It’s fair to say the economy is in disarray right now. With the cost-of-living crisis deepening, business leaders will undoubtedly be asking themselves how they can weather the current economic storm.

For them, reducing company expenditure is the order of the day, and this is where HR’s role will come into sharp focus. Unfortunately, HR is often the first department impacted by cost cutting. Hiring gets put on hold, training budgets are slashed and, in the worst-case scenarios, downsizing may have to be planned for.

Another casualty can be the software HR teams rely on. Unless they see the value of it, company leaders may decide not to invest in an HR software solution, or even cancel their current service altogether.

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Of course, whilst those courses of action may seem logical to the budget-conscious business owner, they could be incredibly costly mistakes to make…

Reducing company expenditure: why doing without HR software isn’t the answer

Dispensing with an HR software service – or putting the implementation of an HR software solution on hold – may leave more cash in the bank at the end of the month. But, the longer-term impacts can be hugely negative for the wider business.

That’s because great HR software systems support businesses and their HR teams into making better decisions, lifting employee productivity and improving those all-important operational efficiencies. In fact, a good HR software platform can help drive savings – both in time and money – that more than make up for the system’s financial outlay. For example…

1. HR software can help prevent costly HR errors

When we consider how vital the support of a good HR department can be to a business, it’s essential that company leaders recognise HR is an area of the business fraught with complexity. Having to handle large volumes of data, deal with time-critical requests and manage difficult conversations is all in a day’s work for HR professionals, but mistakes can happen.

Although human errors in HR can never be totally eradicated, HR software can reduce them and company expenditure. This is done by automating and streamlining many laborious or complicated manual HR tasks. These include:

  • Managing paid leave allowances

    HR software solutions that include absence management software – such as Cezanne HR – can automatically calculate how much paid time off employees are due, and also help manage any kind of absences that might be required; including TOIL or parental leave. When you have an absence management system that can handle even the trickiest annual leave calculations, the human factor which can lead to calculation errors is dramatically reduced.

  • Time tracking

    If your business relies on paper-based timesheets to bill clients or pay staff, there can be a heck of a lot of admin for HR to contend with; including overtime approvals, resource management and – of course – keeping track of hours worked. HR platforms that include intuitive time tracking software can automate many of these manual processes. Ensuring improved accuracy where correctness is crucial, and mistakes can be expensive!

  • Storing and securing sensitive employee data

    HR software platforms – especially those certified to ISO27001 – can offer a highly secure and centralised location for all your sensitive employee records. Better still, they can be accessed anytime, from anywhere, and remain protected against disasters that could otherwise destroy paper-based records, such as a fire or flood.

    Remember: the legal ramifications for a company failing to have sufficient safeguards in place to keep personal data safe are huge. They can include massive financial fines and irrevocable reputational damage. As an HR professional, you’re legally obligated to keep your employees’ data safe and secure. However, this can be incredibly difficult if your business is reliant on paper-based or disconnected filing systems.

2. HR software can reduce hidden company expenditure

One of the more tangible benefits of digital HR software is the fact it can help a company go paperless. This means  a cost-conscious business can reduce what it would normally spend on office stationery.

It’s worth remembering little stationery expenses will all add up over the course of a year. According to business energy comparison website Bionic, a department with 1-4 employees can spend on average £870 per year on stationery. This will only increase with the more people you have!

So, whilst having an ongoing HR software service or implementing one in the first place may be an expense, it can lead to significant cost savings. This is because much of your data – and associated paper-based administration – will be transferred online.

3. You will improve your time-to-hire efforts…

The business of recruitment can be hugely time consuming: especially if your company is undergoing rapid growth. From the sorting and managing of applicants, to placing job adverts and communicating with candidates.

Luckily, HR software that includes applicant tracking systems can automate many of the admin-heavy tasks associated with sorting, communicating, managing and shortlisting candidates – streamlining your company’s time-to-hire processes.

Good applicant tracking systems – such as  Cezanne HR’s Recruitment module – will centralise job applications, candidate CVs and shortlisted applicants. This means HR and recruiting managers can access these critical documents at a click – rather than having to sift through disorganised files and documents.

Despite the economic downturn, the jobs market remains fierce. The time-saving features we’ve mentioned will prevent a business from losing great candidates that can get missed beneath mountains of paperwork. This, in turn, reduces a company’s expenditure by decreasing time to hire, and getting the right people in at the right time.

4. … And save on recruitment costs

Along with improving time-to-hire efforts, HR platforms with dedicated recruitment software can also help businesses to cost-effectively fill job vacancies and avoid unnecessary expenditure.

For instance, the integrated Cezanne HR Recruitment module can help you streamline the filling of each vacancy you might have. It allows users to screen CVs more efficiently and communicate with candidates without having to leave the platform.

In addition, since every online job application goes directly into a dedicated database, users can easily track key metrics. These include metrics such as time to hire or time to fill. Users can also review which recruitment sources are working best for you. This means you can keep a closer eye on your company’s overall recruitment costs.

5. Address absence costs

Unplanned absences can be hugely damaging to a company’s bottom line. If employees begin to rack up excessive absences, decreased productivity and falling morale will often follow.

Of course, it’s important that any business strikes the right balance with managing absences. Genuine unplanned absences can’t always be avoided. And, staff who are ill should be encouraged to rest up rather than ‘soldier on’. The downside to this is that it can be easy for a culture to develop where it’s considered “OK” to throw sickies and feign illness to enjoy a ‘cheeky’ day off.

Absence management software can help you keep track of unplanned absences accurately. This means you can investigate the true cost of them to your business. For example, the in-depth reporting and Insights analytics functions available with Cezanne HR allow HR practitioners to do exactly that.

Users have all the HR metrics needed to identify whether there’s a hidden problem leading to excess company expenditure. They can then investigate further if needed.

6. Improve productivity and performance

When money’s tight, business leaders will want all their employees pulling in the right direction and performing at their best. But, if employees and their managers don’t have consistent performance management processes, track any agreed goals or progress against them, your company’s performance management initiatives may not be fit for purpose.

Integrated performance management software – such as Cezanne HR’s – can help businesses to keep an eye on the productivity and performance of a workforce. It can also give line managers the tools they need to help employees who may be under pressure, set objectives, schedule appraisals, plan career development and monitor progress – all in one central, online hub.

Better still, performance management software can also provide an overview of the skills and abilities available within a business. This makes it much easier for managers and HR to spot development gaps and plan for succession. it also helps a business potentially reduce their recruitment costs by ‘growing their own’ employees and showing them a path for progression. That’s something employees value more than ever.

That isn’t just great for reducing a company’s expenditure: it’s also great for creating more meaningful and cost-effective engagement with employees.

Paul Bauer author image

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.

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