HR professionals have always been the unsung heroes of their organisation. Acting as champions of company culture and practices as well as dealing with myriad administrative tasks around pay, training and workplace compliance, it’s no exaggeration to say that the long term success of organisations relies heavily on their people teams.
Alongside these existing day to day demands, the scope of HR in a modern working world has expanded significantly. In today’s organisations, HR professionals are far more than task robots, dealing with day-to-day administration. HR teams are finding themselves increasingly tasked with taking a proactive approach in delivering insights on employee engagement and wellbeing as well as keeping a weather eye on staff retention and any gaps in talent.
The HR function has long been considered an area ripe for innovation. As technology and systems continue to evolve, businesses across all sectors are being presented with a fantastic opportunity to empower their people teams and transform the way their HR function performs.
This article will explore some of the ways that HR software can help automate the areas of your business which are leading to needless logjams and delays. We believe that technology exists to free you from the burden of outdated processes and from the perspective of your HR teams- empower them to be able to focus more readily on the human element of their role.
What are general HR administration duties?
With the scope of HR teams now expanding to encompass a more influential role In guiding business strategy, it is clear that there is a greater need than ever before for automation of some of the more admin heavy elements of the HR function.
So what are some of the core administrative duties of HR teams that are ripe for automation?
Forming and maintaining employee records
Perhaps one of the broadest responsibilities of HR professionals lays in the regular checks and updating of employee records. This can include keeping an accurate and up to date record of incidences of sick leave, or ensuring there are clearly codified and recorded disciplinary processes. These responsibilities are perhaps the most universally recognisable for people who work outside of HR and the sort of tasks normally associated with the role. Being heavily admin focused, it’s clear that automation of these processes would be a boon to your people teams, allowing any records to be instantly cross checked and updated without the need for manual processing.
The recruitment process has always brought with it massive demands on HR professionals in terms of the time they must invest. From posting job advertisements, screening CVs and sorting potential candidates for interviews, it’s clear that the day to day function of your people teams are likely to fall by the wayside anytime your organisation engages in recruitment. So how can HR automation help?
Paperless background checksAutomation of this process can allow automatic screening of candidates based upon certain criteria (e.g criminal convictions or financial security depending on certain industries).
Automated shortlistsThe ability to pre-screen candidates based upon a pre-existing set of criteria means that your HR teams are freed from sorting through piles of CVs and also ensures that your talent search remains focused on the skill sets you require. An automated pre-screening process can help hone your search so that only specifically skilled candidates are filtered through to an interview stage. Pre-screening can also help you get the measure of potential candidates in terms of whether they would be a good fit for the organisation.
Introducing a new employee to the business is a necessary but time-consuming element of the HR function. With many organisations also introducing some element of permanent remote working, this has presented HR teams with a unique set of challenges when it comes to employee onboarding. An effective onboarding process can very well determine the success of any new hires so how can automation help support your organisation when introducing new employees to the business?
Employee profile buildingAutomatically log and keep track of any specific employee requirements. Any adjustments or allowances that need to be made to accommodate disabilities or other needs can be easily kept on top of.
Equipment and logisticsWith more and more people working from home in some capacity long term, ensuring that each employee has the equipment to work effectively and efficiently, wherever they may be, is more crucial than ever. Automation of this process allows your HR and IT teams to have automatic checklists of equipment required or already issued, meaning any new recruits can hit the ground running in their new role.
Induction and team buildingEvery new recruit deserves a warm welcome to the business and the manner in which they are inducted will be a reflection of the organisation as a whole. Set up team building and introductory sessions, pushing out automated emails to other team members, ensuring their diaries can be kept free.
Employee training and development
As with many aspects of work, leveraging new systems and technology is one of the most effective ways for organisations to get the most out of any employee training initiatives they wish to introduce. HR systems in particular offer a framework wherein businesses can effectively monitor and maintain the learning and development profiles of their employees, accurately charting each person’s journey and keeping on top of any certification or qualifications.
In addition to handling the heavily admin-based elements of employee training, technology should also be utilised to transform your learning and development programmes and make them as inclusive and engaging as possible. Over the past year, businesses across all sectors have heavily leveraged virtual platforms to assist them in matters of learning, development and general communication. With these assets and systems growing in complexity and functionality, organisations should consider folding them more permanently into their training programmes, in order to create a visually engaging experience for their people.
MicrolearningIn a fast-paced business environment, committing the time to lengthy training modules can often mean compromising business-critical elements of work. No organisation will want to make a trade-off between training and productivity and this is where microlearning steps in- virtual platforms can allow employees to condense training programmes into daily, bite-sized chunks with trainer assisted modules and quizzes designed to impart the information, without the demands on time.
Create a universal experienceWith remote working now a more permanent element of everyday working culture, organisations are faced with unique challenges when it comes to creating a universal training and development experience for all employees. As effective as face to face sessions can be, with workforces increasingly more widespread, businesses who rely on older methods of development can find themselves alienating a large portion of their workforce. By leveraging virtual platforms to create their training programmes, organisations can ensure an inclusive, universal development system for their people.
