solutions may seem daunting at first, but do not let inertia become your biggest obstacle to reducing both costs and risks.
Unifying Your Compliance System: 4 Steps to Get You Started
Take an inventory of all of point solutions
You may think your department is only using your LMS to manage compliance. However, after talking to staff, you may find they have hidden point solutions to compensate for shortcomings, such as a suite of reporting software, a Microsoft Access Database, or even a paper file system. It’s important to talk to employees above and below your position to determine the full scope of the problem and develop complete requirements to solve this problem.
Identify and talk to all stakeholders
The obvious vertical stakeholders consist of your employees, department, and executive staff. However, there may be horizontal stakeholders in the organization that can also benefit from an integrated system. Do some Workforce Compliance activities overlap with Human Resource programs? Do other activities overlap with training? By taking the time to understand the needs of the organization rather than the needs of one department, you can solve multiple problems with a single solution. This not only saves time, money, and effort, it also makes it much easier to obtain budget from executive staff if there’s a compelling cost reduction.
Select a single solution that solves the problem today – and the problems of tomorrow
You’ve spent the time identifying all of your company’s needs. Now it’s time to evaluate a new long term solution. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Will all compliance activities be stored and managed in one place?
- Can it solve policy management, online training, surveys and testing, video content creation and distribution, and reporting problems in a single, truly integrated platform?
- Can the new solution grow and change along with the company?
- Can it provide workforce compliance automation to prevent those compliance activities from falling through the cracks?
- Is it easy to use and mobile-enabled for on-the-go employees?
- Can executive staff quickly check in periodically without contacting you to run reports?
- Will it quickly provide a total compliance snapshot so you can identify trouble spots before they occur?
Make sure there is trusted help and support both during and after the transition
Be it a credit card or cable TV company, we’ve all experienced the frustration of re-explaining who we are and why we are calling when contacting a faceless call center staffed with varying levels of caring and expertise. When moving from multiple point solutions to a single comprehensive solution, the migration of historic data will be critical when trying to proactively identify trends and trouble spots. If this data is not migrated or is incorrectly loaded, you will lose visibility. Make sure to select a company that can provide dedicated well-trained support both during the implementation and after to avoid call-center roulette.
Moving Away From Multiple Point Solutions: It’s Possible and the Gains are Worth the Effort
Your company will reduce the risk of losing or missing key data as well as the risk of compliance activities falling through the cracks. You can provide a full picture of your workforce compliance program with little effort. And finally – and most importantly – you can focus on planning for the future using real data from your comprehensive compliance solution rather than wasting time managing and administering a complicated set of point solutions. Planning for the future is what will keep your company and you out of trouble. And, it is why highly-skilled professionals like you were hired in the first place.