In this, the second of a series of blogs introducing the application of blockchain in HR and payroll processes we explore possibilities for safeguarding Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and other employee data.

The first blog, Blockchain and HR & Payroll Tech: What Does the Future Hold?, introduced the basics of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), widely known as ‘blockchain’, and discussed use cases in the payroll domain.

Privacy is a hot topic 

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25th and companies are scrambling to ensure they meet all requirements. 

PII, especially the ownership of PII, sits at the center of this legislation: The objective of the GDPR is to give us, the PII owners, better protection; ensuring that our data is respected, secure and not vulnerable to abuse.

My NGA HR colleague, Sascha Schneider goes deeper into this in a recent recorded webinar, and in a series of blogs, both of which can be found here.

This is all about giving control over PII back to the owner, who must consent to third party usage.


From a data owner perspective, the problem of protecting personal data is threefold:
  • Lack of ownership: once entered, a third party owns their personal data

  • Lack of transparency: users can’t audit what happens with their PII

  • Security breaches: the database that holds personal data is a single point of failure

PII is valuable

Companies store enormous amounts of PII on customers and employees. PII is valuable, so phishing schemes and hacks are often directed towards HR to gain access to employee data.

There are also occasions when this data can be used in a way that’s not always transparent to the users, for example, for analytics, profit, research, etc. This is not always intentional, but this does not negate the fact the data has been used.


Covering your social footprint

Many of us use online (social) media: we store career data on LinkedIn, share photos with friends on Facebook and other social media and leave credit card numbers with a banking or shopping service. 

These sites collect our data and store it on their servers. This creates a single point of failure: once a site gets hacked, the server goes down or the company ceases to exist, the database holding those records is vulnerable.

Recent events have shown that companies are not always on top of securing personal data well enough, and once a database is compromised or copied, information ends up in the hands of others, as happened to Equifax or Facebook, putting millions of users at risk.


So how can blockchain help to keep your personal data safe?

A DLT puts the control of personal data back into the hands of you, the owner. When you create your identity online and store it using blockchain, you use a distributed ledger rather than a central database. Encrypted information is stored in blocks and added to a chain that is distributed over many nodes. Think of it as creating a “wallet” to hold PII, just as you can create a wallet to hold and transact digital currencies.

When someone or a site needs access to your data, you don’t need to enter it (and thus replicate it), instead you give a third-party access to your wallet for a specific use during a specific period.


Regaining control of your personal data

DLT contains an audit trail and so you can follow what a third-party does with your data. You can also revoke access. This shifts the power of (and profit from) data back to individual users.

The DLT records each transaction and maintains a permanent and unalterable historical record of transactions in the ledger, virtually eliminating the potential for fraud.

Consider an employee’s career: if they had several employers spanning many years, these employers have all stored personal data for this employee: ID, work permits, performance reviews, training completed, certifications, job changes, pay increases etc.

When an employee changes jobs, the new employer stores most of that information all over and then adds to it. The employer is responsible for keeping that data safe, to not use it for purposes outside of consent and to dispose of it within the legal timeframes. The employee keeps record of all that data too for personal career, tax and legal purposes. It’s their data and they must keep a copy, because it’s unlikely they will be employed for life.

But what if you make better use of the data that the employee stores herself, by giving the employer access to the verified records in her wallet that are necessary for job performance?

The data owner can respond to different requests: the employer can request data access from a permanent worker to a larger portion of data for a longer period than for a contingent worker.

For other data types, DLT allows the employer to verify (without data access) that the employee is who she says she is, to request proof of work history and qualifications (more on that topic in the next blog). This eliminates duplicate data storage, including potential points of failure (inaccuracies, security etc.).

In the case of foreign nationals, the DLT allows verification of a person’s eligibility to legally work for a company.


Reducing the instance of inaccurate data

An employee file on blockchain technology reduces the chance that the employee or third parties provide inaccurate employment information. This is because data in the blockchain is verified and encrypted and can’t be altered retro-actively.

