No Longer the Task Master, HR Gets Strategic
To deliver more business value, HR personnel must look to technology for process improvement and spend less time on traditional administrative activities.
Research by Dr. Anthony Hesketh of Lancaster University Management School found that 87% of HR directors now have a place on companies’ executive management committees, while 40% have a seat on the board.* Clearly HR is now perceived as instrumental to the success of a company and its strategic direction. With more responsibility on its shoulders, HR needs to make time for more important things than timesheet administration, payroll processing and reporting.
Ironically, these are some of the activities that tend to consume the most time in HR departments. Payroll processing and reporting has historically been mostly a manual process, with a lot of time spent tracking employee time and attendance, chasing down timesheets, entering data into multiple systems, and organizing and reporting on the data collected. When it comes time for a compliance audit, many HR departments come to a screeching halt as staff scrambles to gather and make sense of inaccurate and incomplete data that’s scattered across numerous systems. Consequently, there’s no time for strategizing or adding business value.
According to a 2010 study by the American Payroll Association (APA), 42% of the payroll personnel surveyed spend time on transactional activities such as maintaining employee data. An additional 14% of their time is spent on technical activities, such as producing reports for management. And to support those activities, 52% of their staff is clerical.**
The APA expects the focus on transactional activities to decrease by more than a third as processes that leverage technology are implemented more consistently. The lower-value administrative activities will either be automated or outsourced, and staff focused on process improvements and analytical activities will increase, enabling a stronger focus on strategic activities.
It’s strange to think that an organization focused on human resources must turn to technology to become more strategic—but that’s exactly what they must do. For long-term productivity improvements, HR personnel need simple, automated tools for completing routine tasks, not a complex gaggle of difficult-to-manage, disparate systems and time-consuming manual processes that fail to leverage the latest technologies. Time and attendance tracking and management solutions that streamline and simplify payroll processes can help HR departments slash time spent on tedious administrative tasks, and empower them to be more strategic.