Training and Support
The purpose of this page is to collect ideas for a program of training and technical support in using the iHRIS Suite. This program could be extend to teach basic concepts of managing HR information systems, HR information architecture (devising a job structure, standardizing, etc.), managing data and ensuring data quality, using data effectively, and working with Open Source software. All ideas are welcome.
All HRIS advisors need to complete all trainings. They need to be well-versed in the software (read the user's manuals, etc.) and know the procedures for getting help, reporting a bug and requesting features from the development team. They should understand the basics of how the software works, i.e., the job/position structure, the meanings of specific fields like cadre and classification. The HRIS Advisors should be considered advocates for the software and its proper use.
HR Management/Job Structures
Include materials on international standards of job classifications. (Pam)
How to develop HRIS codes. (Julie) How to write and use effective use cases for HRIS Advisor and Data Managers. (Angela)
Training needs to include a primer on the meanings of such terms as classification and cadre, job and position. It needs to emphasize standards, consistency and use of titles and codes to identify positions. It should go over the basic workflow: first you set up a job structure, then you fill available positions with employees and move employees in and out of positions, so that you can track unfilled positions as well. A lot of these basics are covered in the software user's manuals but could be fleshed out for a training course.
Information Management Topics
Data managers need training in how to ensure data quality. Procedures such as printing reports and spot-checking records. How do they spot a problem? How do they get help/support when needed?
I would recommend that before we start entering any data in the future that we figure out all the pull down menus and links and do not allow data entrants to free text in these critical fields. These positions and job codes need to be figured out by the appropriate authorities. For example, because of changes made over time, there were three separate job codes for the same job – if someone had looked critically at the list before hand, it could help a country to realize where they need to take some decisions. (Pam)
Develop information standards (dropdowns) before implementing the system. The HRIS Advisor should work with stakeholders to do this. Define and document how each field is being used. (Angela)
The main thing is that we never install a system without a plan to back-up that involves keeping one copy off site and that we routinely follow-up with our in-country staff to follow-up until it becomes routine. (Pam) A backup is then only as useful as the ability to retrieve the data in the desired format - so regular testing of these backups should be done, documented and reviewed for completeness and accuracy. (Laticha)
Using the Software
Data managers and system administrators should be trained in how to use the software and in how to train others to use it.
Data entrants should be trained in how to use the software before beginning data entry and should receive refresher courses at appropriate intervals. Training should include instruction on what to do when a field is required but the data is not known, how to get help, and the particulars of the entire system they are working with (i.e., are they entering data from paper forms). Data entrants need periodic reviews to make sure they are not "gaming the system." They need to be motivated to enter data correctly.
How to be part of the Open Source community: report a bug; ask a question; join the mailing lists; customize code; and submit patches.
Forms of Training/Support
In the Software
Basic HR management training can be integrated into the iHRIS Software. For instance, HR terms can be defined when encountered, such as with tool tips. Context-based help can tell users how to perform functions in the software and relate that to HR management concepts.
Redesigning the software with training in mind would be helpful. For instance, simplify pages such as Administer Positions, Administer Database and Reporting. Add asterisks to required fields. Add a wizard to guide through data entry. Clarify button labels. Add in-context help. Use bullets in directions instead of paragraphs.
Use the HRIS Strengthening Implementation Toolkit and User's Manuals to develop curricula for training courses.
Collect Open Content textbooks to include in any training materials (on programming, server management, related topics).
Adapt the Quick Start Guides from the Toolkit as job aids.
Post short "how to complete a specific task" videos on a YouTube channel and link to the user's manual. (Carl)
Slideshows posted on Slideshare about HRIS, HR Management, other relevant topics.
From my Swaziland experience, I think there’s a need for country level helpdesks, where district levels can call in for HRIS issues. The more they roll-out, the more serious this aspect gets. Then similarly you can structure it to have a global level helpdesk to support the country level helpdesks. Both of them can be marketed together. You’d have one key point person here who responds to it globally. (Danny)
Train volunteers in CH to go to the field and train system administrators, data managers and data entrants there. Travel, room and board and perhaps a stipend would be paid. (Carl)
This could be included in an updated database-driven website or blog expansion. It would loop in questions/answers from Launchpad and the FAQ, technical articles and other resources. They would be classified by keywords and searchable.
A possible HRIS activity could be considered that IT audits are performed from time to time to ensure that all the various IT Policies and procedures are not just taking up shelf space but are actually implemented and serve the sole purpose of ensuring system security and continuity, data reliability and availability in our strive to strengthen HRH systems. (Laticha)