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The top signs your HR processes have become too complicated.

03/03/2023 minute read Nick Gallimore

HR professionals have always been the unsung heroes of their organisation - although thankfully this is slowly changing. 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 the ability of their people teams to work efficiently and effectively.

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 could and should be far more than just 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, playing a transformative role in the fortunes of their organisations.

With the demands on today’s people teams so complex in nature and quick to change, it’s all too easy for outdated or needlessly complicated processes to derail these core goals. This not only disrupts organisations in driving forward more influential strategies but can leave people teams dealing with a tangled web of admin-heavy tasks just to get the basics right.

The HR function has long been considered an area ripe for innovation. HR teams are on a journey to become people experience-focused, but many struggle to get the foundations right in HR and can't get there. But as HR 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 by simplifying their core processes.  We’ve put together this quick checklist to help HR teams identify the key symptoms of whether their HR processes are too complicated.


You’re suffering from a reliance on paper-based or manual admin processes

Regardless of sector, businesses are asking a lot more of their people teams right now. With an ever-increasing focus on the transformative effect of a great people experience within modern organisations, it’s clear that HR professionals need to think carefully about the precious few hours in the day afforded to them and how best they can leverage their time.

As with any aspect of your business, reliance on manual processes increases your risk of human error muddying your information and decision-making process. Manual input also represents a significant time sink which leaves your HR and operations teams with precious few hours in the week to focus on more meaningful tasks. If your HR or operations teams are spending hours plugging data gaps or trying to find complicated workarounds to processes that should just work, then you are missing out on the opportunity to harness their talents in more influential ways.


You have legal and compliance challenges

Regardless of sector, all businesses are beholden to strict regulations and compliance requirements, especially around sensitive people data. Sweeping changes such as those demanded by GDPR regulations have also demonstrated to businesses the need to be agile in meeting requirements, and if you don’t hold great confidence that you can remain compliant, this can be a sign that your HR processes are too complex to make this easy for you.

Sometimes older systems simply cannot offer the ability to suit these needs. Furthermore, a reliance on outdated and complicated processes can often mean that data is siloed away in unintuitive ways, making certification or proof of compliance with certain regulations far more difficult than it needs to be. Older solutions also offer less visibility, meaning that businesses can, unfortunately, find themselves walking blindly into non-compliance.

Given the inherent sensitivity of people data, the potential legal and financial penalties presented by non-compliance is something that organisations simply cannot afford to contend with. Digital transformation of your people management processes should automate this aspect of the business for you, ensuring up-to-date accuracy and compliance. If you’re finding it hard to remain compliant with legislation, or never even sure that you are, this is a key sign your HR processes are too complicated.


Employee engagement and wellbeing challenges

There is an increasing demand for organisations to place a firm focus on the people experience within the workplace and ensure they are fostering a strong sense of employee wellbeing. Naturally, these initiatives tend to fall at the feet of HR professionals as their expertise is considered integral to the creation and implementation of policy.

Overly complex processes can often rob HR professionals of the time they need to drive forward these initiatives, stealing away their focus at a crucial time. Furthermore, needlessly complex siloing of data reporting can often mean that organisations lack the visibility they need to make effective and agile decisions in regard to employee engagement and wellbeing in real time- something which is of particular importance when in a time of crisis such as an economic downturn.

Having an innate understanding of the challenges facing your employees, not to mention real-time data on the effectiveness of any rewards schemes can mean that you are missing out on the tools you need to properly embed a sympathetic and focused culture of wellbeing. Additionally, if your processes make it difficult for employees to communicate any engagement or wellbeing concerns, this can prevent you from acting early enough to make a difference to that employee or team.


Time and cost to hire are too big.

Research by Gartner has found that only 29% of business leaders feel that they have the talent in place they need to meet current operational needs. The hiring process is a costly and lengthy endeavour so how exactly can organisations ensure that their talent retention initiatives are as focused and effective as possible and what can their systems and technology do to support them?

Again, the answer lies in the systems which you rely upon daily. Failure to invest in your people management systems has the potential to severely hinder your ability to retain the key talent you need to drive forward success. Overly complex processes can lead to bringing on board unsuccessful candidates, necessitating a swift return to the recruitment cycle, all of which increases costs.

Your HR systems in particular should be set up to give you visibility of key gaps in your operational structure which would be best suited to focus on when hiring and retaining during a crisis. Older or less sophisticated solutions may simply not be able to offer the granularity of data needed meaning that you are essentially hiring blind, with little to no measures in place to assess the long-term effectiveness of new hires, or how successful your organizational structure is in recovering investment. This can lead to your time and cost to hire being prohibitively big, damaging the bottom line and the productivity of your business. If your cost and time to hire are too big, or you aren’t even sure what your current time and cost to hire even are, then your HR processes are too complicated.


The domino effect of unplanned absence.

A good absence management strategy is vital when it comes to insulating yourself from unexpected disruption and ensuring business continuity and success, no matter the circumstances. Unchecked absences can cause an unacceptable domino effect on your business, which in turn can compound existing challenges and stresses. 

Older, more complicated processes of recording absences and leave allowances can lead to a muddying of the waters and a lot of confusion both for employees and their HR teams. It is all too easy for more analogue input processes to become lost in the shuffle, leading to a breakdown in communication and an inaccurate data pool from which to make vital business decisions. Ineffective oversight of absences within an organisation can lead to some businesses finding themselves caught out and scrambling to find appropriate cover for the absent employee.


Comprehensive time and attendance software solutions now give the power to the individual employee to have visibility of their own leave allowances and empower them to push through their own requests. Self-service functionality is an increasingly popular demand for organisations looking to take some of the burden away from their people teams. Uncomplicated absence management processes lift the burden from your HR team and allow your employees to give you a real-time view of your organisation.


A lack of integration

Certain solutions you may be using for specific tasks or business objectives may in fact contain the individual functionality you need to achieve your goals. However, people management is a hugely intertwined arm of your business and if the systems and technology you rely upon daily are unable to communicate intuitively with each other, you are opening yourself up to wider roadblocks and inefficiencies down the line.

Organisations that are currently using separate, non-integrated systems for tracking worked hours and for payroll processing will likely be suffering inefficiencies, manual data errors, and lost time that could be solved with an integrated system and simple integration processes.

In the context of today’s HR function, organisations simply cannot afford for their people teams to be wasting precious hours every working week attempting to bridge the gap between disparate, non-communicative solutions and using unnecessary workaround processes to get what should be a simple job done.


How Advanced can help

We hope this was a useful whistle-stop tour of some of the core roadblocks which are driving inefficiencies in today’s people management function. We appreciate that your ongoing business goals and drives for future success are highly dependent on leveraging the unique talents of your HR professionals, which is precisely why you cannot afford to allow complicated or outdated processes to derail your plans.

Your core HR software has a huge role to play in offering you unique insights into the makeup of your organisation and the performance of your broader strategy, by simplifying your core HR processes. The disruption of the past few years has taught us a great deal about the need for agility within business processes. Your people management function should have access to the key data you need in order to be able to create an informed and robust strategy and do their best work.

If you’d like to find out more about how Advanced HR can help you eliminate key inefficiencies and free your HR teams from complex processes. Reach us through our HR software solutions page today.