Core HR, the foundation of your HRIS strategy

Collection, management and centralisation or cleaning of data have become challenging for companies. To respond to this, they are deploying powerful software solutions that are treating, in particular, the important data linked to the administration of Human Resources. It is for this reason, the Core HR is the dedicated tool in the management of this key data as well as responding to several constraints and issues (business, localisation, organisation).

Collection, management and centralisation or cleaning of data have become challenging for companies. To respond to this, they are deploying powerful software solutions that are treating, in particular, the important data linked to the administration of Human Resources. It is for this reason, the Core HR is the dedicated tool in the management of this key data as well as responding to several constraints and issues (business, localisation, organisation).

The construction of your Core HR is therefore a delicate step in the process, and it must be taken seriously. It is quite often longer in duration and more costly than the installation of the business module. In this article we propose an overview of the best practices, advantages and disadvantages of its installation.

Core HR

What is a Core HR ?

The Core HR is a fundamental HRIS module that centralises all of the key personnel and employee administration information. In general an administration management file consists of 100 to 200 elements of data (civil status, mission, contract…). The primary objective of an Core HR is to handle the employee bookkeeping, from the creation of contracts to their closure. It is often linked to the recruitment module, of which it receives all of the useful pre-hire information and subsequently shares with the other busioness modules (LMS, Perf & Goals, Comp & Ben, Succession planning). You can also find all of these modules on SAP SuccessFactors.

The specificity of an Core HR is that it is multi regulatory. Whether on an international level or in a country comprised of many different companies, the Core HR can generate a multitude of specifics or case uses in different languages. This is offered, for example through SAP SuccessFactors with its module Employee Central. The total of these functionalities and the data fields associated are called reglamentory. In good practices a reglamentory document is commonly constituated of data common to all the entities of a group (civil status, mission, contract, we are talking about a common corps) and the data specific to each country or company (religion, ethnicity,…we are talking about demographics). The disparition of uses and cultures requires having several regulations that each respect the local legislation in reference to each country. 

The Core HR due to its multi-regulatory nature carries many standards. As far as it is possible to do so, it is advised to have common benchmarks that permit an optimisation of the processes, increase the quality of data and make the reporting more efficient. We will come back to this point in the section ‘benefits of an Core HR ‘.

What are the benefits of a Core HR ?

Depending on the country or company, the legal constraints and regulations are not the same. If the company is required to respond in a global manner to certain issues, it must also adapt to local legislation. The Core HR makes it possible to respond to these challenges both locally and globally.

By utilising a single data storage tool, the risks of information loss are reduced. This is because there are fewer exchanges of unsecure data. The security is further increased when the Core HR is Top-Down and all of the information is entered there. Cybersecurity, the GDPR..are important topics for companies, it is therefore sytrategic to set up an Core HR to respond to these issues.

The baseline is a collection of information from the same domain: countries, positions, jobs, skills, types of contracts, companies, etc. This data can be  assembled in several languages, even in different alphabets (Latin, African, Asian, etc…). For this purpose, the Core HR has an internal working language and search engine capable of creating the link between data, regardless of the language used. Without these functionalities, it would be impossible to research information for example: a single language African or Chinese employee, or to report on international job descriptions.

In Core HR the centralisation of data and the sharing of common baselines makes the construction of data reports easier and more reliable. They are refined on precise values and therefore facilitate the decision making process.

How to implement your Core HR ?

To correctly set up your Core HR, here is some advice:

Your HR common base must be meticulously defined when you outline your functional specifications. Do not forget any detail, you must display this value for each piece of data but also its organisation within the employees profile. As well as this, permission based on employee clearance to view or modify this data must be precised (employee, manager, HR, etc…).  All organisations with a good level of digital maturity will prefer the position management.

It is important to involve the global teams, but also the local teams on international level projects. Local teams will be able to communicate their specificities so that you are able to take these into account in the regulations. It is equally important to involve them throughout the different project phases to ensure alignment and to participate in the pre-deployment testing. 

As stated earlier, the collection and consolidation of HR data can, on occasion, be difficult when the organisation has an international presence. In reality, some countries don’t have the same management processes or the digital maturity. It is therefore necessary to control and analyse the the relevance and reliability of data continuosly during the lifespan of the project.

This is a subject that must be anticipated to ensure that the connection between the “Core HR ” and the other systems (e.g. Payroll) is feasible and will function correctly. If your Core HR is Top-Down, it is imperative to take control of the data and necessary formats for the operation of other systems. It is also necessary to ensure that all the data transiting through these interfaces is properly migrated and reiterated in your Top-down sytem.

How to choose your data gouvernance model ?

The data gouvernance model at the service of your organisation. 

How does your company operate?  Which operating latitude is left to your groups subsidiairies? What is the role of people management and talent management? What is your corporate culture, is it resiliant in the face of change? Have you already implemented information systems within your structure? So many questions on which you can build your Core HR base. The Core HR can operate as three different models: Top-Down, Bottum-Up, Hybrid.

The HR base is fed via common processes. This model is best suited to organisations with an international dimension who wish to create a centralised HR system. It is often the last step before creating a SSC Shared Service Centre.

In this model it is the HRIS systems already in place that feed the Core HR. The Bottom-Up system has little impact on the database and is easier to deploy than the previous model. Enhancing the human aspect, it is best suited to groups whose subsidiaries are relatively independent and prefer a certain degree of autonomy.

This model allows for a cohabitation between both the Top-Down and Bottom-Up models providing convenience for both subsidiairies and/or companies.  We can find this technical choice within the SuccessFactors projects. SuccessFactors is the only HRIS system that currently offers this option.

What are the focal points to watch ?

Don’t neglect change resistance, anticipate it !

Starting from a desire to harmonise and simplify processes the adoption of an Core HR, as with all internal changes within a company, can quickly become a major headache if the teams have not been provided with any accompaniment and the projects issues and/or challenges have not been shared.

The resistance to change by subsidiaries and companies is not neutral, it’s a key step in your HR digitilisation process especially if you want to make your Core HR the Top-Down. It is also imperative to engage all of the stakeholders in the creation of common standards.

An efficient accompaniment strategy guarantees a higher adoption rate of your solutions and the success of your project. 

When should you deploy your Core HR ?

As we have seen, the Core HR is a complex module to install because of the text fields, and local specificities rendering the interfaces indispensable. From an organisational point of view, the gouvernance model choice can necessite a lot of subsidiary accompaniment. The preparation of common baselines is a long task, and it must be anticipated.

As the Core HR is not a high added value model, from a business point of view by the users, companies are faced with two possible choices:

  • Promote the business ROI : beginning by the deployment of the business modules with high added value and ending with the Core HR. Starting for example with the module Perf & Goals or LMS that renders a tangible service to the users and facilitates their adherence to the solution. This example is the preferred scenario of Human Resource Directors.
  • Promote the ROI technique : start by setting up Employee Central and Time Off; the self-services. Construct a strong technical base at the price of a long-term project and an unclear return on investment for the users. This is the preferred method of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)

This article is based on feedback from some of our successful SuccessFactors accompaniment projects with companies including but not limited to: CANAL+, SONEPAR, FTV, L’OREAL. All of these functionalities are not offered by all of the HRIS on the market, especially in terms of our international scope and the choice of gouvernance model.

Adeline Larnaud

Adeline Larnaud

HRIS consultant

Olivier Indovino

Olivier Indovino

HRIS expert

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