While a fake certificate might look like an official one, it won't verify against the original blockchain record and the employer can immediately classify it as fake. An employer wouldn’t, therefore, need to verify school diploma’s or degrees externally, and the employee controls how much information to release: just the degree itself or the underlying classes and grades.


Adding permanence to data

Another advantage of DLT is that information is permanent: even though a company or school might cease to exist, once the record has been verified and created on the blockchain, it is forever part of the employee’s history. The data in a blockchain cannot be deleted or changed, only added to, and the distributed ledger ensures that all the nodes must verify a transaction before new information can be added.

Once the relationship between employer and employee ends, data access can be revoked (respective of legislation). And if data access needs to exist for a while longer, it can be audited so the employee knows what’s being done with it.


Education leads the way

The application of DLT to store and verify personal information is less futuristic than you think – and educational institutions are among the first organizations to introduce DLT in making student records available.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) released Blockcerts: an open standard for creating, issuing, viewing, and verifying blockchain-based certificates. Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore and Leonardo da Vinci Engineering School in Paris have started issuing certifications on blockchain.

Estonia is on a path to create the first digital society. X-Road is the open-source DLT backbone on which the country’s entire digital infrastructure runs. It is accessed through secure, verified digital identities that are provided to every citizen and resident.


Game changer for service delivery

Mike Eralie, NGA HR’s SVP of Service Delivery explained: DLT has the ability to thoroughly change our service delivery.

As data processor, NGA HR handles large amounts of PII on behalf of employers and provides services like identity verification or checking of work permits.

DLT-based employee files allow NGA HR to interact directly with verifiable, secure records, giving employers a higher level of confidence that the employee is who she says she is, and has the qualifications and permits needed to legally deliver quality work.

NGA HR is focused on delivering innovative services and closely follows DLT developments to create solutions that our clients will benefit from. Having said that, while Distributed Ledger Technology has many advantages, application of this technology can be more complicated than people make it out to be and many questions remain to be answered.

We don’t view DLT or blockchain as a simple solution that will fix everything that is wrong with today’s handling of PII, but it does offer possibilities for improving the systems we have – and NGA HR is fully engaged to explore its benefits in service delivery.


Next: The final in this series of blogs introducing the application of blockchain in HR and payroll processes we will explore possibilities for recruitment.


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Is blockchain in your future planning for HR and payroll? It should be!

In this, the first of a series of three blogs on blockchain for HR and payroll professionals, I layout the importance of developing an early understanding of blockchain. While it is unlikely to have an immediate impact, it certainly will do soon.

How soon? This depends on where you work and the set-up of your workforce.

What is blockchain?

If your first thought was ‘Bitcoin’, then you’re not entirely wrong: Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, often referred to as “digital gold”, are the highest profile uses of blockchain technology, and the ones that grab the headlines.

However, Blockchain is the underlying technology, very much the unsung hero. Rather like a secure ‘internet’, blockchain enables digital information to be distributed, not copied, making it highly secure. It would, therefore, only be time before new uses would be found for the technology.


HR and payroll processes are ideal for blockchain

HR and payroll are both very data rich processes. With GDPR and the tightening of all data compliance legislations around the world, the movement of personal data has never been higher risk for an organization.

If we look at payroll, for example, think about how an employer pays employees today:

1. Payroll is run

2. Bank file containing all payments is created and sent to the bank

3. Bank processes the file and takes money from the employer’s bank account to deposit into the accounts of the employees. This takes several days, with the bank acting as the paid trusted middleman.

4. Trusted middleman stores the [highly confidential personal] account data on its own servers. End-users have no means to check the validity or security of the databases, having to trust the bank to ensure correctness and protection against falsification.


How could you remove bank clearing from the payroll process?

Easily it seems. Blockchain builds a secure and trusted ledger across a decentralized infrastructure, often called the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Picture source: www.lpea.lu

When a transaction is made, DLT broadcasts this to all parties in the network (nodes), who then validate and approve it. The data is encrypted and appears anonymous to anyone not directly involved in the transaction.

