The idea of improving your HR processes runs through the whole HRMS selection and implementation experience – from identifying the processes you want to automate and streamline, to the redesigning of those processes to best leverage the technology on offer. A recent report from Software Path on HR technology projects identified that the most common reason for updating an HRMS or HRIS was to “increase efficiency”… and one of the best ways to improve your HR efficiency is to take a close look at everyday processes such as punching in, booking time off, etc. The following three HR functions offer fertile ground for process improvement by technology.
All employees are ‘payroll-sensitive’ by which I mean there is no such thing as a small error; at least, not to the employee whose pay is incorrect. Automation is the single best step towards fewer payroll mistakes, machines not being subject to fatigue and boredom like their people counterparts. Focus on specific errors that have occurred (or are at risk of occurring with your current process) and then examine how you can streamline them to minimize the error rate. Examples include:
- Data entry mistakes – Inputting data via human hands is just begging for trouble. Either buy an all-in-one integrated HRMS or look for ways to integrate separate systems (HRMS, payroll, accounts) so that they are all drawing on the same database, the same information.
- Employee status or classification issues – Full-time, part-time, temporary, independent contractors… you may have many different classes of person working for you, and labor law insists on differing employer responsibilities for each one in relation to pay, benefits, and pensions. Again, by unifying your people data, the chance of human error (and a resulting legal penalty or sanction) is minimized.
- Non-existent workers – Old records, duplicate records, even false records… all can result in mistaken salary payments. However, the automation of payroll and related HR functions (the most obvious being time and attendance recordkeeping) reduces this possibility of financial loss significantly.
In a non-HRMS-equipped company, a new hires first day tends to be a blizzard of paperwork, both information for the new member of the team and all kinds of form-filling (e.g. IRS W‐4, INS I‐9, IRS 8850, state W‐4s, health insurance and benefits options, etc.) and information to create their staff records.
With an HRMS that includes recruitment functionality, that staff record already exists in nascent form because you already have much of their basic information, gathered from their job application and the candidate assessment process. Double data entry? A thing of the past.
Assuming you can get your people to use it, your HRMS’s package of self-service features is potentially your biggest process-improver. Without HR technology, HR teams and managers spend significant time answering information requests and basic HR questions. But the ‘self-help’ side of your HRMS enables employees to find their own answers and conduct their own HR transactions. In this way, basic payroll queries can be effectively delegated via access to online paychecks. Leave can be booked via the HR portal. Benefits packages can be reviewed and selected. And so on… Even if the process itself remains the same, the automation ensures it is carried out more efficiently.
Of course, all this is very aspirational. Once you’ve got an implemented HRMS up and running, the time saved due to the automation and/or streamlining of HR processes should be a significant element of any post-implementation review or ROI exercise in order to prove the benefits.
This guest blog is written by Dave Foxall. Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years and is a regular HRMS World contributor. He writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.