HR 4.0

5 tips for smarter handling of administrative HR processes

July 21, 2022 - 4 minutes reading time
Article by Paulo Das Dores

As an HR professional, do you still have too many administrative tasks on your plate and too little time for strategy? Is it difficult to change processes that are 'just the way they are, because we've been working like this for years'? Breaking through this situation is difficult, but... not impossible!

The step towards automation does not have to be a laborious process; small steps can often bring you a long way. Think of small adjustments that allow you to organize your HR activities more efficiently. In this blog, we will give you a number of tips on how you can benefit directly.

Tip 1: Automate? Get your business case in order

Difficulty convincing management that processes can be more efficient with digital tools? Is the organization reluctant to make changes? Many companies face this problem. You can often get the organization on board by making a good business case. Map out the costs involved in certain processes and what it would yield if these were automated. Take the processing of declarations, for example. Suppose your organization has 200 employees who submit an average of two expense claims per month. If it takes 10 to 20 minutes to process a declaration and you then calculate the hourly wage of an HR employee, you have a good indication of the amount you can save if you digitize the process. And then you're only talking about the declarations.

Tip 2: Dare to let go

Letting go is hard, but some tasks are better left to a manager. If a manager has approved a claim, why does HR need to see that claim too? Or take case management and the administrative issues involved in the sick leave process. A manager can perform these tasks better than an HR department can 'remotely'. The manager knows the employees, the background, the content of the job and the daily routine. He/she can therefore better assess what the employee might still be able to do. HR takes on a more supporting, facilitating role. After all, HR has knowledge of procedures and legislation. Via microlearnings, for example, you can convey and safeguard that knowledge. Or make videos of a few minutes in which a subject is explained. This takes time, but you do make information immediately accessible. This is much more efficient than when the employee has to figure it out himself..

Tip 3: Map out your administrative processes: where could they be tighter?

Are there perhaps an unnecessary number of people involved in certain processes, or can you eliminate superfluous tasks somewhere? There is already a lot of profit to be made here. Consider, for example, a declaration process. Let's go back to the earlier example of the declaration process where a declaration first goes to the manager for approval, then to the HR manager and finally to the director. Are the final two really relevant in this process or is that how the process has grown? Probably the HR manager and director can be removed and you can make the process smarter. In doing so, of course, it is important that you can place the trust with employees and managers.

Tip 4: Don't try to reinvent the wheel

If you choose software, use standards that are available on the market instead of reinventing the wheel. Especially for processes such as claims, sick leave and leave, there are standards that you can easily implement and quickly save time. These tools are not entirely customized, but you can be sure that your processes are tightly and efficiently organized.

So focus on common processes, not exceptions. Because if you want a custom system that takes into account all possible exceptions (what if an employee does not sign his performance report within thirty days?), then you get beautiful workflows that are completely tailored to the organization. But these workflows are incredibly maintenance-intensive. The implementation time is much longer and if your organization changes the project structure, you have to completely rebuild that beautiful workflow again.

Tip 5: Choose one truth

Suppose the production manager requests absence data from the HR colleague. Which report does that HR colleague use? And does he/she use the same data or just a different report than the logistics manager requesting sick leave data? Many organizations have multiple sick leave reports. Sometimes as many as fifteen different reports have been created over the years based on one-off requests. Clean up the reports and choose your standards: how do you want your absenteeism figures presented, which calculation method applies? Measuring is knowing, but it is important that you calculate with the same figures.

Finally: start with the low-hanging fruit

So are you making the move to automation? Then start small: start with small tools that quickly deliver benefits such as expense claims, sick leave and leave. If you pick this low-hanging fruit, you will be up and running within a few weeks, with a guaranteed return of investment on an annual basis! In the longer term, you can then expand to larger matters, such as recruitment and selection, talent management and digital personnel files. But beware: don't go about this in too fragmented a fashion. There is then a danger that you will have different tools for everything, with separate logins and data (which must be changed in each tool if an employee changes position or department). You would rather opt for a total solution, such as a suite in which everything is integrated and employees only have to enter or modify data once. You can't get more efficient than that!

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