HR admin responsibilities
We appreciate that the scope of HR is broad and the requirements for an HR system will change in order to suit the needs of each end-user. A successful system will not only help empower employees and free HR professionals but will also impact the function of exec level talent, systems and finance teams. All will have different requirements and different expectations of what an effective system might look like, so when searching for a new solution, it is worth taking a consultative approach and bringing on board the requirements of all parties.
Key decision makers and HR software
Chief executives were once considered to take a more “helicopter” style approach to management. They were expected to have an oversight of the function of their organisations but always in a rather remote, distant capacity. There is an increasing indication, however, that over the past decade, execs are taking a more proactive role in day to day business operations, keen to ensure that they have an influence on the future and direction their organisation is taking.
This shift has brought with it a heightened appreciation of the importance of employee engagement in achieving business goals. With the main focus of chief executives currently understandably focused on enabling a strong post-pandemic recovery, the issue of employee engagement will be at the forefront for many and will undoubtedly determine the success of any business strategies moving forwards.
Having proper oversight of the mood and overall engagement of their employees will be crucial in helping executives gain a measure of how effective any strategies or initiatives are. With a clear focus on driving profitability and productivity, understanding the mood of their people can also help retain key talent, ensuring time and resources aren’t lost in needless searches for replacements.
HR systems will also play a vital role in bridging the gap between remote and office-based employees, ensuring a seamless, sympathetic experience for all and allowing clear communication of company policy and expectations. An effective HR platform will offer a centralised hub for employees, allowing clear and effective communication of company updates as well as offering a single, easy to use platform for access to relevant resources.
Chief Financial Officers
One of the key factors determining the success of any business strategies moving forward, will be the ability of organisations to identify areas of unnecessary expenditure. CFOs will find the effectiveness of their role will hinge on having accurate and flexible reporting, offering them up to the meet information around metrics such as the cost-efficiency of any new initiatives, employee performance reviews or salary increases.
The main responsibility of CFOs is the safeguarding of an organisation’s financial wellbeing. The ability to identify patterns of needless expenditure or prolonged periods of absence will be crucial in ensuring that organisations don’t find themselves haemorrhaging money needlessly. Effective HR solutions work seamlessly with other workforce management elements such as payroll and time and attendance solutions, offering Chief financial officers a clear understanding of expenditure and the impact that any habits of lateness or absence might be having.
The function of operations teams has similarly expanded in scope over the past year. Traditionally finding themselves concerned primarily with the smooth, day to day running of an office space or central working location, the shift to remote workforces has seen their responsibilities become far more widespread.
As hybrid workforces look set to become embedded within the culture of modern working, it presents an interesting challenge to operations teams. The responsibility of ensuring that employees are provided with the correct equipment to work effectively and efficiently from home will fall to them. Issues around maintenance and replacement equipment become compounded when taking into account a largely remote workforce, as it presents an additional logistical challenge. HR systems will be a boon to operations teams as they can offer a comprehensive, easily updatable inventory of equipment issued to staff, as well as provide a roadmap of any maintenance being performed.
With the office space set to change moving forward, operations teams will need a clear understanding of who will be on-site on any given day. The prevailing trend is that teams will book collaborative meeting spaces on specific days, taking advantage of hot-desking setups. HR systems will be an asset in providing a central platform for the booking of space and also offering the function for teams to request specific requirements such as additional desk space or additional equipment ahead of time.
With the workplace becoming increasingly disparate and widespread, IT teams will need to know that the systems they have in place are able to support them in keeping their remote teams operational and effective. Support tasks and the ability to run effective diagnostics of issues will be increasingly difficult when accounting for a widespread team. HR systems can help ease the burden by offering a centralised platform for employees to log IT support tickets as well as allowing IT teams to provide updates on the progress of any queries.
Issues around data security across a hybrid workforce will also be of the utmost concern for IT teams. Any HR system looking to be implemented by an organisation will no doubt be examined through this lens by IT teams and it is for this reason that cloud-based systems appear to be the wave of the future. Offering more comprehensive security in hosting than on-premise solutions, it’s no small wonder that cloud HR software solutions are increasing in popularity.
Functionality will also be crucial to the success of any new system and must take into account the technological literacy of any employees. In the decision making process, IT teams are ideally placed to make these determinations, identifying solutions which offer a user friendly portal and interface.
HR as a role is evolving. The more traditionally held view of it as a largely admin based discipline is falling by the wayside in favour of acknowledging HR professionals as champions of employee engagement and wellbeing. As businesses look to make a strong post-pandemic recovery, ensuring their people are happy, engaged and productive, will be the key to success and any HR systems you introduce have to achieve the goal of supporting you in this.
At Advanced, we believe in the power of technology to help your people achieve more. If you feel this guide was useful and you’d like to discover more about how HR systems can help empower your organisation and people to drive forward your future strategy, get in touch with one of our friendly team members today.