There are many things that a Human Resource Department must do, and many of those tasks are completed with manual processes. A lot of tenured HR Professionals feel the need to continue doing some things manually because they fear technology or want to physically hold a piece of paper rather than just receive an electronic receipt. This is the “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, and technology is trying to help those people to enjoy their extra time and get out of the office more often.
I’m going to touch on a couple of the more popular processes and explain how they can be automated within Human Resource technology. The items of discussion are related to Benefits, Payroll, and Time Management.
- Benefits Enrollment
In many organizations, HR staff may set up meetings with individuals or groups of newly benefits eligible employees. They may have a conversation or training session, which could take hours of time away from the HR staff member’s other duties. After the conversation has been conducted and the employee reviews the benefit materials, then they will complete a paper enrollment application, which may need to be scanned, faxed, emailed, or mailed to the benefit provider so they can then enroll the person in to the appropriate plans.
Not only does this process use hours of labor that could otherwise be staffed in other areas, but it also has potential security and clerical issues. The data could be sent to the wrong recipient or get lost in the mail. The employee could also input incorrect data on the forms, since the forms tend to have hard to read boxes.
Payroll processes that are handled manually, include, but are not limited to: 401(k) files being manually loaded to the vendor, FSA/HSA documents being loaded manually to the vendor, or Direct Deposit or Positive Pay files being handled manually and loaded in to the bank site.
These tasks can be easily automated with the proper HR system. Many have automated file generation that are created on the back-end. Once the file connections are established, these files will send automatically to the applicable vendors, without requiring the HR and/or Payroll team to have any physical contact.
Best practice is to have the HR or Payroll person verify the reports after payroll has processed, but the systems are generally very accurate when it comes to data transfer. There can be a significant amount of time saved from having to run, print, scan, fax, mail, and upload any documents. Not only will you be saving time, but you’ll be saving money, since your staff will be able to do other tasks in the time they’ve saved with payroll automation.
- Time Tracking
Manual time tracking is another time waster. Many organizations continue to use the paper time sheets or cards that are stamped by a manual timeclock. These organizations generally have the time cards verified by a supervisor, then submitted to payroll or HR for validation and secondary data entry into the payroll software.
By using the proper technology, you could save time and limit the amount of resources involved in time entry. Most of the systems are electronic, and have clocks that sync directly to payroll. There are daily reconciliation reports that will potentially eliminate the need for so much manual interaction from the payroll or HR staff.
By upgrading and automating these processes, you will see many big changes. The process really simplifies after you get in a groove and start to feel comfortable with the new data flow. There will be fewer errors and more precise and accurate data. In addition to cost savings, staff are able to be utilized in other areas, or even take some much-needed PTO.
Change can be a scary thing, but with the proper implementation team and the right HR system, you will learn to let go and allow yourself and your organization to make the most of the HR system. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, you will learn that there are so many more HR processes that can be automated. But for now, we’ll stick to the “Big 3” and touch on other items next time.
HRchitect is a full-service consulting company that can assist you in the creation of a Human Capital Management technology strategy, evaluating technology to select the correct system, and assist with Change and Project Management. We can also assist with your system implementation and provide optimization services to assure you are getting the full benefit from your current technology.
Written by: Stephanie Tuegel, PHR, SHRM-CP
Stephanie is a Senior Consultant at HRchitect. Stephanie specializes in guiding clients through implementation of HRIS and payroll systems.