With all the talk of Digital Transformation, it’s easy to assume that technology touches every facet of an organization, and that every department is changing the way it operates. Unfortunately, the benefits of being digital-focused are not evenly distributed. While finance, sales and marketing have embraced technology and reaped the benefits, HR departments are working to get up the digital curve so that they no longer get trapped in inefficient paper-heavy processes that keep them from more important strategic work.

Some organizations have already realized the potential that digital technologies offer their HR departments. These organizations are the ones that have reimagined the traditional HR workflow, placing emphasis on how HR leaders can play a significant, valuable role in a company’s growth. They are successfully moving beyond the necessary administrative requirements to focus on talent acquisition, performance management and organizational transformation.

But, before HR professionals can fully focus on business performance, they must have the time and resources to do so. By automating their processes and thereby their information management, HR departments can become more accurate, more organized and more efficient record-keepers. This frees them up to deploy their skills and expertise more agilely across the company to drive key HR and organizational initiatives.

What is agile HR?

Agility is defined as the ability to move quickly and easily. An agile methodology has started to spread amongst software engineers, and more and more technology is being designed to respond to unpredictability and provide organizations with the ability to reassess and adapt as needed. It’s no surprise that this methodology has played an instructive role for HR professionals who must adapt on the fly.

Today, expectations are far higher for HR. In addition to managing their traditional functions, they’re also expected to facilitate and improve organizational agility across the department and across the organization. In essence, HR must be flexible and drive initiatives that allow businesses to adapt, innovate and collaborate efficiently. These can include strategies that:

  • Train leaders throughout all levels of an organization to act as coaches, not managers.
  • Ensure team alignment by emphasizing a strong, focused mission and core values.
  • Provide transparency through collaborative, detailed systems that outline company goals, strategies and policies.
  • Implement solutions that allow teams to collaborate, share and approve documents securely.

The first step towards agility is removing the barriers that prevent HR leaders from being able to focus on these higher-order objectives. This means automating the information management processes that keep HR professionals bogged down.

The Challenges HR Faces

Although the role of HR professionals continues to transform, many of the challenges they face are familiar:

Paper as Far as the Eye Can See

HR departments still spend an average of two days per week focusing on unnecessary paperwork. HR professionals have the not-so-easy task of creating, handling and protecting a wide variety of sensitive employee records and information, including employee onboarding documents, payroll and benefit selections, training and development records, performance management documents, and retirement and termination documents. Not only do each of these physical records take up vital space when stored in-house, but managing the proper retention and secure destruction of these documents requires time and resources that could be used on more productive objectives. For those still invested in their paper records, it is not uncommon to spend half a day each week searching for specific documents that were misfiled, lost or never returned to HR in the first place.

Going digital allows HR departments to eliminate the wasteful paper and organize their information in a clear, consistent and convenient way. It is a critical first step towards the benefits of agility.

Only 24 Hours in a Day

If two days a week are already accounted for, there’s really no time to waste! HR is responsible for recruiting, onboarding, training, performance management, and a variety of other responsibilities that, especially when handled by multiple people across several departments, can turn into a long, drawn-out process. Whether a form needs to be signed by multiple department heads or an employee’s file is missing a vital record, small tasks can quickly turn into tedious work.

Automation streamlines these processes, making the appropriate documents and information available to the right people, no matter where they are so that they can be signed and completed efficiently.

So Many Rules, So Little Time

HR is charged with the tedious, often complex task of keeping pace with the vast number of rules and regulations that apply to their specific organization and industry. Depending on the reach of the company, HR departments must familiarize themselves with regulations from region to region, to those that have a worldwide span, such as the GDPR. While most feel that compliance isn’t sexy and is table stakes at best, understanding and preparing for additional regulations or updates to existing laws requires valuable time and resources, and organizations that don’t comply can face hefty fines and serious consequences.

With automation, HR departments can implement regulation updates as needed, ensuring they are compliant with the ever-changing laws and reducing risk. This applies to maintaining compliant records in both the go-forward electronic world as well as in the paper documents and records held by the company so that compliance becomes an enabler and not a barrier to success.

The Benefits of an Agile HR

By automating their workflows and information management processes, HR departments can be both consistent and proactive in their productivity while spending less time on tedious, paper processes. With automated processes in place, HR leaders can then focus on more strategic concerns, including:

  • Improving the employee experience by introducing innovative and collaborative tools and resources that are intuitive to use.
  • Utilizing metrics and analytics to identify where inefficiencies are occurring and can be improved.
  • Gleaning valuable insights from data that allows them to help build a team and processes that boost business performance.
  • Support a remote, flexible and expanding workforce, allowing teams to work together collaboratively, from wherever they are.

It Takes a Village

Of course, automation alone won’t transform your traditional HR department into an agile asset. Organizations must ensure the right people are in place to implement the tools and strategies needed to grow and adapt with the business.

If your organization is ready to eliminate time-consuming, administrative busy work and streamline your HR processes, learn how we can help. CartaHR is easy to use and will accelerate your HR department’s progress towards becoming an agile, strategic contributor to your company’s success.