San Francisco-based Salesforce Inc. launched a new solution on Thursday, Salesforce for HR, that takes the cloud software companies would normally use to serve their customers and instead use it to serve their employees.

Salesforce for HR isn’t about a new software product from the cloud platform that started with customer relationship management (CRM) and has since broadened its offerings to cover just about every line of business. It’s about taking its existing tools and using them in a new way, perhaps facilitated with the help of a Salesforce partner such as Deloitte, Appirio, Jobscience or Lumesse.

In a demo showcasing how some Salesforce customers have already geared the cloud platform towards a human resources purpose, Jim Sinai, senior director of platform product marketing at Salesforce.com, said that employees expect to be catered to as if they are customers.

“All employees want is to have that same engaging, personalizing experience they have in their personal lives,” he says. “If you don’t keep your employees engaged, not only will they not be the best employees, they will actually leave your company faster.”

An example of an app that could be built with Salesforce for HR purposes.
An example of an app that could be built with Salesforce for HR purposes.

In the demo, an app that Cirrus Insight built to help onboard its employees was showcased. Employees would be guided step-by-step through the process of being integrated into the company, and an HR manager could track their progress. The app could be built with Salesforce Lightening and deployed via the Salesforce1 mobile app.

Another example demonstrated was an HR help desk app, putting Salesforce’s Service Cloud and Communities to use. Employees would have a portal available on web and mobile to explore information about company benefits, payroll information and vacation policies. HR managers would have a view of what questions were being asked about these topics and the ability to answer them, manage content in the portals, and see profile information about the employee asking the question.

Salesforce for HR - helpdesk

Salesforce for HR could also make use of Sales Cloud, Service cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud, and Analytics Cloud solutions on the Salesforce1 platform. Rather than sell the solution with a bundle of software, it is tailored for a customer’s needs by a Salesforce partner.

“There’s a handful of companies that figured it out on their own,” Sinai says. “We wanted to productize that and help other companies.”

Salesforce suggests that its solution can complement existing human capital management (HCM) deployments or human resources management systems (HRMS). But Marylka Empey, president of the Ontario Institute for Canadian Association of Management Consultants, wonders how that linkage would be made.

“It is not clear in reviewing their website how this would actually happen,” she writes in an email response. “Perhaps that’s intentional because they want you to call them so they can set up a demo time.”

Empey also says using Salesforce’s platform to address HR tasks might not live up to what’s offered on the market by software developers that have built their tools from the ground up with HR in mind.

“I’m not sure if, at this point, inputs from different developers will be as integrated or as effective as a ‘one system approach’ which is provided by HRMS and HCMs,” she says. “For a smaller organization with limited resources, then perhaps the apps provided by Salesforce provide some options to help more effectively manage / access some of the functionality that HRMS and HCMs provide.”

Current Salesforce users are best positioned to take advantage of the solution, according to Sinai.

Salesforce for HR is generally available today. Pricing is determined based on each customer’s needs.

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