The quick and dirty The best HR software provides you with a range of superb productivity boosters, including:
- Information retrieval & management
- Training and qualification monitoring
- Regulatory compliance
Self-serveSpeak with any HR professional and the one thing that they will say takes up most of their time is answering questions from employees. In fact, in a survey, G&A partners found that HR spends up to 73% of its time dealing with routine queries and admin tasks. It’s not that answering questions is bad per se, it’s just that answering routine queries, again and again, drains away so much time. The best HR systems will have the ability for employees to self-serve. This means that an employee will have a log-in to their own account and will be able to see, and where necessary print or download, a series of documents such as company policies, benefit statements or payslips. The most advanced systems will also allow employees to make changes to their records, letting them do things such as adding a next of kin or changing their address or phone numbers. These will then be forwarded to the HR team who will monitor them for accuracy. Self-serve saves an incredible amount of time and once staff have been weaned off the need to call HR every time they have a query then you’ll see a remarkable productivity boost.
Regulatory complianceNever the sexiest of topics but one that’s important if the company is to remain compliant and avoid any nasty fines or penalties. From the standard right to work checks that every employer needs to carry out to more specific compliance aspects such as the FCA approved persons regime, HR needs to make sure that it is on top of its game. Leading HR software offer various features that allow companies to use customised fields for compliance aspects as diverse as CIS verification or the results of pre-employment screening for security staff. For compliance that needs to be regularly checked, the HR software will automatically produce a reminder for both HR and the employee that they need to get their documentation up to date which certainly beats keeping an Excel workbook and checking it manually every month.
Information retrieval & managementSo much of HR is about records. Making sure people have been through their onboarding, keeping a check on training records, keeping data on things like attendance and sick leave. There can’t be many HR professionals that haven’t spent an age searching through folders on their secure drive, trying to find that copy of a certificate or a CV. Having a system that will collate all the information and make it easy to find and easy to report on saves huge amounts of time. More importantly, with the advent of GDPR, companies have a responsibility to manage data in a secure environment and have the ability to carry out Subject Access Requests (SARs) or delete data after a sunset period. Having information in a central, GDPR compliant HR system makes this a doddle, having it in a multitude of separate folders makes it nigh on impossible and very time-consuming.
RecognitionHigh employee turnover is bad for business. People are expensive to recruit, expensive to train and take time to get up to speed, so reducing staff turnover is a must. One of the key drivers in the push to keep people with an organisation is recognition. This doesn’t mean an annual card on their work anniversary but more modern methods such as social thanks, peer recognition and shout outs. Research has shown that companies that employ modern methods of recognition can reduce turnover by up to 31% and that means less time spent talking to recruitment agencies or placing ads. The latest HR systems have inbuilt recognition methods that use the power of social thanks to say a quick “well done” to people who have performed well. Note that these thanks don’t cost any money, although it is always worth including peer appreciation in your 360 reviews and linking to your rewards and benefits.
Integration & automationDiscrete systems drain away time and increase the likelihood of error. When your HR system can’t talk to your payroll provider or integrate with your CRM system then it will increase the amount of time that people across the organisation spend keeping their records up to date. If you have an older HR system or use manual methods like spreadsheets then you’ll be wasting time that could otherwise be more gainfully employed. A great HR system will integrate easily and will pass the information you select automatically to other software across your organisation. This means that you will only need to input data once for it to cascade down into other subsystems. The automation of tasks is a really big winner too. Being able to automatically receive job applications, send out interview dates, manage training rotas and automate all manner of routine tasks means that non-value-add activities can be kept to a minimum. Using add-ons like Zapier can also help with carrying out tasks across apps when specific events occur. For example, when an employee has a work anniversary sending out a reminder to senior staff to congratulate them.
ReportingThe need to carry out reporting seems to increase every year. For large organisations, there is a statutory requirement to include staff data in the annual accounts at the very least. But even for smaller companies, the ability to report on specific aspects is a real benefit. Imagine having a dashboard that would instantly tell you the sickness rate in various departments, the company-wide staff turnover rate and the number of people who need to complete their data protection training. The best modern HR systems allow you to set up your own dashboard showing you real-time metrics on the things that matter to your business. But even if you don’t particularly need a dashboard, the time saved in ad hoc reporting can be remarkable. We’ve all been there, one of the directors needs to see a list of people under the age of 21 or who have first aid qualifications. With a good system, this is a two-minute task, with a bad system – or doing it manually – it could take forever. Importantly, HR can use their software to develop a skills database on their employees. This adds real value as it can show that Joe in despatch is also an expert photographer or Sally in accounts writes blogs in her spare time. These auxiliary skills can then be called upon when the business needs a little product photography or blog writing. Employees also love the chance to get involved or contribute using skills that they enjoy.
Training and qualification monitoringFor many companies, it is a formal requirement that employees carry out regular training or achieve specific milestones in their qualifications. For example, accountancy or legal firms will expect junior employees to pass exams regularly in the process of gaining a full qualification. Once qualified, many professional bodies expect members to carry out annual Continual Professional Development (CPD) to maintain their competency and this will also often be a requirement of their employers. However keeping track of all these aspects can be time-consuming and, where the company is multi-disciplinary, confusing. A good HR system will allow you to specify a training or CPD requirement for each employee and then automatically nudge them to upload proof that they have achieved their goals. Reporting by exception means that HR and managers will only be notified when this hasn’t happened, saving valuable time checking in with people that have already completed their obligations.
In conclusion: HR software can save you time and moneyHaving a superb HR system can save you masses of time, especially with repetitive tasks that are better off being automated. But it can also save you money by reducing the need for extra HR people and reducing your employee turnover. Some of the best systems can be incredibly cheap on a per-user basis so why not check out what’s on the market and transform the way you manage people in your business?
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