With HR teams at peak workload capacity, it’s crucial the department isn’t wasting time. There are some very straightforward ways that HR can save time, but they require big picture thinking which can be difficult when you’re busy. You need to start by shifting as much of your workload as you can across to digital tools, so you then have the headspace to work on other time-saving initiatives.

save time features benefits hr

Use tech to save admin time

A good HR system is your best friend when you need to create time in your day. If you’re currently managing absences manually, or uploading new starter details yourself every time you onboard a new hire, you need to move that admin work across to HR software with self service capabilities – after all, your HR experience can be put to far better use than data entry.

Once you have an HR system in place looking after your HR admin, you will also build a wealth of easily accessible information on your workforce. Armed with data and insights, you can broaden your perspective on how you can save HR – and indeed overall business – time.

You might spot staffing gaps, and realise that current staff are struggling to cope, making mistakes, and consequently costing more in overtime correcting errors than you’d otherwise pay on extra headcount. You might also see performance issues across the board that you can nip in the bud with group training, saving time by addressing multiple problems with a common theme in one hit.

Document your processes

The backbone of any successful HR system rollout needs to be strong HR processes. If you’re committed to saving time in the long run, you need to find time now to review and document all your HR processes. You don’t want to be reinventing the wheel every time you need to do a performance appraisal, for instance.

With your processes and HR system in place, it’s time to think outside the box for other ways to save time.

Build HR’s reputation in the business

It’s often overlooked but having a strong standing in your organisation can make a big difference to how respected HR is, and how easy it is to gain employee buy-in for your HR initiatives. In our article, 4 ways to use your HR system to win HR a position in the C-suite, we include ideas for using your HR system to earn this coveted spot. But the reverse is also true. Being part of the C-suite and the top decision-making panel can make it much easier and quicker to convince the business of the merits of your work and to gain the support you need from the business to achieve success. Pushing through a new process without senior stakeholder engagement can be quite the uphill – time consuming – battle.

Retain good employees

Another factor that businesses don’t often consider enough is how much time is wasted when good staff members are lost. Every time a valuable HR staff member leaves, their proficiency in their role and ability to handle things quickly goes with them, too. There’s an awareness that turnover and recruitment can be costly, but all too often people are disengaged and leave because of issues the business could have easily resolved. HR needs to lead the way in showing the business how to really drive engagement – starting with the HR team itself.

Question change initiatives

A timewaster that’s rarely acknowledged is when HR is asked to lead on business changes for the sake of change itself. Changes that have a positive impact on the business are great. Change that’s driven by a whim, without employee buy-in, and pushed through to avoid losing face is dangerous – you risk disengagement and lost productivity. HR can help avoid this by using insights from their HR system to show where change is really needed, and to achieve engagement by evidencing the impetus behind the change.

For HR teams helping their workforces through each stage of COVID-19, time is a commodity they can’t afford to waste. Using technology to ease the admin burden is essential, but so is thinking about all the other holes in your HR boat where time is leaking out. Something that might seem like a small leak – like a lower retention rate – can really add up as time goes on.

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.