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Top 5 Mistakes of Overworked HR Departments

Identify critical issues that can often fly under the radar when HR departments are given more tasks than they can handle.

September 9th, 2019

Top 5 Mistakes of Overworked HR Departments

Why drowning HR in paperwork and manual processes can hurt your company

Everyone knows that HR professionals in smaller companies are often swamped with paperwork and charged with managing a hodge-podge of systems and processes to keep things running. Oftentimes, it seems that the attitude is simply that if some “HR folks” have to work long hours from time to time, so be it. Get them something nice to say thanks for staying late during the benefits enrollment crunch, and everything is fine. 

But this overlooks the serious impact that overworked HR departments can have on the company. Human resources is a critical part of business operations as well as being a primary touchpoint for everyone who works there. No matter how dedicated, if you make the focus of your HR department chasing paper and badly organized digital processes, even the best HR professional is going to fall short on some key fronts.

Exposing confidential information

HR has access to confidential and personally identifiable information about employees and their families. Not safeguarding that information adequately – or accidentally leaking it to the wrong person – can bring on serious repercussions. And as IBM reports, nearly half of all corporate information breaches originate internally, including both malicious and accidental data exposure. 

To address this, companies need to both clearly identify who has access to what info and implement a system that manages access efficiently. It’s important to make sure systems don’t just check the security boxes, but also makes the data management easy for the HR team and employees. Be careful of older, clunky systems - every time HR teams need to use email and paper to manually fill process gaps you risk data being exposed accidentally! interface is built to make sure data management is easy, accurate and secure - if you’re not using us or a similar solution, you should strongly consider whether you’re at risk of data exposure. 

Mishandling Sensitive Situations

In addition to staying on top of the day to day, HR is constantly on-call to help handle sensitive employee issues as they come up. Successful HR business partners know that it’s important to represent the business honestly while also being compassionate toward the employee, a delicate balance on anyone’s best day.

An HR team member who is stressed-out by a pile of manual paperwork or a dreary afternoon of spreadsheet data entry is more likely to be reactive, take sides or mishandle delicate situations. Hurting employee trust or exposing the company to extra risk with the wrong first step can sometimes be hard to undo.

Not Focusing on the People

Hand-in-hand with managing sensitive communications goes keeping a focus on people and remembering the individual humans behind the employee records. Process-focused HR teams that take a “one-size-fits-all” approach make people feel overlooked.

You also miss out on opportunities for both employee and company growth. HR teams that have time to engage with employees and are tuned-in enough to find resolutions to challenges before they become problems are the ones that really make a strategic impact.

Delivering a Bad Employee Experience

Sometimes the best intentions can still lead to a bad experience for employees. Saddled with manual HR processes or the need to work across several systems to make anything happen, HR teams are often put in a situation to fail. This is especially true today, as we all are used to smoothly integrated web experiences in our personal lives make employee expectations high. When it doesn’t work like that at our job, it causes frustration, erodes trust and puts employee relationships on shaky ground. 

Simple things like easy benefits enrollment, smooth onboarding experiences and quick PTO requests don’t just help your HR team, they make your employee experience better.

Failing to ensure compliance

Maintaining compliance with various laws and regulations is one of the toughest aspects of HR. Staying abreast of the regulatory changes and needed process changes is hard enough, but the work doesn’t end there! Making sure every rule is followed and records are maintained lies at the heart of any compliance policy. Seemingly small mistakes, like mislabeling a contractor or mixing up overtime records, can have serious legal problems and business risk. 

Clearly and accurately documenting your policies, and communicating them appropriately, is important. Implementing fail-safe systems to protect against human error and ensure full compliance at all times is critical. 

Human resources teams are filled with great people who truly care about the company and employees. If you give them the time to be engaged and proactive, your employees will be happier and your company stronger. And if you give them the right tools to make information security, compliance and benefits easy - they will do just that.

Steer clear of these all-too-common HR pitfalls, and you’ll be ahead of the crowd. And remember – whether you’re a small or large business, HR software solutions like GoCo’s will help your HR department to follow best practices and stay out of trouble.

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