Today, Chancellor George Osbourne will present the first ‘all conservative’ budget in nearly 2 decades, which along with another bout of welfare cuts, is expected to put “economic security first”.
“His economic priorities are tackling Britain’s debt and keeping our economy strong – and he is expected to do this with a combination of further cuts to departmental spending and welfare, and boosting output.” (www.bbc.co.uk)
The UK economy is on the up. According the Office of National Statistics (ONS), it grew by 0.4% in the first quarter. It is growing at its fastest rate for 9 years and currently 73.4% of the working population in employment.
Our country’s economy is growing faster than any of the other G7 nations. But we lag behind in productivity and that is where we need to improve in order to continue with a successful economic growth.
In previous articles, we have talked about the relationship between HR software and employee productivity. Therefore we thought it would be timely to look back into the archives at a post from February 2015, called “HR software drive employee activity” in which Head of Marketing, Andy Court considers research findings surrounding technology and employee productivity.
“It was with great interest that I digested an article on HRgrapevine.com last week, which focused on the topic of employee productivity. A survey, carried out by another HR software vendor, claimed to have found that whilst heads of department feel technology aids workplace efficiency, many employees disagree.
This caught my attention for two reasons:
Of course disparities sometimes do exist in the workplace when it comes to what a line manager hopes is the case, and what employees ‘on the front line’ actually believe. But never before had I read about discrepancies regarding productivity. Perhaps this is because, typically, following a system implementation, efficiencies are under great scrutiny. In my experience HR leaders keep a close eye on the impact HR software has, because they’re keen to assess the effectiveness of their investment. Unproductiveness would therefore be difficult to hide.
We also proactively monitor our clients’ software usage and regularly survey our customers to ensure our functionality truly is delivering the productivity benefits our developers aspired to achieve. We don’t just look for assumptions or hopes. We ask for facts. And to date the insight has been incredibly encouraging. For example:
When HR consultant Pritul Khagram was Global HR Director at SOFGEN, he quoted:
“Our key HR staff are saving approximately one day per week each. That equates to around 3,000 hours – or up to £40,000 – saved each year, meaning the software will have paid for itself in less than 16 months.”
Deborah Atkins, partner at Brethertons Solicitors LLP said:
“When considering the time we save by not manually inputting overtime or calculating sick pay, the administrative relief on our HR and payroll teams is vast. We are continually designing more workflows to further increase our efficiencies but already we are saving hours per week.
Liverpool Mutual Homes’ HR Manager Michelle Griffiths commented:
“Our HR team can accurately and proactively report on data including starters, leavers, agency staff, sickness absences, costs and so on. Upon presenting such information to the organisation’s senior management team, they can make valid suggestions for change and illustrate the need to implement targeted HR activities that will better support the business and save money. Such reporting used to require the input of various team members and would take up to three days to complete – now the process is automated, and requires only 30 minutes input to add some qualitative commentary.”
We don’t just think about day-to-day productivity though – we look at the bigger picture of making life easier too. For example, when Metro Bank invested in our HR software, Chief Executive Officer Craig Donaldson said:
There are no technical limitations with Cascade, so the size of our 2020 network we will not be restricted by the software. Whether we have one or 100 new starters the process will be seamless.” Such recruitment process productivity will be important for many businesses.
We also support clients who are keen to tackle the costs and operational issues associated with unreasonable absence levels – a well-known drain on productivity. Synergy Housing, for example, overhauled their approach to absences with the help of Cascade. In 12 months, the organisation’s average number of absences per employee fell from 12.96 days to 5.13 days – a 60% improvement. With more people in work, there was a fairer distribution of workload, which aided productivity throughout the business. Employees were also surveyed to ensure their continued engagement in the process, and an impressive 86% satisfaction rate was uncovered. If you’d like to know how Head of HR Rosie Green did it, you can read her journey in this 5-page white paper.
Of course we know that, even in incredibly efficient workplaces, obstacles to productivity do sometimes arise. A legislative development can create newfound administrative burdens for example, which have the potential to jeopardise the seamless flow of activity. But that’s why we maintain close relationships with the CIPD, CIPP, HMRC and other influential bodies such as the Pensions Regulator, to ensure our software remains one step ahead. We also collaborate with legal experts to heighten our clients’ preparedness for such changes, with the advent of Shared Parental Leave a topical example.
If you’re not a Cascade client, that doesn’t mean we don’t have advice to offer. If workplace productivity is a real concern, and your organisation hasn’t realised the benefits you hoped your HR software would achieve, it’s important to ask yourself how engaged your employees are with your system. Why? Because when Cascade conducted a webinar in conjunction with People Management last year, we found mixed views among HR professionals (non-Cascade clients) regarding the impact technology has on engagement levels. And if employees aren’t engaged they may naturally demonstrate resistance to using the system.
As we dug into the subject in a little more detail, we found that much depends on the ease of use of the system, how it is rolled out, and the way its benefits are communicated to users. The practical advice of our client Everton Football Club therefore proved a great help in this webinar, and no doubt explained why the resulting white paper received so many downloads. This is still available for free, if you’re looking for some employee engagement guidance.
It’s important to remember that it all boils down to communication. Whoever the respondents of the productivity survey are, I’m sure the HR leaders would rather they knew about their employees’ thoughts, without reading about it in the media. The only way to be certain of their opinions is to maintain regular, open and honest dialogue. And software can even help with that!”
If you are looking to embark upon a new HR software implementation project, and are keen to get it right, why not talk to Cascade? Call us on T: 0113 255 4115 to discuss your requirements, book a free demonstration or email firstname.lastname@example.org