It's hard to innovate and improve when you're drowning in dysfunction.
Most employees crave meaningful work - jobs that give them a sense of purpose - and HR professionals are no different. Most HR leaders choose this field because they are passionate about the work and care deeply about talent and people management. As the staff members who work in such a central part of the organization, they likely have a lot of great ideas for how to best improve the company and suggestions and input on what changes should be made to better serve the organization and its employees.
On the other hand, it's also entirely likely that these ideas and initiatives don't get the opportunity to be brought to fruition because HR managers are getting held up - and back- by time-consuming administrative tasks.
If the majority of HR teams' days are spent bogged down by tedious and tactical tasks, it doesn't just hurt their engagement and satisfaction - it also hampers organizational performance.
Perhaps this is why, according to the latest Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Study, the majority of companies plan to redesign their HR programs this year to incorporate digital and mobile tools, with about a third of respondents saying that their HR teams currently leverage artificial intelligence.
Modernizing HR management
Digitalizing HR is a way of streamlining operations - a move toward rethinking human resource management and the way HR initiatives are planned, implemented and executed by organizations. Employees are the backbone of any business, so ensuring the best possible means of recruiting, retaining and managing them should be of utmost importance. Increasingly, companies are starting to realize it's critical for HR and business objectives to align. But it's an area many are still lacking.
"To focus on strategic initiatives, HR professionals can't be bogged down by administrative tasks."
The Society of Human Resources Management pointed out that while nearly 70 percent of professionals consider strategic workforce planning a high priority, only about 44 percent are actively engaged in it. Furthermore, the source revealed that 45 percent of survey respondents felt their organization wasn't adequately prepared for meeting the future needs of talent and more than a quarter said their company is ineffective about acting on the information they have regarding talent.
One of the biggest barriers to strategic initiatives HR professionals face is having to spend too much time on administrative functions. In a separate SHRM article, it was revealed that the majority of HR professionals spend more time on administrative and maintenance tasks than strategic ones. The reason? Most agreed that it could be attributed to a lack of resources, as well as robust demand for administrative functions to be complete that were preventing them from engaging in strategic HR.
When you offload the tactical activities from your HR department and either outsource or automate them, you free up your staff members to spend more time in meaningful ways. You give them the time, space and freedom to exercise more creative, critical and strategic thinking - ultimately bringing increased value and enhancements to the business.
There are plenty of steps and strategies you can take to offload the administrative burden of your HR teams and allow them to focus on more strategic initiatives, such as the following:
Implement the right technology
One of the biggest time-wasters for HR personnel is having to fill out, file, complete, store and retrieve paperwork. Of course, there are plenty of critical documents that are required for employers to handle, particularly with new hires. But this doesn't mean that every element of managing the materials needs to be done by the HR professional. By leveraging a web-based, self-service portal where new hires can essentially onboard themselves, not only are you able to make the jobs of your HR employees easier, you're also able to demonstrate your organization's tech-savvyness to candidates and applicants.
Additionally, when you move benefit selection and enrollment services online, you allow employees to customize their own plans and packages depending on their unique needs and preferences. Not only does this simplify employee administration for HR teams, it can also make employees feel happier and more empowered.
Move away from manual and reduce redundancy
If your company is still using spreadsheets as a way to manage your workforce, new hires and existing employees, it's a huge red flag - especially if you have more than 50 employees. At this point, a Human Capital Management (HCM) system - also known as HRIS or HRMS - is a must. These platforms are a staple in helping professionals automate tasks associated with people management. They act as a secure and accessible respiratory for all your employee information and data, as well as for payroll information, important documentation, licensing and more.
Even if you are a smaller organization, human resources systems are still incredibly valuable - and can be obtained at an affordable cost. Investments in these tools are especially justified when you factor in the amount of money you can save by reducing time and costs attributed to human error and inaccuracies that occur when organizations rely on manual data entry and processes.
You know how they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results? Well, the definition of poor time management is spending time on repetitive tasks that you could be automating. You wouldn't be hard-pressed to come across a whole myriad of ways HR personnel could be spending their time and talent other than manually inputting the names, titles and information of employees or copy and pasting data from one spreadsheet to the next.
"With the regulatory landscape always changing, staying on top of compliance is essential."
In today's environment, maintaining compliance can be one of the most concerning, yet critical, aspects of HR. With the regulatory landscape rapidly changing, staying on top of recent policy updates - and making necessary adjustments - is a full-time job within itself. Fortunately, leveraging the right HR management software and service provider can make managing it all significantly easier.
For example, there are many resources available today designed to help you comply with the Affordable Care Act requirements - which can take a weight off your shoulders by taking a portion of the administrative functions off your plate. When you have a connected HR solution that integrates HCM and payroll with benefits platforms, the result is a more cohesive data capture for better, more accurate ACA reporting. This increased insight, visibility and control can significantly minimize risk.
As we're seeing recently, it's also important to make sure the software and platforms you use are agile and scalable for making changes, as well as ensuring adapting internal policies and processes is as swift and seamless as possible. http://blog.checkpointhr.com/blog-0/aligning-hr-with-organizational-kpis
At the end of the day, HR functions play a critical role in the business' overall success, so it's imperative that the tasks of these employees align with corporate objectives. For this to happen, HR managers need to be focused on organizational and employee development, workforce planning, knowledge management and decision and support analytics - not data entry, paperwork and transaction processing.
To learn more about how you can make your HR department less administrative and more strategic, download our eBook.