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Human Capital Management Blog
How Mobility Drives a Smarter Workforce in the Field

Excellent service means responding quickly to customer needs. For those providing field service, this means four basic things: being on time, having enough time to do the job properly, having the right skills, and bringing the right tools. As Information Age notes in a recent article, “For mobile technicians, an increased importance has been put on their role to the overall success of the organization, as they are quite often the only interaction a customer will have with the business.”

Consequently, mobility has taken on an increasingly strategic role for field-service organizations. Recent Aberdeen Group research has confirmed this trend, finding that 82 percent of field-service organizations identified mobility as a strategic initiative for the service operation in the next 12 months—as a tool to empower the field with real-time intelligence to make decisions and resolve issues to better serve the customer. Notes Information Age:

Companies that understand how to strategically leverage mobility solutions stand to drive efficiencies, improve customer service, and benefit from a more profitable bottom line. With field-based work becoming increasingly complex and time-sensitive, more and more businesses are beginning to focus on the proliferation of mobile solutions, integrated with back-end field service solutions, to help manage field operations and provide the mobile workforce with the real-time knowledge needed to make better, more intelligent decisions while in the field.

Among the emerging mobile technologies that are enabling better and smarter field service: the Internet of Things (IoT), by enabling devices to communicate with one another and send and receive data, and mobile applications that provide technicians with visibility across the organization and the ability to share, store, and view job data while in the field.

In a post on its data and networks blog, Ottawa, Ontario-based SkyWave lists five characteristics organizations should look for when considering mobile technology for its workforce:

  • Easy integration. The hardware platform should allow the integrator to customize the solution to ensure easy integration into existing enterprise processes while providing off-the-shelf software applications to enable common functions.
  • Modularity, flexibility, and network readiness. The smartest solutions are modular in nature, allowing you to plan for coverage issues from the outset, and to address requirements with options for cellular, Wi-Fi, satellite, and Ethernet networking.
  • Programmability and configurability. Programming, configuration, and protocol restrictions compromise access to smart data. Devices based on open protocols and customizable scripting languages provide the flexibility needed to develop and deploy a truly custom mobile workforce solution.
  • Minimization of airtime costs. Smarter devices allow for advanced analytics and exception-based reporting at the edge, and enable field workers to access critical data without prohibitive roaming charges.
  • Device agnosticism. Compatibility with a variety of Web-enabled devices simplifies and streamlines access to intelligent data. This device-agnostic compatibility can facilitate a variety of custom workforce automation applications, increase productivity, and ensure continuous communication with remote assets, vehicles, and personnel.

It is important to note that the data gathered and communicated through mobility is not sufficient in and of itself. Integrating that data is key. As Information Age comments:

It is how that data is analyzed and turned into usable information that is what will really make a difference. For this reason, data captured through mobile devices must be tied into other systems within the organization’s technology infrastructure—if not, it will get lost.

Not surprisingly, Aberdeen found the top strategic action for 62 percent of best-in-class field-service organizations was to improve data integration between the field and back-office systems. These companies understood that mobility not only made for a smarter workforce, but when leveraged properly, a smarter enterprise.

Posted by HCM Insights Team

Making the Most of Employee Self Service Capabilities

As the percentage of the workforce with computer and Internet access continues to rise, so too does the popularity of Employee Self Service (ESS) applications. Originally designed to provide employees with access to their personal records and payroll details, ESS has evolved into broader functionality, specifically empowering employees and managers to take more responsibility for their jobs and development.

Career planning, skills profiles, learning, objective settings, appraisals, and analytics are increasingly popular ESS applications. This development is driven by improved technology, a better understanding of human resource management (HRM), a more hands-off role of the HR department, and an increasingly Web savvy workforce, most notably new employees belonging to the Millennial generation.

