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Bruce van Wyk, Payspace Co-founder and Director

One of the main goals of any business is to increase its profits. The best way to achieve this is by increasing productivity. According to Planview and Loudhouse, companies without tech-driven productivity strategies are suffering the most. Inefficient processes challenge 44 percent of those surveyed and 43 percent say that too much paperwork wastes the most time.

When a business embarks on an efficiency drive to move things forward, it typically focuses on departments other than Human Resources (HR). However, HR functions have great potential for improved efficiency, which would leave HR and payroll professionals with more time to spend on strategic tasks.

The old approach to HR

Many organisations view HR as an administrative role that involves a lot of paperwork to ensure that their company stays compliant. Too few companies believe that HR functions have the potential to lead a business – in fact, research by Bersin found that most HR professionals are not perceived as business leaders. Only 30 percent of executives believe that HR has a solid reputation for making sound business decisions, 28 percent feel that HR is highly efficient and 5 percent rank their organisation’s HR department’s performance as excellent.

There is little doubt that these results are largely due to the traditional way in which most HR processes are run. Many companies still rely on old ‘legacy’ systems that make HR a burdensome, time-consuming job. Leave requests, for example, are still generally managed manually. The employee has to send an email requesting time off, the HR manager then consults their records to determine if the request can be approved or not, emails the employee back with confirmation and updates their system accordingly.

This laborious process is made even slower if a company’s employees are spread across multiple locations and the HR manager needs to calculate different leave allowances, not to mention salary and tax calculations, per country.

The power of automation

Automating HR processes essentially takes care of the administrative workload involved and improves efficiency significantly. Time currently spent on managing payroll and employee administration can be allocated to more strategic tasks such as succession planning and performance management which in itself is undergoing shifts in approach from measuring the past to being proactive about the future, thus becoming more effective.

With the right technology, your HR department will be able to manage the entire employee lifecycle – from hire to retire – far more productively. Automating the following HR processes can lighten your team’s administrative workload and give them more time to focus on strategic tasks.

Recruitment

Your entire hiring process can be automated: advertising, notifications, response management, interview scheduling and tracking, recruitment panel feedback and on-boarding. The recruitment process is incredibly important to do properly however, it’s also very laborious in its administrative requirements which can take up a lot of valuable time. It makes far more strategic sense to free up your HR staff to focus on identifying the right candidates who could add value to your company, rather than to bury them in paperwork.

On-boarding

You can manage the transition of any successful candidate from applicant to employee through technology that offers a configurable workflow. This will guide the user through specific online forms to ensure that all the necessary employee details including their biography, dependents, medical information, job title, cost centre, line manager, salary package are captured in one easy-to-use interface.

By automating this process, there will be no need for emails to fly back and forth which makes for a far more seamless on-boarding experience. Your new hires will feel part of the team faster and your HR department can focus on delivering business critical projects – rather than answering non-stop emails.

Employee maintenance

A software system that allows employees to update their personal details like address and phone number directly, will save your HR manager valuable time. More advanced technologies will also allow HR to record and manage an employee’s job history such as promotions, cost centre changes, performance appraisals, full leave administration and any type of employee change request with its own workflow.

This automated self-sufficient system means that employees are directly in charge of their own company profile. When the data-crunching jobs are taken care of automatically, your HR team can pay more time and attention on the human-centric needs of people management.

Training, skills and qualification management

Your HR team will be able to build a qualifications and skills repository that is linked to your employees. When specific skills, qualifications or competencies are being looked for, the system will identify the relevant employees within your organisation to approach. An employee’s skills gap analysis can be viewed against a specific position’s minimum requirements to assist in creating a career development plan to help them advance faster. HR will also be able to schedule employees for training, inform them electronically and monitor their progress.

This means that your business’ goals are more likely to be met as your workers will be adequately skilled.

Performance management

An automated performance management system will assist your HR team in assessing all employees and help to develop, motivate and retain a high performing workforce all year round – without the added burden and cost of a separate appraisal system.

An automated performance management process will align your overall business strategy to the career goals of your employees. This will encourage your staff to take a more active role in achieving their ambitions and guide them accordingly. This can be very empowering and deliver great HR results that in turn, can improve business profit.

Succession planning and talent management

When appraising an employee via an automated system, managers are able to give insight into the employee’s potential for promotion, the timing of the promotion, their risk of leaving and any possible reasons for why they may want to leave the company. This means your company will be able to ensure that the right people are identified for the right positions within the business. If your organisation can quickly identify problems with its high potential employees, you can step in sooner rather than later and make sure that your best talent is retained.

Off-boarding

An employee’s off-boarding process can also be automated to ensure a smooth exit. The IT department for example, can be notified via the system to disable the employee’s network and security access.

By automating your HR processes, you can greatly increase your HR department’s efficiency and, consequently, your business’ overall productivity. With HR sitting at the boardroom table, the team can help your company achieve its targets through strategic, rather than administrative employee management.

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