Case on the use of EPSS in Human Resources Management: Recruitment system

Contents:
Customer needs
Goals of the HRM EPSS
Definition of key actors
Basic idea of the HRM EPSS
Realisation of the HRM EPSS
Additional features
Problems experienced
Benefits gained



Customer needs

The customer of Human Capital Investment Oy was a major Finnish company with hundreds of managers and supervisors responsible for recruitment. The managers were scattered to offices in various locations around Finland. These managers varied widely in experience as well as in their process of recruitment. Also the managerial support was varying – and most importantly: some managers were recruiting staff often – some very seldomly.

However, also the corporate HRM departments had its clear goals and objectives to streamline and unify the recruitment process. These goals included the goal to shorten the average time of recruitment (could have been all up to four-five months) and to improve the quality of the recruitment process by the provision of joint process and unified tools. The goal was to make the individual managers really to take comprehensive responsibility of the recruitment process.

It was seen from the beginning clearly that the appropriate method to empower the front-line managers was to provide them with a unified tool to undertake their work. Thus it was obvious that the real front-line driven process requires a strong support of joint processes and tools.


Goals of the HRM EPSS

The overall goal was to provide a feasible and easily usable support tool (performance tool, if you like) for the managers for their routine work. Thus the whole process was visualised and shown (from needs analysis till work contract), the (electronic) tools needed (forms, templates etc.) were actively provided through the EPSS and the required background information (e.g. laws, regulations, corporate procedures) was linked to the actual application.

However, organisationally there was also the goal to assist the HRM professionals in their work. The benefits expected of using similar tools corporate-wide were obvious, as much of the time of the HRM professionals was spent in answering questions of a similar type. One could estimate using the 80/20 rule that 80 % of the questions asked in phone, by e-mail etc. by the managers of the HRM professionals were “bulk” questions. In other words, the resources of the HRM people were spent in tackling with questions already covered in printed materials etc. Thus the creation of the EPSS as a single resource pack would enable the concentration of the HRM professionals to guidance and professional advice instead answering the routine questions.

And finally the objective was to shorten the time of a single recruitment by several weeks – one of the methods was the utilisation of electronic signatures instead of a number of physical signatures. The real problem was not only to get the signatures, but also the time the documents were travelling back-and-forth in the internal mail system of the company.


Definition of key actors

In the start of the creation of the EPSS system, it was necessary to define the key actors in a recruitment process. The definition of their roles and responsibilities also assisted later the creation of right “views” to the EPSS database. The key roles were seen to


Within the company the problem in many cases had been the not-so-clear division of labour. Thus the EPSS assisted also in delivering a clear statement of responsibilities and the provision of corresponding tools as well as a clear indication of the roles and responsibilities. In the EPSS on each stage a clear indication (by graphic symbols) of the responsibilities was found.

All these key actors (per a single recruitment) were brought together to a common electronic workspace. Thus the single recruitment was seen as a common project for these involved parties, and the documents created during this “project” were all collected into one folder. These documents remained after the actual recruitment process as a resource for work familiarisation, work orientation and appraisal process.


Basic idea of the HRM EPSS

The basic idea of the HRM EPSS was a clear provision of the recruitment process from A to Z (stage-by-stage). At each stage there were links to the key information (what to do at this stage), the supportive tools (checklists, simulations, documents) and the documentation (filled needs analysis form, interview report, work contract). The fundamental idea was that the advanced users (e.g. managers recruiting staff often) would go the “fast track”, as the ordinary users could follow the longer route with a great depth of assistance provided for them by the EPSS.



Figure 1

The figure 1. shows the basic route in the HRM EPSS and figure 2 an example route.




Figure 2


Realisation of the HRM EPSS

The HRM EPSS was provided on the intranet and was used by an ordinary internet browser by the managers. The idea of an easy interface lowered the threshold to use the HRM EPSS. The various tools were planned for the MS-Office environment, which all managers had access to from their desktop computers.

The HRM EPSS was programmed as a Lotus Notes Domino application. The fundamental reason was the ease of information maintenance and updating . The objective was that within the company there was only one location, in which of all crucial HRM information could be found. In many cases, the material used for recruitment alters quickly (according to the legislation, contracts, regulations, pension schemes etc.). The database-based application enabled the easy updates of this crucial information.

As a workflow - with the assistance of the HRM EPSS - for each new recruitment an MS-Office Binder was established, which held all the important documents of the recruitment. Using this type of a work method enabled also the possibility to monitor the recruitment process in real time by the various key actors.


Additional features

The additional features of the HRM EPSS included the possibility for the manager to choose various routes in the recruitment process according to his or her experience. These options included the use of the basic (condensed) route, the wide (detailed) route or just the use of key tools (most essential forms).

It was also highlighed that various users need different possibilities for navigation and the use of various navigation metaphors. The HRM EPSS provided various navigation possibilities (routes, index words, search engine). The idea was also widen the use of the HRM EPSS from recruitment support only to daily managerial support (provision of work contracts, laws, regulations etc.).


Problems experienced

During the first introductory sessions it was obvious that the habits of the managers in the recruitment process were not always easy to alter. Some managers still preferred to fill up paper forms, and were not easily going over to the electronic environment. Also the message promoted by the EPSS was not always warmly received. The EPSS advocated that the recruitment requires long-term planning and should not be observed with the short-term view.


Benefits gained

When discussing the benefits, one should underline that the main part of the development work had already been taking place for years within the customer company itself. Thus in relation the price for a new interface to distribute the tools and vitalise the process was small compared with the original investment. The HRM EPSS was based on the process view the company was already approaching, but whivh Human Capital Investment Oy was materialising for them.

There was a clear expectation that the lead times of recruitment would decrease in cases the system was effectively used. The HRM EPSS was for its part assisting in the unification of the recruitment process, and also role of the corporate HRM became more advisory. In the corporate strategy, the HRM EPSS supported the corporate-wide goal to actively make the front-line units and divisions more independent and also responsible for various business activities, such as recruitment.