Once the transaction is completed a new ‘block’ is created and added to the existing ‘chain’ of transaction records, hence the term, blockchain.

The hash or signature of the existing blocks is added and encrypted, making the chain of blocks tamper-proof and creating a permanent and transparent ledger, guaranting the security of data and the blockchain technology.         

When there are any data changes, each node receives a synchronized copy of the data and the integrity of the transaction can only be established once all parties have approved. 

If an intruder wants to hack into the system they have to do so simultaneously on all blocks on all nodes at the exact same time. This is thought to be virtually impossible to do.


What is a DLT “transaction” 

Distributed ledgers can be public, private and vary in structure and size and so the transaction can mean different things, for example;

  • a payment between two parties
  • a validation of a document
  • a verification of someone’s identity, etc.


All transactions are captured, but instead of storing them in a centralized database (think bank), the transactions are encrypted, and an update sent via the decentralized network. The blocks are then updated and reflected in the chain. Some will be recorded as ‘public ledger’ so every user can trust that the blocks are secure.


How will blockchain improve the efficiency of payroll?

When your employees all live in the same country, the payroll process is relatively straightforward. The more countries you add, the more complex global payroll becomes and the longer money can take to transfer. Add into this currency exchanges and you're also adding bank charges additional fees.

It is because of these complexities that organizations usually engage third parties to handle international payroll payments but, if you were to use DLT to issue that same payment, you would see significant improvements.

Payroll benefits of blockchain:

1. Money moves faster – when the employer initiates the payment there is a direct connection via DLT to the account of the employee, so they receive their payments quicker

2. Eliminate the middle man – DLT replaces the middleman by guaranteeing the security and validity of each transaction, enabling peer-to-peer payments. When making cross-border payments, it also reduces currency volatility, where (hourly) changes in exchange rates can be taken advantage of by intermediaries.

3. Lower transaction costs – Using DLT there are fewer parties involved and the transaction fee is a fraction of banking fees

4. Payment flexibility – employees can redirect payments and share wages earned with (overseas) family, with no or low remittance fees

5. Transparency – with DLT you always know the exact status of a payment

6. Better security – DLT is encrypted and distributed and so virtually impossible to falsify


Benefits of blockchain for contingent and gig economy workforces

Blockchain is idea for paying people working on an irregular or one-off basis.  Smart contracts can be easily be stored on DLT. As soon as work is completed, and / or a timesheet approved, payment can be made immediately, even to employees without a bank account.

There are currently thought to be two billion people globally without bank accounts, so this is a significant enhancement to payroll processing. DLT will provide the opportunity to create a digital bio-identification straight from their smartphones and use this to access a digital wallet platform and send payments.


A word of caution

While it’s good to experiment with new technologies like blockchain, always verify that you are compliant. As with many new technologies, it an take a while for governments to catch up. In many countries it remains illegal to pay someone who does not have a bank account, or to use a payment system that’s not visible to the authorities for reasons of fraud detection.


As a payroll provider, how is NGA HR innovating with DLT?

As global payroll provider, NGA HR is piloting several use cases of DLT. We want to be sure that when the time is right we’re in the best position to take full advantage of this exiting technology in our client payroll service delivery processes.

My colleague, Johan Bosschaerts, SVP Technology, Innovation and Solutions at NGA HR, has added the following insights to this blog:

If you take the payroll process, security is fundamental, but security is only as strong as the weakest point in the whole chain. So, when you redesign the payroll process on DLT, it’s crucial to apply security consistently throughout the whole process.

In the case of payroll, from the moment NGA HR receives data via the client’s cloud HRIS, DLT enables us to put this data into a secure and trusted ledger. This allows us to log all events so they can’t be tampered with.

For added security, we can add contextual access security using access keys: when NGA HR, as data processor uses its key, it provides a different type of data access to when the client (employer) is using their key.

Similarly, when an employee calls with a payroll question, they can use their key to grant the service agent read-access to the data. Once the call ends and the agent closes the tickets, the access is revoked.

