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HR Portals:
In at least 250 words, describe the primary advantages of HR portals and shared services centers.
Give examples of how HR professionals might use each to better achieve cost controls and
service enhancement.
Support your claims with examples from required material and properly cite any references.
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HRIS Effectiveness Measures and HRM
Advice for HRIS Implementation
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Human Resource Information Systems
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HR Administration and Human Resource
Information Systems
Linda C. Isenhour
This chapter begins the examination and discussion of the HRM applications enabled by the successful
development and implementation of an HRIS. It is appropriate to begin the applications chapters with
an introduction to HR administration. The irst nine chapters of this book explained how to build an
HRIS, so, in a sense, these chapters were the building blocks for the HRIS “house.” Now the illing of the
house begins. One of the crucial outcomes of following the advice from the irst nine chapters is that the
employee database, frequently referred to as the employee master ile,1 (
/books/Kavanagh.5623.17.1/sections/nav_91#note1) will be accurate and up to date. This characteristic of the
module allows HR professionals to use the software in the HRIS to develop HR programs, such as
recruitment and compensation, with con idence. The use of human resource information systems for
compliance with government laws and guidelines, which is discussed in this chapter, absolutely requires
an accurate and timely database. In addition, benchmark data for use in cost-bene it analyses of HR
programs demand accuracy in the employee master ile, or serious and costly mistakes could be made in
decisions to continue or expand an HR program such as e-learning. Finally, as explained in this chapter,
the accuracy of the employee master ile is doubly important because of the use of the data and results
to build the HR balanced scorecard, which is used in assessing strategic alignment with organizational
CHAPTER Objectives
After completing this chapter, you should be able to
• Understand the basic role of job analysis in human resources, and explain the role of HRIS in
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supporting job analysis
• Discuss the complexity of HR administration and the advantages of an HRIS over a “paper-andpencil” HR operation
• Discuss the advantages of having a service-oriented architecture (SOA) for the HRIS
• Differentiate among the four structural approaches to HR administration service delivery (e.g.,
self-service portals, shared-service centers, human resource outsourcing, and offshoring)
• Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each of the four structural approaches to HR
• Understand how legal compliance with government mandates is an important part of HRIS
functionality and how these mandates add to the complexity of an HRIS in both domestic and
multinational organizations
• Discuss the various privacy laws, particularly as they relate to an HRIS
• Discuss the elements important to successful measurement of the strategic alignment of the HR
balanced scorecard and how this alignment is related to the strategic alignment of an
In 2011, Procter & Gamble (P&G) had more than 135,000 employees in 80 countries. Identifying
common measures, improving employee service, and reducing HR administrative costs continued
to be strategic imperatives for this global consumer products company committed to ensuring its
principles: “Everyone Valued, Everyone Included, Everyone Performing at Their Peak” (Procter &
Gamble, 2011).
Today, the human resource managers at P&G continue to consider a variety of solutions to meet
their strategic goals. Should they maintain their decentralized global operation in HRM and use
technology such as Internet service portals to improve ef iciency? Would the trend toward sharedservices centers (SSCs) be better for centralizing operations? How will decisions about outsourcing
selected human resource functions be affected by cloud and mobile computing advances? With so
many countries and governmental regulations involved, how can P&G achieve suf icient
standardization through an HRIS to gain increased savings and still meet its varied responsibilities
to such diverse entities? Will its internal customers view the move from decentralized to
centralized shared services as meeting their needs? How will such changes be measured from an
internal customer satisfaction perspective? Which measures for the various administrative
approaches will best align the HR functions with the P&G balanced scorecard strategic goals and
These are common HRM problems faced by businesses today. This chapter provides a
framework to help answer such questions.
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Human resource management (HRM) administration deals with the ef icient performance of the
transactional activities introduced in Chapter 1 (ch0001.xlink.html) . Record keeping, updating policy
and informational materials for a self-service portal, generating and disseminating internal reports,
complying with governmentally mandated external reporting, and administering labor contracts are all
examples of HRM administration associated with managing an organization’s workforce.
Approximately 65% to 75% of all HR activities are transactional (Wright, McMahan, Snell, & Gerhart,
1998). Human resource information systems (HRIS) are vital tools in managing these increasingly
complex transactional requirements. For this reason, it is absolutely crucial that the employee
database, frequently referred to as the employee master ile (
/Kavanagh.5623.17.1/sections/nav_140#glo75) , be carefully constructed so that the information is
accurate and timely (Kavanagh, Gueutal, & Tannenbaum, 1990; Walker, 1982). The employee master ile
is a record and repository for all relevant employee information and must be created prior to any other
modules for programs, such as recruiting and applicant tracking. The approaches and technological
techniques described in this chapter ensure that the employee master ile, once initially built, remains
accurate and up to date. Before this module can be developed, though, an analysis of the jobs in the irm
must be conducted, and speci ic job descriptions for each position in the organization must be
developed. As will be discussed in the next chapter, job analysis is crucial to the development of talent
management, which is one of the most important HRM programs since it is used in all of the functional
HRM programs.
