How to get rid of the HR work you never wanted to do in the first place


What comes to mind when you think about a treasure map? Pirates? A treasure chest buried on a remote island filled with golden coins of immeasurable value? Or maybe an old piece of weathered paper that shows directions to the elusive treasure, marked with an X on the map. All of those mental images suggest that you may have watched too many pirate movies over the years, but be that the case or not, we all long for the adventure and excitement of finding a treasure and benefiting from its riches.

I am confident that there are still some unclaimed treasures on the bottom of seas, but there are also some treasures in plain sight, right in front of us. By simply following our comfortable daily routines we don’t see what is right under our nose. One of these hidden treasures in the world of Human Resources is the journey from mostly hands-on tactical and in many cases paper-based processes to a time and place where HR can spend the majority of the time, focus and, attention on activities that make a huge difference for this business. Heck, now is not the time to be modest. HR professionals have the opportunity to create competitive advantages for their employer from inside HR and without adding on more hours to your workweek.
Would You Benefit from More Time?
Consider this: You somehow figured out a way to free up 8 hours of your workweek. You are super passionate about your well-being and want to build a program for your employees that will give them the resources, support, structure, and encouragement to live their best lives at work and home. After getting some input from the employees you get to work at building an incredible well-being program with features like bring your pets to workdays, catered healthy meal options, social hours for team building, and the list goes on and on. Your employees are thrilled with this non-traditional well-being program that is indeed created for them and not for saving the company a buck or two on health insurance. Do you think a program like this could positively impact how employees feel about their work and their employer? Do you think an environment like this could retain employees and attract new employees? You bet, and all of a sudden, you created a competitive advantage for your employer in the War for Talent just because you were able to free up some time from your workday to do something that truly matters and has strategic value to the business.

Let’s be quite honest, the demand for HR to do strategy work is not new, but in the past and maybe for most of you in the present, that means that you had to work harder, faster and spend more time to get everything done that’s on your plate. Strategy work was an add-on task, not a task that you could do instead of something else. After all, you understand how important it is to be a strategic partner to the business. “HRs role and responsibilities are continually expanding, and the work has to be accomplished with fewer resources than just three years ago”. All of this is precisely the reason why I want to share with you the HCM Treasure Map so that you have a tool that can help you in regaining control of your day (and to do more of the work you enjoy).
X Marks the Spot
The treasure map is a visual representation of how much time HR is spending on tactical vs. strategic work at different stages of the Human Capital Management (HCM) journey.

The orange-shaded areas represent process-oriented, tactical, and many cases even paper-based activities that are cumbersome and time-consuming. The blue-shaded area represents time spent on activities that have a strategic people focus and therefore directly support HR and Business Goals. Where is your HR function on this map?

Here is a brief overview of the three different stages going from left to right.

Manual Stage: As the name indicates, the Manual Stage is the home of tactical HR tasks that are manual and mostly paper-based. Due to the manual nature of the processes, there is a constant risk for errors to be introduced, which can negatively impact data quality and compliance risks. The tactical tasks are also very time consuming and cumbersome, which eats large chunks of time away from your day and leaves little to no time for strategic work.

Digital Stage: An early indicator for the move into the Digital Stage is the scanning of all historical HR records to eliminate the need for the countless filing cabinets that can be found in the HR record storage area or if you are one of the “lucky” ones in your office. Other than improved data security and the ability to search readable PDFs and more space in your office, there is not much else to gain from the Digital Stage. Unfortunately, this is where many companies stop their journey and therefore never end up benefiting from the treasure that is waiting for them at the Transformation Stage.

Transformation Stage (The Treasure Island): So, what does this promised land look like? It’s very simple; companies that reach the transformation stage have invested in a cloud-based HCM solution that allows them to leverage technology to redesign and rethink their HR processes. At the very core, this provides the opportunity to automate repetitive tasks, improve data quality and operate from a single database, which eliminates data discrepancies and automate compliance to mention just a few. All of which frees up HR time and resources that you can now finally use to do the work you have been longing to do all along, maybe it is even the reason why you decided to pursue a career in HR in the first place.

Let’s illustrate the power of the Transformation State with an example. In the manual and digital stage, it is a common occurrence for new hires to be greeted on their first day on the job by a pile of new hire paperwork that needs to be completed and that could easily take up the entire morning. In many cases, it takes even longer and becomes something HR has to chase down because the new hire did not remember to bring the SSNs for the children or forget the ID to complete the I-9.

In the Transformation Stage, the new hire paperwork is managed through the automated onboarding process and completed before the employees’ first day. Now, HR can focus on creating a personalized onboarding experience including orientation in the workplace, introductions to key employees and a culture training for the first day as well as ongoing check-ins for the first six months on the job to ensure the new employee feels cared for and well-integrated right from the start. This approach is proven to increase employee engagement and reduce turnover in the critical first 12 months on the job. Wow, what a difference in the HR side as well as for the new employee.
Where Will the Treasure Map Lead You?
How many other opportunities do you have in HR to automate, eliminate, or redesign process to free up some of your time and focus on value-added strategic work? A cloud-based HCM solution offers you the opportunity to be a strategic leader, to connect what HR does with crucial business goals while having access to real-time data to inform decision making to reduce cost and improve the employee experience.

There is an incredible treasure waiting for you. Set your sails and follow the HCM journey to make your way to the treasure island, but don’t get stuck at the reefs of the Digital Stage Island. Take action now; your rewards are vast opportunities and riches not unlike a treasure chest filled with gold coins.


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