Siân Harrington, editorial director and co-founder of The People Space, talks to Michael Reiserer, managing director of content and experience management company EASY Software, about why so many HR professionals still use paper, how to overcome the barriers to digitalisation and how apps can help HR monitor health and safety in the COVID-19 workplace.
Businesses have accelerated their moves to digitalisation, prompted largely by the global coronavirus pandemic. Research among 3,800 global c-suite executives found six in 10 organisations had increased and accelerated their digital transformation during the recent pandemic and 66% had completed initiatives that had previously accounted resistance. Yet a study by Harris in June found 49% of companies were still using manual and paper-based processes – and particularly when it came to HR processes like offers and termination, some 75% were using paper-based processes still.
A modern HR department should be focused on the employee experience and the value it is adding to the business. Chief executives now expect their HR teams to be actively finding ways to improve employee happiness and engagement. Yet study after study finds HR is still spending the vast majority of its time on administration (one study claims up to 73% of HR time is spent on admin).
Digitalisation is one way of freeing HR up to move away from the traditional administrative and transactional approaches into a strategic partner. But as we have seen, the move to digitalisation in HR has been slow. EASY Software conducted a survey just before the pandemic and respondents admitted that failure to keep pace with digitalisation makes them vulnerable to significant risks. Some 47% stated reduced efficiency while 42% cited lack of business agility and 40% believed their lack of digitalisation in HR was a competitive disadvantage for them. Meanwhile 36% said it resulted in a less than optimal relationship with their employees and 24% thought it was affecting talent retention.
Providing a frictionless workplace experience by deploying intuitive technology and anytime, anywhere information access is a no brainer to satisfy today's employees, who expect an experience that mirrors that in their consumer lives. They expect to be able to book holidays, monitor goals or see their payslips on their mobile phones. It should not be difficult to get that information.
But digitalisation also helps HR to move away from costly, risky paper files and to concentrate its time on that all important employee experience. So why has it taken a pandemic to accelerate digital adoption in HR? Well, there are a number of barriers: easy integration with existing technology, cost, and mindset and culture being some that immediately jump to mind. Overcoming these are key to enabling the digital transformation of HR.
Why this tech is different
Speed, ease and an intuitive interface are some of the characteristics we at The People Space like to see from technology so it’s no surprise that the fact that EASY Software’s digital technologies and platforms are easily integrated into existing business processes to automate, mobilise and optimise workflows quickly gets points from us. EASY by name, easy by nature. We also like how, unlike some tech companies, EASY will work with any size business, from start up to global corporate.
EASY provides case management and employee self-service experience, delivering digital HR process services supporting recruitment, on-boarding, payroll overviews, vacation requests, career planning, skill development, booking training, or monitoring achieved goals, appraisals and interactive performance recording. We particularly like the new fully configurable EASY employee app, which is on pre-release. Available for both iOS and Android, it is an effective internal communication, employee self-service and health app rolled into one. While there are obvious benefits to employees to be able to access their holiday calendars, sick reports and more on their preferred device, the pre-release of the health module is of particular interest in these COVID-19 times. For companies that cannot run their business entirely remotely, there is the need to be able to trace infection chains in their own workforce comprehensively and reliably. The faster this process works, the more effective early measures and reactions will be.
Users of the EASY employee app can report a positive test for an infectious disease to the HR department directly via the app. Contact to infectious persons can also be reported in this way. The app automatically searches the integrated attendance list whenever a report is received. This way, it finds people with whom contact may have been established within the last 14 days. This makes infection chains transparent and allows them to be localised. Data on diseases or chains of infection are not stored in the app but are sent confidentially to the HR department via a specified e-mail address. Other employees cannot see who is affected by an illness and in what way. Stored attendance data can also be deleted after one month.
Finally, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange-listed company has a proven record, with its products used in 60 countries around the world so you have plenty of HR use cases to look at before making your decision, from private to public organisations.
Benefits to HR
There are plenty of benefits to HR. These include increasing HR staff productivity and compliance by automatically assigning requests based on workload and skillsets, formalising best practice processes, and an audit trail. By easily tracking progress of requests plus the ability to access documentation, search and receive notifications through a personalised self-service portal, employees get a better experience.
The HR dashboards have operational, service level and compliance metrics and are designed to be visual and easy to navigate. Finally, the software integrates with your existing HR systems and, by eliminating your paper-based employee files, not only do you free yourself up to do more value-adding work for your organisation but it also makes it easier for you to capture, manage and retain important records.
In a nutshell, by releasing your HR teams from the mundane administration, you drive process efficiency and reduce costs, they provide better service to employees and the overall employee experience improves.
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual retailer and its dedicated internal scanning team cleanses, scans and indexes an average of 1,000 HR documents each day.
Use of EASY HR technology here means, in the words of the organisation’s business manager Matthew Allen, "a huge difference to staff productivity and efficiency.” That’s happening, states Allen, as all HR staff now have information at the touch of a button and no longer have to wade through files of paper documents, meaning time utilisation has improved enormously.
A retrieval process that used to take hours has also been reduced to seconds, he adds. “From a corporate compliance point of view, HR documents now contain full audit trails, they can’t be deleted and they can’t be mislaid and this is a critical position for documents with such high legal value.”
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Digital transformation demands a rethinking of the working world toward more flexibility and speed. In short, digital work is the goal. Human resources departments are asked more than ever to reduce manual routine tasks and instead to develop personnel work strategically in order that they can play a more important part in the company’s success. Whether start-up, mid-sized company, or big corporation: with the complete EASY HR Software, you always have a handle on every personnel process, from recruiting to self-services. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT EASY SOFTWARE
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