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        Mitigate Risk During Employment Separation with Onwards HR

        Talent acquisition remains a focal point for most organizations in this dynamic and highly competitive corporate environment. Unfortunately, the pivotal process of offboarding often takes a back seat. An efficient employment separation process plays a key role in enhancing the employee experience, protecting the company's reputation and mitigating potential legal and financial risks associated with employee separation. One solution that effectively addresses these complexities is Onwards HR, a platform that automates key portions of the separation process to ensure accuracy, compliance and a positive overall brand experience for those leaving the organization and those charged with executing what is often an emotional and stressful process.

        Even under the best circumstances, employment separation is traditionally a labor-intensive and challenging process. It involves multiple stakeholders, including human resources representatives, line managers, legal counsel and executives, who must ensure a smooth and compliant transition while managing their primary job responsibilities. This dual responsibility often leads to overstretched staff and an increased risk of errors, creating a potential minefield of financial and legal implications for the organization. Examples include lawsuits resulting from unlawful terminations, potential violations of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (or WARN) Act during mass layoffs, adverse impact on protected groups and the financial pitfalls due to clerical errors or improperly executed severance agreements. The stakes are higher than often appreciated, considering legal fees and the potential damage to the organization's reputation. Plus, the emotionally charged nature of the circumstances surrounding these events further compounds stress, making it essential to manage with precision and sensitivity.  

        In light of these challenges, organizations are turning to technology to ensure a structured, automated separation process that safeguards accuracy and compliance. This is a natural extension of the ongoing movement Ventana_Research_2023_Assertion_HCM_System_Use_Case_1_Sto automation in HR technology, which is critical to achieving the best business outcomes. We assert that by 2025, three-quarters of organizations will identify use cases that specify human capital management system requirements for optimum agility. This critical business process is a perfect example of how technology brings structure and automation to a business-critical but sometimes highly risky process.

        Enter Onwards HR: an innovative system that streamlines employee separation actions, minimizes financial and legal risks and saves time and costs typically incurred by a long and redundant process with the engagement of external legal counsel. Onwards HR is a comprehensive digital platform that seamlessly manages the most critical elements of the separation process. The technology ensures strict adherence to laws and regulations, minimizing the potential for costly litigation. For instance, Onwards HR has built-in compliance checks for WARN Act implications, flagging potential violations during large-scale layoffs. This preemptive risk mitigation is an invaluable asset for organizations navigating the complex legal landscape of offboarding.

        Equally, Onwards HR manages the intricacies of severance agreements, ensuring these critical contracts are correctly drafted, reviewed and executed. Automation reduces the risk of future disputes and potential legal implications, safeguarding the organization from financial loss and reputational damage. The importance of compliance in the separation process cannot be overstated. Regulatory bodies and labor unions have strict rules and protocols to protect employees' rights during termination or layoffs, and companies found noncompliant can face severe penalties. Beyond the financial implications, noncompliance can harm the employer's brand, impacting the ability to attract and retain talent in the future.

        Compliance extends beyond adherence to regulations like the WARN Act, ranging from ensuring fair treatment of workers to safeguarding company assets and data. Non-compliant organizations risk severe fines, lawsuits and even criminal charges in extreme cases. Onwards HR's compliance-first approach addresses these challenges head-on, offering peace of mind and financial protection to organizations navigating the offboarding process. The platform adds value in a mass layoff event or the separation of a single employee ‒ whether mutual or for cause. The system ensures adherence to proper processes and laws down to the narrowest of regions, automating workflows to reduce the risk of missed steps and streamlining communications so employees don’t feel left out of the process.

        Aside from risk mitigation, Onwards HR delivers significant efficiency and cost benefits. By automating labor-intensive offboarding tasks, the platform frees up valuable time for HR teams, managers and legal counsel, enabling them to focus on core responsibilities and strategic initiatives like talent acquisition and employee engagement, thus driving overall business performance.

        The Onwards HR platform negates the need for extensive involvement from external counsel, providing substantial cost savings. Organizations can reinvest these savings in growth initiatives, further driving business success.

        HR technology exists for nearly every phase of the talent life cycle, but there has long been a significant gap in the area that straddles human resources and legal compliance. Onwards HR created a platform that fits nicely into that space. By emphasizing the importance of compliance and efficiency in offboarding, Onwards HR offers a vital tool for businesses to navigate the complex legal and emotional landscape of employee separation.

        That said, the platform is relatively new and caters primarily to HR representatives who generally initiate and manage these processes along with the legal teams who review them. There is need to expand functionality further so that front-line managers in distributed organizations without significant HR support to handle separations can easily navigate the system. Currently, the language and format may not be intuitive to those stakeholders. I’m looking forward to seeing how the product road map evolves in that regard.

        Further, while there is a natural fit for Onwards HR in enterprise organizations, I’m even more enthusiastic about the opportunity for mid-market employers, which often lack the depth and breadth of human resources and internal counsel support of their enterprise counterparts. The potential cost and time savings for that demographic are significant. I strongly encourage organizations to consider opportunities to improve separation processes and whether Onwards HR could assist. I believe the return on investment could be immediately clear.


        Quincy Valencia


        Ventana Research

        Ventana Research, now part of Information Services Group (ISG), is the most authoritative and respected market research and advisory services firm focused on improving business outcomes through optimal use of people, processes, information and technology. Since our beginning, our goal has been to provide insight and expert guidance on mainstream and disruptive technologies. In short, we want to help you become smarter and find the most relevant technology to accelerate your organization's goals.


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