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Businesses need to simplify HR and compliance processes to save time and reduce risk. Talx, which helps employers address concerns in hiring, pay and compliance, has now assumed the name of its parent company and become Equifax Workforce Solutions [PDF]. HR and finance professionals should recognize the parent company’s brand from its work in the consumer credit industry. The company hopes these professionals will see that Equifax Workforce Solutions offers a better approach to governance, risk and compliance. According to our research, 79 percent of organizations want a better method to identify and manage risks faster.

In the area of hiring services, Equifax has made the process of compliance for new hires simple with its I-9 management service to ensure compliance through its E-Verify integration, and through its streamlined electronic service to remove physical paper in federal, state and local forms. Providing for digital signatures and documents is one way it saves time; our research finds almost a quarter of organizations still use paper and require handwritten signatures, and more (29%) have electronic documents but still require a handwritten signature. Also, as governments provide new tax credits and incentives, Equifax can immediately assess any savings opportunities with an existing workforce and new hires, keeping on top of potential opportunities to contribute to organizations’ profitability. For example, after disasters like Sandy and Katrina, governments may provide incentives and opportunities for employers, as is now happening with the Department of Labor in New York State. In the area of pay reporting, Equifax provides a digital and physical service to manage paperless pay and the process of creating and distributing W-2s that makes things simpler for employers and provides direct access for employees. This can replace the paper and manual efforts that exist in most organizations and improve employee satisfaction and confidence.

Equifax also provides a suite of compliance services and online services to help with employment verification, unemployment cost management and employment tax management, and with supporting action on data breaches. Though our research finds that only 11 percent of organizations have experienced a significant data privacy or information breach, it is essential for companies to have policies and processes in place so they can act quickly to address such data breaches. Simplifying the methods to comply with legal and regulatory requirements is still difficult for over half of organizations (56%), though most just take on a higher cost of employee labor to ensure deadlines are not missed. Many organizations do not take risk and compliance methods as seriously as they should. Our research finds more than half of organizations (57%) use spreadsheets in these processes. Organizations need to assess controls and compliance steps to better automate the processes and eliminate labor-intensive and error-prone manual tracking.

Equifax Workforce Solutions provides workforce analytics in a product called vr_nextgenworkforce_planning_to_improve_workforce_analyticsEquifax Workforce Analytics that it gained with the acquisition of analytics technology provider eThority, which I assessed earlier this year. This offering provides not just efficient methods for interacting and discovering places for improvement, but also prebuilt content in the form of analytics and metrics that can be populated with an organization’s data. The use of spreadsheets has made it difficult to manage workforces in 42 percent of organizations according to our next-generation workforce management benchmark research. By adopting a dedicated approach to critical workforce analytics across HR processes, organizations can make more accurate and effective decisions.

Parent company Equifax will need to better promote the newly named Workforce Solutions unit, since it is still not linked from its website. Equifax Workforce Solutions provides many benefits in benchmarking workforce and compensation issues that could be an opportunity to provide relief to those under the most duress; it can even determine the load of student loans costs on a workforce. It can do these things by comparing a workforce to its overall Equifax database and reviewing its database of more than 210 million payroll records. These kinds of services can help employers improve methods to hire, engage and retain their workforce.

Organizations should consider Equifax Workforce Solutions as part of their overall human capital management strategy, and part of any specific talent management and workforce management efficiency efforts. With its abilities to save time and mitigate risk, Equifax Workforce Solutions has a place in every organization.

Regards,

Mark Smith

CEO & Chief Research Officer

The workforce analytics market continues to evolve as organizations seek to improve the time it takes to find insights and employer metrics in order to meet compliance requirements, mitigate risk and enforce governance policies. TALX, a subsidiary of Equifax, provides a range of data-oriented services that help HR, payroll and tax professionals. Its integration with eVerify service assists the hiring process with I-9 compliance, and capabilities to examine workforce compensation and financial liabilities and reduce false unemployment claim costs. TALX, which has the credit files of tens of millions of employees in the U.S. through its parent Equifax, that with employee salary data provided by the employer can determine the financial health and risks of a workforce.