Throughout the whole payroll lifecycle (except for the black box payroll run itself), employee data and transactions are only stored in and referenced via the ledger. This ensures single data storage for all dependent systems, for example, MyHRW (case management system) or PEX, to reference.

Rather than copying data between systems and holding copies in multiple databases (high security risk), the DLT would work as the single trusted source of data to be referenced by other systems when data access is required.

In redesigning the payroll process using DLT, NGA HR can provide a secure service to clients, who can trust that PII (Personally Identifiable Information) is and remains only in authorized hands.


While we are exploring blockchain / DLT as a promising technology for payroll, we are also at NGA HR, pursuing other use cases in the HR domain. Personal data and recruitment are prime cases. We’ll discuss these in a next blog post.

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2018 has already been a year of great change in the HR & payroll world.

As we approach the new financial year for many organisations, performance changing HR technologies are and will continue to make a positive impact on overall business performance.

HR data analytics is rapidly winning payroll its voice in the boardroom. The business intelligence drawn from the data is proving invaluable in retrospective reviewing and short and mid-term planning. 

And, with people firmly back on the agenda, this combination of business intelligence, data legislation, workplace culture and HR technology, it is reported that employees are becoming more engaged, motivated, willing and able to work well. The results for business performance are great.

A summary of some of these positive changes including flexible working, multigenerational workforces and GDPR can be viewed in in this interview with Compare the Cloud at Cloud Expo recently.

View the interview here.


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There has never been a more vital time to ensure your SAP SuccessFactors HCM instance is up-to-date. 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most high-profile compliance regulation to hit organisations processing European data ever. It's widely thought that the supervisory authorities are using GDPR to set a precedent for compliance. Fines have been set at four percent of annual global revenue or €20 million, whichever is greater.

Cost aside the loss to reputation in this time of heightened interest around the handling and use of people’s data, will be too great for some businesses to survive a data breach.

 GDPR is about putting your back in control of your personal data

The question you must ask yourself is... “Is your SAP SuccessFactors instance GDPR compliant?”












Within its SuccessFactors HCM platform, SAP has factored in changes to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your people data, not just for GDPR, but to ensure global compliance. Enhancements cover consent management, data blocking, data retention and purge, read and edit logging, and reporting. These have been delivered via the quarterly SAP SuccessFactors releases in November 2017 and most recently, February.

Your GDPR compliance assurance is only as rigid as your SAP SuccessFactors maintenance.  Any gaps and there’s a very high chance that you will fall through these.

Below you can find the high level technical requirements necessary to ensure your SAP SuccessFactors investment is compliant with the GDPR.

If you have any doubts about the credibility of your maintenance update we recommend a thorough audit of your HCM or contact NGA HR for a SAP SuccessFactors Compliance Health Check.


Your GDPR compliance check list
















In all instances, you need to agree which data elements your organisation considers to be ‘personal’ or ‘sensitive’. Within SAP SuccessFactors, you then have the option to configure data elements as personal and / or sensitive.

Classifying Personal Data in Modules                                                                                  

  • Employee Central – all data elements have been designated as personal by default. Field-level configuration is masked on the user interface
  • MDF (Meta Data Framework) configuration can be set at the object-level to classify an object as personal data 
  • Talent – all talent data is classified as personal, so no additional configuration is required
  • Sensitive personal data, such as performance management, calibration, succession planning has been hidden from the user interface? 
  • Learning – all learning data has been classified as personal, so no additional configuration is required 
  • Recruiting – there are options to anonymize and purge personal data with the option to identify fields for anonymization or as sensitive personal data 



  • SAP SuccessFactors has enhanced data subject information reporting


Data Deletion and retention management 

  • Existing data purge and retention management tools have been enhanced
  • Pre-requisites / Assumptions including configuration steps for Data Purge Tool are as follows;