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10.1 Technical Support for Job Analysis
A primary goal of an effective HR department is to ensure that the organization has the best available
people working in the proper jobs at the appropriate time to maximize the organization’s productive
capacity. To do this, however, the organization must know not only what each job entails but also what
knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) (
/sections/nav_140#glo138) are necessary to perform the job successfully. Job analysis provides both
types of information. Speci ically, job analysis (
/Kavanagh.5623.17.1/sections/nav_140#glo133) is the process of systematically obtaining information
about jobs by determining the duties, tasks, or activities of jobs, from which KSA can be estimated.
From this analysis, job descriptions can be developed. Job descriptions de ine the working contract
between the employee and the organization. Job descriptions uses include: (1) evidence for any
litigation involving unfair discrimination in hiring, promoting, or terminating employees; (2)
development of all the HRM programs, especially talent management in organizations, and other
important HRM programs including recruitment, selection, training and performance appraisal; (3)
development of compensation structures; and (4) employee disciplinary programs and union
grievances. In fact, job descriptions are often termed the “heart” of the HRM system. Given the
importance of job descriptions, it is critically important that they be accurate and timely. Effectively
managed HR departments capture and store the results of all job analysis and job descriptions within
the HRIS to facilitate future changes in jobs required by reorganizations, mergers/acquisitions,
technology, and market-driven customer expectations.
Approaches and Techniques
A variety of approaches to job analysis are covered in detail in other sources (Ghorpade, 1988); thus,
only a general approach to conducting job analyses will be discussed in this chapter. Job analysis
involves the following phases or considerations:
1. Identify the sources of information about the job. The best sources are usually job incumbents
and their supervisors; however, professional job analysts can be used for newly created or complex
jobs. Company records and the Internet, speci ically the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net database
( ( ), are also good sources of information about jobs.
2. Identify the types of job information needed. This information can include tasks, duties,
responsibilities, the knowledge required, performance standards, job context, and the equipment used.
A determination of what speci ic information will be used for the analysis of all jobs must be made to
maintain consistency across the inal job descriptions.
3. Determine the appropriate methods of collecting the job data. Techniques include interviews,
questionnaires, observation, and focus groups. The choice of technique(s) depends on the number of
jobs to be analyzed and the funding available.
4. Consider using one or more of the standardized techniques for conducting job analysis to
enhance the inal job description, for example, functional job analysis, the position analysis
questionnaire (PAQ) (
/nav_140#glo188) , task inventory analysis, or the critical incident method (see Ghorpade, 1988).
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Regardless of the approach or technique used to analyze the jobs in an organization, the outcome must
obtain accurate and timely job descriptions. Thus, a key question facing HR professionals is, how can
technology assist HR in establishing and maintaining the accuracy of job descriptions?
HRIS Applications
The utilization of technology, including Web-based job analysis tools, has increased the availability of
information supporting job analysis, reduced costs of collecting information, and enhanced
convenience of collect and analyzing information. For example, O*Net, an online repository of
information on 1,000 broad occupations, can be used to help guide in the development of job
descriptions. Consider, for example, the occupation of professor. O*Net contains generic descriptions
for professors of physics, architecture, sociology, forestry, business (e.g., see (
/25-1011.00) for the summary description of the position “business teachers, postsecondary”). To
ensure that the KSA list is accurate for a speci ic position in a speci ic discipline (e.g., human resources)
at a speci ic university, additional information and reviews of this job description would need to be
conducted. As another example, ( (
( ) provides a simple, free job analysis tool for HR professionals
( (
/cgi/JobEvaluation.cgi) ). Finally, there are many different vendors who offer these tools as stand-alone
products or components of a larger product offering.
Completing job analyses and deriving job descriptions can be accomplished through online survey
techniques. Job analysis questionnaires can be administered online to job incumbents and supervisors,
and the resulting job descriptions can be analyzed statistically to inalize job descriptions. This online
questionnaire capability can be part of an integrated HRIS software package covering multiple
programs (e.g., SAP, PeopleSoft) or purchased as stand-alone software. The position analysis
questionnaire, for example, has its own software package (see ( ), and the
Economic Research Institute (ERI) has Occupational Assessor (
/Kavanagh.5623.17.1/sections/nav_140#glo165) ® software
( (
/index.cfm?fuseaction=EDOT.Main) ) to aid in completing job analysis.
