When we speak to HR teams about why they want to invest in an HRIS platform, we’re often told it’s because they’re great for reducing administrative burdens, making reporting much easier, and freeing HR from repetitive tasks.

Of course, all those statements are indeed true. A good HRIS platform can dramatically streamline the day-to-day operations of an HR team and provide valuable insights into workforce performance and productivity – amongst other things. But, did you know they can be vital in measuring and nurturing employee engagement?

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Why HRIS platforms can be vital for effective employee engagement

When it comes to measuring and supporting employee engagement, businesses will often resort to ‘old school’ staff surveys to help them pick up on the issues that are leading to dissatisfaction – rolling out a series of initiatives based on the answers they receive. The problem, though, is that their limited frequency can miss real-time changes in attitudes and concerns that can drastically affect engagement levels throughout a year.

In addition, they need to be complemented with other methods of gathering feedback, and should be used as part of a broader engagement strategy that prioritises open communication, transparency, and ongoing feedback loops. This is where the contributions of automated HRIS platforms cannot be underestimated.

With the right software, they can provide much more detailed and up-to-date insights than an annual staff survey could. Plus, HRIS platforms can play a crucial role in supporting and nurturing staff engagement, by providing the tools and resources to drive meaningful and timely engagement activities across the employee lifecycle. Here’s how…

1. Recruitment

An employee’s perception of the business starts from their very earliest contact at the recruitment stage. First impressions count, and potential new hires will start to form opinions about what it will be like to work for an employer based on the ease of the recruitment process and the way they are treated as candidates.

A great HRIS platform that includes integrated recruitment software can streamline the entire hiring process: making sure applicants are communicated with well throughout, with timely notifications of interviews or assessments and feedback on the success or otherwise of their applications. First impressions can be hard to shift, so getting it right from the outset is key.

2. Onboarding

Although the jobs market is starting to cool, there’s still a long standing and chronic skills shortage affecting the UK’s talent pool. This means competition for the most sought-after employees remains fierce, and the last thing an organisation wants to do is lose a good candidate somewhere between the acceptance of a job offer and the starting date.

We carried out a report into the state of onboarding in the UK, and it discovered that nearly a quarter of all new employees didn’t hear from their new line manager before starting their role. In addition, over a fifth of all new hires we surveyed didn’t know what to expect when they started their job – both highly damaging statistics when it comes to building meaningful engagement!

HRIS platforms that include integrated onboarding software can help overcome these types of issues by ensuring candidates are communicated with regularly in the lead-up to joining, and have instant access to the documents and information they need to keep them enthused and informed – ensuring a seamless and engaging start.

3. Performance management and career development

A good performance management process plays a massive part in employee engagement. It’s an opportunity for line managers to really get to know what makes their people tick, what they might be struggling with and what support or training they may need.

If employees feel their concerns are being listened to and their career aspirations are being taken seriously, they are much more likely to remain enthusiastic and productive in their roles. In fact, our recent survey into the state of the employee experience found that 1-1 performance check-ins were a hugely important factor in creating positive employee experiences.

Sadly, performance management is often given low priority or treated as a box-ticking exercise by hard-pressed managers. This is something great performance management software can prevent.

HRIS platforms that come with integrated performance management software can help to underline the importance of regular appraisals or check-ins: nudging managers when discussions are due, providing templates to help guide conversations and offering a central place where discussions and actions can be recorded and easily accessed – including those about future development and career opportunities. When the processes become simple and transparent to complete, it’s much more likely all parties will engage with them more often.

4. Return to work

Coming back to work after maternity leave, an extended period off sick or a sabbatical can be a confusing and anxious time for employees. They may be concerned that their skills have become out of date, that people and processes will have changed and that they will find it hard to fit back in.

A centralised HRIS platform can help to ease the transition, making key policies and documents easily accessible and providing a central point for information about everything from IT support to Employee Assistance Programmes.

Some HRIS platforms, such as Cezanne HR for example, also come with internal HR portals and workspaces, where employees can connect with others, find out about projects they could get involved with or get quick answers to questions.

5. Relocation and promotion

Moving to a new regional or overseas base, or shifting to a remote working arrangement, can also be bewildering or unsettling for employees. There are new processes to learn, new colleagues to connect with – or in the case of dispersed workers, a big adjustment to be made in how to keep up to speed with what’s happening and communicate with colleagues.

A good HRIS platform can support the move by putting key information at the employees’ fingertips, while self-service functionality will make it easy for people to manage their own data and deal with personal admin, such as logging holidays and sick leave, from wherever they may be.

6. Tracking employee sentiment throughout the year

Lastly, where a traditional annual staff survey may be able to provide you an insight as to your employees’ thoughts and feelings at one point in the year, an HRIS platform that includes pulse survey functionality can help you track employee sentiment at any time.

This type of functionality can be incredibly valuable for HR teams looking to successfully manage staff engagement. Good pulse surveys help HR teams keep their collective fingers on the pulse of what’s going on within a business; helping to identify and address any issues or concerns from employees before they become a major problem.

Better still, when pulse survey functionality is integrated within an HRIS platform, you won’t need to worry about updating distribution lists or managing disconnected survey platforms. This means HR teams can be proactive in their approach to managing engagement within a workforce, rather than simply being reactive to issues if and when they occur.

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Paul Bauer

Paul Bauer is the Head of Content at Cezanne HR. Based in the Utopia of Milton Keynes (his words, not ours!) he’s worked within the employee benefits, engagement and HR sectors for over four years. He's also earned multiple industry awards for his work - including a coveted Roses Creative Award.