The Human Resources (HR) Department, in any organisation, will always have contact with every single employee. It’s a department that will always play a crucial role — and for good reason.
We expect our HR departments to be gatekeepers, problem-solvers, and people managers. But at the same time, many organisations are reluctant to digitalise their HR functions; for various reasons, we tend to treat HR data and processes differently from those within other groups, deferring more to legacy systems and entrenched ways of doing things. As a result, we often see a disconnect in what we expect from our HR departments — versus what they’re able to deliver.
In order to equip your HR team to meet the demands of a modern workplace, digitalisation is imperative. The argument that “the old ways got us this far” stay relevant for long. Ultimately, inefficient HR processes become a competitive disadvantage that can affect an organisation’s ability to attract and retain talent.
The transformation of a company’s HR processes is often a scary prospect, and understandably so. Ironically, entrusting the business of people management to automated systems can feel at odds with the overall mission of an HR department.
It's important to understand that the purpose of digitalisation is not to remove the human element, but rather to optimise it, so that you can focus on the things that really matter. Here are some steps that you can follow to guide your digitalisation journey.
The first step is usually an easy one. Identifying pain points can often be accomplished by getting an itemised download sheet from your HR team, one that details the amount of time allocated to each task for the team. This feedback will give you an idea of what needs to be addressed immediately.
Excessive time spent on simple tasks, for example, is a clear sign that automation is needed. If it’s taking a while to onboard new employees, that can be an indication that your processes need to be streamlined.
Once you’ve got the main issues listed, you’ll want to dig deeper into root causes. Remember, a single weak link or inefficient process can act as a bottleneck in your business, slowing everything else down. And when it comes to processes that require data input, include any time spent auditing or correcting mistake into the equation.
In order to enact change, you need participation and buy-in from everyone within the organisation. This is a great opportunity to address any concerns about digitalising HR processes, particularly those involving sensitive personal data.
Transparency during this step can be key to a successful transformation — employee confidence is critical to the success of any HR department. When you’re building the roadmap for change, you should also prioritise the integrity of data and sensitive information; ideally, you want to be moving toward a more reliable, secure HR environment.
The HR industry is experiencing a period of growth and innovation, with new ideas rapidly coming to the forefront of the market. This is good news for HR professionals, of course, and third-party HR providers can be a good resource for best practices.
When it comes to setting your budget, try to quantify the returns you expect to see in the form of improved efficiency, quicker onboarding, more effective communication, and better talent acquisition and retention metrics. This will help you frame the costs as an investment for the future. It may also be useful to benchmark from competitors in order to level-set costs and expectations.
Navigating a new process always comes with a learning curve — it can be especially challenging to ensure adoption of new or unfamiliar technology. In fact, don’t be surprised if transitioning into digital HR environment meets some resistance from within the organisation.
Clear, hands-on training that takes users step-by-step through the new processes will help ensure that tools are being used as intended. The sooner that users can get up to speed, the sooner they’ll be able to see the benefits. The goal is to help your employees evolve to a point where it feels natural to perform HR tasks through an online, system-based platform.
Once you’ve prepared your organisation — culturally and logistically — to transition into a digital HR environment, you’ll likely find plenty of opportunities for automation. In the short-term, you’ll reap benefits when automating previously-inefficient tasks. The long-term, however, is where you’ll see continuous improvements in efficiency, as you upgrade and refine the technology powering your HR functions.
It can be intimidating, but by reading this article, you’ve already taken the first step by recognising the potential that lies in HR digitalisation. Signup for altHR, the all-in-one digital solution that covers everything from payroll and onboarding, to staff management and providing employees with information kits. You’ve done it the old way long enough.
If you are interested to learn more about altHR, find out more here.