5 signs your HR system is letting you down

Date: 08 May 2020

Author: Chris Radley 

The clearest sign that your HR/Payroll system just isn’t doing its job is a groundswell of grumbling. Staff sentiment is the true litmus test of how well your system is serving you – and them!

So, if you have your ear to the ground, what can you expect to hear, and why does it matter?

1. “Not interested, don’t care!”

Employee engagement is a biggie. Or rather, a lack of.

A disconnect between staff and the business doesn’t bode well for either party. Disengaged employees are less productive, more disruptive, and more likely to leave. And a business that doesn’t care for its employees by tracking their wellbeing and level of engagement won’t attract or retain quality people.

A recent article from Forbes reports that only 21% of employees report that they’re highly engaged at work. The rest? Well, they're just there for the money. So in essence, they’re doing enough to avoid being fired, but are unlikely to go above and beyond your minimum expectations as an employer. Which isn’t what you want to hear.

And according to Gallup, that complacency is costing you, and your bottom line, dearly. Disengaged workers have higher absenteeism rates (37%), lower productivity (18%) and lower profitability (15%). And what’s that costing you in terms of bottom line? Gallup says you're looking at the cost of 34% of a disengaged employee's annual salary, or $3,400 for every $10,000 they make. Ouch.

A woman showing frustration in front of a laptop

2. “We hate using the HR/Payroll system!”

User experience is everything these days. We live in a world where the most engaging, streamlined and intuitive app wins!

So, do people hate using your HR & payroll system? If it’s clunky, hard to use, and difficult to navigate, then the answer is going to be an unequivocal ‘yes’. And you get zero out of 100 points for user experience regardless of whether it’s used as a tool used for making decisions, managing admin, or monitoring aspirations.

Complexity is not your friend when it comes to HR and payroll systems. The effort and cost of training users, and an overflow of manuals to address the shortcomings of an unintuitive interface, all signal that you have a problem.  

And sadly, there are any number of instances where HR and payroll systems have never gone live, as even the stakeholders hate the solution! I’ve seen customers who’ve tried several times to either unsuccessfully implement the same or different systems. Why? It’s mainly to do with integration. They usually have lots of different systems and require integration to enable multiple points of data entry.

Without integration, decision-makers have no visibility of data and no transparency of processes. All equating to an inability to make informed decisions for your business and your people.

Which sort of defeats the purpose.

3. “Spreadsheets are easier!”

A great HR & payroll system should be a joy to use. Seriously.

When employees are at the ‘hate to use, won’t use’ stage and resort to using spreadsheets for reporting and managing data, you know the system honeymoon period is over. Plus you’ve got some real payroll data integrity and compliance issues as well.

You may love them, and they are useful productivity tools, but spreadsheets pose a genuine security risk for your business. They are hackable, prone to data corruption and error, inefficient to use, and they don’t scale. And they require reconfiguration every time there’s a change to your business rules or payroll legislation.

And even worse, your people are likely to return to completely manual processes outside of the system, which effectively drives the value of your solution down, while ramping up the risk factors.

Someone holding a cardboard with a drawing of an angry face

4. “The recruitment processes around here are cr*p!”

Your recruitment, onboarding, and offboarding processes have a surprisingly deep impact on your employees. And they get noticed.

The EX (employee experience) encompasses every interaction your people have with you as their employer, from the moment you first get their attention, to how you say goodbye. And that journey is as important to your organisation as the customer experience.  

For example, how someone feels about your organisation’s purpose, brand, and culture (which should all be part of a good onboarding process) makes a disproportionate contribution towards retention, performance, and development. 

Gallup research reports that one-third of global employees strongly agree with the statement, “The mission and purpose of my organisation makes me feel my job is important.” That means delivering a positive and engaging experience has a significant and measurable impact on your business and operational costs. So, doing it badly costs you not only financially, but in terms of reputation.

A positive EX can also influence an ex-employee’s decision to return to the fold, or their willingness to recommend your organisation to other desirable, high-value employees. So, it’s small wonder that optimising EX is now considered a strategic priority by many HR leaders.  

 

5. “Future, what future?”

If your HR system can’t manage employee career expectations and aspirations, you’ve got a problem.

You can probably take cold comfort in the fact that it’s not just you. Gallup says that “Just two in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.” 

EX directly impacts your company’s overall results and outputs. So it’s vital that your organisational strategy and business KPIs align. But without tools like automated performance plans (nicely configured and ready to roll), it’s hard to manage goals consistently and comprehensively against live data. And employee self-service access to drive investment in their own and team’s performance is another ‘must-have’ for true engagement.

Most important of all is not to drop the ball. Good people are hard to find and even harder to replace. And missed reviews and appraisals are just another nail in the coffin when it comes to an employee’s burgeoning disappointment as they are bypassed and undervalued. If they can’t see their future with you, they will most certainly look elsewhere.

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