Increasingly, technology has enabled human resources professionals at small businesses to achieve their objectives and drive productivity.
The 2018 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, which examined the nexus of automation and HR efficiency, found that 77 percent of respondents credited tech-based HR solutions for boosting their efficiency. Seventy-nine percent said these tools offer them a strategic edge.
The second in an annual series of benchmark evaluations investigated HR leaders' challenges, priorities, and use of technology.
Automation drives efficiency, economy
Technology is well-established in the data-intensive HR profession. Respondents indicated that their automated HR solutions:
- Are easy to use (86 percent);
- Improve the overall employee experience (75 percent);
- Enhance HR leaders' ability to play a critical role in corporate success (75 percent); and
- Provide a satisfying experience (69 percent).
HR departments that adopt HR applications are most likely to use them for:
- Recordkeeping (75 percent);
- Time and attendance (58 percent); and
- Benefits administration (58 percent).
Automating these labor-intensive tasks produces significant savings in employee time and gains in data accuracy.
Data analysis drives smart business decisions
The best strategic moves rely on solid data. HR technology offers the means to collect and parse the information a firm gathers on its employees, competitors, and the market. The 2018 Pulse of HR Survey found that even more HR professionals use data analytics than last year: 95 percent compared with 90 percent in 2017.
These professionals use data analytics to:
- Track employee benefits, time off, and training (90 percent);
- Defend their decisions to senior management (85 percent);
- Make more informed decisions (83 percent); and
- Understand how to communicate with employees (77 percent, up from 64 percent in 2017).
HR leaders take data seriously. Survey respondents devote:
- 37 percent of their time to descriptive analyses, summarizing raw data in charts and graphs;
- 32 percent of their time to prescriptive analytics, providing recommendations based on data; and
- 31 percent of their time to predictive analytics, using data to forecast trends and events.
By expanding and refining data dissection, HR professionals can stay ahead of the competition.
Manual processes may mean lost opportunities
Although U.S. firms increasingly use technology to streamline and strengthen their HR departments, many continue to use manual methods. The survey found that 27 percent of respondents have not automated functions such as integrating new hires into the company, performance management, and travel and reimbursement.
Those who don't use third-party HR services currently indicated that technology could be of particular help in recruiting and hiring, as well as regulatory compliance. Because automation can help save time and money, along with improving recordkeeping, those not using it could be missing opportunities.
HR technology can help address top HR challenges
The survey found that recruitment, retention, and compliance continue to lead HR leaders' concerns in 2018. Respondents' five most-cited HR challenges were:
- Keeping up with regulations (38 percent);
- Tracking employees' time (38 percent);
- Complying with regulations (35 percent);
- Offering competitive benefits (33 percent); and
- Retaining talent (31 percent).
Certainly, HR technology can help address these issues. Human capital management solutions can support small businesses' efforts to:
- Stay current with ever-changing employment laws and regulations, supporting due diligence in new-hire reporting, background screenings, and employee separation processes;
- Decrease costs associated with tracking employees' time and attendance, delivering efficiencies in collecting, managing, and entering these data;
- Administer employee benefit plans, giving business owners control over key information and a single automated platform that removes the need for duplicate data entry; and
- Provide an empirical basis for strategies to keep good employees.
To learn more about what else HR decision makers had to say, download the 2018 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey today.