1. Provide necessary RBP permissions

2. Enable Data Retention Management 2.0

3. MDF Framework

4. Sync User data from HRIS – County, User Status and Termination date

5. Country picklist updates

6. Company and system settings

7. Setup country specific retention period


Use cases are as follows;

1. Run full purge of inactive users along with their all data based on single common retention time.

2. Run partial purge of specific type of user data based on different retention times.

3. Run purge of audit data for all Users both active and inactive based on different retention times 

  • MDF (Meta Data Framework) and RBP (Role Based Permissions) must now be set
  • Error alerts will occur if Compound Employee API errors go beyond "highest purge date" 
  • Automated notifications for downstream systems and data deletion will not be reported via change logs or events 
  • Data in SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics is purged from the source data as part of the monthly update process data
  • Historical Reporting will align with the number of years reported on in Workforce Analytics, with retention periods configured in the source product 


Change logging 

  • Change logging will be captured by default 
  • You can opt in to track changes for MDF (Meta Data Framework) objects 
  • SAP SuccessFactors is in the process of developing a Change Log Report. Please note that: Change Audit and Read Audit are not yet released by SAP)


Disclosure Control – Masking Today 

  • Masking can be switched on per field as a default option to prevent exposure of personal or sensitive data - by setting MDF field level property "private or sensitive information" in your Extension Centre to TRUE 
  • Note: Workflow and Reporting does not support masking 
  • Each access to sensitive personal data will be logged.
  • In EC this is enabled by setting the field level property "log read access" to true 
  • With MDF this is enabled by setting the field-level property "log read access" to true 
  • In Talent, sensitive personal data originating from an Employee Profile will be hidden from the user interface, APIs and reporting tools
  • Blocking can be used to restrict access to historical personal data still within the retention period and therefore in the system. 
  • SAP SF plan to extend RBP with an access period to allow for a more fine-grained authorization concept 


Recommendations to minimize exposure of sensitive personal data

We recommend best practice and a culture of compliance is introduced organisation-wide to limit the exposure of sensitive personal data and mitigate data compliance risk.

This is particularly important in reporting instances where large amounts of personal data are accessed;

  1. Evaluate each report to determine what sensitive personal data is truly needed to be included

  2. If sensitive personal data is needed, restrict access to the report

  3. If sensitive personal data is needed within Workforce Analytics, set read access as sensitive in admin 

Click here for all you need to prepare SAP SuccessFactors for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)  





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In the last five years we’ve seen a shift in attitudes towards flexible working.

Research by the Workforce Institute shows a modern workplace divided against itself.  Much has stemmed from globalisation of business and a younger workforce that has grown up with an always-on mentality.

In Europe, international trade now accounts for 20% of GDP and this is increasing. If a business expands internationally, this means different time zones extending the day, and it must adjust the way it supports employees who work in that environment.

As individuals, we know technology exists to allow us to work efficiently and so we’re less inclined to work for organisations unwilling to invest in supporting our work environment. Often this is becoming a key factor in selecting an employer alongside traditional factors such as salary and career potential. Technology means we can work remotely so our “potential employer opportunity” is wider than ever before.

Digital natives are not the only people looking for mobility and flexible work patterns. Digital immigrants, anyone born before 1990, a huge number of us, want it too. At home we’re fully set up to interact globally from a wireless device with video calls day and night to anywhere.

Increasingly, we’re less and less willing to step back in time at work.

For those entering the workplace for the first time, we might even find ourselves in the negative situation of having to train our new starters to take a step back in time with their workplace technology and work inefficiently!

This extract is from a blog Simon Porter, Vice President, Digital HR Services at NGA Human Resources wrote for the Workforce Institute @Kronos where he sits on the European Advisory Board. Read on for the full article here.



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NGA HR Innovation with CA Technologies Creates a Better Employee Experience

The 2018 NGA HR Innovation Tour stopped in New York this week where we held our first customer design thinking workshop with CA Technologies.

Together, we visualized different avenues for a better employee experience, creating two prototypes: “InstaLetter” and “Jess Unlimited”.

