Seven ways your HR platform should boost efficiency
7 minute read
The right HR platform helps your team achieve more and spend less: the magic equation in today’s troubled economy. But how does yours stack up? If you’re leaving efficiencies on the table, reviewing your HR software could be your easiest win ever
Few teams today are immune from the pressure to do more with less, and HR’s no exception. As recession headwinds continue, efficiency is the undisputed priority for most organisations.
This cost-cutting agenda sadly often translates into redundancies but workforce reduction must be a last resort. That’s true not only morally, but because layoffs can have major long-term consequences for engagement, culture, retention, productivity, profitability, and reputation.
For HR teams, an obvious starting point in the quest for greater efficiency is your HR system. The right HR platform helps your team get more done with fewer resources and can save you money, too.
Let’s talk about that.
How the right HR platform helps you achieve more
- Reduce repetitive manual activity by automating processes
- Slash everyday admin by supporting employee self-service
- Make compliance simpler and faster
Good HR software delivers a double whammy: it will help you do more while spending less money. Let’s look first at three major ways your HR platform helps (or should help) you get more done in your day.
What is HR software? We answer your questions in this blog post.
1. Reduce repetitive manual activity by automating processes
Many HR processes are repetitive and manual, which causes major cost and time inefficiencies (as well as being boring for the HR practitioners tasked with completing them). Using HR software to digitise and automate these activities should give you hours back each week to spend on more valuable – and fulfilling – tasks.
- Recruitment. Automate time-consuming recruitment processes like posting and distributing job adverts, reviewing and filtering candidates and first-stage interviewing. Automating your recruitment processes saves your team time and, more importantly, it speeds up your time-to-hire so you can fill vacancies faster
- Onboarding. Good HR software should automate pre- and onboarding processes like collecting references, managing contracts, background checks, and welcome workflows, so your newest employees get everything they need for a great experience in a fraction of the time
- Effective talent management increases productivity, fuels engagement, and increases retention – but performance management processes can be time-consuming, both for managers and HR. A modern HR platform helps keep managers on track with goal setting, documenting and evaluating performance, and meaningful personal development review conversations, so excellent performance management becomes business as usual
- Employee learning. PwC’s 2023 Annual CEO Survey found that 52% of CEOs see skills shortages as a huge challenge to profitability over the next 10 years. Training and development is a crucial part of the solution – but curating, creating, delivering and tracking learning can be enormously time-consuming. Digitising and automating employee learning empowers you to build a learning and development function that competes with the heavyweights, without the heavyweight time commitment
- Payroll. An excellent candidate for automation, payroll processes typically involve huge amounts of repetitive manual work like data entry, adjustments and reconciliation. Plus rework, from inevitable errors. The Deloitte Global Payroll Benchmarking Survey reports that 45% of payroll staff in EMEA say manual payroll input is the most time-consuming aspect of payroll, for example. On average, the report shows payroll staff work 25 hours of overtime monthly: a good integrated HR and payroll system should give you that time back
- Benefits and rewards admin can be as time-consuming as payroll, making this an excellent candidate for automation. Good HR platforms should integrate seamlessly with your benefits solution, to save you hours copying data manually between systems. Plus save you from endless rework and employee queries
This isn’t a comprehensive list, but you get the idea. A good HR platform should digitise and automate processes, so you can spend less time repeating yourself and more time where it matters.
Investing in HR software is an even easier decision if you’re not currently using any dedicated system.
More than 50% of office workers spend more time searching for documents than on work itself, a study last year found. An HR platform provides a central repository for the important documents you use, so you can easily find them.
How much more time would your team have if everything you needed was instantly at hand?
2. Slash everyday admin by supporting employee self-service
Historically, HR teams have had to dedicate huge bandwidth to everyday HR admin like handling employee queries, managing absences, approving time-off requests, and updating employee data.
Tasks like this are so time-consuming, HR is relegated to being an administrative function with little bandwidth for strategic activity. Modern HR platforms support self-service HR as a much more efficient alternative.
The Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR) puts it like this: “Organisations who have heavily invested in digital and self-service functionalities usually have a smaller HR organisation. In these organisations, both employees and managers can self-manage most of their HR requirements. This leaves very little work for HR administration, rendering their role more tactical and strategic and requiring less [full-time equivalent] FTE to have the same impact.”
With self-service HR software, your people can update their own data, manage time-off requests, access online payslips, see their team’s days off, explore the company’s org chart, and much more. Likewise, managers can plan team time-off requests themselves without needing HR’s assistance.
By reducing these unnecessary touchpoints between HR and employees, you free up time for HR professionals to add more value as a strategic partner. (For example, could you dedicate more time to developing your employee engagement strategy?)
3. Make compliance simpler and faster
Compliance is a critical part of HR’s role. But for many organisations, managing compliance is unnecessarily time-consuming and stressful – and not always reliable, which creates avoidable risk.
Especially after the last few years. As Gartner reported in 2021, “the pandemic has significantly increased the workload faced by legal and compliance teams as they grapple with new risk issues and a more remote work environment.”
Software for HR makes compliance less of a headache, helping organisations:
- Record, track, manage and solve employee relations cases digitally
- Deliver timely employee compliance training that actually gets completed
- Be confident that they’re handling sensitive candidate and employee data appropriately, and in accordance with the GDPR
With the right HR platform, compliance can be simpler, faster, and more reliable – so your team can spend less time firefighting and more time tackling everything else on your to-do.
Now let’s look at the ways HR software can save your business money.
How the right HR platform helps you spend less
A good HR platform doesn’t just create space for your HR team to add more value. HR software pricing can vary, but the right technology can translate into significant cost savings. Let’s look at how.
