Productising HR: Why & how to do it

Tailor-made HR solutions based on the needs of internal and external clients are what organisations require today

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Productisation of HR services is the process of packaging HR services and offerings into a structured and easily-consumable format, similar to how a product is sold in a store. It offers a clear and concise set of options to address common HR issues. Using these, HR professionals can more efficiently manage their workload and better allocate their time and resources.

There are several reasons why organisations may choose to implement productised HR services.

It involves developing a range of pre-packaged offerings that address common HR issues, such as onboarding, performance management and employee development. These offerings can include training workshops, consulting services, or templates and resources for HR professionals to use in their daily work. The HR services are then priced and packaged, allowing clients to purchase the services that meet their needs.

“It’s one of the best concepts and ways to deal with HR matters as it ultimately focuses on organisational development (OD).”

Rajesh Jain, CHRO, Welspun Enterprises

“It’s one of the best concepts and ways to deal with HR matters as it ultimately focuses on organisational development (OD),” explains Rajesh Jain, CHRO, Welspun Enterprises. He further adds, “We generally view the challenges in OD from the HR perspective, but this focuses more on the business perspective, giving specific solutions”.

For instance, when a garment-manufacturing company is facing issues in preparing the cloth and requires some specific people solution to increase output, these customised solutions would be ideal. They will help them overcome the challenges of business performance quickly and correctly.

“Productised HR helps HR professionals to more efficiently manage and schedule their workload. This offers them a chance to better allocate their time and resources to actually listen to their people more.”

Mukul Harish Chopra, CHRO, ConveGenius

With productised HR services, the HR will be able to focus more on the business requirements, becoming more proactive and strategic. “It’s important to understand the needs of the business as these will ultimately help fulfil the people requirements,” opines Jain.

“Productised HR helps HR professionals to more efficiently manage and schedule their workload. This offers them a chance to better allocate their time and resources to actually listen to their people more,” enunciates Mukul Harish Chopra, CHRO, ConveGenius.

By offering pre-packaged HR services, HR professionals can streamline their work and spend less time on administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on more high-impact activities.

“It will improve the overall experience of employees and business managers, as this will have a more customised approach,” adds Jain. It will allow for better tracking and measurement of the effectiveness of HR programmes and initiatives. This can help HR professionals to continuously improve and refine their offerings.

Clearly, productised HR services allow HR professionals to more easily serve the needs of their internal clients by providing a clear menu of options.

With every employee being a part of any new system adopted by the company, there is more engagement. “It won’t be just the HR doing everything or imposing activities on the workforce, but more of a co-creative exercise.” For instance, when an organisation rolls out a performance management system (PMS), it generally takes a long time to get it filled by the employees. More follow-ups are required as employees are not very interested in filling it up. They see it as an imposition, something that the HR department has made compulsory. When the same exercise is productised, the new performance-management solution will tailor-made to their requirements as it would be co-created basis their reviews and feedback. This will not only increase the engagement level but also the efficiency of teams, eliminating unnecessary follow-ups and activities that businesses do not really value much.

Challenges in productisation

Jain rightly observes, “While it’s a wonderful thing to have all HR matters handled,  the implementation part of it is not a piece of cake”.

Jain goes on to explain that implementation of productised HR services would be an extremely difficult task as the existing HR practices and processes have a much higher inertia, especially in bigger organisations. Additionally, for the purpose of implementation, we’d be occupied with many tasks at hand, gathering customer experience and re-designing the processes based on the reviews. It would be far from easy to beat that inertia.

For instance, for big conglomerates, such as TATA, it would be a complex task to productise any of their verticals. The existing system would have to be scrapped completely before the new system can be implemented. All this will have to be done based on the experiences of the employees as well as clients, which is understandably a mammoth task.

Chopra agrees, saying, “It also depends on the extent to which an organisation requires this technology. It’s not just about introducing it, but also about understanding why it is needed.”

Additionally, it’s important to check whether all employees and clients are tech-savvy. Chopra shares his own experience at a warehousing company, with multiple clients. While some were familiar with tech, others were not. The company decided to introduce SAP as many other companies had benefitted from implementing the technology. Since the maximum queries they received were about leaves and provision of pay slips, the company introduced a button that instructed users to press it to get their pay slip. With time, more buttons were added for other services, including obtaining Form-16.

“Overall HR productisation must be implemented in pockets or small units,” suggests Jain. Companies can roll this out in their newly-introduced verticals. Startups can embrace this technology rather than pulling on with the same old HR practices. For instance, it is possible for any startup or small firm to produtise their talent-acquisition activities, including a pre-designed onboarding checklist, training materials, and resources to help new employees acclimate to the company culture.

For implementing such a unique system, companies will need more business managerial skills rather than HR skills. “HR skills are available in the market as consultants also, but we need more ‘solutioning skills’ here, of which there is unfortunately a dearth in the HR pool”, adds Jain.

As talent acquisition is the function closest to the business function of HR, this tech can be started with it. Unlike business management, business partners are already there in talent acquisition. “Talent acquisition is already productised and we can refine it more with this tech,” opines Jain. He also adds that in big companies, it can be implemented in one subunit, such as learning and development or performance management.

“Anything implemented just for display, is not the right way to go about it. It’s important to understand the needs of your people and then look at ways to fulfil them,” opines Chopra. Since an organisation is a collection of people, it’s important to understand that ecosystem well. Productising HR services is not a requirement for every organisation, and it may not be the best fit for every situation either. Some organisations may have unique HR needs that cannot be addressed through pre-packaged offerings. In such cases, a more personalised approach may be more appropriate.

Ultimately, whether or not to productise HR services is a decision that should be based on the specific needs and challenges of the organisation and its employees. HR professionals should carefully weigh the pros and cons of the approach against the needs of the organisation before deciding to productise HR services.

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