Case in point: Human resources manager and author Ingrid Vaughan shares her story about her battle against burnout:
“Working in human resources I have worn many hats: recruiting, hiring, coaching, training, program development, employee retention and culture development, to name a few. In my current role, I do all these things.
At 10:00 a.m., sitting in front of my computer with a lengthy to-do list, I was already exhausted. For months I’d been struggling with fatigue and a deep sadness that permeated everything in my life. It had gotten harder and harder to find the mental focus and physical energy to put in a day’s work.”
Experts have recognized burnout as a real threat to HR managers. This difficult experience is most likely shared by hundreds of other HR managers who are now fulfilling several responsibilities that used to be shared by several HR personnel.
That said, HR managers are constantly searching for ways to be more productive, to get more done within the ideal 40-hour work week without sacrificing their health or their work-life balance.
Technology to the Rescue
Arguably, one of the biggest defining elements in modern workplaces is the use of technology to help accomplish a multitude of tasks. Technology was initially used in manufacturing and today, is pivotal within many industries.
Applications and programs specifically created to help HR managers perform their tasks more efficiently have existed for years. However, they have only taken center stage in recent years when productivity became a major concern among HR professionals.
For organizations who are still on the fence whether investing in HR productivity software is worthwhile, here are 4 key productivity benefits that can help:
1. Streamline Recruitment
HR managers know that in order to attract the best candidates, a company needs to have a streamlined recruitment process. In today’s competitive labor market where several businesses are fighting for a very limited talent pool, providing a positive recruitment experience to candidates is a company’s way of putting its best foot forward.
Here are just a few ways how technology can improve the application experience for candidates while helping HR managers be more productive during the recruitment process:
- Go Paperless – Instead of asking candidates to bring a printed resume, send them a form they can fill out in advance. This decreases the paperwork that needs to be done on site and makes the start of the recruitment journey smoother. For HR managers, there’s no longer a need to manually check data accuracy as the candidates can do this themselves.
- One Recruitment Portal – Integrated HR technologies allow HR managers to do everything in one place — from creating job ads to screening candidates — saving them a lot of time.
- Pre-selection – Technology allows recruiters to automate many screening processes including personality tests and dynamic pre-interview questions. This makes it easier for HR managers to pick candidates who are the best fit before the actual face-to-face interview. At the same time, candidates go into interviews knowing they already passed an initial screening process.
2. Create a More Positive Onboarding Experience
Onboarding new employees may seem like a mundane task, but it’s an important responsibility that HR managers need to do well. Onboarding sets the landscape for newcomers and is a crucial element in creating a positive employee experience. Onboarding is also the stage when employees submit important forms for labor laws compliance, and many errors are made during this stage.
The importance of onboarding is clear, however, for time-crunched HR managers, it usually takes a backseat or delegated to someone else. Most of the time, this results in more inefficiencies, errors in important documents, and creates a negative experience for new hires.
So, how can technology help in creating a more efficient onboarding process?
- Automate the paperwork – Onboarding is the stage where new hires get familiarized with office policies and procedures. This is also when they fill out important documents like W-4, I-9, and benefit enrollments. With technology, new hires can accomplish these forms days before their first day on the job. The best HR software includes verification functionalities to ensure consistency and accuracy across the documents submitted, ensuring compliance from day one. HR managers no longer have to spend time correcting errors in the paperwork. At the same time, this can accelerate the onboarding process.
- Self-service onboarding portal – As soon as a candidate accepts the job offer, HR managers can give them access to the company’s self-guided onboarding portal. This allows new hires to review important company policies at their own pace before they start. This includes policies on workplace behavior and expectations, sick leave, dress code, overtime hours, and workplace safety just to name a few. These self-service onboarding portals can include wikis, webinars, videos, and other manuals. This increases employee engagement while decreasing the workload of HR managers if they were to provide this information face-to-face.
- Personalized onboarding experience – Personalizing the onboarding experience for each employee is impossible without technology. A personalized onboarding portal can include a friendly note from the CEO, welcome messages from teammates, audiovisual presentations about the company’s history and traditions, and a virtual pep talk explaining how the role of new hires contributes to the mission-vision of the company. This builds culture even before new employees step inside the office.
3. Take the Pain Out of Payroll
Payroll is arguably one of the stressful periods among HR professionals. Every payroll entails a high level of accuracy and compliance with local, national, and international labor laws.
Unfortunately, many companies still use manual and outdated payroll systems when automated payroll technology has been in existence for several years. The American Payroll Association (APA) reports that nearly 29% of HR professionals are using payroll tools that are 10 years old or even more outdated.
As a result, many HR managers are sacrificing accuracy just to get more things done. Research from the Workforce Institute revealed that 51% of HR practitioners cut corners, thereby jeopardizing compliance with labor laws.
Additionally, incorrect and late payroll increases a company’s employee turnover rate. Almost 50% of employees will look for a different job after just two payroll mistake instances.
However, it would be unfair to crucify HR managers for these payroll mistakes given the many hats they have to wear daily. This is why payroll solutions equipped with the latest technology are a worthwhile investment for any company.
- Accurate time tracking – The amount of time HR professionals spend in manually reviewing timesheets is well documented. According to research, it takes about 5 to 6 minutes to audit each timecard. In a big company, this adds up. Even HR managers who work in medium-sized organizations can waste hours reviewing timesheets manually. Cost-efficient time tracking software has been available for years. This allows employees to track their time more accurately and for HR managers to verify the accuracy of these time entries in just a few clicks.
- Ensure 100% Compliance – Aside from time tracking automation, advanced payroll systems allow HR managers to stay on top of other things such as 401(k) contributions, PTO accruals, tax deductions, and overtime payments. HR managers can also setup event alerts to ensure compliance with ACA and FLSA regulations.
4. Supercharge Employee Training and Development
Great HR managers are able to shape great employees. However, sustainable employee development is often neglected. Without clearly defined and personalized training programs, companies are at risk of losing top talent.
Embracing technology helps HR managers focus on workforce development without spending too much time crafting training programs.
- Delegate training to immediate supervisors – With technology, HR managers can create a training kiosk for each supervisor/manager. The manager then chooses the training programs or trainings for his team members to take. HR will help monitor, supervise, and source training programs that are not yet available on the kiosk. By using this strategy, training and development become a shared responsibility in the company, not just of HR managers.
- Better measurement of training effectiveness – According to studies, 55% of companies do not measure the effectiveness of the training programs they provide to employees. This is a productivity sinkhole as HR might be providing training that does not have a concrete impact on the company. With technology, data is available in almost real-time and HR managers are able to measure the effectiveness of the training they provide to employees. As such, they can focus on providing programs that bring a positive impact to their organization.
HR Managers Can Finally Catch Their Breath!
Productivity is all about getting as much work done with the least amount of time and energy. Oftentimes, this is not the case among HR managers who are multi-tasking to meet the demands of the company. They try to accomplish more by spending more time in the office, often resulting in poor quality work, inaccuracies, and burnout.
Investing in technology is the most sensible solution companies can take to make their HR departments more productive. There are several options that will fit specific needs and budgets. The ROI on these technologies are long-term and far-reaching.
Technology-aided productivity will be the defining characteristic of successful HR departments. Companies have the option to keep up or get left behind.