Maintaining accurate job descriptions can also be aided by an HRIS. Later in this chapter, serviceoriented architecture (SOA) with self-service portals for employees (ESS) and managers (MSS) will be
discussed. These portals can be used to make sure that job descriptions remain accurate and timely. For
example, if work procedures or new equipment are introduced, it would be easy to request that the
persons affected by the change, both employees and supervisors, access their current job descriptions
via portals to make necessary updates to the job descriptions. In addition, it is a good idea to establish
an annual review of all job descriptions to maintain their timeliness. If a company requires annual
reviews of employee performance, and these forms are generated by the HRIS, it would be quite easy to
generate a copy of the current job description to accompany each request for a job performance
evaluation. The employees and the supervisors could then review the accuracy of the job descriptions
and submit any changes necessary through portals. With accurate and timely job descriptions, human
resources planning (HRP) is now possible.
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10.2 The HRIS Environment and Other Aspects of HR
HRIS can assist managers charged with improving the ef iciency of HR administration by reducing
costs, enhancing the reliability of reporting, and improving service to internal customers. Information
technology facilitates administration in multiple ways. First, an HRIS can help improve data accuracy by
(1) reducing the need for multiple inputs, (2) eliminating redundancies in data, and (3) reducing the
opportunity for human input errors and associated corrections. In addition, an HRIS, through relational
databases (see Chapter 2 (ch0002.xlink.html) ), speeds the process of building reports with simple
query capabilities. Moreover, an HRIS, if properly designed for lexibility, can support differences in
reporting mandated by global governmental jurisdictions. Finally, a properly designed HRIS permits
secure global distribution of data while providing the desired privacy for employee data, facilitating
consideration of alternative methods of consolidating, and improving services to internal customers
(Ceriello, 1991; Gueutal & Stone, 2005; Kavanagh, Gueutal, & Tannenbaum, 1990; Osle & Cooper, 2003;
Walker, 1982, 1993, 2001).
Administrative issues associated with speci ic HRM functions as part of the development and
implementation of an HRIS have been brie ly mentioned in earlier chapters (e.g., recruiting, training,
compensating) and will be discussed in more detail in later chapters. However, HR managers face a
variety of other administrative requirements in the rapidly evolving HRIS era. The HRM administrative
issues highlighted in this chapter include (1) organizational approaches for providing HR in a global
economy (i.e., self-service portals, SSCs, outsourcing, offshoring); (2) compliance mandates for record
maintenance and report requirements (e.g., Employer Information Report EEO-1), which are
associated both with government laws in the United States (e.g., Occupational Safety and Health Act
[OSHA] ( ) and with
the labor laws of other countries; and (3) the measurement of HRM contributions to an organization’s
strategic goals via a balanced scorecard.
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10.3 HRM Administration and Organizing Approaches
Historically, HR managers operated as adjunct staff to organizations, overseeing the daily transactions
associated with hiring, paying, or training employees and reporting on employee issues as required by
managers in organizations. As organizations grew more complex, administering these daily
transactions also grew more complex. The introduction of mechanization to handle payroll signaled the
changing future of HR administration; technology would play an increasingly important role in
managing daily employee transactions (Walker, 1982, 1993, 2001).
Today, computer hardware and the accompanying software packages offer considerable support for
daily HR transactions and make it possible to move beyond the limited administrative approaches
available to the HR managers of the 1950s (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2006). Modern HR professionals
use technology to more effectively support administrative activities and reduce organizational costs
while improving data accuracy, employee productivity, and customer service (Bender, 2001; Ulrich,
1997). Indeed, 92% of the companies worldwide included in the 2012–13 CedarCrestone HR
technology survey indicated the use of some type of HR administrative technology (CedarCrestone,
2012). Moreover, global companies reported that, even with challenging economic conditions, they
anticipated growing their technology commitment for strategic human capital talent management, as
well as for workforce management, service delivery, and business intelligence. The next section brie ly
describes the enabling architecture that allows HR administrators to leverage technology.
Service-Oriented Architecture and eXtensible Markup Language
Service-oriented architecture (SOA) (
/sections/nav_140#glo230) “is a paradigm for organizing and utilizing distributed [computing]
capabilities that may be under the control of different ownership domains … providing a uniform
means to offer, discover, interact with, and use capabilities to produce desired [business] effects”
(Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Systems [OASIS], 2006, p. 8). It is focused
on providing overall service that is well de ined, self-contained, and context and platform independent;
in other words, it is focused on adding value to the organization’s business purpose rather than simply
adding technological value. In effect, SOA is a collection of internal and external services that can
communicate with each other by point-to-point data exchange or through coordination among
different services to achieve a business purpose. Figure 10.1 (
/Kavanagh.5623.17.1/sectio …
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