 To experience our collaborative innovation workshop, do take a moment out to watch this video recording of the session:












Are you ready to take the Employee Experience Challenge?

If you are or think you might be ready to enhance your organization’s employee experience, do drop me an email meltse.hendersen@ngahr.com and together, we can take the next steps to a more productive employee experience. Together, we can shape the next generation HR Operating model!


Your Design Thinking Workshop Agenda
  • Current state of innovation at NGA HR
  • Presentation on Key Tools used in DT 
    • Phase 1: understanding the environment.
    • Phase 2: definition and redefinition of the problem.
    • Phase 3: idea generation techniques: mind mapping, journey mapping,
    • Phase 4: experimentation/prototyping/minimal viable product/service
    • Phase 5: validation with users, learning launches, story telling
    • Design Thinking application examples.
  • Formation of subgroups 
    • Methodology guide
    • Concrete business/design challenge(s) explained
  • Execute design challenge (small group activity) 
  • Group Learnings and Next Steps 
 "Effective innovation doesn’t happen by accident – it happens by design!"


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NGA HR recently sponsored ISG’s ‘Future Workplace Summit’, a theme we feel is vital to support and contribute to with insight and thought leadership. I was asked to participate in a discussion during the opening day’s HR Tech Workshop, “Keys to a Successful Transformation: How to re-design your delivery model around your new technology,” to provide insight into NGA’s own experiences with clients’ digital transformation journeys.  


Some of my takeaways from the day:  


  1. Not everyone is as far down the path on the digital transformation journey as we may think. 

All of the participants were very engaged and asked great questions, some indicating that their organizations are still addressing more basic decisions, like which HCM product to buy. 


  1. Those that have chosen and implemented cloud HCM products find that they are not as intuitive as the advertisements promise.  

Even with the vast improvements of Cloud-based over ERP systems, companies are still struggling with the "user-experience”.  


  1. Transition enablement is huge and still accounts for 70% of the noise and lack of project success on digital initiatives.  

One participant, who had completed a global HCM implementation (80+ countries), talked about all the post implementation change transition support still going on across their organization, months after implementation.  


  1. PaaS and extensions are truly emerging as a way that companies can pragmatically live with the standardization that Cloud systems drive. 

These innovations are bridging the gaps between standard, out of the box, configurable systems and the unique needs of the business. So, while the standardization brings the ability to upgrade more seamlessly, it does not mean that the upgrades bring the flexibility that companies need with their HRIS platforms.   


  1. The need for a single "HR Experience" within an organization is essential.  

While we accept that information comes from and needs to go to a variety of places, we still do not want to have to sign on to multiple systems to access it. People want to go to one place and see all the information they need. 


  1. Cloud systems are successfully taking the work out of HR, but in some cases placing it at the feet of managers and employees.  

Perhaps it is because self-service capabilities for managers and employees are so prevalent, there is more work being pushed to these groups that was previously handled by HR. Taking up some of the tasks, like transfers, promotions, approvals, hiring and terminations, are not as intuitive to managers that may not have the occasion to do these transactions as often as HR did before.  This leads to confusion and frustration across the manager ranks as they see their workloads increasing without the corresponding support.  


  1. At the same time, HR departments are inheriting more of the work formerly handled by the IT departments.  

While cloud systems are very configurable, they require a HR process mindset first and foremost to ensure you fully optimize the build.  So, while some of the administrative work moved away from HR, they inherited some of the work that might have been done previously by in IT.  Cloud-based systems require more knowledge of the process itself to be configured so HR is now more hands-on with system set up and configuration activities.  While this is not a completely technical skillset as it has been in the past, it is requiring HR departments to reassess their future skillsets.  


  1. HR tech like Automation, RPA and bots are increasing in popularity, and everyone wants to get in on the action.  

The expectation is that with API, AI and bots all of our data can, and should, be together in one place. The idea of a basic presentation with access to multiple systems had a lot of heads nodding. 







