5 Ways You Can Use Technology To Improve Your HR Team's Productivity

By digitising routine administrative tasks , HR professionals have the freedom to focus on adding significant value to the business.

Think of a typical day in the life of a modern HR professional.

 An inbox full of “urgent” emails demands attention, a set of spreadsheets need to be manually updated for payroll and new hire contracts must be prepped for mail delivery.

Sound familiar?

Many HR professionals are stuck under this load of routine administrative tasks (and the reams of paperwork that go with it), leaving little time to meaningfully connect with employees.

It can be hard to keep up with the pace of innovation, and you might be wondering if any of the new tech can make an actual difference in your business. .

Here are five simple strategies to support your HR team to take advantage of digital tools - without little (or no) change to existing company processes.

1. Automation

More than half of all HR work could be automated, according to an analysis from the McKinsey Global Institute.

Its research found 56% of “hire-to-retire” tasks could be automated. And this means a move away from paper processes, towards technology-driven support  for  routine tasks.

The HR Life Cycle Model divides an employee’s work experience into these main categories:

  1. Recruiting and Onboarding
  2. Orientation and Career Planning
  3. Career Development
  4. Termination or Transition

Each of these intersections must be seamless, and HR is central to fulfilling this need. HR professionals should be able to watch these processes to flag concerns and suggest improvements. 

Beyond that, they must have the space to address complex questions from employees.

This is where automation offers a simple solution: reduce HR’s workload by using tech fixes to manage the more mundane tasks. 

It offers practical ways technology can help HR teams save time; reduce costs linked to paper usage, and ramp up productivity.

These are some of the core HR functions that can be automated:

Vacation days

Vacation day requests can fill up email inboxes(and inbox trays), adding to an existing feeling of email overload. HR departments can automate this function using several current technologies. MeisterLabs used Slack and Zapier to build a workflow that lets employees complete their requests using Google Forms. The team lead is notified via Slack, and if accepted, a calendar notification is automatically created.

Time sheets

When it comes to timesheets, HR spend hours following up with employees to submit their timesheets, and getting them to mangers for sign off.Instead, employees can log their hours electronically using digital time tracking apps like Hubstaff and Toggl.

Employee File Management

Keeping track of all employee data is a mammoth task, particularly for larger firms. Rather than having HR commit time to manual data capturing, give employees the ability to update their own records. A programme like Zoho makes it easy for employees to perform these updates.


2. Ditch the Paperwork for Digital Signatures

The average firm processes around 10 000 pieces of paper each year: the equivalent of a small tree.

Not only that, but an AIIM study investigated the volume of paper usage for basic HR functions.

Respondents provided the following percentages:

  • Recruiting and selection = 35%
  • Employee onboarding = 48%
  • Employee file management = 53%
  • Policies and procedures administration = 32%
  • Employee separation = 48% 

While HR automation is not a new concept, many types of processes are still paper-based, placing a significant cost and time burden on the company, and specifically HR.

Doing business this way turns simple actions into long-drawn out processes.

Using onboarding as an example, statistics prove an effective onboarding programme means new hires are 69% more likely to stay with a company for three years or longer.

At the other end, 22% of staff turnover takes place in the 45 days of employment, and poor onboarding is also linked to another alarming statistic: 33% of new hires look for a job in the first six months.

What’s more is that maintaining a paper-based system drives up costs. It’s estimated a paperless office could save around $32 000 per year.

So nixing paper is better for your bottom line, and it delivers an immediate efficiency boost.

These factors are driving the adoption of digital signatures.

Digital signatures are not new; they’ve been gaining traction over several years. And research shows this market is set to grow exponentially.

Potential uses for digital signatures include:

  • Offer letters
  • Contracts
  • Registration and onboarding

A platform like Secured Signing uses digital signature technology designed to eliminate fraud, offering organisations another layer of security.

The signing software’s Form Direct feature will convert any paper document to an electronic format. In the case of new hires, employees can view and sign contracts from their mobile devices. They can complete everything from their basic details to confirming medical declarations.

