Long one of the most disliked parts of Human Resources, HR Administration has a surprisingly bright future

HR Administration – you just have to say the words and in the minds of many people you’ll create the unappealing image of a dusty pile of paperwork, an oversized, underutilized archive room, and/or clunky software that is a pain to work with. However, HR administration doesn’t have to be as time consuming or boring as its sometimes made out to be. In fact, it can often be dynamic and intense!

While HR administration was, and in some cases still is the most derided part of HR the fact of the matter is that HR administration has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade:

  • IT Revolution: every aspect of HR has benefitted from new software and IT systems. The result of this has been a shifted emphasis on strategic HR and organizational development and a downsizing of the administrative workforce. People can do more with less, and they are now able to view employees as internal customers rather than as numbers that need to be processed and legislative requirements that need to be observed.
  • Scale: Through both organic growth as well as mergers and acquisitions many organizations have grown larger and more international in scope and scale – creating more complexities for HR administration. While this often creates the need for mass consolidation of employee data HR administrators need to also account for local tools and practices.

The changes in HR technology and global scaling have caused HR managers and other business leaders to have a new vision about the role and importance of HR administration. Since administration is often localized, HR administrators must increasingly account for a more globalized and uniform approach while still allowing for sufficient flexibility at a local level.  This approach often requires that managers and local employees be trusted to take care of processes on their own – which in turn requires that HR administration be “sexy,” or at the very least functionally appealing.

If local users have to take care of their own administration this requires software that is easy and attractive to use. If 25% of all mobile phone apps are opened once and never used again imagine how difficult it is to create an administrative tool that people will frequently and correctly use!

Its no coincidence that sites and tools like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are so popular and widely used – in providing a good, “2.0” user experience they offer an intuitive, simple experience that makes it easy for people to want to come back!

This same principle needs to be applied to administrative software that regular employees need to use – it needs to be intuitive, simple, and maybe even sexy. Obviously the user interface and experience shouldn’t serve only as window dressing – they need to foster a meaningful interaction between the employee and administrative processes. One way to do this is to take the examples that come from popular social media and mobile apps and use them for administrative software that is built to be decentralized and interactive.

One fascinating point is that many of these “2.0” ideas and features are already built into other HR processes. This can be seen in the context of recruiting and training tools. Training in particular has seen a rise in features that empower employees to become self-learners with things like SoLoMo and gamification.

Fortunately, these features don’t have to be limited to recruiting and training – they can also be applied to administrative work (something we work on with our tools here at Talentsoft). Thanks to advances in software HR administrators can expect employees to manage some of their own administration and career plans, thereby allowing more time and energy to be devoted to more strategic aspects of HR. Administrative software that is built correctly can easily solicit employee participation and ensure people aren’t pushing it away with the assumption that HR will take care of it.

Keep in mind that HR still has the responsibility to ensure best practices are followed and that tools work correctly. They will also need to follow-up with managers and employees about their use and provide training where needed. Successful HR administrators will use employee follow-up as a key tool in their efforts.

When HR administrators are able to combine intuitive applications and effective follow-up they are able to make administrative work an effective part of the organization. This in turn strengthens their role as collaborative, strategic business partners – which is, well, sexy.

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[Ebook] Being Human: Improving Employee Experience and Retain Talent in the 21st Century

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