Why It's Easier to Manage Your HR Online

on Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Managing HR online is now a reality for many departments, thanks to the recent development of a range of software solutions, including those which facilitate employee self-service.

The benefits of online self-service

There are a wide range of benefits to this technological approach. Paper records are expensive to store and unwieldy to administer and search through. They are also prone to loss and damage. This old-fashioned approach took more time and required individuals to be physically present to complete arduous amounts of paperwork. The physical paper required to maintain records was also environmentally unfriendly and wasteful, presenting the business with unnecessary costs.

The move to digital facilitated a number of improvements. First, digital is cheaper to install and manage than corresponding hard-copy systems and requires no expensive physical storage. Second, the management and support of these systems can be outsourced for greater cost and efficiency gains, allowing the HR department to focus instead on what it does best: functional delivery of a HR service.

Third, online HR systems allow both private and business users to analyse data and carry out custom reporting quickly and easily, producing in-depth and actionable MI. This is vital for businesses that are seeking to deliver HR as part of their strategic business; for example, by implementing talent management and tracking systems, delivering online training, creating development options and creating employee self-service systems to improve employee engagement and boost the overall rewards package.

Naysayers may point out that an increase in HR technology and automation will remove the need for certain administration jobs, but this is the case in theory with all technologies. The reality is that staff previously working in largely administrative functions have the opportunity to upskill and develop more advanced knowledge and skills, especially in the areas of training, HR project management and systems development. The value to the company is greatly increased by these routes – far more so than the continuation of manual administration roles.

Remote or cloud-based system hosting

Consider outsourcing HR systems hosting remotely via a cloud solution. This can be tailored to match the organisation's existing systems infrastructure, providing a range of cost savings and efficiency gains. Instead of dealing with the ownership and support of desk equipment and servers within your team, you can outsource the entire management to a specialist provider who will deliver your software and applications via a secure internet connection.

Management responsibility for the hardware is transferred to the supplier and the HR team can focus on its main job, rather than worrying about aspects of security and maintenance, such as data back-ups and software upgrades. These solutions can also save the business a great deal of money, thanks to the efficiencies gained from outsourcing services to a specialist third party.

Jan Lawson believes that cloud HR offers a glimpse into the future of the HR industry, which is already reliant on digital systems.