Talent Management

Business Process Alignment: Driving Impact From Your HR Technology Investment

Conceptual graphic depicting business process alignment with arrows all pointing the same direction.
Conceptual graphic depicting business process alignment with arrows all pointing the same direction.
Photo of Esha Satam

Esha Satam

Esha Satam is a Senior Consultant at Educe in the Cornerstone CSX practice. She has experience implementing and supporting…

Driving impact from new HR technology investments begins with having a clear understanding of your organization’s HR and talent management business processes.

Without this clarity, the ROI and adoption of your new platform, system, or module is left up to chance. In this post, we explain why it is important to analyze your business processes as part of a new technology initiative, identify existing pain points and areas for improvement, and align your go-forward processes with the technology outcomes that are important to your business.

What is business process analysis?

Simply put, business process analysis is an approach to evaluating operational processes to identify what is working well, what needs to be improved, and how improvements should be made. When organizations conduct a business process analysis, they are often looking to address organizational goals such as increasing revenue, reducing costs, or improving experience (customer, employee, or otherwise).

What is business process alignment?

A business process analysis conducted specifically to support organizational outcomes related to new technology initiatives is called business process alignment. Intended to ensure existing business processes are identified, mapped, and aligned to the features and functionality of an organization’s new platform or system, a business process alignment helps define an organization’s requirements, details process workflows, and documents how the system should function. This documentation is important to ensure your organization meets the strategic goals and objectives of your new HR or talent management software implementation.

What types of organizations can benefit from a business process alignment?

While all businesses can benefit from a business process alignment, those organizations that are large, have multiple stakeholder groups, and/or have complex HR and talent management processes will see a significant return on investment for their new technology implementation if they engage fully in the business analysis process. Gaining consensus on how the new system should work, aligning on the prioritization of features and functionality, and agreeing on what operational processes may need to change in the future up-front, are all pivotal to ensuring the technology implementation drives the most impact for the business in the long-term.

Can I conduct a business process alignment effort with internal resources?

Yes, but it may not be the most efficient or effective use of time. Typically, most internal resources do not have the expertise or bandwidth to properly interview stakeholders, review inputs, and make recommendations or they would have done it already. Add to the complexity aligning those processes with a new technology platform that is unfamiliar, and it quickly becomes apparent that an external resource (usually the consulting firm that will perform your system implementation) is better suited to support your organization. They are experts in uncovering the details that will matter when configuring and maintaining your new system, identifying blind spots internal resources may have, guiding you on best practices, and documenting process flow maps and requirements thoroughly.

How do I get the most from engaging an external resource to conduct a business process alignment?

Be prepared. You know your business and should be able to articulate your processes and challenges. Below are three areas to consider:

  1. What are the current pain points that you’re hoping a new system will solve?
    A business process alignment effort will focus on identifying what your organization can accomplish for your talent and how you can optimize current processes. If you are moving from a legacy platform, it is important to consider how your business processes function both inside and outside of your current talent management software. Often, the limited functionality of previous technology may have led to a pain point within your overall business process. To identify existing pain points, think of the overall processes you follow for talent management and ask yourself if you are experiencing complexity with accomplishing regular tasks, an inability to complete a function necessary for tracking employees, difficulty providing communications, etc. These are all areas your consultant will want to explore further. In addition, don’t forget to gather feedback from other areas of your business. It may be useful to:

    • Interview stakeholders who use or impact your talent management business processes. Asking those who regularly work with or on the business processes for their struggles or issues is a great way of identifying common pain points across the organization.
    • Survey employees who can provide feedback on their role or step within a talent management workflow. Your investment in talent management technology is for your talent – who better to get feedback from? Employees who work with your business processes regularly have great insights into what works and what doesn’t from a user perspective.
  2. Where can you find areas for improvement or adjustment in your business processes?
    Once you’ve identified your paint points, your organization can start to identify areas for improvement. For example, if you have a step within your business process that causes stakeholders to work inefficiently or creates confusion for your talent, identify the parts of your process that you would consider revising and improving. Be prepared to discuss with your consulting team your full list of pain points and improvement areas, but also which ones are a priority for the business. Providing your team with focused areas that your organization has identified as important and adjustable gives them the opportunity to share recommendations and advice on improvements that are feasible.
  3. How can you improve the pain points you currently have?
    Recognizing areas of challenge within your business processes can lead to conversations around potential improvements to the process or steps within your workflows. All organizations manage talent and have defined processes to ensure talent is successful in their work. As an organization, you are the owners of your business processes, and you likely know what your ideal talent management process looks like. Once you’ve identified where your greatest issues lie, your organization can start to think about how those problems might be addressed and to create a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.”With an investment in new technology comes expectations for the capabilities of the software. It is just as important for your organization to note changes to your processes or functionality that are needed for success, as well as those that may be nice to have but not necessary. While these would not necessarily be solutions to challenges you face, they could be areas of improvement that you are looking for a specific solution to. And, if you don’t have many “must-haves” or “nice-to-haves,” don’t worry too much about the how – this is where you can rely on your consulting team to share their expertise around best practices.

Analyzing and aligning businesses processes to support a new HR or talent management software initiative is key to seeing impact from your technology investment. If you are embarking on this journey, Educe is here to help. Learn more about our Business Process Alignment services.

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