TALX, which last year acquired eThority, a provider of workforce analytics that I have assessed, has been enhancing its workforce analytics software. This week the company announced the availability of TALX Elements, a workforce analytics product that brings together key data services with eThority’s analytics and TALX’s industry expertise to help employers gain faster time to insight. TALX Elements focuses on reducing the time it takes to comply with I-9 reporting regulations and mitigating the risk of not being in compliance. HR professionals can examine compensation methods to reduce the risks of losing talent and of employees filing unemployment claims when they’re not eligible.

Compliance reviews create time pressures for employers. According to our workforce analytics benchmark research, Only about one-third of HR organizations can generate metrics within a week after the report period. The eThority workforce analytics was designed to empower HR and other business professionals to quickly identify issues and take actions. The software can access the most up-to-date employee data and does not require the data preparation tasks that our research shows can take more than two-thirds (70%) of analytics process time. TALX Elements can immediately find ways to reduce the costs of not being in compliance and provide salary benchmarks to ensure that an organization is paying employees the appropriate amounts.

At the core of TALX Elements is a prebuilt set of people, process, risk and compliance metrics that go beyond traditional performance-related indicators and also provides headcount, compensation, tenure, turnover, compliance and liability related metrics. HR organizations that want to add more data and develop additional metrics through analytics can do so. Users can publish the metrics and reports to Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Excel and other common formats. One of the areas it supports is compensation and our benchmark research into total compensation management found that improving reporting and analytics on compensation was a priority for management in 79 percent of organizations. Compensation was identified as the third-most important set of metrics for executives and management, cited by 57 percent of organizations in our workforce analytics benchmark research.

Our research identified usability of analytics software as the overall most important vendor and product evaluation criteria in 56 percent of organizations. In TALX Elements moving a mouse across a chart or legend can be done to automatically select data, while a quick zoom can display the next level of detail in a chart to see what is contributing to the metric. These unique approaches address the need our workforce analytics research found for making analytics more actionable and easier to build and maintain, which are top two issues in 55 percent of organizations.

TALX makes Elements available as software as a service (SaaS) in a cloud-based approach accessible via a Web browser without IT involvement. Its usability could help get HR organizations to stop using spreadsheets, which are the most-used technology in almost two-thirds (62%) of organizations and are a contributing factor to a lack of accuracy in data – only 22 percent of participants said their data is fully accurate.

TALX eThority provides other workforce analytics beyond what is in Elements, including for recruiting and retention. Our benchmark in social media and recruiting found that cost and time–to-hire metrics are still important to half of organizations, and retention metrics like employee satisfaction and retention rates are important in more than 60 percent of organizations.

TALX maintains a customer advisory board that provides input into the direction of the product. The company says it will continue to expand TALX Elements to other data services that it provides, but it has made no specific commitments yet. I would like to see it offer predictive indicators on employees, which will be an interest over the next year in 27 percent of HR organizations. I also believe that further investing into automation of data integration from HR and talent management systems could help organization get analytics ready faster.

Organizations that are looking to enhance their sophistication in compliance, compensation, retention and governance should examine TALX Elements. Those looking for a simple and robust workforce analytics offering should consider the TALX eThority software, which can address a range of needs from recruiting to retention. TALX efforts to help employers with I-9 compliance is becoming increasingly important for organizations that do not have rigorous process to support them and now with analytics to monitor them. Our benchmark in workforce analytics found fewer than one-third of organizations (30%) have any level of satisfaction with their existing software. Considering that only 12 percent of organizations have achieved an innovative level of maturity according to our benchmark, TALX eThority and Elements should find an opportunity to help HR departments place workforce analytics on stronger ground.

Regards,

Mark Smith – CEO & Chief Research Officer

Mark Smith – Twitter

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