21 May 2020

Four reasons why HR software is essential for remote working

It’s possible to operate your organisation virtually without HR software – but it’s tough. Here are four reasons why an HR system is important for successful remote working


Ciphr editorial

Ciphr editorial

Ciphr editorial posts articles that have been written or contributed to by Ciphr's in-house team of writers


Future of Work HR transformation Technology


It’s possible to operate your organisation virtually without HR software – but it’s tough. Here are four reasons why an HR system is  important for successful remote working

While many organisations have traditionally supported part-time remote working for select groups of employees, it’s only in 2020 – following the coronavirus outbreak – that working from home has become the norm for a significant group of UK workers.

Those companies who weren’t set up to work remotely before the UK lockdown came into effect in March 2020 will have found the transition tricky. Given the significant impact on HR-related processes and operations – such as furlough scheme claims, redundancies, and adjustments to working hours and locations – much of the burden will have fallen on HR professionals. HR teams and organisations without modern HR software that is cloud-based and can be accessed anytime, on any internet-enabled device, will find their efforts to successfully work remotely hampered by the lack of technology; in fact, nearly a quarter (24%) of UK workers recently surveyed by YouGov said their productivity had taken a hit because vital software isn’t accessible from home.

Here are four reasons why specialist HR software is essential for effective remote organisations.


1. It helps to ensure business continuity – especially when it comes to paying your workers

At times of crisis, it’s essential that your organisation is able to respond rapidly and to keep ‘business as usual’ processes on track as far as possible. Whether your people are working from home or at their usual workplace, they still need to be paid; organisations with outdated on-premise HR and payroll solutions will struggle to complete their pay runs on time – putting workers in financial difficulty.

If a crisis or emergency means that an office or workplace location needs to be shut at short notice – and employees required to work from home – HR software can also help you get urgent messages out to staff. Ciphr’s crisis communications tool, for example, enables HR teams to rapidly send urgent messages via email or SMS, and track and monitor response rates.


2. HR systems enable you to hire and onboard new starters

While some organisations are facing the prospect of long-term furloughs and redundancies, others have been faced with the task of hiring and onboarding new starters entirely remotely. Technology, of course, underpins HR teams’ ability to do that effectively; with many competing priorities on their plate, an applicant tracking system (ATS) is essential for rapidly posting job vacancies, collecting and collating candidates’ information securely, and sharing applications with line managers. Video interviewing has also grown in popularity, with companies turning to tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams for two-way interviews, or specialist video screening software to rapidly assess high volumes of applicants.

Read next: how can HR succeed at remote recruitment?


Once you’ve successfully interviewed and hired a candidate, you’ll want to welcome them into your organisation as best you can – and help them become a productive member of your team as quickly as possible. It’s crucial to get this onboarding or induction phase right; new starters need to feel supported, part of the organisational culture, and get to know their new colleagues, as well as the requirements of the role. Tools such as Ciphr’s onboarding portal helps employers do virtual onboarding more successfully, by enabling new hires to access important information about their new organisation and team online before their first day, and read and complete essential information and forms electronically.


3. You can more effectively measure employee engagement and wellbeing

When employees are working in disparate locations, it’s more difficult to gauge the overall mood and wellbeing of your workforce – there are no quick catch-ups or impromptu chats by the coffee machine. Realistically, you don’t have time to check in with each employee individually, so why not use HR software to help lighten the load? Systems with in-built surveying or employee engagement tools can help you understand how workers are really doing, through surveys (short or long) that can even be anonymous for the utmost confidentiality. By running engagement or wellbeing surveys through your central HR platform, you’ll be able to link the data and outcomes of such activity with other metrics such as absence levels and performance management measures – helping you determine which strategic initiatives you should be focusing on.


4. HR software helps you accurately record absence levels

During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that you’ll have a higher-than-average proportion of employees absent from work because of illness, a need to self-isolate, or for childcare reasons. Using email or Excel to record and monitor absence isn’t feasible; you need a self-service HR system through which employees and managers can log and approve time off, and that enables you to record the primary causes of absence in your business. Having a robust view of your true absence picture will also help you identify which departments or teams are under-resourced, and help you plan appropriate interventions to reduce absence rates.

Ciphr’s HR software supports every stage of the employee lifecycle – from hiring and onboarding through to payroll, talent management and L&D. To discover how Ciphr could support your organisation, call us on 01628 814242 or email [email protected].