The Manpower Group, with around 50 branches in New Zealand and Australia, is enjoying the benefits of digital signatures.

The Manpower Group approached Secured Signing with a clear challenge: shorten and improve new candidates’ registration process. The goal was to give employees the best onboarding experience.

Manpower candidates travelled to company offices to sign paperwork, or sent the documents via mail package. Crucial information was often outstanding, delaying the placement of the new employee.

Secured Signing’s PKI digital signature solution developed a branded eForm, built on the organisation’s existing registration forms. The Manpower consultant sends the candidate an email invitation with the link and time for completion.

The result?

A 60% reduction in the candidate’s registration time. The firm’s onboarding process is now totally paperless, allowing for better storage and access to information.

What’s more is that company’s reputation has improved, as its brand becomes associated with efficiency and streamlined hiring process. That it itself, is another win for HR in the bid to attract top talent.

When choosing a digital signature provider, TechRadar, recommends the software meet a set of criteria:

  • Device agnostic- Employees should be able to sign from any device, whether from a tablet, PC or smartphone.
  • Easy integration with existing software- Ideally, the programme must integrate with business’s existing applications such as Salesforce, etc.


3. Online Employee Surveys

Employee engagement surveys have a bad reputation.

Around 3000 HR executives were polled on the success of their firm’s employee engagement surveys.

Surveys were not being conducted regularly, with over 30% of respondents citing this as a concern. Even worse, 31% of respondents reported unchanged survey scores.

This is worrying - and a wasted opportunity.

Research shows a strong connection between higher employee engagement and employee’s confidence in the firm’s future, according to an IBM report. The study was conducted across 19 countries, including Australia. It revealed employees were more likely to engage if they felt their contribution was valued, and believed there was room for growth within the company.

When you get it right, employee surveys have the power to help craft a better workplace.

Companies with a formal engagement strategy are 67% more likely to improve their revenue on a year-one-year basis, according to an Aberdeen study. 

Pulse surveys (short, regular surveys) have been put forward as a better option to annual surveys.  Software like Qualtrics lets you conduct pulse surveys to measure sentiment and monitor projects.

While there is a case for paper-based engagement surveys, online employee surveys can be stored in a digital repository. It’s easy to access and no one needs to rifle through a filing cabinet to find relevant documents.


4. Performance appraisals

One study found 95% of HR professionals dreaded review time.

It’s marked by emails, follow-ups and late submissions as HR teams rush to make sure managers and employees complete the manual review process.

The traditional paper-based performance appraisal is steeped in preparation time, which includes printing and mailing.

This doesn’t mean you have to kill reviews altogether. New online platforms offer digital ways to easily complete reviews, using electronic forms and portals.


5. Social Media Scheduling

HR can reduce print advertising costs with targeted posts on social media.

Statistics show 79% of job seekers are likely to use social media in their job search, increasing to 86% for younger candidates.

Modern HR professionals are taking advantage of social media’s reach, and tapping into talent pools from across the globe.

While this may sound like a recruiters’ dream, it can also be another task to add to HR’s list of daily demands.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Social media scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite make it easy to schedule a whole batch

of posts. If you have vacancies lined up, craft the ads in one sitting and spend a few hours setting up your schedule. The software automatically posts on your behalf. You can even set automated responses and allocate a specific day to go through the messages.


HR receives a range of dynamic requests from employees and management, placing increasing demands on their time.

HR tech tools help to automate administrative tasks, giving HR professionals more time to invest in building experiences to attract - and retain - top talent.

About the Author – Gal Thompson

Gal works for Secured Signing and specialises in helping HR departments and recruitment companies move from paper-based, time consuming processes to automated digital workflows and electronic signing. She currently works with Manpower Group, H&R Block and a range of other companies in Australia and worldwide. You can try a free trial of Secured Signing here or contact Gal on LinkedIn here.

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