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How to overcome the top five productivity killers impacting HR

The HR team has always been a vital component of long-term organisational success – handling any people-related issues that come their way, with the overall values and goals of the organisation as their north star.

However, for far too long, organisations have created silos between tactical HR and strategic HR. This does not accurately represent the reality for HR managers who typically have to balance the two.

Alongside this, coronavirus has caused an intense level of disruption to HR operations, calling for leaders to review their current performance and consider the time and talent allocated to the influx of transactional HR activities.

HR teams ahead of the innovation curve have been able to adapt more quickly, with agility and have realised that HR digitalisation is no longer a nice to have, but a must have.

With employees ever more remote, their expectations are for increasingly frictionless HR service delivery (HRSD).

In order to achieve this goal, HR leaders must understand the productivity killers impacting their team and invest in the right tools and technologies to eliminate these inefficiencies.  

Let’s unpack the top five productivity killers.


Routine requests

HR teams face high volumes of diverse requests, pulling their focus away from strategic HR activities. This has only been exacerbated by the complexities of COVID-19 and an increasing emphasis on workplace safety.

Routine requests can also impact non-HR employees’ productivity levels while waiting for an answer, when they should be focused on the core functions of their role.

To combat this, HR must invest in employee knowledge portals complete with searchable answers so that staff find out information on their own.

Enabling employee self-service can free up HR teams to return to strategic tasks, with a substantial portal reducing HR requests from 40 – 70%.


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Case overload

While every employee request is important, more complex requests require quality HR attention. These cases naturally consume more time, with the way they are managed on the backend determining how much time they consume.

Without an efficient HR case management system, organisations risk a negative effect on employee engagement and retention.

Providing faster and more accurate case resolution by automatically routing it to the relevant representative so they can have a full view into the case history, access employee files and respond to the employee appropriately serves the entire organisation.

Just like every other department, HR is trying to reduce messages in their inbox and a dedicated tool that tracks employee cases all in one place makes that goal much more attainable.


Messy processes

The moments that matter during the employee lifecycle range from before they join the organisation to the day they retire. All these touchpoints with HR, for example onboarding, internal transfers, and promotions, can often involve multiple stakeholders and systems. If the management process of these moments is manual, this can create delays, errors, and duplicative papers.

Automation of processes can streamline workflows and create a more accurate and efficient experience for both HR and the employee.

Another benefit of cleaning up the messy processes with a modern HRSD software solution is the non-reliance of IT—meaning that the HR team can easily update processes in just a few clicks to react more quickly to an incident.

A shiny new tool is also a great way to simplify and update processes, thereby reducing HR’s reliance on IT and enabling quicker, more agile reactions.

How do you know if you need this? An audit of existing workflows can quickly inform this decision by revealing unnecessary or duplicative business processes.


Drowning in data

Data is critical to HR strategy as it can help determine your organisation’s current and future position. But what good is data without insights? A team member can spend hours going down a data rabbit hole rather than quickly viewing the right data to inform an important decision—data is only a productivity killer when it’s not optimised appropriately.

Having a reporting and analytics tool within your HR system is crucial for HR teams to leverage data for KPI monitoring and to gain performance insights into their operations. For example, by looking at what employees read most and keeping track of recurring requests, HR can determine where they need to focus their efforts. Data ultimately leads to direct action.


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Paper documents 

The final HR productivity killer is the age-old paper document, with physical documents that pile up on desks only adding to administrative tasks such as scanning, copying, and filing.

The solution is simple—leverage a unified file management system that automatically generates the appropriate files needed by an employee, enables electronic signatures and supports secure access and sharing.

With an increased focus on business continuity as a result of the pandemic, digital employee files have become a must.

These five HR productivity killers send a clear message that by investing in the modern, digital transformation of HR operations, HR teams can reduce their administrative burden and gain access to important insights needed to focus their efforts on what really matters – employees. After all, great businesses are powered by great people.


Remi Malenfant is director of HR innovation and customer experience at UKG