Over the past twelve months, many businesses have been presented with the opportunity to take an in-depth look at the way they work. There are processes we take for granted because we’ve always done things that way – but maybe they’re not working so well in the new business environment. Would the new business models adopted by disrupters, which turn everything we regard as essential, upside down – be right for us, or are they a passing fad?
Nowhere have these questions seemed more relevant than in the HR space. Maybe you’re looking for ways to increase the efficiency of your routine admin and record-keeping, to communicate more effectively with your employees or to streamline your performance management processes so they’re more closely aligned with the company’s business goals. There are some great tools on the market, and in this article, we’ll highlight 5 key ways they can help improve productivity.
Automate your record-keeping
Much of the core work of the HR department has traditionally been seen as having a pure admin and record-keeping function. While this is to some extent true, over the past few years many businesses have made the transition to a far more interactive, user-friendly, and transparent approach using one of the many cloud-based software solutions. Bamboo HR is one of the best known. Targetting small and medium businesses, these products cover the entire employee life-cycle, from recruiting and onboarding, to compensation and performance management. Customizable reports give powerful data to inform management decision-making, potentially transforming the way HR contributes to overall business performance. Other user-friendly products worth having a look at are Cezanne, Zoho, and EffortlessHR. While each has different areas of focus, they can all take the pain out of your employee record-keeping.
When you’re managing the payroll for a project team, tracking hours worked, billing accurately, and planning time off, can all end up consuming too much time. Employee time-tracking software, such as ClickTime, reduces paperwork, improves accuracy, and assists in forecasting project costs. You may have transitioned to remote working, either due to Covid, or to reduce costs. While this can have great benefits for work/life balance, and even improve output, employees need to be able to switch tracking on and off as they work and to make vacation requests. At the same time, you need to monitor the overall productivity of your team. By choosing a product with a mobile option, all time-related requests can be approved wherever the users may be, without creating mountains of paperwork or an endless email trail.
How does your company monitor employee engagement at present? By pushing employees to complete an annual survey? Then after months of collating and analyzing, the results are finally announced, and action plans are drawn up. How much of an impact does this kind of worthy exercise actually make? Yet leaders understand that highly-engaged employees are critical to the success of virtually every business.
The solution can be to invest in an online tool that collects employee feedback, in real-time, throughout the year. By collecting open employee feedback on a continuing basis, you’ll understand how your employees are feeling: content, energized, burnt-out, or cynical. And once people get used to the idea of giving anonymous feedback in real-time, you’ll be able to spot ‘mood trends’, get to the heart of any problems, and respond appropriately.
One of the ones we’ve seen is TINYpulse, which can be integrated with MS Teams, Gmail, BambooHR, Outlook, and also offers a validated recognition tool. Their Cheers for Peers option allows people to send “cheers” to each other when they want to recognize good performance, and tracks how many cheers are sent and received per employee.
Other tools to increase employee engagement include Officevibe (weekly surveys); Waggl (short, frequent surveys); Peakon (micro-learning sessions, attrition prediction).
Cascading business goals to each level is an annual ritual in many companies. Then come the one-to-ones, the follow-ups, quarterly reviews, until the moment of truth – the annual performance appraisal. The risk with all this, apart from the fact that it’s so time-consuming, is that the evaluation happens retrospectively. Wouldn’t it be more effective to have real-time data on progress, so any issues could be addressed before they have a negative impact on results? While several of the products already mentioned incorporate a performance management module, specialized products such as Trakstar can assist with every stage of the cycle, from goal-setting and progress dashboards to performance review templates, 360-degree feedback, and even succession planning tools.
Communicate more effectively
Are you still using an intranet, such as that old standby Sharepoint, to communicate with your employees? Nothing wrong with that, except that it’s time-consuming to update, and not very engaging for people who are far more used to checking in with their social media several times a day (often, several times per hour!).
Is there a tool that can be used for sharing announcements and updates, without the hassle? Is there one that encourages real-time feedback and sharing? Platforms such as Confluence, Igloo, and Huddle make communication, whether across an entire company or within teams, quick and easy. Social features give employees at all levels the opportunity to share ideas, contribute to their team’s goals, and receive open feedback. Nuxeo and Jostle.me are just two options which allow any type of file, including pictures and videos, to be stored and openly shared.
All these products allow you to create a knowledge hub, making resources and answers easy to find. Imagine how much time you could free up in HR with a one-stop-shop for all the documents managers and employees could need.
The business challenges of 2020 have provided us all with the opportunity to re-think the way we do things. These new-generation software tools provide the means to give HR a new way of engaging with our people and transforming the way the function is viewed by the organization. Let your team focus on partnering with the business to improve productivity, and impress your employees with the way you support and engage with them.