Two of HR’s Oldest Problems: Can Self-Service Help?

 
The employee and manager self-service aspect of HR service delivery continues to be an area of focus for large organizations. Efficiency gains, employee satisfaction and cost reductions tend to be the primary drivers for implementing a self-service program.  However, there are two areas many HR departments are struggling to address that prevent HR professionals from shifting their time allocation from administrative functions to strategic initiatives and business alignment.  The two areas HR should consider when developing a self-service strategy are:
 
  • Monitoring and complying with government and corporate regulations
  • Processing and managing employee documents
Regulations and laws govern every aspect of HR; compensation, recruitment, development and retirement.  These regulations and laws are complex and compliance is not getting easier. Companies are finally adjusting to requirements related to the Affordable Care Act and now here comes immigration reform. Proper documentation and recordkeeping has always been the foundation for HR to ensure their organization is in compliance, but with 30-50 unique document types making sure files are complete and up to date is a tough, time consuming job. Self-service in HRMS’s , onboarding and applicant tracking systems has led to more and more documents and information being stored in HR technologies never designed with compliance or responding to audits in mind.  At a minimum HR needs technology to securely share documents with auditors and litigators, retention management and a way to proactively monitor missing or expired documents. 
 
A survey at this year’s SHRM conference indicated 85% of organizations had employee files where half or more of the employee documents were paper-based. HR departments managing paper employee files spend as much as 65% of their time on transactional and administrative work, a huge drain on resources. On top of the basic paperwork maintenance HR departments must make sure the ongoing activities have the required paperwork. Certifications, training and annual elections add to the HR workload. HR has to make sure employees and managers are receiving the correct documents and then tracking the return of those documents to ensure they are received on time and are properly executed. 
 
To implement an effective self-service strategy companies must eliminate paper employee files and drive paper out of all processes.  A self-service strategy should help HR departments reduce their dependence on paper, but that isn’t always the case.  Some solutions offer self-service by giving employees the opportunity to download a form that needs to be completed.  The employee is printing a digitally born document, filling it out then handing the paper back to HR.  In this approach paper continues to be a burden for HR and the employee.  Even in systems where the employee completes documents online if HR has paper-based employee files all too often these electronic documents are printed and added to the paper employee file.  HR must have the tools to send electronic documents to employees that can be completed without printing and then filed in a secure digital repository.
 
Progressive HR departments are implementing automated HR document management systems (DMS) with advanced, integrated employee self-service functionality.  The document management system must be able to integrate with existing systems to gather data and documents into one secure repository.  It needs to be able to monitor employee files and generate automated communication campaigns with employees to distribute and gather important documents.  The employee self-service component provides employees with the ability to see a subset of the documents in their personnel files, and provide easy access to standard forms that can be completed on any personal device.
 
With an automated HR document management system and an integrated employee self-service application, the administrative workload for the HR department and employees can be dramatically reduced.  The result is that HR resources can be freed up and applied to higher value initiatives.  At the same time, the organization can gain control of compliance obligations, and gain confidence that employee information is complete and up to date.

Comments

Tom says:
9/9/2015 at 8:32 AM
Great article - thank you - just in time!

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