Healthcare IT Leaders

Four Warning Signs You’ve Outgrown Your HCM System

Woman with her face in her hands next to a laptop with a 404 error and warning sign

Most folks own an old, beloved pair of shoes. Looking past the worn soles and tearing seams, we hold onto these relics because we can’t bear throwing them out (so much history!) and the initial discomfort of breaking in new footwear (not to mention the upfront price).

Holding onto outdated and underperforming human capital management (HCM) applications mirrors this attachment to the familiar. There’s no question that implementing a new HCM system is a time-consuming, costly transformation for healthcare organizations with complex processes and data. So why disrupt what has fit in the past with the unknowns of a new solution?

Before deciding to stick on the path of least resistance with your existing HCM system, watch out for these four warning signs that may indicate it’s time to find a better fit.

Your system is functional but not optimal

Ask any runner; peak performance relies on the right shoes. Although it’s possible to jog laps in Crocs… should you? By the same token, it’s important HR teams have a system that keeps pace with evolving healthcare regulations for operating at their best.

Older applications, often with on-premise hosting, run the risk of reaching an inflection point in which vendors decide to halt updates and ongoing support. On the contrary, modern cloud-based systems ensure you always have the “latest and greatest” upgrades directly from the vendor, without burdening internal staff with manual “pulls.” Continuing on your status quo software, you’ll eventually run into two additional challenges:

Compliance Issues

For example, fatigue management (balancing work hours with time for recovery) is critical for the well-being of healthcare workers. Because older systems were developed before this concept, they lack functionality for proactively flagging fatigue-related safety risks. Newer technology continuously monitors employee data, helping providers balance hours in the field with the R&R they need for delivering quality patient care.

Hindrances to Interoperability

Older systems lack integration capabilities due to outdated APIs that don’t allow real-time integration and require significant customization and ongoing maintenance. Without the ability to connect your software and data, your health system may be left in the dust.

You’re increasingly using workarounds for critical functions

Resorting to manual processes (spreadsheets or pen and paper) to fill the functionality gaps within your existing HCM solution is like using duct tape to fix a hole. It may be “covered,” but the underlying issue will continue stunting your performance.

If you’re writing out schedules by hand and taping them to the breakroom wall, it’s clear you need a solution that won’t continue draining your time and resources. Even if your solution does allow employees to check their schedule or PTO requests from a kiosk or desktop computer, employees miss out on the benefits of an on-the-go, self-service mobile application.

Newer systems proactively guide end-users through critical workflows, using notifications alerts and real-time KPI measurement tools. Older systems are not as intuitive and often require end-user training on exact steps to follow critical workflows. It comes down to exchanging “the way we’ve always done things” for innovative, efficient processes that allow your hospital to stay on the cutting edge of patient care.

You’re “running reports” but are going nowhere

Many older HCM systems don’t go the extra mile to transform employee data into actionable insights. Analytics presents up-to-date data for proactive decisions and predictive analysis. Rather than leave room to self-identify the best path forward, modern HCM systems offer tools that guide users through data-driven decision-making. In other words, you may have a solution that gets people paid, but if you want a layered review of pay data, then it’s time to look at something more robust.

This is key in the case of high labor costs due to too much overtime. With old-school reporting, you may run a report of who worked overtime and in order of how many hours, which helps a little bit. When you log onto today’s system, a widget on your screen says, “Johnny’s overtime is too high. You might want to use Mike instead of Johnny.” The software provides flags that jump out at you without going to find data.

Here are more examples of how modern systems take proactive planning to the next level:

  • Attendance Trends: visualize who’s consistently on time/not missing work and vice versa
  • Department vs. Department: compare which departments run efficiently and which have opportunities for improvement
  • Skills and Certifications: identity which is most utilized or required to determine where the organization is short and needs to hire talent

Optimize your HR operations→

Your size merits a bigger fit

It’s simple. Growing teams need more room for growth. When a hospital acquires new locations, or two healthcare giants merge forces, they may be operating on multiple HCM solutions. Moving toward consolidation and a single enterprise solution is an effective long-term solution instead of every facility on an island.

We’ll add the disclaimer, though: While it can be tempting to seek a one-stop-shop application that covers all of your payroll, HR, time, and attendance functions, there are cases where you’ll want to stick with the best-in-breed software. For example, our experts believe UKG platforms have the “secret sauce” for labor forecasting and scheduling for healthcare–in many ways, they are designed for nursing teams and integration with an EMR. With an all-encompassing solution, you may be missing out on the critical functionality a focused platform would offer.

Our HCM experts at Healthcare IT Leaders offer a wealth of experience helping health systems design, implement and optimize leading solutions, including UKG, Workday, Oracle, and Infor. Want to learn more? Talk to us today.

WFM Client Advisor Dave Johnson has spent his entire career helping customers address their workforce management (WFM) needs. In his role at Healthcare IT Leaders, he supports our clients from implementation through optimization, helping them maximize value from their WFM investments. Dave holds a BS in Industrial Management from Purdue University.