- Optimise costs with one integrated HR system
- Reduce costly payroll errors and rework
- Rectify overspending with sophisticated data and analytics
- Cut recruitment, training and turnover costs with better L&D
1. Optimise costs with one integrated HR system
Implementing an integrated HR platform – one that connects all your people-related systems with a central HR system at its centre – instead of using several standalone systems will certainly streamline your workflows. Beyond this though, if you choose an HR software vendor offering multiple solutions, it’s also likely to be more cost-effective too.
Although building a diverse tech stack does offer benefits – namely, that you can choose the providers that best suit your needs in every area – efficiency isn’t typically one of them.
The more human resource management systems you have, the more friction you introduce. Multiple processes to learn; multiple interfaces to switch between; multiple passwords to remember; multiple databases housing the same data. Not to mention multiple contracts to manage. And bespoke integration can quickly become complicated and expensive.
By contrast, choosing integrated HR system – whether that’s by selecting several modules from a single provider, or taking a best-of-breed approach – enables your team to handle your people tasks seamlessly from one place. You’ll soon find that the efficiency savings of working from a single database will translate into cost savings.
2. Reduce costly payroll errors and rework
We talked earlier about how payroll automation makes sense from a workload perspective, but payroll is also worth flagging as a major cost-saving opportunity.
By reducing the amount of manual work you’ll need to do, good payroll software also cuts the costs of running payroll. Put simply, the more time-efficient your payroll process, the fewer FTE hours it costs you.
That’s especially true when you’re using an integrated HR and payroll solution because your underlying people and pay data is connected, whether you’re running payroll in-house or opting for an outsourced payroll solution.
Manual data transfer is enormously time-consuming and error-prone, so an all-in-one platform has the major benefit of reducing payroll errors and reducing the time spent on rework – the two biggest KPIs for payroll operations, according to Deloitte.
No more overpayments, underpayments, or late payments – or the long-term costs (financial and otherwise) associated with a drop in employee engagement, retention, and productivity.
3. Rectify overspending with sophisticated data and analytics
Your people, and your people processes, generate an enormous amount of data. A good HR platform should offer powerful analytics capabilities, to help you use this business intelligence to your advantage.
This isn’t something organisations are typically good at. For instance, the CIPD recently found that only 46% of organisations collect data on recruitment and retention, and just 33% regularly review this data.
Joining the minority that use people data effectively offers a real competitive edge, but where — and how — do you start? “Firstly, it’s important to ensure you are recording accurate data,” says Shirley Bousfield, learning specialist at Ciphr.
“You can then compare this to your targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) to give you a clear picture of what’s going on, and as the basis for evidence-based decision making. Are you able to configure your system to capture all the necessary information, and are people aware of the importance of recording it, so there aren’t gaps and discrepancies in your data? Better still, can your HR system integrate with other software such as payroll, recruitment and productivity apps so you can compare the data from these sources without dual entry and manual collation? If so, you’ll drastically reduce the risk of human error.
“When you have meaningful data, you can start to address areas of concern such as the cost of training, downtime, and monitoring compliance; could this be reduced by implementing a learning management system, with system costs offset by a drop in your original costs. Monitoring this data ensures you can demonstrate a return on investment, or, where a system is not efficient, this provides evidence to support a business case to review the provider,” adds Bousfield.
Better HR data means you can easily spot overspending areas, underperforming processes, and untapped opportunities – then address them. This principle applies to every aspect of the employee experience, especially if you choose an integrated HR system which connects all your data into a single source of truth.
Data can, for example, help:
- Reduce attrition costs by identifying which trends drive attrition and where you can act to prevent turnover
- Reduce recruitment costs by identifying your best hiring sources and channels, and optimising spend
- Reduce absence costs by predicting absence patterns or trends and intervening or planning appropriately
- Reduce compensation costs by better understanding headcount and optimising workforce planning
4. Cut recruitment, training and turnover costs with better L&D
The World Economic Forum’s predicts that 50% of employees will need reskilling by 2025. Skills shortages drive up recruitment costs dramatically, as businesses struggle to find the people they need. Likewise, training costs are increasing as organisations focus on growing their workforce’s skills.
Developing a programme to upskill and reskill your people effectively is crucial to navigate this situation. It’ll help:
- Decrease recruitment costs
An effective L&D programme, supported by the right learning management system, improves productivity today and builds skills availability for the future, ultimately decreasing the need to hire externally (and the associated costs).
This also translates positively into important metrics such as time-to-market and customer satisfaction, because you have the people you need to deliver better products or services.
- Decrease turnover costs
Good training can also decrease staff turnover costs, by improving employee engagement and retention. In 2022, for example, 76% of employees said they’re more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training.
There’s also a workforce efficiency angle here, because happier, more engaged employees are typically more productive. Getting more productive output from your people without increasing headcount is the ultimate ‘do more with less’.
- Optimise training costs
If you care about skills shortages, employee learning is an unavoidable investment – but the right tech is critical to improve return-on-learning.
Good learning management software should offer great reporting and insight into learning uptake, completion rates, and learner progress (among other metrics) so you can optimise costs. Equally, it should come with functionality designed to engage learners and improve learning effectiveness; gamification in learning has been shown to be a powerful tool for improving learning uptake and knowledge retention.
What does ‘right’ mean for your organisation?
We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of having the ‘right’ HR platform – but what does ‘right’ look like?
There’s no single answer but if you’re reading this and wondering why your current HR software isn’t delivering the efficiencies we’ve been talking about, that’s a good sign you should consider your options.
In today’s tough economic climate, successful organisations are zealously committed to efficiency – to streamlining and optimising processes, and achieving more while spending less. If your current HR system doesn’t help your team on those fronts, choosing software that does is an easy win that pays for itself.