It has been a tough time for HR professionals, between enabling staff to work from home and furloughing employees. Dealing with HR cases such as grievances and complaints from a distance is especially challenging. And it does not look like remote working is ending any time soon, with more than two-thirds of workers wanting to continue flexible working.
It is not just the extra workload and distance from employees that makes the job harder, working apart from the team can be difficult. You can’t just turn to your colleague to ask about a particular case or to find out where documentation is. So specialist HR case management software that promotes effective casework collaboration is more essential than ever.
The wrong tool
HR teams use various tools, including “homegrown” systems, but many teams we talk to are struggling using spreadsheets for case management. Even with a smaller HR team with responsibility for say 1,000 staff, case management via spreadsheets becomes a problem. It is labour intensive, a security risk, increases the likelihood of introducing errors and prevents management from having an overall picture of employee relations.
HR teams deal with confidential and personal information, so data breaches could land you in hot water. Without a secure, online HR case management system, it is harder to ensure that access to cases is restricted according to your company policy. When relying on spreadsheets, you cannot easily make sure certain information is visible to (only) the right people. And supporting documentation cannot be stored with the case record, allowing the same restricted access. It only takes one slip, selecting “reply all”, or sending to a similar email address for an accidental leak of confidential information.
You probably heard about the COVID “track and trace” error when 50,000 contacts were lost because of a spreadsheet blunder. These sorts of errors are not confined to big government organisations; mistakes creep in at every level. For example, missing a column when sorting data, accidental deletions, missing essential data and incorrect categorisations. A spreadsheet cannot alert staff to missed data – they do not include automated notifications and alerts which mirror required procedures.
Inability to maintain policies & losing track of tasks
Relying on spreadsheets, emails and diary management can get messy when trying to maintain policies and ensure that all tasks take place on time. It is easy for a task to be missed because everybody thinks that someone else is doing it. Even more so when teams are not in an office together and effective collaboration is being hampered. The lack of an automatic audit trail tracking tasks and document versions also makes it that much harder to ascertain who has done what, when.
HR teams are under pressure. Many are still catching up after the extra work they had thanks to COVID and the move to remote working. Maintaining casework spreadsheets and collating information from multiple systems is time-consuming and involves unnecessary duplication, reducing productivity.
Missing the big picture
It is difficult to see patterns when data is stored in different ways in different places, and there is only so much analysis you can do in a spreadsheet. If you have any systemic issues in your employee relations, they could be missed. It is challenging to keep track of everything when the information is not held together in a proper case management system.
Having confidence in your case management
If you introduce the right secure HR case management software, you will feel more confident in your procedures. You will feel assured that your data is correct, secure and that you are seeing the big picture. It will also save your team a great deal of time and allow them to work in a much more collaborative way.
Good HR case management software should always:
- Encrypt and securely back up all data
- Allow different data access for different users (configurable to match your company policy)
- Provide a full chronological audit trail of data entry and actions taken, providing proof of how cases are handled and that due process is followed.
Have built-in accuracy
- Built-in workflows for each case type that guides users through the correct process
- Pre-set look-up lists and drop-downs that reduce manual errors (and save time)
- Built-in auto-populated letter and email templates that include accurate case data.
Make collaboration and task management easy
- Allocate a named person for every case and allow reassignment if necessary
- Allow task allocation within cases to other individuals
- Create automatic tasks within the system as well as allowing user-generated tasks
- Create highly visible alerts & reminders to prompt action in line with targets and KPIs
- Record all case communications across multiple channels (web, letter, email, phone and text)
- Display a clear overview of team activity for HR managers.
Save time and resources
- Require each piece of information to be entered only once
- Automatically populate communications via email and letter to save time
- Easily bundle case files for presentation to managers, solicitors, Employment Tribunals etc.
Help you visualise the big picture.
- Allow you to see all the information relating to a case in one place
- Real-time dashboards that provide case and task views to track performance by individual case, staff member, team caseload or across the whole organisation
- Allow linking of cases & tagging of precedent cases
- Allow automatic scheduling of reports, including any regulatory or compliance reporting
- Provide comprehensive case status information to managers, even if the case handler is absent
- Allow all data in the system to be queried to produce statistics and reports.
If you want to improve remote working collaboration and productivity in your HR team while improving employee relations, you need HR case management software