Streamlining Your HR Department: The Most Important Business Lesson of The Covid-19 Pandemic

Streamlining Your HR Department: The Most Important Business Lesson of The Covid-19 Pandemic

Your workforce is your most vital investment because, simply put, you cannot conduct business without it. This makes your Human Resources Department central to your success – now, and in the future. The centrality of your Human Resources Department means that inefficiencies in its systems and processes quickly resonate throughout your operation, spreading like a contagion, infecting each part of your organisation. Whether that is the result of a lack of clarity on policies, or undetected employee underperformance, the impact on productivity can be significant.

Efficiency is a key goal for which all businesses should strive because it is a highly effective way to increase productivity. This, in turn, leads to increased profitability, which creates the opportunity to both expand your workforce, and provide employment security in the long-term. In short, using efficiency to future-proof your business also helps to future-proof the livelihood of your workforce. A secure and valued workforce is a productive workforce, and this is how overall sustainability is best achieved.

In the normal course of events, the work of the Human Resources Department is challenging and varied, but this has been made even more difficult in a world forever changed by the Coronavirus pandemic. Since this virus swept across the globe in 2020, every business has had to re-think its entire risk management strategy and has had to adapt to new ways of working in order to survive. The resulting impact on employees has been incalculable, and the management of this falls under the remit of the Human Resources Department.

The role of the Human Resources Department and the challenges it now faces

In the broadest of terms, the Human Resources Department handles everything that relates to the day-to-day general management of the workforce. This will include:

  • Recruitment and onboarding of new employees
  • Payroll and benefits (in conjunction with Accounts)
  • Policy and regulation management
  • Employee contract and performance management
  • Mediation, where necessary

These are business-critical functions, which is to say that they are a fundamental part of business continuity. For the business to operate - regardless of fire, flood or viral pandemic – the Human Resources Department must be up, running, and getting the job done. The Coronavirus pandemic has created an important teachable moment, then, in that it has forced businesses to confront and consider the issues and inefficiencies of their respective Human Resources Department in a way that only a lengthy international crisis could. It has thrust upon every organisation the need to find a better, more flexible way of working, that ensures continuity, and protects the interests of employees, stakeholders, and customers alike.

The main challenge has been location. The need to protect employees from Coronavirus has necessitated a sudden increase in people working remotely, all over the world – logging in from home wherever their role allows them to do so. This unprecedented scattering of the workforce has posed challenges to the proper maintenance of workflows and to effective communication. The management of employee contracts – including deadlines for renegotiation – has been drastically affected, along with the ability to accurately monitor employee performance. In addition, policy changes made in response to the quick adaptations in procedure and objective that have recently been necessary have become more difficult to enact and enforce.

The point here is that each of these specific challenges was already an efficiency indicator – long before anyone had ever heard the name, ‘Coronavirus.’ While the logistical impact of a global pandemic has amplified these challenges for Human Resources Departments of all industries, it is just as likely to be the case that those functions were experiencing inefficiency in the first place. These types of inefficiencies often arise in the following ways:

  • Workflows – Bottlenecks in the workflows of a Human Resources Department can be caused by a number of factors, including gaps in training, staff absence, and issues with technology.
  • Communication – Ineffective communication can result from workflow issues, and also from problems with team management and performance.
  • Employee contract management – The detail of employee contracts can become difficult to manage when a Human Resources Department takes a reactive rather than a proactive approach to Contract Management. This can result in important milestones being missed, along with opportunities for review, renegotiation, and performance management. A lack of performance management can create a ‘snowball effect,’ in that poor performance contributes to inefficiency, and opportunities to take remedial action are regularly missed.
  • Policy management – The policies of a business are designed to ensure that the entire organisation is working toward the same objective, in a cohesive fashion that complies with legislation and regulation. Poor policy management can result from workflow issues, and communication problems.

Where these types of issues already existed, the onset of the Coronavirus crisis will have greatly exacerbated them. This means it is not only vital to address these inefficiencies in order to survive the effects of the pandemic, but also to weather any such event that may occur in the coming years. The deployment of streamlining strategies within the Human Resources Department will allow for the robust future-proofing of the entire enterprise.

Streamlining your processes with Management Software

The implementation of a Management Software package is the most effective course of remedial action for businesses struggling with inefficiencies in any department, including Human Resources. The purpose of the software is to streamline operations using a high degree of automation, and a design that ensures a cohesive approach – at all levels of granularity.

  • Platform design

The platform design enables permission-based access to authorised personnel, regardless of location. This means that staff can access all necessary up-to-date, accurate documentation from any internet-connected place, through any web-connected device. Workflows need not be disrupted by remote-working – whether that remote-working results from normal client site visits, or international crises that necessitate social distancing.

  • Workflow automation

By automating workflows, Contract Management software eliminates the risk of human error with regards to the movement of documentation and tasks through the department. A comprehensive system of notifications and alerts ensures that the right personnel are kept on target with tasks and workloads pertaining to contract and policy documentation – regardless of location. Deadlines are met, schedules are kept, and project oversight and review is made simple through the automatic creation of audit logs.

  • Policy creation and distribution

With platform-based software packages, everything happens inside the platform, which means that policies, procedures, and regulations can be created, amended, and managed entirely within the system, using permission-based access. A centralised repository for documentation makes distribution and visibility simple, and further enhances your rates of compliance. Moreover, it ensures that all personnel are accessing the most up to date versions of all documentation.

  • Policy acceptance

Implementing a software platform that essentially makes your policies, procedures, and regulations available online enables you to automate your acceptance and enforcement processes. Using a control interface, policy acceptance can be monitored, making it far easier to identify instances of non-compliance, and enabling senior staff to address these issues from a fully informed position.

  • Reporting and analysis

The reporting and analysis features of platform-based software packages are the design aspect that takes it from being efficient and useful, to being a powerful, proactive approach to streamlining processes. By examining the business data in your system – including policies, contracts, and Intellectual Properties – you can not only make fully informed decisions about the current operation of your business, but also make secure, predictive choices about near-future movements and expansions. Having accurate, actionable data to hand allows for comprehensive risk mitigation that is completed in a streamlined, efficient system.

  • Full integration

To enable streamlined operation, Symfact’s platform-based Management Software is designed to fully integrate with existing systems – including those that connect policies to suppliers and customers. This ensures a smooth, phased rollout across your organisation, with a high return on investment, including within the all-important area of user experience.

  • Customisation

The Management Software package designed by Symfact is fully customisable, which means that you can ensure the implementation meets all of the needs of your business. It also means that the software supports scalability, providing you with the flexibility required to adapt to fluctuations in demand, and phases of market shifts.

As a developer, Symfact has created a suite of Contract Management Software that serves to streamline the operations of any type of business – including the areas of Legal Entity, Outsourcing Value, Third Party Risk, Governance and Compliance, Contract Lifecycle, and Policy Management. Its intuitive platform design is built around a centralised repository and allows for full customisation to reflect the comprehensive detail of the business operation.

While Symfact Contract Management Software provides a whole-enterprise, efficiency-boosting solution, it also specifically enables the streamlining of your Human Resources Department. This approach – targeted at the working heart of your business – provides the means to improve efficiency and productivity throughout your operation, maintaining momentum now, and in the future. If you would like to see how Symfact can help future-proof your business by increasing the efficiency of your Human Resources Department, book your free software demonstration today.