Putting these tools in place is one thing for a company; getting the most out of them is another. When implementing ESS technology, companies should consider the following elements to help ensure that the investment performs at a high level:

  • Understand the efficiencies the technology can enable. ESS is implemented not only to improve employee satisfaction, but also to uncover inefficient use of HR assets and make HR more strategic and less tactical. To do this, a thorough examination of your own processes is a good first step to seeing where these strategic gains can be made.
  • Train your employees to understand how to access and use ESS. Regardless of how intuitive a system may be, don’t assume that everyone will understand its usage without proper training. You’re investing in the system, so also invest in the personnel that are using it.
  • Establish sound procedures and workflows. These processes need to be well considered for every action that can be taken in an ESS. Who can initiate actions? When are approvals required? Who gives them? Where is the information routed? Who has access to it?
  • Don’t forget security. Consider the risks of information beyond the network. What should be printable and where? What about logins and logouts? Establish rules that serve the individual and the organization.
  • Prepare the culture for change. As with any new technology, ESS will encounter resistance to change. Expect it. What’s more, don’t expect that HR interactions with employees will disappear with the advent of ESS. Listen to what users have to say about the system, and make adjustments accordingly if they make sense. Nothing will deter employees from using ESS to its fullest faster than the feeling that what they think about it doesn’t have an impact.

Posted by Lisa Rickard, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM

Eight Considerations to Turn Transactions and Data into HCM Insight
“Human capital is the profit lever of a knowledge economy,” an observation according to Dr. Jac Fitz-enz (commonly known as “Dr. Jac”), acknowledged as the father of human capital strategic analysis and measurement.
If you see the wisdom in this, you’ll also agree with the advisability of measuring an organization’s human capital. Here are eight areas to consider when building an HR scorecard that can yield insight into the performance of your organization’s human capital:
  • Before you begin to measure:
    • Review business strategy and goals with C-suite executives.
    • Identify the HR functions to be measured that align with objectives.
    • Define each HR metric and its formula.
    • Decide what data must be collected and what collection methods are available.
    • Decide how often HR metrics will be collected and reported.
    • Choose:
      • The format that will be used to report the data.
      • The people who will receive the report.
  • Identify strategic recruiting measures, including:
    • Cost per hire
    • Time to fill
    • Training costs
    • Number of new hires
    • Number of replacements
    • Skill profiles of top performers
      • What competencies do they share?
  • Define strategic absence management measures:
    • Incidents of absenteeism over a given period
      • Month to month
      • Quarter to quarter
      • Year to year
    • Absenteeism rate
      • By day of the week
      • By department
      • By supervisor
  • Establish strategic benefit administration measures:
    • Health care cost per employee
    • Health care cost as a percentage of total compensation
    • Demographics reporting
      • Percentage by gender
      • Percentage by age range
      • Percentage single versus married
    • Impact of health care reform
      • Number of employees who will shift status from part time to full time
      • Monetary impact of excise taxes based on employee population
  • Set compensation measures:
    • Average compensation by full-time employee (FTE)
      • Executive level
      • Management level
    • Average percentage of increase
    • Average length of service
      • Those paid above midpoint versus those below midpoint
  • Set strategic compensation measures:
    • Average compensation by full-time employee (FTE)
      • Executive level
      • Management level
    • Average percentage of increase
    • Average length of service
      • Those paid above midpoint versus those below midpoint
  • Institute strategic goal management measures:
    • Who is executing well?
      • Is this execution consistent?
      • Where are they located?
      • What is their organizational role?
    • What are the commonalities of those performing above average?
    • What are the commonalities of those performing below average?
    • What are the skills and competencies of high performers?
    • What is the company payout at year’s end based on percentage completion of goals?
      • By department, division, etc.
  • Define strategic performance management measures:
    • Who is rated satisfactory or above midpoint?
      • Where do they fall in terms of salary grade?
      • Are high performers being rewarded?
      • Which supervisors do they work for?
    • Who is under performing?
      • Has their rating improved, declined, or remained static since the last performance review?
    • Are individuals’ ratings improving over time?
      • Find the trends among common denominators: job codes, manager/supervisor, length of service
While these considerations are not exhaustive, they provide a good basis for beginning to turn HR data into insight. Don’t be afraid to step away from traditional HR metrics. Think about what is important for your organization. As always, it’s critical to crunch the numbers and to seek and verify information if the numbers seem suspicious.
Good luck. Remember what you’re moving with the lever.
Posted by Lisa Rickard, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM
Small Business, Growth and Human Capital Management
With the ending of National Small Business Week—this being the 51st year the United States has celebrated the nation’s top entrepreneurs—we are reminded of how significantly small business drives the nation’s economic growth.
A Forbes article notes that small business accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all U.S. jobs, and produces 13 times the patents that large businesses do. So ensuring that small businesses get the resources they need to grow and thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace is essential.
One tool for this development is Epicor Express HCM, an entry-level option for human capital management available via the Web. The solution is not only an entry point to automating human capital management, but also can be a strong foundation for future HR systems, allowing small businesses to add more functionality as their HR needs change. HCM Express is easily upgradable, meaning that a customer can simply change the license key to unlock new functionality. Though the functionality may not be set up and ready to use, it will not affect the operation of the core product. For example, if a customer wants to add timesheets to HCM Express, once the timesheets are active, they will not interfere with any parts of the product that are currently running.
The core functionality of HCM Express provides the means for tracking employees (e.g., candidate management, employee management, employee development, health and safety, compensation, and performance). The solution includes connectors to Epicor Payroll and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, as well as other third-party systems. In addition, HCM Express offers basic reporting, workflow, and routing, as well as some self-service portals.
In today’s increasingly global competition, HCM Express facilitates global expansion of small business with functionality including:
  • Standard languages (English, French Canadian, and Spanish)
  • A location-specific option (displaying country-specific policies and procedures, look and feel, etc.)
  • The option to add country-specific functionality, if needed

