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E-HR can deliver real value


e-HR heralded a new age in the relationship between human resources professionals, payroll departments and employees. However, adoption of the technology has been slow to take off. Alan Foley, HR and Payroll Software Director at ICS Computing believes HR departments need to do more for e-HR systems to gain greater internal credibility.

e-HR is the catalyst HR departments have been waiting for to change the traditional ways they interface with employees. When introduced correctly it is not just another layer of IT to introduce into an organisation. For it to be successful, the software has to be in tune with the culture of the company and dovetail into procedures which are accepted and effective.

Currently e-HR faces several cultural issues which need to be addressed if the software is to gain internal credibility.

The main problem, as with any IT system, is that it needs to be launched with the minimum of disruption and have real benefit for employees. If it is not launched correctly and information is not up to date, then e-HR will have taken several steps backwards even before it has been allowed to get going. HR professionals therefore need to think carefully about the way the system is presented to employees, selling in the benefits to them as individuals.

Electronic entry processing should remove many of the more mundane tasks required by the HR department. While this will reduce the interface HR departments need to have with employees for administrative reasons, the pay off is that it is creating additional added value time for HR professionals to spend with staff.

So how is this extra time created? Everyone agrees that increased efficiency is critical and this is essentially what e-HR has been developed for – to allow HR professionals to do their job and for employees to integrate closer with business systems. We all know that HR departments can become administration magnets and with the introduction of e-HR, administration is reduced and more time is available to perform added value tasks to employee and the business alike.

The benefits of e-HR need to be communicated effectively and one of the best ways of winning internal support is to apply fundamental human resources principals – get employees or an employee representative involved at the start and ensure they are part of an internal project team. In this way, employees can state what information they want on the system and how they can get the most benefit. When e-HR is implemented correctly the business and the employee are both in a ‘win-win’ situation.

Paperwork and administration should be reduced and up to date information can be accessed from any location, especially useful for satellite offices where ‘popping’ over to see the HR department is out of the question.

From a management perspective, e-HR provides a powerful flow of data. Employees can complete electronic requests for holidays or training courses, which are then circulated to the appropriate line managers. Information released from the HR database can include up to date employee records, absence and holiday records, training requests and payroll information, to name but a few.

In effect, e-HR systems allow the employee to become the driver of HR data and allow HR departments to control the information which managers and employees can access. Due to the confidential nature of personal information, it is essential that this access is controlled and information is available that will allow human resources departments to run more effectively.

Companies are now connected more than ever and employees are finding that they can integrate with their company, no matter their location, on the shop floor or in the field. It is while they are in these locations that they can benefit from e-HR by reviewing personal details and submitting applications for holidays or training.

The benefits of e-HR are relatively well established, namely the reduction of administration and the closer integration of the employee with the enterprise. However one of the main attractions for the employee is payroll. Payroll is a very emotive subject and by introducing online payslips, employees can view and receive payroll information much quicker. If an employee is in the field, payroll details can be accessed instantly instead of waiting several days for the payslip to drop through the letterbox.

The days of the paper payslip are numbered. Even employees who are based at head office or are not in the field will receive online payslips quicker – a touch of the button will provide instant pay details. This will allow quicker checking of payroll, employees will be able to look through previous payslips without having to sift through files and holiday, absence or benefit information can be submitted through the use of an e-HR system.

Business practices and cultures are changing. The HR function is now seen as a core business function. e-HR, by reducing administrative time for HR professionals, allows them to invest more time in the business and become more valuable to the company.

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