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Last month, NGA HR had the pleasure of hosting its 2018 North American Client Summit. Held in Miami, FL, this full-day event brought large employers from across the US and Canada together to not just learn about the latest in HR innovation, but also to network and share their own experiences with each other in the domains of global payroll, HR technology and Business Process Services for HR. Together, these NGA clients employ and reward over 400,000 employees served in more than 40 countries around the world.

The Summit’s theme centered around enabling the Next-Generation HR & Payroll Operating Model, an integrated and innovative way of providing HR services that combines automation, bots, analytics, digital and ‘as-a-Service’ operations capabilities, driving improvements ranging from HR data quality to employee experience.  

The Summit opened with a powerful strategy and innovation update from NGA HR CEO Andy Monshaw, and moved into discussion of next-generation innovation and today’s most cutting-edge HR tools, including chatbots, automation, artificial intelligence and creating a conversational user experience. Some of the most rewarding moments of the day came from the Design Thinking roundtable sessions where clients collaborated and got hands-on exploring the topics of managing global payroll data and optimizing a multi-generational workforce.

Our take-away: irrespective of company size or geography, our clients know where they want to go. The desire to increase revenues, grow productivity, apply automation, become more agile and more global, and provide great experiences for clients and employees was a common thread among all in attendance. Next-Gen HR is front and center across all of these objectives, and the rapid pace of HR technology innovation offers new levers to achieve these.

NGA HR North America Client Summit 2018 - Vimeo

NGA HR North America Client Summit 2018 from NGA Human Resources on Vimeo.

This event followed NGA’s European Client Summit held last October in Amsterdam. We want to thank this great group for joining us in Miami and look forward to connecting more throughout 2018, including events at Workday Rising, SuccessConnect, and Unleash Europe.

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If you’re planning a sickie on Monday, you might have to come up with a better excuse than your co-sickies, an estimated 14 million of you! Sick leave on the Monday following the Super Bowl is so common that it now has an official title, Super Sick Monday. There is, perhaps, no coincidence then that 38.5 million working Americans agreed that the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday.In a fun survey from congestion medication provider Mucinex, a fellow member of the Kronos Workforce Institute, some great insights into employee behavior and absenteeism are revealed. Ring any bells for you?!

Some context into the findings of the #SuperSickMonday survey is laid out in this blog from Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos.

Summary of #SuperSickMonday survey results

  • 60% of employees in the US plan to call in sick or take PTO on Monday 5th February
  • Positively, 21% are likely to book time off in advance
  • Most common sickie excuses: fever (26%), sore throat (14%), headache (12%)
  • 22% of US employees will come to work even if genuinely sick
  • 53% of people who phone in sick were not sick the night before


Absenteeism versus presenteeism

Neither is good for your business. Unplanned absenteeism is expensive and hits performance. Presenteeism, the term dubbed for employees coming to work when not fit to do so, spreads illnesses, and can also often the starting point for employee burnout.

Enjoy the full #SuperSickMonday survey from Mucinex


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In this blog, I have annotated the knowledge and learnings that we at NGA Human Resources have experienced when delivering major global SAP SuccessFactors cloud implementation projects.

The approach and learnings mentioned will apply to the test stage of any cloud HRIS implementation.

Setting the scene

Over the last few years, enterprise businesses have taken a fundamental change in approach by moving business applications from on-premise into the Cloud. For HR systems, the pioneering solution has been SAP SuccessFactors. It has not been plain sailing for all.

Large enterprises with established SAP HCM maintenance operations have faced significant challenges during the migration process, especially when integrating with SAP HCM / underlying legacy base and other interfacing environments, such as Payroll, Time & Attendance and Benefits.

This blog highlights the top 3 areas to focus on; those that have real impact during the testing of SAP SuccessFactors in the Cloud.

1. Establishing End-to-End Quality Assurance

The first focus area is end-to-end quality assurance. It is vital to set out a strategy than ensures successful SAP SuccessFactors + Payroll integration in Cloud.