As noted on Ideas Lab, being small and going global is a growing trend:

The costs of doing international business have never been as low; the opportunity never so great. Small businesses hold enormous latent export and growth potential for economies. This is decidedly the case in America: U.S. products and services are competitive and desired in international markets, yet only one percent of America’s 30 million small- and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) export.
Recent surveys indicate that record numbers of SMEs are looking to start exporting or expanding their exports. The target of executives in these globalizing companies is the growing consumer wallet space and infrastructure spending in the emerging markets, growth in the frontier economies of Africa, Latin America and Asia, and recoveries in advanced markets in Europe and Japan.

As small businesses continue to make this move, they will need to manage their increasingly far-flung human resources. Epicor Express HCM provides them with an efficient and effective means to do so why still at an early stage of development.

Posted by Lisa Rickard, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM
Data-Driven Decision-Making Is Transforming HR
A recent post on the Management Concepts blog addressed the impact of data-driven analytics on the nature of human resources staffing. The focus on analytics and rising expectations about the potential benefits of big data is ratcheting up pressure on chief human capital officers (CHCOs) to expand the ability of HR to apply quantitative analysis to support decision-making. In terms of HR staffing, it’s likely to be transformative:
Introducing analytics to the Human Resources Line of Business (HRLOB) will require HR personnel with a set of skills that has not traditionally been part of the human resources function.
The post cites five key skillsets that increasingly will be sought in HR personnel:
  • Business acumen
  • Research/hypothesis design
  • Statistical analysis
  • Data reduction
  • Evaluating and presenting results of analysis

The ability to tie HR data and study results to core organizational performance metrics will be critical for successful implementation of HR analytics. While it’s one thing to design a research study, gather data, and analyze the results, making those results compelling by linking them to key performance indicators that are of interest to senior executives has not typically been in HR’s area of expertise. This skill requires business acumen.
Effectively using analytics to drive decision-making requires carefully formulated questions and a specifically designed data collection and analysis strategy that will yield actionable information. Therefore, HR practitioners need to understand how to design research studies to explain events within their organization. Additionally, the ability to calculate and appropriately interpret key statistical metrics such as measures of central tendency, as well as more advanced analyses such as correlations, t-tests, and analysis of variance, will be essential in correctly interpreting the results of analytic efforts. While there are countless tools available for managing large data sets, some effort and skill are still required to clean and filter noisy data streams so that analysis can focus on the best set of available data. Consequently, data reduction skills will be increasingly valued.
Along with performing the studies, HR personnel will need to be able to review the analyses performed by others and translate the results into useful and useable visual displays. This presentation skillset will be especially important for HR leaders who may not actually perform analyses, but will be the first-line consumer of analytic studies.
On another front, Human Resources Executive Online notes that one area strongly emerging from use of analytics is talent forecasting. Talent forecasting is a growing field where data-rich software is leveraged to help HR leaders better understand and address the supply-and-demand challenges within their organizations. The article cites five ways that talent forecasting is transforming recruiting:

  • Predictive analytics proactively pinpoint problems.
  • Recruitment must become part of integrated talent management.
  • Faster speed means quicker hires and less wasted time and resources.
  • Increasingly, big data will inform strategic workforce planning.
  • Talent acquisition is the single most important factor for revenue growth and profit. 

