Every HR team has different roles and responsibilities. One thing that rings true for every organisation, however, is that HR holds the key to overarching business success. From attracting and retaining top talent, to the management and monitoring of employee engagement, the HR team’s contribution to organisational performance is unmatched. Businesses looking to better support their workforce throughout the challenging times ahead must therefore look towards HR optimisation.

The reality is that while HR teams undoubtedly play a central role in attaining business goals, many fall short of creating the optimal HR experience by creating silos between tactical HR and strategic HR. The latter contributes directly to an organisation’s bottom line, hence why managers’ capacity to be strategic is being pushed to the fore. This has been compounded by the disruption caused by COVID-19, with growing need for HR teams to communicate effectively with employees at every level.

With this in mind, HR leaders looking to leverage their strengths and minimise any weaknesses must overcome the top productivity killers impacting HR experiences. Too much time is spent on transactional HR activities, which can be better managed with automated, digital systems. Strategic HR, on the other hand, requires a human touch and makes HR a strategic partner to the business, calling for organisations to leverage technology and get ahead of the innovation curve.

Put simply, employees’ expectations are for increasingly digitalised HR service delivery (HRSD), whereby operational processes become more data driven. Business leaders looking to maximise the value of their HR team must therefore consider the key obstacles impacting HR experiences and the technologies that can eliminate these. This will be particularly critical as the future working model becomes a hybrid one, with remote working here to stay and a return to the office now in sight.

Repetitive employee requests
The first HR productivity killer is repetitive employee requests. HR teams often face high volumes of routine requests from all over the organisation, reducing their capacity to prioritise strategic HR.

In fact, the influx of employee requests has only increased with the impact of COVID-19, with staff looking for greater clarity around the new world of work. Routine requests can therefore impact non-HR employees’ productivity levels as well as HR while waiting for an answer, when they should be focused on the core functions of their role.

To lighten this burden, HR teams can invest in employee knowledge portals complete with searchable answers so that staff find out information on their own. Enabling staff self-service can also free up HR teams to return to strategic tasks, with a substantial portal reducing HR requests from 40 – 70%.

Complex case management
Just like every other department, HR is trying to reduce the number of messages in their inbox. This proves difficult when managing a variety of employee requests and inquiries, with more complex case-management requests requiring quality HR attention.

For example, an employee might have a specific payroll request that will need to be managed by a payroll specialist. These cases naturally consume more time, with the way they are managed on the backend determining how much time they consume.

A dedicated tool that tracks employee cases can improve this process. High-level systems will automate workflows so that employee requests are routed to the right person, while also ensuring the relevant representative has full view into the case history, access employee files, and the ability to respond to the employee appropriately.

Unnecessary processes
From before they join the organisation to the day they retire, employees have numerous encounters with HR. These touchpoints include onboarding, upskilling, and promotions, all of which involve multiple systems and stakeholders. Organisations looking to create the optimal HR experience must therefore review messy and unnecessary processes.

Automation of processes can streamline workflows and create a more efficient experience for both HR and employees. Another benefit of cleaning up processes with a shiny-new HRSD tool is the non-reliance of IT—meaning HR teams can easily update processes in just a few clicks.

How do you know if you need to do this? An audit of existing workflows can quickly inform this decision by revealing unnecessary processes. This is particularly critical for HR teams looking to improve processes, without having to spend days reconfiguring their systems.

Information overload
To become more efficient, effective, and connected, HR teams should look towards the power of data. Not only can data enable HR professionals to track their activity, but can also connect employees to overarching business strategies.

But what good is data without insights? A HR professional can spend hours going over different data sets, rather than quickly identifying the information needed to facilitate better decision making. It is important to note here that data is only a productivity killer when it is not optimised appropriately.

Having a reporting and analytics tool within your HR system can overcome this shortfall, and is particularly useful when it comes to tasks such as KPI monitoring. For example, by looking at what employees read most and keeping track of recurring requests, HR can determine where they need to increase their efforts.

Paper documents
And finally, the age-old paper document. All HR functions—including recruitment, employee relations, and talent management—generate some kind of employee document, and managing, scanning, and filing these can take time.

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 have’.

The key takeaway here is that HR digitalisation is pivotal to achieving business success, with high-level, automotive tools creating the capacity for professionals to focus on strategic HR tasks. Business leaders looking to create the optimal HR experience and overcome the top productivity killers impacting HR must therefore leverage the power of technology if they wish to thrive in the new world of work.