The great resignation. Ghosting on job offers. Quiet quitting.
These are all phenomena that have sprung up over the past year—among post-pandemic low unemployment, and greatly feared by human resources departments.
HR teams are currently grappling with a tight labor market and managers fret over ways to retain their best talent. In this environment, providing a smooth, unobtrusive, and satisfactory employee experience is table stakes. When you can successfully demonstrate that your employees don’t need to jump through hoops to request PTO time or change their health insurance plans, your organization is less likely to lose major talent and is more likely to give rise to happier team members.
One Fortune 500 company recognized that it needed to modernize its HR systems to make its employees’ lives easier. Known for its commitment to sustainability and carbon footprint reduction, the client provides electric and natural gas energy to tens of millions of customers. With so many customers, the client’s employees are its greatest asset in delivering uninterrupted service. Making sure HR requirements don’t slow the business down and interrupt day-to-day tasks is essential. The client turned to Concentrix to design, build, and run a better employee lifecycle.
The client struggled with 16 poorly-integrated HR IT systems. To address this, we designed a solution based on microservices leveraging the low-code Microsoft Power Platform. By moving to a modern tech stack, the client could also future-proof its technology, allowing it the flexibility to reconfigure platforms later on.
We approached this project from an experience design perspective. Instead of viewing the project as merely a technology issue needing a quick solution, we instead encouraged the client to understand it as building a new set of experiences. Our goal was to figure out who the target audience was and what they wanted and defined the strategy from there. To determine how different staff would interact within different types of workflows, we created a North Star Vision on what an HR modernization journey should look like, which included journey maps and personas.
Consolidating and Streamlining Data with Microsoft Azure
The client first needed to migrate its HR data from several on-premise servers to the cloud (Microsoft Azure) to prevent the regular failures the IT team currently faced. “Within two months, the Concentrix team built initial platform deliverables,” says Raghavendra (Raghu) Swamy, Managing Director at Concentrix, who has been helping to drive this transformation initiative for the client. “We then built a framework that provides a visual display of all interfaces’ activity in real-time, which has since been adopted in the company as a standard practice. These initiatives noticeably reduced the HR team’s dependency on its IT support team right away.”
With the cloud migration completed, the client’s next key initiative, Data as a Service (DaaS), enabled team members to manage their data effectively. Before the migration to Azure, the client’s HR team had no visibility into data entering and leaving their HR systems. To fix this, we architected “gatekeeper” APIs, governed by an approval process, to log all data requests. Now, the client has the capability to track metrics around every request coming in and going out. Today, these APIs are consumed by at least 15 different teams, and the client can easily see the volume of requests with an exact timestamp for each. It can also generate reports at any time based on thesemetrics.
Next, we empowered the client’s employees in platform self-service. By training team members on the Microsoft Power Platform, they are now able to manage these apps without any partner intervention.
The Low-Code Impact
Despite the desire for app modernization, the client still hoped to retain engineering talent. Adopting low-code development through PowerApps allowed for an easy, seamless employee transition from legacy systems to the modernized platform. As its name suggests, engineers don’t need to write lots of code—the capability simply uses a drag-and-drop functionality.
Using low code’s intuitive approach, non-engineer business professionals, often dubbed “citizen developers,” can more easily and conveniently design future apps and functionality in preparation for more complex enterprise apps. Through a simple graphical user interface, citizen developers can create apps that digitize paper processes, collect and share important data, and streamline the workday—without learning to code.
In this way, low-code development platforms enable rapid delivery of business applications with minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment. They are able to:
- Innovate faster and work smarter
- Enhance customer experience
- Improve operational efficiency and team productivity
- Stay on top of ever-changing risks and regulations
- Speed up time to market
- Reduce costs
To date, we have modernized more than 50 applications, and have moved into different tech stacks, including ReactJS. We currently support and enhance these apps, which span the employee lifecycle including recruitment, onboarding, and performance management. We have also built automated chatbots using Power Virtual Agents.
Because these apps have a larger scope of functionality, employees can accomplish tasks quicker, easier, and more efficiently. For example, the process for request approvals, now automated, has eliminated the need for back-and-forth emails and in-person meetings, saving time and reducing manual work. By streamlining the employee lifecycle, the client can focus on what matters most: delivering a better staff experience.