How HR Teams Can Boost Productivity in the Digital Workplace
There should be a few main objectives when developing internal processes: streamline operations, increase productivity and improve the employee experience.
With those goals in mind, companies invest significant resources in making sure their workflows are optimized and employees stay focused on the things that drive business forward. Yet, in many cases employees still spend valuable time on tasks unrelated to the work itself, such as drafting emails or completing forms for HR or managers.
As leaders responsible for the employee experience, HR teams can play a significant role in boosting productivity by developing initiatives that focus resources in a more efficient manner.
What HR Leaders Can Do to Increase Productivity
A good starting point for HR teams looking to support efficient operations is to create pre-populated forms and templates. These initiatives can save time for both HR personnel and employees at large.
Devon Fata, CEO of Pixoul, a product design consultancy based in Dallas, suggested HR teams start by looking at the most common interactions they have with employees. Examples include processes for requesting time off, making decisions about insurance or retirement benefits, and putting in two weeks’ notice. Having pre-populated forms for these situations "make it simple for employees to get the correct information to HR and provide documentation to both parties," he said.
Along with common requests made to HR teams, forms related to an employee’s status at a company are also a great place to boost productivity. Daivat Dholakia, vice president of product and growth at medical software firm Essenvia said this should include forms like payroll information, explanation of benefits, tax documents and medical records.
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Tips for Implementing New Forms and Templates
When creating new forms or updating old ones, there's a lot HR teams can do to help minimize the ask and optimize productivity. Here are some helpful tips:
Creating forms ahead of time is meant to be a time saver. "If your employees need to ask how to access the forms, you’re not actually saving your HR department that much time,” Fata said.
Use a Shared Folder
Creating a common or shared folder between employees and HR is a great way to house important forms in one place and ensure they remain accessible to everyone. All that's required is for HR to provide access to the folder to everyone within the organization. Then, anyone with the link or folder path can locate the documents they need.
"This is easier to manage than sending individual documents to each employee, and it will ensure that there is always access to them," said Dholakia.
Make Forms Easy to Read
When creating forms to streamline workflows and help productivity, HR teams should aim to make them simple and easy to read. Complicated forms lead to employees having to contact HR to get help, which goes against the entire initiative. For Blake Miner, partnerships manager at time tracking software Workpuls, this includes paying attention to letter spacing and the types of answers requested in the form.
"Letter spacing reduces formatting issues caused by different fonts and line breaks," he said, advising HR teams to pay attention to those details as well in the process.
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Checkboxes and drop-down menus can be great options for capturing employee responses, depending on the type of information being requested. Miner advised that any question requiring the user to type in more than one word should be placed into a text area instead of using multiple-choice boxes, to simplify the process.
Other Ways HR Teams Can Streamline Internal Processes
Creating forms can increase productivity and save a lot of time for both HR teams and employees, but there are other ways to streamline internal processes.
Leverage Cloud Tools
For remote and hybrid teams, using the cloud is nothing new. Yet, few use it to the full extent of its capabilities, and there are many tools available that make it easier for HR teams to support the company's productivity levels.
Tools like DocuSign and HelloSign simplify contract signing by allowing e-signatures, rather than requiring employees to print and manually sign a form. This can be especially useful during the hiring process, enabling departments to oversee the process for their respective employees and communicating the final versions to HR.
Another way for HR to help streamline processes is with the use of automation. For example, HR teams can create forms that gather critical information from new hires and automate part of the onboarding process. This enables companies to scale more quickly, better cope with candidates and reduce costs from manual work.
Used effectively, forms can eliminate unnecessary paperwork. They are more easily tracked and help avoid mistakes or misplaced information. HR leaders looking to make a difference in their organization's productivity levels and efficiency ratios have access to many tools that can alleviate the burden on employees — and on the HR department itself.
There's never been a more appropriate time to implement these initiatives than in today's digital workplace.