Many organisations have recently reported the need for layoffs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HR is one of the core forces of an organisation, and the situation has made many companies realise how central and essential a good human resource management system is during difficult times.
From my own experience, I can tell that an HR system enhances an organisation’s human resource management in both growth and recession and at all stages of the employment lifecycle, but the benefits of an excellent HR system are perhaps most visbible in exceptional situations.
When there is a rapid and sometimes uncontrolled change in a company or its surrounding conditions, it becomes increasingly valuable to have up-to-date data of your people, sales, production, or resources that can be easily reported.
If a company does not yet have an HR system in use, they are already behind in their response to times of crisis.
Without an HR system to rely on in the midst of a crisis or during other exceptional circumstances, even basic HR questions can become overwhelming. Questions such as how many people do we employ, and what kind of employment contracts do they have, or what skills does our competence pool consist of? Do we have the necessary resources to support an increase in demand? How easily can we recruit more fixed-term staff? What if the demand decreases? What are our capabilities in potential employee cooperation negotiations or layoffs? How do we ensure that we’re prepared for a rapid rebuilding after the crisis?
An ability to answer these basic questions is a prerequisite for ensuring continuity in any business. An HR system allows businesses to follow change by creating true added value that supports organisations’ ability to scale, and enables them to adapt their businesses during rapid changes in the macro environment.
Flexibility and adaptability in HR processes
In times of change, a system that supports quick decision making and flexible processes is key in creating new models for exceptional situations. When all HR processes are hosted in one system that everyone has access to, it is much more scalable and efficient to start responding to change, no matter where people are located.
- Handling employee cooperation negotiations and layoffs efficiently and securely: Even the most uncomfortable personnel processes can be carried out with processes that are as employee-friendly as possible. For example, ready-made form templates and electronic confirmations will help a lot in the process.
- Up-to-date recruitments: Both opening and closing of vacant positions can be done immediately. Applicants can also be notified of changes directly from the system.
- An automated process designed to collect and handle employee data in compliance with GDPR, privacy, and employment law requirements will deliver the right answers and also save time, money, and potential future legal costs.
Decisions based on real-time information
Successful decisions require accurate data. When you are changing directions or need to make difficult personnel decisions, you will always have the latest and correct people data to support you in making the right decisions.
- In addition, important employee data provides valuable information to support the operations of other business units.
- For instance payroll is a big cost item, and managing numbers is important when going through the operational costs.
Available and easily accessible reporting meets the growing need for increased data
In rapidly changing situations, data needs to be clearly reported and available to those who need it 24/7, despite their location. The HR system reports critical information to any selected user group.
- In unusual situations, both the board and sales are likely to need significantly more information at a faster pace compared to normal situations.
- Extensive reporting capabilities enable operational efficiency: With an HR system you’re free to compile reports with the data that is important to your operations, at any given time. For example, it is important to have all salary data available in order to compare income and potential savings with expenses and cash flow in real time.
Tools to support HR and management in remote work
Tools for remote management make everyday life easier, and they help in ensuring that all different teams and groups of employees in all countries are taken into account.
- With an HR system, remote work is business as usual for any HR function. Managers and employees always have all the information they need at hand. No need to visit the office for any paper or data behind VPN walls. You read that right: not a single one.
- The handling of sick leaves and other absences is at the heart of HR services. It is easy to keep track of all absences and to calculate their impact on community activities. It is a huge advantage for an organisation when information such as sick leaves or other absences are automatically reported to payroll.
Talent management enables reorganising work when situations change
Talent and competence management helps your organisation to reorganise work when necessary and to maintain the required level of competences also in future. Once competences, work experience, permits and certificates are known, the business continuity can be ensured in instances of replacements or layoffs.
- Managers’ direct access to necessary employee data helps with organising work in practice.
- Mapping your employees’ skills and required certificates guarantees rapid readiness for workforce planning in exceptional circumstances. You can also quickly secure skilled deputies during any absences and enable business continuity.
Without an HR system in the midst of a crisis or during other exceptional circumstances, even basic HR questions can become overwhelming.
All of these different functionalities direct towards the same goal: the right HR system not only supports growth, but ensures business continuity even during the most difficult times.