Employee data privacy and making things easier: Can you have the cake & eat it?

Lightening your workload by improving the way you look after employee data privacy

We know and understand that you care for your employees and their data. In recent years, there has been a lot of concern for data privacy and security, and for good reasons. HR Managers and other custodians of this information want to do their job as well as possible, keeping the information private and secure. In theory, technological solutions can be of great assistance when it comes to data privacy and security, helping you to securely store the information and only allow access to the right individuals.

Yet, practice is more convoluted than theory

Nowadays, there are a lot of technical solutions to help with efficiency in HR processes. Talent Pools, Applicant Tracking Systems, Video Interviewing Platforms, and of course HR/Payroll systems. As with anything, each of these applications come with their own pros and cons.

They cost money (whether operationally or by way of capital expenditure), there is time and effort required to implement them, and they need to work well together in order to actually make life easier for you. But if they do, then gone are the days of time-consuming manual procedures and data entry, large Excel files and personal data stored in insecure locations! If the benefits outweigh the cost, these applications can be a wonderful investment.

So far, so simple… and good.

In practice, procuring and implementing the above technical solutions is one part, and the most visible part, of what you need to actually lighten the workload and look after your employees’ data. The other part is that you need to make sure that all these technical solutions talk to each other. This is the part that gets overlooked. Since, if technical solutions cannot talk to each other - manual intervention is required to move (personal) data from one application to the other, leading to data being stored in insecure locations and leading to risks following human error. Which is unnecessary and risky in terms of data privacy.

For example, imagine you have an existing HR application (e.g. Gusto, BambooHR, SAP SuccessFactors, Oracle HRM, ...) and wish to implement a new Application Tracking System (ATS) for managing your recruitment. If a candidate in the ATS is selected and a decision is made to hire them, the new hire needs to be onboarded by registering them within the HR application. Typically in the latter scenario, this is a manual effort, with a HR team member required to copy the data from the ATS to the HR system, or sometimes this information is requested again from the new employee, and generally copied from email attachments into the HR application.

So what?

This is actually where you can have your cake and eat it, should you choose to do so. Cloud computing enables affordability of technology. This means that process automation, previously only within reach for Enterprise level clients, is now available at high standards and within budget for all businesses. Leveraging integrations between your technical solutions, you will optimize your HR end-to-end process to:

  1. Adhere to the highest privacy and security standards, by eliminating the need for data to reside outside your technical solutions.
  2. Make things easier for you, i.e. your business process insofar as data is concerned, is fully automated. No more manual errors to resolve and backtrack on.
  3. Be more cost effective than you are today. The money you spend on these integrations will usually and if done right (refer to our other blog [here](https://harmonizer.cloud/en/news/three-best-practices-for-sustainab...) on key considerations for integration projects), pay for itself as it enables your HR team to focus on value-add activities rather than (semi-)manual data entry or spreadsheets. It literally saves you hours of repetitive work.

Example: how does this work in practice?

Typically, an ATS (such as Breezy, Indeed, ...) will have support for onboarding forms. Once an applicant is selected to be hired, he or she will be asked to submit a form including their personal details, bank account info, TFN, etc. Once completed, the HR manager can then select the applicant to be 'exported'.

An integration would periodically read the API (a standardised, secure way to connect and read data from an application) from the ATS system to check if any applicants are marked for export, which happened when the HR manager selected applicants to be exported.

For new employees, the integration service should perform a number of sanity checks to ensure the completeness of the data and, in case of issues, an automated email can be sent to the HR team for follow-up to collect missing information. As required, the integration should be able to perform any number of data transformations during the onboarding process, such as generating a personnel number.

Finally, the integration service writes the new employee’s data into the HR application

As an aside, this process can be deployed end-to-end, starting at talent pool platforms and right through to Active Directory and associated applications. This is further explained here.

From a data lens, the process is able to flow straight through, only requiring human input where human brainpower is needed for the task at hand - such as the decision to hire someone, and when smart questions need to be asked during an interview.

Worked example - annual savings

Those are some pretty words, but now you want to talk business? How would this save money?

Here is a worked example for you to consider. The desired outcome is that Organisation X will have a robust, automated and fully tailored process for integrating their ATS with their HR application, to keep it simple.

Larger organisations typically hire hundreds of new employees every year. The amount of information that needs to be collected and recorded for each staff member is extensive, which requires a large amount of manual effort, can introduce the possibility of errors, and can cause delays in the hiring process.

By leveraging their integration service, organisation X can save a tremendous amount of time for their HR team and have a significantly more reliable, quicker and efficient hiring process.

For a medium size business that, depending on their sector, can typically hire between 100 to 500 staff per year, it is estimated that this simple integration alone will save one (1) hour of time per applicant, providing an estimated net saving between $5,000 - $20,000 per year, at an average hourly rate for an HR Analyst.

Remember the integration has the potential to also decrease data privacy and other compliance risks at the same time!

Please reach out to me if you would like any further information on what value integrations could add (or what cost they could save) in your specific scenario!

Original blog post appeared on harmonizer.cloud

Photography by [Pexels].*

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