HR professionals at small and mid-sized businesses are drowning in paperwork and repetitive administrative tasks. What they should be doing instead is looking for opportunities to automate so they can focus on the important stuff, like strategic business-building activities.
Generally, HR resources at small businesses are limited. The full scope of administrative tasks like hiring, onboarding, benefits management, and time tracking often falls to just one person — on top of any other business responsibilities they may be expected to bear. This task load eats away at the limited time these team members have to provide strategic organizational support.
To solve this crisis, HR pros must turn to HR tech to help them streamline their day-to-day tasks. Here are five things HR pros should be doing instead of admin work – and why it’s so important for business leaders to support bringing HR administration online:
1. Focusing on Hiring
The unemployment rate is at its lowest point in nearly 50 years, which means qualified candidates are more difficult to find than (virtually) ever. When a great candidate does enter the job market, they’re typically snatched up quickly. Experts say the best of the best are usually hired in less than 10 days. Certainly, no HR pro buried under mundane paperwork will be agile enough to grab these prospects.
What can HR professionals do to compete for this smaller pool of talent that disappears fast? You basically have three options: you can lower your hiring standards, increase pay, or dedicate more time to pursuing top talent.
Our organization chose the latter, and it has paid off. We used to follow the standard routine of responding to new candidates by email, usually within 2-3 days of receiving their application. When we ditched the email responses and started personally calling each candidate within hours of their application, our hiring metrics improved substantially.
Again, overburdened HR pros don’t have time to make instant phone calls to every candidate.
2. Improving Employee Training and Personnel Support
To fill the skills gaps that nearly every company is dealing with today, HR pros must be able to prioritize updating employee handbooks and manuals, improving professional development efforts, and increased team-building efforts. Today’s employees are also drawn to personal feedback and coaching now more than ever, which means HR professionals can add real value to an organization by implementing regular one-to-one meetings that fulfill candidates’ needs for development.
Regular, documented one-to-one meetings between managers and their direct reports are our organization’s primary mechanism for consistent coaching and feedback. One-to-ones benefit HR, too: The process allows managers to collect ongoing documentation about issues while providing team members with regular opportunities to share their ideas or concerns.
3. Enhancing Company Culture
Employees perform their best work when the culture is great, and many workers would even switch jobs if it meant joining a better culture.
Building a strong organizational culture is the kind of work many HR professionals enjoy and feel adds the most value, but it’s also a time-consuming, long-term kind of project. As such, culture often gets put on the back burner as the daily tasks pile up. By automating away administrative responsibilities, HR can spend more time creating cultures where people want to work and can thrive.
4. Staying on Top of Compliance Issues
Compliance pressure is a consistent challenge for HR leaders at small and mid-sized businesses. It can be a struggle to stay current with changing regulations, and organizations operating in multiple states must navigate particularly complex legal webs.
However, like culture-building, compliance requires significant, sustained attention. Menial tasks like payroll and time-tracking only detract from the time HR pros could spend on staying up to date on state and federal compliance matters.
5. Updating the Employee Experience
New technology is not just altering the scope of HR — it is affecting every segment of every business, regardless of industry. Moreover, candidates scrutinize the technology and workflows used throughout your hiring process. A clunky and inconvenient experience will cause candidates to drop out of the running.
HR professionals should consider carefully whether the company’s technology is up to date and whether it’s helping or hindering employees in getting their tasks done. This of course includes hiring technology, but also the systems workers have to use every day in your organization.
Tech is yet another area many HR leaders would love to improve, but they can’t seem to find the time for it in light of other pressing business needs. Yet the employee experience is the foundation on which the company’s continued success is built — so making time to prioritize it can have a big payoff.
HR professionals are crucial to keeping small and mid-sized businesses going and growing, but they’re not delivering the most value if their days are characterized by endless paperwork. When you automate and streamline HR administration, you give your HR pros the opportunity to fully contribute to organizational success.
Alex Tolbert is the founder and CEO of BerniePortal, the all-in-one HRIS for small and mid-sized businesses, and Bernard Health, a Nashville-based benefits brokerage.