Why HR Software is a vital tool for manager retention

There’s little doubt that as the economy begins to recover, talent is on the move.  Numerous surveys over recent months have shown that as business confidence returns, employees who have been sitting it out for the sake of job security are getting ready to up sticks and move to pastures new.

Roffey Park is the latest to reinforce the message, with research showing that nearly half of the l,800 UK managers surveyed were considering jumping ship in the near future.  Its annual Management Agenda report revealed that although the key reason for moving on was lack of opportunity for promotion, other significant factors affecting retention were poor management and a lack of appreciation.  Nearly half the managers questioned described their organisation as having a high challenge/low support culture – citing issues such as an imbalance between demands and resources, a blame culture and work pressure being passed down the line without adequate support to off-set it.

It’s clear that managers are feeling under siege and that organisations need to pay attention if they don’t want to risk losing their best and brightest people.  One powerful (and often overlooked) tool that can make a real difference to the way managers feel about their jobs is HR software.

The latest generation HR solutions can do much to cut down on time-consuming admin and put the information managers need to lead their teams effectively right at their fingertips.  These are a few of the scenarios where a good HR system can help to improve motivation and engagement and make it more likely managers will want to stick around:

Line managers feel over-stretched

So many demands – so little time.  Managers often get so bogged down in the day-to-day admin that comes with running a team that they find it hard to get on with the more strategic aspects of their role.  The endless paperwork associated with holiday requests, sickness absence or performance management processes clog up manager’s in-boxes on a daily basis.  HR software can take much of the pain away by automating key processes.  Automatic reminders and invitations can be issued when performance appraisals are due, for example, or when sickness absence exceeds a certain trigger point.  Systems that come with an employee self-service element can be particularly helpful as they move the responsibility for processes such as managing annual leave into employees own hands.  Staff simply log into the system, see how much holiday they have left and generate a request.  The manager receives an alert, accesses the team calendar to get an overview of who’s away at any given time and with the click of a mouse can approve the request.  It takes the tedious tasks away and frees up time for managers to get on with the tasks that add real value to the business.

Line managers lack information to support decisions

Managers are expected to manage their team efficiently and get maximum performance from their people.  But often the information they need to do this isn’t readily available.  HR data is spread across different systems or housed on a variety of spreadsheets, which means they have to spend valuable time searching for information and making sure it is accurate and up-to-date.  The beauty of HR software systems is that they put all people-related data in one central place.  Managers can look at people’s previous career history and see what skills they have, which courses they have attended and what development they may need to move to the next level or work on a particular project.  They can look at levels of sickness absence and see if any worrying trends are emerging in their team that warrant further investigation.  HR software eradicates the danger of managers become administrators – and gives them the time and space to develop as leaders.

Line managers feel disconnected

As business becomes increasingly global and 24/7 – and flexible working becomes more prevalent – managers often find themselves leading dispersed teams.  They may have employees based across several sites, some people working from home and others operating from different countries.   In this scenario, it’s easy for managers to feel disconnected with what’s happening with their team on a day-to-basis and keeping track of progress with projects can also be a challenge.  Advances in technology are, however, making it much easier for people to keep in touch and operate as a team from wherever they may be.  Some of the latest HR solutions are accessible via mobile apps, for example, which means people working out in the field can still log in and update their personal data, request holidays or report sickness absence.  Many new generation systems also come with integral social portals, which allow employees to share information, access key documents and collaborate on projects.

Line managers feel unappreciated

Managers will only  buy in enthusiastically to corporate goals if they feel appreciated and have the opportunity to develop their skills and make their voice heard.  The latest performance management software can help to establish a culture of ongoing feedback and development, by making sure regular reviews and appraisals take place – not just for employees but for their managers too.  HR solutions provide a central place where details of performance conversations can be logged.  It helps everyone keep track of objectives that have been set and development that’s been agreed and helps to underline the message that the business values the contribution managers are making and wants to see them develop and grow.

Line managers feel frustrated

Line managers often get frustrated by conflicting messages that come down from on high.  The business says it wants them to be more innovative, for example, but stifles the process by burying them under a pile of complicated processes they have to comply with.  Authors of the Roffey Park survey question to what extent HR processes are actually supporting innovation.  Two-thirds of the managers questioned, for example, disagreed that time and space was made available for them to think creatively.  HR software frees up more time for managers to do the stuff that really interests them – and allows them to concentrate on finding new and more effective ways of working.

Has HR software proved to be a valuable retention tool in your business?  Let us know how you are using it to get managers motivated and engaged.


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