HR has been asked to help manage many workforce challenges since COVID-19 became a concern. From supporting homeworking arrangements to administering sick leave and monitoring employee engagement, HR’s carrying a heavy load. And while many of these activities aren’t new, the demands on HR have been amplified by the speed and intensity of change brought on by COVID-19 – and the challenges are only likely to increase.

Cezanne HR help covid challenge

The era of manual HR processes and spreadsheets has passed. HR teams need reliable Cloud-based SaaS systems to stay on top of current and future workloads, and to manage both on-site and off-site employees. Now is a good time to choose cost-efficient HR systems like Cezanne HR, so you’re in the best position to work through the people challenges that COVID-19 has thrown your way.

If you’d like to better manage your HR documents, stay on top of absence management, find out who is and isn’t in the office, and easily get messages to your staff, read on to discover how Cezanne HR can do this and more.

1. Document management

The documents HR teams have had to send out to their workforces have been coming thick and fast since the start of COVID-19. From homeworking policies to furlough, and from risk assessments to absence management updates, the ‘paperwork’ side of HR certainly hasn’t let up. And it’s often not simply a case of send and forget – the likelihood is that you’ll need an e-signature back from your staff to show that they’ve read and understood the document.

Managing the above process looks very different depending on whether you have a sophisticated HR management system you can rely on, or not…

Without HR software, document management probably starts with concerns about knowing who has and who hasn’t received the latest document, and who needs to see what depending on their role, location, employment status etc. Then there’s deciding how to send documents out, and how to do that securely if they need to be confidential. And sending it is only half the story – you’ll probably ask yourself, how do I confirm they’ve been read?

Cezanne HR comes with a sophisticated document management system that makes managing documents and gaining e-signature acknowledgements much easier. Cezanne HR can send the document/s out directly to your staff (eliminating Outlook inboxes full of out-of-office messages after sending bulk comms), and ask for e-signatures. The system keeps a history of what has been issued/signed, so if for instance you were to update your home working guidance and ask employees to sign to say they’ve read it, the system will also hold onto the previous version they signed for you. Reporting capabilities in the system show you who has and hasn’t e-signed the document/s so you can follow up as needed.

document hr management software

2. Absence management

One of the key challenges that will land on HR during a pandemic is absence management. Over the last months, business leaders and HR will undoubtably have reviewed their absence management policies to accommodate COVID-19. This is a complex task as it may need to include people who fall ill with the virus, as well as those who need time off to care for relatives or friends who are unwell, and perhaps also absence requests due to COVID-19 related poor mental health.

For businesses who don’t have an HR system, simply informing their workforce about the new policy can be problematic. But telling people about policy changes is only the beginning; actually administering the new leave types through spreadsheets and emails becomes very labour intensive and prone to errors.

What businesses need is a dedicated Absence Management module like the one offered by Cezanne HR. HR can simply add any new absence reasons to a drop-down menu so employees and managers can easily request and approve absence requests respectively. HR and those they give the access rights to can then easily see what types of leave are being taken and when, breaking the information down by departments etc as needed. Absence management software can be invaluable in helping managers to ensure they have adequate cover at all times, while also giving their teams the time off they are entitled to – and need!

3. Keeping track of staff whereabouts

Whether your staff are working on site, from home, or a mix of both, knowing exactly where your staff are may have never been more important than it is now. If your business leaders were to ask you right now how many people are working on site, would you be able to provide a quick answer? If someone who is working on site were to fall ill with COVID-19, would you be able to let their colleagues know?

If you’re relying on a central spreadsheet being updated, or worse, individual line managers keeping their own records of who is on site and when, you’re unlikely to have a clear, accurate and up to date view of your workforce’s whereabouts.

Cezanne HR’s form builder can be used by employees to request authorisation to work on site, and for managers to then approve or deny that request (there is then a search/report available that shows all the forms that have been approved, etc.). The calendar function in Cezanne HR can track who’s on and who’s off site. If there are concerns about this information being kept up to date in the calendar, Cezanne HR’s Time module with clock in/clock out features is a yet another way to request data about who is on site.

4. Keeping in touch with your people

Our recent blog, ‘How to cut through the noise so HR messages are heard in a very loud world’, discusses how HR can make sure their comms aren’t falling on deaf ears – especially considering the volume of noise from COVID-19. Using an HR system is a time effective way to manage your HR communications.

Unless they are very large, most businesses are unlikely to invest in a standalone solution for internal communications. If they don’t have an HR system that can cover this, then HR typically turns to Outlook to send out internal comms. HR comms become a series of emails that staff may or may not keep, information isn’t stored all in one place for easy reference down the track, and any replies or comments end up on email chains rather than in one central place.

In addition to the document management functionality, Cezanne HR can be set up to act as an information hub – allowing anyone to share important news – or provide feedback, via ‘workspaces’. These workspaces hold HR/staff communications, and allows staff to reply to messages and interact with each other. Onboarding portals (in Cezanne HR’s Onboarding module) are another great communication tool. HR can store all the key information a new starter needs within the portal, making it easy to keep information up to date and accessible.

5. Access to FAQs

Coming up with a list of FAQs, and their answers, is one of the easiest ways to save time at work. Whether you’ve all kept working on site throughout the pandemic, you’re slowly bringing people back, or you’ve already announced that you’ll keep your workforce homeworking for the foreseeable future, your staff are likely to have a lot of questions. And they’ll no doubt be asking questions that have already been answered. So, coming up with your list of FAQs, and keeping them regularly updated, will help avoid having to answer the same queries over and over again.

If you don’t have an HR system, you may not have a suitable, secure place to host your FAQs. Emailing them out to the workforce runs the risk of the email not being read, or read but not kept, or an old version being retained by staff that’s now out of date.

Storing FAQs within Cezanne HR ensures your staff have one central place to go to look up FAQs, and it keeps potentially commercially sensitive information private. You can still notify your staff when updates have been made to the FAQs – and this is a great way to draw their attention to the page – but you maintain one source of truth by hosting them on Cezanne HR.

6. Staying on top of essential tasks with checklists

With everything that HR needs to stay on top of to manage the impact of COVID-19, it’s crucial to have organised checklists in place. Checklists let you break down processes – such as risk assessments or reference checks – into the different tasks that need to be completed, and who is responsible for each.

If HR checklists aren’t formalised and actively managed, it is too easy for key activities – such as compliance steps – to be delayed or even overlooked.

The checklist function within Cezanne HR allows HR to organise all the tasks associated with a specific process, notify people about what they need to do, and gives HR the ability to see whether it has been done or not.

Cezanne HR has been designed to make HR administration easier, to enable compliance, and to keep HR connected with the business. If all of these benefits sound like they add up to an expensive product, that’s not the case with Cezanne HR. Our competitive costs are aligned with your headcount, and we offer a range of modules (on top of the core People Management module) that you can add or remove as needed. Get in touch with us today to arrange a personal demonstration of the system. 

Shandel McAuliffe author image

Shandel McAuliffe

Now based in sunny Australia, Shandel is prolific writer and editor - particularly in the world of HR. She's worked for some big names, including the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And more recently, she's been the Editor for new HR publication HR Leader.