Views from Adrian Lewis, Director of Activ People HR
The UK is nowhere near where it should be in terms of using workplace technology and 2020 will see more British businesses move to a more digital environment, says Adrian Lewis, Director of Activ People HR, a provider of cloud based HR software.
“As more Millennial and Generation Z employees enter the workforce they expect and demand to have technology at their fingertips, but many companies are still reliant on legacy or manual systems.
To attract and retain the best talent companies must meet the requirements of a new generation of employees who have grown up with instant access to information and for whom a good work/life balance is a priority.
This year, HR professionals will continue to focus on employee wellbeing, flexible working and performance management. Many of our clients are starting to look at their HR technology to support these initiatives and are choosing to move away from legacy systems in favour of integrated solutions including absence management, payroll and performance management solutions that work seamlessly together.
Flexible working will continue to be a hot topic this year and many companies are having internal discussions around offering remote working. Flexible working can only work successfully if employees can access their business and people systems remotely and this means employers enabling the right technology and processes that support this.
Again, younger workers are driving the demand for organisations to provide online, on demand technology. Working for an organisation where data is stored in silos and not readily available, or where they can’t work on their commute to work from their phone or from home is not an attractive proposition.
Before implementing a flexible working policy, organisations need to implement a digital framework to make it logistically possible. A key part of a successful flexible working policy is the ability to know when employees are in the office and when they are working remotely. Absence management tools provide visibility, for example, if someone is not at their desk their colleagues can check the system to see if they’re off sick, working at home or on holiday. Staff can also use the system to submit requests to work from home to their line manager, and everyone can see in the calendar who will be where, when.
Wellbeing is another area where HR technology can enable companies to be more strategic. In recent years we have seen a big push for organisations to implement wellbeing programmes, however, it’s important that these are meaningful and not just tick box exercises.
Companies should be using absence management software to track and measure sickness absence. Only by capturing and analysing this data can organisations see what issues are affecting their workforce and put together a targeted wellbeing strategy that addresses these issues. By using data to their advantage organisations can put initiatives in place that will have the biggest positive impact on employee wellbeing – anything else is just guesswork.
Career development is another major draw for top talent and organisations are increasingly moving away from the tired annual appraisal format and implementing more meaningful processes.
Annual performance appraisals often become laborious, paper chasing exercises which offer little benefit either to the employee or the business. More of our clients say they are engaging more regularly with employees, for example in monthly one-to-one meetings which give a clearer understanding of how employees are progressing and any support they may require.
HR technology like Activ Appraisals can support this process and allow more focussed feedback and facilitate conversations between managers and their staff. Meeting outcomes and actions can be recorded securely in real time and templates can prompt managers with key questions to ask and ensure they don’t forget what has been agreed previously ensuring greater transparency around performance management.
We are pleased to see many employers recognising the potential that HR technology solutions have to deliver tangible business benefits – both in terms of streamlining HR processes, saving time and money spent on administration, but also in improving the working environment, which can help companies retain and engage employees.”