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Robert Hicks

Reward Gateway

Group HR Director

Read more about Robert Hicks

Three ways to help solve the HR productivity problem


How can HR professionals improve their technology use, workflow and communications to enhance their productivity?

Recent research has revealed that HR workers spend seven hours a week manually checking, responding to and keeping up with different HR applications – the equivalent of 367 hours a year.

With these workflow interruptions, it comes as no surprise that almost 90% of HR professionals believe that increasing their workplace productivity is a top priority for 2019, as this will allow more time for the impactful parts of HR, such as hiring and retaining talent, engaging employees, and making the world a better place to work.

This leads us to the question: how can you, as HR professionals, better manage your HR systems, improve workflow and increase productivity?

1. Reassess your tech

The same research showed that three in five HR professionals are using over five workplace apps and systems a day, which is disrupting workflow and making it more difficult to manage.

To avoid unnecessary interference in your workplace, reassess the apps you’re using and cut out the ones you’re not using regularly, or look into using a platform where you can integrate multiple systems.

By streamlining your HR technology, you can reduce the amount of time spent on admin tasks, cut down on paperwork and keep data secure – and that’s just from your side. For your employees, having HR programmes – such as employee benefits, reward and recognition, wellbeing and internal communication tools – on different platforms is likely to confuse them and create more administrative processes for HR.

With everything in one place, it’s far easier to create an engaged workforce, remove the need for multiple login and security processes, and allow for easy access to different pillars of your engagement strategy.

By spending more time up front working on planning and automation, the management of HR systems will become far more straightforward.

Imagine this: you are launching a new employee recognition programme, allowing employees to nominate one another for their hard work on a separate platform, with a new profile, a new username and a new password. In addition, last month you launched a separate platform with a corporate discounts programme to stretch your employees income. None of these new systems work with your current intranet or internal communication programme.

Your workforce is going to be understandably confused. They may not be able to find the new platform, have lost their password, or just aren’t using either platform. Your time becomes disrupted with the need to continually explain your initiatives and reset passwords for employees.

Reducing the number of platforms or combining all your initiatives in one place means that your employees are more likely to use them, whilst also allowing your job to be done better and faster, making the most of your time spent at work.

2. Plan, plan, plan

Communications can be planned well in advance, saving you hours in the long run. The implementation of initiatives, such as new benefits or recognition tools, are likely to be developed far ahead of launch, and scheduling all your communications means that your day-to-day work can run without a hitch.

Some tools will even allow you to ‘set it and forget it’ for inflexible dates or big announcements, such as seasonal reminders.

Planned recognition initiatives, such as long service anniversaries or birthdays, can be scheduled in advance with a file containing employee information, personalised messages and the dates for these to go out.

If possible, you could even link your rewards and recognition programme to a discounts platform, so you can send employees vouchers recognising them for their hard work.

By spending more time up front working on planning and automation, the management of HR systems will become far more straightforward.

3. Tell them early, tell them often

The final key to making your HR tech and systems more effective and productive is good communication – something that sounds obvious, yet previous research from Reward Gateway shows that only 22% of employees strongly agree that they trust their employer to communicate information openly and honestly.

This involves both communicating with your employees and allowing them to feedback. As mentioned before, if you’re rolling out new technology then you need to make sure that your employees know how to use it and don’t find it too complicated.

Asking employees for feedback at staff meetings is a great idea, but with numerous office locations or large numbers of remote workers, this can prove challenging.

Employees also might not want to feedback in front of their peers. They might feel embarrassed that they can’t grasp the new system. Therefore creating an online anonymous feedback mechanism can allow employees to share honest and real-time opinions on your new systems, which can have an impact on your ongoing HR strategy.

Engaged employees not only make better decisions for their company, but are also more productive and innovative.

To further allow everyone to work better and reduce unnecessary queries or complications, you need to ensure that each system is able to communicate your business’s values and objectives – your employees need to know what everything is for.

Creating and communicating a consistent mission that aligns with your company allows your employees to properly understand your purpose and values, helping to create an engaged workforce and make your organisation better, stronger, and more resilient.

Engaged employees not only make better decisions for their company, but are also more productive and innovative, as they have a deeper understanding of their business, like or love what they are doing, and want their organisation to succeed.

Although there are many obstacles standing in the way of productivity within HR, reevaluating your ways of working, including communications, technology and planning in advance, can set you on the way to becoming more productive, allowing for more time to engage your workforce, and make the world a better place to work.

Want more on this topic? Read ‘Productivity: why businesses need to look at more than just output per hour.’

Author Profile Picture
Robert Hicks

Group HR Director

Read more from Robert Hicks

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