The author Lisa Hartley concludes: “These five advantages showcase how talent forecasting can provide human resources with data that will make long-term planning and the allocation of resources easier. Clearly, talent forecasting is much more than counting the number of employees—it's about understanding the business you want to be and using the technology we have today to find and deliver an effective workforce.”
This is data-driven food for serious thought.

Posted by Lisa Rickard, Senior Manager, Product Marketing for HCM at Epicor
For HR, Eight Questions to Ask of Your Data
In a recent post, we discussed the emergence of data-driven insight as a priority for Human Resources. A common theme among commentators on the subject is the importance of asking the right questions to elicit the appropriate information from the data. In his recent Forbes column on talent analytics, Josh Bersin lists eight questions that span a range of HR-related applications that can be explored profitably. They’re certainly worth posing, and worth repeating here:
  1. What creates high levels of engagement and retention?
  2. What factors drive high-performing sales professionals?
  3. What factors and which people are likely to create accidents and submit claims?
  4. Who are the most successful leaders and why are some being developed and others not?
  5. Why are some locations more prone to theft and loss and what causes the variation?
  6. What talent factors drive high levels of customer satisfaction and retention?
  7. Where are the current talent gaps in the organization, and which ones can be predicted in the years ahead?
  8. What is the quality of the candidate pipeline and how do you better attract and select people who will succeed in the organization?

There’s a wealth of actionable knowledge residing in the data stores of HR; asking questions like these is essential to extracting it.

Posted by Epicor Social Media Team
Data-Backed Insight Coming to the Forefront in HR
A recent article on hrmagazine.co.uk addresses the rising expectations for data-backed insight in human resources. The upshot: investors and senior management are more interested in talent data than ever before. If HR departments aren’t primed to deliver, they had better prepare for it.
“Strategic use of data probably doesn’t take more effort than you’re doing now, but it requires new skills from HR,” says Jeremy Shapiro, executive director at Morgan Stanley. According to Shapiro, a trend toward more integrated reporting (i.e., where companies report on elements such as sustainability and talent management as well as financials) plus a rising awareness of how engagement links to performance means that senior executives are starting to expect more out of their HR data.
An article in Forbes further underscores why these expectations are rising:
How well do organizations truly understand what drives performance among their workforce? The answer: not really very well. Do we know why one sales person outperforms his peers? Do we understand why certain leaders thrive and others flame out? Can we accurately predict whether a candidate will really perform well in our organization? The answer to most of these questions is no. The vast majority of hiring, management, promotion, and rewards decisions are made on gut feel, personal experience, and corporate belief systems. This is like the vice-president of marketing spending millions of dollars on a new marketing campaign because he or she “always does it this way.” It’s an obsolete way to make decisions.
The Forbes piece cites an excellent example of how this pattern can work against HR success: a large company had operated under the belief that employees with good grades from highly ranked colleges would make good performers. Therefore, their recruitment, selection, and promotion processes were based on these academic drivers. An analyst within the firm did a statistical analysis of sales productivity and turnover, correlating total performance and retention rates against a range of demographic factors. The results were astonishing and contrary to long-held beliefs. Six factors were highly correlated with success:
  • No typos, errors, or grammatical mistakes on resumes
  • No quitting school before achieving a degree
  • Experience selling high-ticket commodities
  • Demonstrated success in prior positions
  • Ability to succeed with vague instruction
  • Experience managing time and multi-tasking
However, three stood out as not mattering at all:
  • Where they went to school
  • What grades they had
  • The quality of their references
Once this data was integrated into the recruiting process, the company saw more than $4 million in revenue improvement the next fiscal period.
Not surprisingly, leading enterprises are pioneering data-driven HR management. An article on TLNT.com highlights how HR is a data-driven function at Google, where the traditional HR function is called “people operations,” and an analytics team drives all HR decisions. A couple of tenets from that team show how removed their process is from the old HR world of relationships and gut feelings:
  • All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics.
  • The goal is to bring the same level of rigor to people decisions that they do to engineering decisions.

This approach has resulted in Google producing amazing workforce productivity results that few can match (on average, each employee generates nearly $1 million in revenue and $200,000 in profit each year).

