Human Resources

How to Make 5 Routine HR Tasks Quick and Painless

How to Make 5 Routine HR Tasks Quick and Painless
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Business owners don’t have much time to spare. Between dealing with customers and leading the team, HR needs can easily be left on the backburner.

Many companies just do the bare minimum when it comes to HR -- a little bit of onboarding, a little bit of employee relations and the necessary documentation of employee and labor information. All of these administrative tasks take valuable time away from an often overworked HR director or office manager. Instead, they could be focusing on the human side of HR, like strategizing with higher ups or finding that next great hire.

There’s a better way. Here are a few HR processes costing organizations unnecessary amounts of time and money and what they should do instead:

1. New hire onboarding.

When it comes to onboarding new hires, first impressions matter. New hires make the decision whether they want to stay with an organization within their first year of employment, 90 percent of business owners said in Aberdeen’s New Hire Onboarding 2013: A Look At New Hires Report.

Make onboarding as smooth and painless as possible by letting new hires take care of onboarding paperwork online in advance. The first half of their first day shouldn’t be spent filling out forms -- that risks disengaging a new hire quickly. Instead, they should be learning about the company and participating in their new role.

Automating paperwork is key to saving time and money, but here’s something else to consider: we’re humans who relate best to other humans -- not technology. Once all the dotted lines are signed (preferably electronically for easy data transfer), leaders should think about who will help the new hire assimilate into their role.

Assign each new hire a mentor. This person should be more than just their trainer for the week, but rather someone to go to throughout the first several months for questions or advice.

Related: 10 Tips for Successfully Onboarding Your New Hire

2. Benefits enrollment and education.

Without good preparation, benefits enrollment can be a nightmare. New hires and existing employees bombard HR with enrollment questions -- some of which HR might not know off-hand.

Take some of the burden off HR by using modern enrollment technology. Go completely paperless and choose a system that guides employees through electronic signup with benefits experts available to answer questions like, “Which plan is right for me?” To save even more time, integrate your benefits system with payroll.

3. Timesheets and payroll.

Gretchen Gavett’s article published in the Harvard Business Review in January shows just how bad employees are at recalling and recording the hours they work accurately.

In fact, employees who fill in their timesheets less than once are only 35 percent accurate, according to the AffinityLive study highlighted in the article, surveying 500 professionals last summer. Accuracy improves with frequency. Employees who record their time once a day are more than twice as accurate.

For more accurate time tracking, allow employees to record their time electronically each day and make it a simple, automated process. Also, use a time tracking system that integrates with payroll directly. And don’t waste time cutting checks anymore -- offer direct deposit, if it’s not already available.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Online Payroll Provider

4. Time off requests.

At many organizations, here’s what the time off request process looks like: An employee fills out a request on paper and puts it in a manager’s inbox. Let’s say the manager approves it. They turn it in to HR. HR documents it and adjusts pay, if applicable. It’s a snooze, and a long drawn-out process for both HR and employees.

Instead, allow employees to submit requests electronically for faster approval and automated documentation in payroll. Use a program that allows employees to see company time off policies, holidays and how much PTO they have available so they can remain informed to manage their time off more effectively.

5. Updating employee information.

HR spends hours each day entering and managing employee data surrounding payroll, taxes and benefits. But there’s another side to human resources that tends to get shoved aside due to lack of time -- the soft side of HR management like birthdays, anniversaries and performance milestones. It’s a lot to keep track of.

Who better to keep track of employee information than employees themselves? Create a system that allows employees to update and manage their own profiles -- just like they do with social media. This will help HR keep up-to-date on all crucial employee data, without needing to email or ask in person.

Employees feel more empowered, and HR will have more time to do what truly matters -- connecting with and celebrating employees.

Related: 5 Inexpensive Ways to Create a Company Culture Like Google's