The organizational role of HR is changing fast, from a largely administrative function to a strong strategic and business-critical role where advice and guidance is requested from all levels of the organization. Happily, these changes are being facilitated by clever technology implementations which free up time for staff to provide higher-value work and increase levels of automation.
Good HR technology will essentially work to remove a large amount of the department’s administrative burden. It usually involves a strong element of self-service, so that staff within the company can carry out a range of functions on their own rather than needing to come to the HR team and request help. These sorts of functions include the changing of personal details, updating of emergency contacts, adding qualifications, holiday and leave booking, self-certification for sickness absences and management of flexible benefits. Already many businesses are using HR technologies to deploy self-service systems via intranet and web-based portals, allowing greater ownership of the HR function via a devolved and customer-centric model and also cutting costs and increasing customer satisfaction.
The systems also exist to support line management, meaning that managers can add their own information about 121s and performance-management processes, conduct employee reviews and automatically upload paperwork, download departmental reports and authorize leave — all without the need for wasteful and time-consuming paper-based processes. Additionally, these systems help support salary modelling and raises proposals and can integrate with a range of other business systems and databases for high-value data interrogation to support management decision-making.
Security and Auditability
Naturally, these employee self service HR systems provide robust and auditable systems and strong security procedures to ensure that data compliance, accuracy and privacy remain key at all times. For example, there may be different authorization levels set within the system so that certain staff can only see certain product categories and receive authorization before requesting a sight of other parts of the databases. These access privileges can usually be granted on a page-by-page basis for strong management. The systems will also provide automated notifications of updates changes to the management and verification requests can be sent to senior managers before change requests are accepted by the system.
Other Steps to Reduce the Admin Burden
As well as implementing technological solutions to increase automation and reduce the burden of manual processing, a system such as a workflow management tracker can help to prioritize and log calls to HR staff and measure their SLAs against KPIs. Processes can also be reviewed and re-engineered as necessary via approaches such as LEAN management, which takes each stage of a process apart and re-factors it from the customer’s perspective. This can vastly reduce waste, save time and cut costs by making the process more efficient. A culture of efficiency and focused work also greatly helps the HR function, as does a clear set of team objectives and aims for the year ahead rather than the expectation that the HR function will do everything.
Jane Dokes writes regularly on HR issues for a range of business magazines and websites. A keen advocate of HR technology and employee self service, Jane has twenty years of experience within the industry and is a recent convert to HR SaaS packages.