18 January 2023

Four ways self-service HR software can streamline your HR processes

5 minute read

Author

Cathryn Newbery

Cathryn Newbery

Cathryn Newbery is head of content and community at Ciphr. She was previously deputy editor at People Management magazine. You can find her on Twitter @c_newbery.

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HR systems selection HR transformation Technology

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Implementing self-service HR software will make it easier and more effective to hire, train, and manage your people, so your HR team spends less time on admin

While cost savings will always be a core part of the business case for a new HR system, the longer-term benefits of streamlining and improving people management processes through HR software are just as significant. Automating previously manual activities also generates data that can be used for a range of business intelligence needs, from day-to-day operational analysis to identifying and forecasting workforce trends.

And, because enabling self-service access to HR software tends to improve data accuracy – by eliminating data rekeying and empowering employees to manage their own data – it also improves the quality of the resulting analysis.

Here are four areas where HR teams can expect to feel the benefit after implementing self-service HR software.

Four HR processes that can be streamlined with self-service HR software

 

1. Recruitment and onboarding

Implementing self-service recruitment and onboarding software brings benefits for hiring managers, HR teams, candidates, and new starters alike.

A good applicant tracking system (ATS) will enable managers to track the progress of candidates’ applications, review CVs, and schedule interviews. Most recruitment platforms will enable you to screen applicants at an early stage in the process, either via specific ‘killer’ questions or even through video screening.

The associated efficiency gains can be significant, both in terms of minimising the amount of time managers spend on recruitment and reducing the number of days it takes to fill a vacancy. In turn, this improves your organisation’s ability to identify, interview and make offers to top talent, and the speed at which your new hire becomes a productive member of the team.

Candidates will also benefit from a better experience if you choose to introduce an ATS. They’ll be able to easily apply for posts via your website, and directly via social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Their self-service portal will enable them to monitor the status of their application, reducing the need for your HR team to contact them manually. Your system should also give you the option to request consent from applicants to hold their data, if you feel that consent is required to comply with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and give applicants access to the data you hold about them to satisfy subject access requests (SARs).

Recruitment software such as Ciphr iRecruit will also provide you with valuable metrics around your hiring process such as time to hire, the most effective advertising and job boards, and reporting on the diversity of applicants.

Meanwhile, specialist onboarding software such as Ciphr Onboarding can help you deliver a better employee experience by engaging them with your organisation before their first day, and automatically porting their details into your central HR software. Read our explainer to find out if new hire onboarding software is right for you.

2. Employee development and performance management

Self-service HR software functionality can make a significant difference to the efficiency of L&D management, not least by imposing controls on the authorisation process through automated workflows.

But the potential benefits extend beyond process control. Giving employees and line managers access to training libraries and course outlines via a learning management system (LMS) often improves the chances of matching real need to supply, ensuring better use of training budgets.

Self-service HR software also makes it easier to connect training administration with performance reviews – tying together two disciplines that are closely associated in principle, but which can be poorly connected in practice.

Manual performance management processes tend to be front-loaded; a training request may be triggered after an appraisal, for example, but administrative delays and high workloads may mean that development programmes are not implemented fully. Introducing an digital performance management system within your self-service HR software – one which enables you to log appraisal data and supporting information online, and set up automatic reminders for next steps – makes it more likely that line managers and staff alike will complete required actions.

3. Holiday and absence management

Self-service HR software makes it much easier for staff and managers to log, view and monitor sickness absence. This means absence data will be more accurate, which is crucial for managing long-term absence and putting in place appropriate wellbeing support and interventions for affected employees.

The self-service HR software will also enable employees to track and book their annual leave, and managers to approve holiday requests and see their team’s availability.

4. A tool for flexible and remote working

While much of the focus on making remote, hybrid and flexible working a success has been on challenges related to organisational culture and line management, there are also significant IT implications of changing how, where, and when we work. Ensuring that home and remote workers can access the same self-service HR software functionality as their office-based colleagues is essential. It’s also important to consider how non-desk-based staff can access your HR self-service software; modern software should be available on internet-connected mobile devices, too. Check out our top four reasons why you need an HR system for successful remote working.

 

How to make self-service HR software a success

For your new self-service HR software to be a success, first you must select and implement your new HR system successfully.

During the transition to self-service HR software, employees and managers may need extra support from your HR team as they get used to the system and doing tasks themselves. In many cases, it may make sense in the short term for HR employees to spend more time than normal helping users, because this will reduce their need for support in the future.

While modern self-service HR software can be accessed via desktop computers and mobile devices, you might need to consider if non-desk-based staff, or those who are less digitally literate, will need extra support or equipment to access the system.

And, although introducing self-service HR software will typically alleviate the administrative burden on your HR team, it’s worth bearing in mind that it may not lead to a reduction in headcount. You might find that your team was overloaded with work before the system’s introduction, and, afterwards, they are able to devote more time to tasks that were previously being pushed to one side. You might even be able to reshape some roles to have a more strategic, value-adding focus.

Finally, you might find that employees and line managers expect a higher level of service from your HR team, whether that’s in terms of quicker response times or more involvement in high-level organisational initiatives. Service improvements should be assessed in the context of the broader organisational impact, whether that’s reducing opportunity cost by cutting the number of time managers spend on recruitment administration, or improving talent acquisition by making the online job application process smoother.

 

Discover Ciphr’s self-service HR software for yourself

Ciphr’s self-service HR software helps hundreds of organisations and thousands of people access and manage their people data. Discover our range of HR, payroll, recruitment and learning solutions for yourself by requesting a demo of our Ciphr Connect platform.

This article was first published in July 2018. It was updated in January 2023 for freshness, clarity, and accuracy.