Quoted in the hrmagazine.co.uk article, Matthew Hanwell, business consulting lead for social media at NorthgateArinso, says that HR departments must get a better handle on big data and understand that any analysis must be connected to business strategy. "HR reporting is like an x-ray right now, black and white and in 2D," he says. "It should be an MRI scan, allowing you to plot, scan, and drill. This requires a different set of skills to interpret."
Hanwell and Shapiro agree that “data scientist” is a role that will be emerging in HR departments, especially considering their pressing need for data-driven insight.
Posted by Epicor Social Media Team
HCM Going Mobile

It’s no surprise mobile devices continue to increase adoption. Surprising fact that by the end of 2013, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth (Source: Cisco, 2013).


To address customer needs, we announced availability of HCM Mobile Connect in our latest human capital management (HCM) solution, Epicor HCM version 5.7.1. HCM Mobile Connect provides access to users for daily tasks via Apple® iPad®, iPhone® or Android® devices. Users can easily login through a device’s web browser with no application installation required, so no need for HR or IT to support various versions of device applications.


Employees can simply bookmark the URL in the web browser to provide direct entry for the login page. Highlights of the new mobile feature include:

  • Managers have the ability to respond to time-off requests or balances, approve any workflow routes, manage contacts and take any action that needs approval.
  • Employees can access pertinent insurance data, update their personal information, submit time-off or leave of absence requests and click-to-call while searching the company directory.
  • Create and update To-Do lists on-the-go.
  • Offered on-demand as software as a service (SaaS) subscription, hosted or on-premise license.

For more information, visit:




Posted by Diana Van Blaricom, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM

30-minute Sanity Check

When Steven Covey wrote “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” he probably never imagined that years later people would still be looking to this guide for direction.  But how do you really put those practices into place when our lives are so crazy?

I vowed never to make New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I made one for me.  I call it my “30-minutes to Sanity.”  I have spent the last 15 years traveling a grueling schedule, meetings all day, sometimes with hundreds of people in the room all at once.  Noise, and lots of it.  Airports, traffic, conference calls.  So, I decided that 2013 was my year to do one thing for myself each day.  One quiet thing.  While it doesn’t always work out that way because sometimes life, work or whatever gets in the way, it still remains a commitment.  So put it on your calendar.  Why do it? It gives our brains a rest.  And with laptops, mobile devices and trying to keep up with social media . . .our brains (and bodies) never really get a chance to rest.  You might do it in the morning before work, over lunch or to end your evening.  It doesn’t matter when, it just matters that you do it.  Here are some things that I do to take advantage of a 30-minute sanity check:

  • Play with the dog:  Studies show that the simple act of playing with your dog can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and calm nerves.  And, it’s good for Fido, too.
  • Step outside:  Sunshine, fresh air and flowers provide sensory stimulation that help calm the body. (Unless it’s winter, then you’re burning calories to keep warm so it’s a cardio exercise!)
  • Make a cup of tea:  The British already grasped this idea years ago.  The simple act of getting up from your desk, brewing a cup of tea and sipping it quietly can be rejuvenating.
  • Organize something:  Being just a little OCD, messes make me crazy.  So sometimes, my 30 minutes is cleaning out a drawer, organizing my suitcase for my next trip or simply scanning documents so there is not so much paper on my desk.

You get the idea.  And to make it even more fun, buy yourself a fun, funky kitchen timer.  Set it, forget it and go relax.  Thirty minutes from now, you’ll feel better.  Thirty years from now, you’ll be so glad you did.

Posted by Diana Van Blaricom, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM

Survey: The Most Productive Day of the Workweek

Did you know that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week? According to a survey by Menlo Park-based Accountemps, nearly half of executives surveyed said employees reach their zenith performance on Tuesday. Followed by Wednesday, Thursday, and then Monday - not surprisingly – Friday is the least productive day.

Are you a morning or afternoon person? If you combine your personal work energy peaks with the high energy workdays, you'll get more done, conquer difficult tasks with ease and have a greater sense of accomplishment. It's true! (Well, it must be true because I saw it on the internet!)

But seriously, the research has proven it. So how will you rearrange your tasks to be more productive, make a bigger contribution and have a greater sense of satisfaction come Friday?

Posted by Diana Van Blaricom, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Epicor HCM

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