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  • Mark Shaw

Improve Your HR Information.

As your business grows, HR plays a more central role in collecting, storing, and reporting on a range of employee information.

Across the entire employee life cycle, records must be created, and reports generated to different audiences, including employees, supervisors, managers, and external agencies.

For many businesses, the emerging problem is that spreadsheets, Word documents and standardised forms are no longer the appropriate tools to use.

Unfortunately, neither are many modern HR software programs. While the cloud-based data bases are a significant step forward, too many HR software programs simply replicate your existing workflow, forms, and checklists into an electronic User Interface. Some HR software packages may even tell you why you need to do each step and guide a manager through the process. But, as a colleague described it, “they just create e-forms”. Add to this, many software packages are designed to keep a record of every interaction between a manager and their employees. Such systems remain too complex and time consuming for the modern workplace.

While all this is supposed to help improve the HR information available and used when a staffing/employee decision is required, based on my career in HR, I’d argue there remains a flaw in this approach.

Too often I hear that when managers poorly execute processes, mistakes happen, and this leads to legal claims. The assumption underpinning such a statement is that the current process is sound and defendable. And the manager is to blame because they do not follow the process correctly.

I disagree. I argue HR needs to provide better systems to help managers make and justify their decisions. We need to improve HR information available to a manager before they make a decision.

Take the example of a probation review. Working backwards, the outcome of the process is to decide between three outcomes; confirm permanent employment, extend probation , or terminate the employee. Current HR software does not help the manager justify their recommendation or give the final decision maker confidence that their decision can be successfully defended.

What has worked for many clients for almost 25 years is replacing your traditional spreadsheets, Word documents, standardised forms, and current software e-forms, with a user-friendly, web-based BARS-interface approach.

Why? Because the feedback I personally receive is:

· HR have confidence in the system, reports, and data they analyse.

· Line managers realise it helps them justify their thinking in a simple way.

· Executives have confidence the system will withstand scrutiny.

Improve HR information (and outcomes) by shifting away from complex processes to more user friendly ones. The system is proven, you just have to accept the challenge of introducing a different approach.

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