What is the true potential of HR and how can technology help us to achieve it? In this installment of our Tech Founders series, Gerry O’Neill, CEO, CuroComp, makes the case for HR technology’s revolutionary impact on compensation and benefits in the workplace.
What is Curo Compensation?
Curo Compensation is a technology company in the HR space that sells three key products. The first product is called CuroEnterprise. This is a highly configurable and scalable compensation management software solution which enables customers to manage their pay review cycle efficiently and securely in accordance with agreed, and often complex, compensation plans, rules and eligibility criteria. The system has a strong embedded analytics capability to support decision making and integrates with the mainstream HRIS and ERP platforms. Our second product is CuroGPG which enables UK companies to comply with gender pay reporting legislation. This has been extended to include peer group comparators and we will be adding ethnicity reporting in the coming months. Finally, CuroPET for pay equity tracking and reporting. This is a new product with pay equity analytics, regression modelling and a budget optimisation module.
Why was it necessary to create Curo Compensation?
We felt the market was massively underserved (and still is) in compensation technology. If you look at the mainstream ERP, HRIS and talent management platforms, very few have a strong comp capability. The majority don’t even support some fairly basic compensation management functionality. That has driven the majority of companies to using spreadsheets. But with spreadsheets there are well documented and significant challenges such as complexity (they could easily have 200-300 columns) and several cycles back and forward with HRBPs/line managers. Other problems associated with traditional spreadsheets include data issues (changes, loss, corruption and integrity), a single point of failure and, of course, data security issues (non-GDPR compliant).
Our challenge was to create a fully configurable solution that could deal with any level of complexity with a powerful BI and analytics capability. It needed to be very visual, intuitive and offer plug and play connectivity to adjacent HRIS/ERP/TM solutions. That way customers could leverage the investment they have made if these platforms yet harness the benefits of Curo technology to take control of their comp review processes and budgets and drive a comp allocation agenda based on consistency, differentiation, fairness and transparency.
Why is HR technology crucial to the success of a business?
I think that for many years HR has not had the respect and visibility it deserved but things are changing as companies are genuinely beginning to recognise that people are their number one asset. For most companies now 70-80% of the cost base are people related making it the single biggest cost and the single biggest point of leverage. If you look at Bersin research, hyper-performers can deliver up to eight times the level of productivity of average performers, so it is critical you identify them (within your company), retain them and attract new, high performing talent. You have to incentivise and reward performance in a manner that ensures you make a serious business impact and compensation plays a big role in this. The annual comp budget (salary increases and bonus payments) is a major operational expense for most organisations. Spending it wisely is a critical part of your people agenda. We also see how important fairness and transparency is to employees. Explaining pay policy and allocation principles and ensuring employees understand where they sit relative to internal and external pay benchmarks is important so employees understand actual pay relativity.
How can an organisation most effectively implement new HR technology?
They have to select the right mix of platforms and their interoperability. Gone are the days when a single platform can accommodate all the HR tech requirements of companies and there will always be the need to mix integrated platforms with point solutions to meet an overall set of needs. The innovation in HR technology is all happening in start-up and early stage companies who see opportunities to disrupt. I would recommend that organisations do their research online, by visiting the right trade shows, speaking to analysts and getting themselves much more informed before they enter the buying cycle.
What do you think is the biggest challenge affecting organisations today?
I think there are several key challenges starting with keeping up to speed with technology. It’s a constantly evolving landscape with new products emerging all the time. Keeping on top of this is a challenge.
In our specific field, getting the compensation challenge right. If you run the numbers on productivity, differentiation, pay equity and performance management, most organisations will see a significant benefit in terms of business performance from where they are currently. It’s all about people, performance and reward and we see that daily with the organisations we work with. Furthermore, if you look at the economics, comp budgets now have to cover cost of living increases and pay equity (including gender pay) adjustments as well as awards for performance so it’s even more critical to make sure you allocate those awards in a way that will drive the biggest impact for the business
Which emerging technologies do you think will transform HR in the future?
I think, in our ‘comp’ world it will be related to data analytics, AI, machine and adaptive learning. We will also see more real-time performance tracking and reward, flight risk prediction, salary optimisation modules at point of hire and promotion and technology to support skills-based compensation and comp models for more mobile/remote/transient/part-time based workforces.