In honor of SXSW, when film, music, comedy and tech lovers descend upon Austin en masse,
I like to focus on using technology to free up human resources for the people side, not the paper side. Human resources has evolved a lot, but one thing that stays is the responsibility for compliance and maintaining employee files and records. Even in this day and age of smart phones and apps, a lot of companies are still operating with paper when there are so many HR technologies that make handling the “paper” work faster, easier and more efficient.
You have to manage a huge amount of information, application files, benefits, payroll, taxes. And all the agencies interested in those files—the IRS, EEOC, and Department of Labor– have different rules about how long these records have to be maintained. You can keep them in a dark, locked room full of file cabinets that just keep growing, or keep them in the cloud where you can access them and update them without leaving your desk or wondering who moved the file. In fact, the I-9 is really the only thing you still have to keep on a sheaf of dead tree.
Let me give you a couple of examples. Some industries require that employees maintain various certifications. With the right software, you and the employee will get reminders about the certification, avoiding the “Oh crap!” moment when you know the deadline is sitting on your head. Or worse, already passed.
And then there are companies that have federal contracts and certain number of employees. Every year, they have to file an EEO-1 report. You could put it on a spreadsheet for five employees, but if you have a hundred? With one click you can create the report and with another send it via email to the EEO-1 office. Boom.
You have to maintain files on all the people who applied for jobs to prove you weren’t discriminatory. Then maintain records on people you interviewed and keep detailed records on the one you hire. With the right software—and there are dozens of them—you can let the employee fill out all the little boxes and only have the HR person review them. That leaves the HR person free to answer important queries. Like how do I fire this difficult guy? Or what do I tell this great candidate who is comparing our offer to someone else’s about our benefits package?
Here’s the thing. It’s important to use the software system that works with your company, or you won’t use it at all. So you need to first really understand how your company works and which application will click most smoothly with your own operations. But don’t let that scare you off because it’s like any new technology, once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
Human resources is about humans. Technology has made it so much easier to keep it that way.
If you need help finding the technology to make your life so much better, we can help.
We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.