The key element is around integrations between SAP SuccessFactors, middleware and third-party payroll systems. Specific to this, the section below highlights interface readiness planning and the set of checkpoints needed to be put in place before starting the test execution phase.

This diagram depicts the typical landscape of any cloud-based HRIS system under implementation

Aspects around interfaces
a)Time & attendance interface
 - T&A data is critical for Payroll. Missing this will result in delays to payroll runs
b)Interface connectivity from middleware platform to local payroll systems
 - Must be set-up and working properly so that payroll can be run smoothly with local interfaces
c)Field mapping between HRIS, middleware and downstream payroll systems
 - Must be mapped effectively and aligned with all connecting systems to avoid interruption of data flow.
d)System Interfacing with other ticketing tools / case management tools
Key Things to note:
Checklist to be completed prior to starting SIT, to avoid later integration issues
 a)Organization management data and cost centers data load should be completed into SFSF EC from GHR
 b)Confirmation needed from local implementation team (payroll) related to all payroll critical mandatory fields so that SIT team can maintain and validate these fields in EC for successful Payroll run
c)Wage type / pay component catalogue
d)Field value mapping document reflecting all systems (HRIS – middleware - payroll system)
e)Freeze country solution workbook
f)All critical and complex interfaces including global and local interface readiness
g)Country specific changes and role-based permission
2. Understanding Customer Business Processes

During global implementation of SAP SuccessFactors, it is crucial to understand each customer country process and configuration to be able to build the global layer with local country customizations and interfaces the specific systems talk to.

Below step up process, highlights some important aspects during the life cycle of the implementation.

Knowing the technical landscape and interaction between the upstream and downstream systems is critical during implementation.

Understanding the global vs. local set of business rules and impacts is crucial to laying down the right testing strategy and approach.

Another key consideration will be the data movement from the SAP legacy system to the new SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and the levels of process and interfaces needed to be built to seamlessly move the data automatically rather than doing it manually.

From our experience, the automation of interfaces reduces the manual effort by between 70 and 80%.

System of record

Recognizing that SAP SuccessFactors EC is a system of record, the key organizational management and payroll related attributes must be looked at in terms of data movement and keeping the consistency. Here comes the important aspect of how the middleware platform will be built for the data movement from HRIS to middleware and middleware to downstream payroll systems.

3. Testing Program Governance
The complexity is high around programs that include global country payroll implementations and involve multiple teams, such as: program management leadership, project team, SPOC from each entity, external vendor teams, payroll SME’s, SAP SuccessFactors support team plus business owners who provide final approval.
Quick Summary
Client & Vendor Management
Change Management communication - Single Source of Info
Regular alignment calls with Program
Clear understanding & communication between all the stakeholders on the scope of each phase to avoid any confusion in later stage.
Freeze of all the requirements before starting SIT.

This becomes another critical aspect in the overall implementation.

Taking a Global -to-Local approach when setting up teams will ease out communication barriers and make the ‘shift and lift’ activity of a SAP SuccessFactors implementation manageable.

The local SME’s play a pivotal role in managing their specific country implementation. They take the required support from the global layer SME’s and adapts the configurations and changes suiting to the local requirements.

On top of this, ideally there should be a global testing coordinator role whose key activity is to perform quality checks at various phases of the implementation and put in place a stringent mechanism of Go / No Go after satisfying the defined acceptance criteria.

In addition to this, validating test coverage, regression assessment and 100% completion of User Acceptance Tests, will be the need for important checks for Testing Governance team.

Lastly, the project retrospectives exercise must be done in timely manner, factoring in the lessons learnt and implementing best practices to ensure continuous improvement and to strengthen the testing services team.


For the successful delivery of a SAP SuccessFactors, or any HRIS implementation in cloud it is essential to establish a robust end-to-end quality assurance approach. This must include detailed understanding of the system architecture, proper integration between the different systems and a forming testing governance team.

From our experience, we have seen a 15 to 20 % saving in quality assurance effort simply by engaging the right set of best practices and processes during the implementation timeline.

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