Written by: Dan Schuster
Nobody likes doing busy work, at least not anyone I have ever run into. And in HR departments, busy work can many times be an all-too common occurrence. Because of inefficient technology (like various, point solutions), many HR professionals are forced to spend much of their time on administrative tasks, rather than strategic HR initiatives.
So what can businesses do about this? Well, aside from standardizing on a single platform and reaping the efficiencies inherent in that, the answer to that question is to provide employees and manager across the company with self-service tools. The workforce should be able to update address, phone number, and other personal information through an easy-to-use Web portal without needing HR staff to intervene. They should also be able to view and manage their benefits as well as apply for jobs, register for courses, maintain performance goals, enter and approve absences, and file their expenses. These are, of course, all widely understood needs. But what often goes overlooked when forging forward with employee self-service is the importance of ease of use. There is no sense in providing so-called self-service capabilities to employees, if no one can figure the system out—everyone will just end of on the phone with HR again. And to that end, Microsoft technology is familiar and easy to use.
In addition to employee self-service, enabling HR to transition to a more strategic role is also about simply streamlining as much as possible. Imagine, for instance, the time-savings associated with simply being able to share a job posting across the company without the need for data-reentry. Or ask yourself this: how much time would you save if you could perform payroll automatically based on your HR and financials data in your ERP system? These things—and more—are being accomplished in many dynamic businesses today.
But it’s not just about streamlining the routine tasks to save time. With the right system, even the more strategic work can be greatly eased. Establish position and organization structures over time to get an accurate picture of historical, current, and future changes—with just a few clicks of the mouse. It is also possible to formalize position maintenance with personnel actions and an option of approvals, and also optionally track budget and cost information. The options are almost limitless, with tools like Microsoft Dynamics AX. Define benefit plans and assign benefits based on eligibility rules to individual employees or through mass assignment. Retain employment history, track injuries and illnesses, and record education, skills, certificates, courses, work experiences, and a whole lot more.
Now ask yourself another question: what would your HR department look like if all these things mentioned were a reality? Maybe dramatically different. HR staff would be spending time developing policy and imparting greater, positive change within the organization, but something even more amazing might have also taken place. People might now feel truly appreciated and valued—they might feel like they are now helping shape the success of the business. And when that happens, just imagine how your business will grow.
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2013/02/11/the-new-hr-manager-moving-from-administrative-to-strategic/