Remote working is here to stay. The Covid pandemic was indeed a turning point in how and where we choose to work, and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of the trend slowing down. In fact, according to a recent survey by Omnipresent and YouGov, 89% of UK businesses who are planning to adopt a remote or hybrid working model will do so within the next 12 months.
With such a dramatic rise in the number of remote employees in the wake of the pandemic, it’s crucial for organisations to have the right HR software in place to not only support HR teams, but the wider workforce too. This is because HR solutions are key to facilitating successful remote and hybrid working arrangements, by driving productivity, employee engagement and performance management; as well as enabling HR to streamline people processes such as hiring, payroll, onboarding, absence, and wellbeing.
“When it comes to remote and hybrid working practices, an HR solution can automate much of the employee lifecycle admin processes, but it can also do so much more,” remarks Helen Armstrong, founder of Silver Cloud HR. “A great HR solution now acts as an engagement and communication tool, managing feedback, pulse surveys and directing information to the right people, not to mention managing your talent strategies.”
So, if you have remote or hybrid teams in your organisation, it’s never been more important to adopt a robust HR system to ensure effective communication, productivity, and engagement, wherever your people may be working.
Here, we outline six ways HR technology can empower remote working by streamlining HR processes and uniting dispersed teams.
Enhances performance management
Managing a remote team obviously brings with it many challenges, especially when it comes to performance management. Yet with the right tools, HR teams and managers can carry out a performance review, keep track of how an employee is performing, assess development needs, and set goals and objectives.
“HR software can support performance tracking, with many tools enabling employees to update progress against objectives and development requirements independently, without the need for a meeting or review – meaning everyone has the same opportunity to demonstrate their progress without needing face-to-face time,” remarks Zoe Wilson, director at ReThink HR Ltd. “It also gives you access and control to add, amend and track objectives, as well as request meetings or support. Plus, it saves time if multiple forms and processes are all driven from the same tool.”
Supports remote onboarding
Remote onboarding can be difficult for new starters, as you’ll want to ensure they have key information about their role, get a sense of the culture at the company, and feel supported and included straight away. Yet with effective HR software, the onboarding process can be automated to ensure new hires have everything they need to succeed from the word go.
“Even prior to starting, some sophisticated onboarding modules are starting to emerge, meaning people obtain a good understanding of the culture, values and the business they are joining before even stepping foot in the door,” comments Zoe Wilson. “They can, for example, see who their colleagues are, access core policies, and be welcomed by the CEO.”
Tracks and maintains productivity and engagement
When your people are working in different locations, it can often be harder to measure and sustain employee productivity and engagement, especially if face-to-face interactions are limited. HR tech will take care of all of this by giving you the tools you need at your fingertips to understand, nurture, and track engagement and productivity levels.
“Employee wellbeing and job satisfaction are more difficult to track in a remote or hybrid team,” remarks Mark Skelton, chief technology officer at Telefónica Tech UK&I. “This is where behavioural analytics tools play a key role. When these tools are combined with data sources, such as networks and smart meeting rooms, they provide business leaders with an all-important overview of employee engagement. From here, it’s possible to evaluate the true feelings of employees and understand if anyone does not feel included, and why.”
To ensure productivity and effective collaboration across various remote teams, it’s useful to have tools that can help organisations work seamlessly and hang out in virtual office spaces, especially for asynchronous teams, adds Irene van der Werf, head of people, Omnipresent.
“There are also valuable engagement tools, where managers can empower their employees and give each other kudos on the work done. Tools like these can help build career tracks and are very useful to boost engagement and productivity. It’s easy for remote teams to feel left out, and that in-office colleagues have more career opportunities. Having tools that have clear criteria creates equity and allows everyone to receive fair feedback.”
Enables strategic people management
Cloud-based HR tools enable HR to manage their own processes from any location, however they are equally essential when managing the more strategic aspects of their people too, remarks Helen Armstrong.
“Many of the HR systems now on the market will offer functionality to take care of your people, as well as manage them,” she says. “Pulse surveys, regular check-ins, and communication tools are all being included which allow managers to manage their people within the system and, more importantly, track the impact. For example, if performance data is tracked in an HR solution, it may also be possible to analyse this alongside absence data, which will bring your employee data to life and allow HR leaders to provide some relevant information to their stakeholders, as well as look at actions and objectives to make a difference.”
Effective HR software helps managers gain greater visibility of key information on their remote workforce, says Zoe Wilson. “This enables them to potentially spot issues such as absence, lack of diversity across teams, or flight risks; they may look at this data in more detail having had less in-person feedback or limited in-person opportunities to spot issues such as low mood or lack of motivation.”
She adds: “HR tech also offers better visibility of, for example, learning and development, performance progress and absence, which can be tracked through an HRIS.”
Facilitates anytime, anywhere access
Using a cloud-based, mobile-friendly platform such as Salesforce enables HR to streamline their processes, whether they are at home or in the office, whilst at the same time allowing employees to log in from anywhere too.
“Many HR systems give access to mobile apps to make people processes easy; as well as link to comms and collaboration tools, which can help build relationships and support collaboration even when people are in different workspaces,” comments Zoe Wilson.
“There is no room for paper processes in today’s modern workplace and it is an obvious requirement that all HR teams and businesses need a single source of truth for people data that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time,” adds Helen Armstrong.
So, whether it’s payroll and expenses, reporting and people analytics, performance and development, engagement and wellbeing, recruitment and onboarding, or absence and leave management, investing in an effective, cloud-based HR system is essential in managing remote teams and implementing a successful remote and hybrid working model in your organisation.
To find out how XCD can enhance and facilitate your remote working strategy, or to request a demo, please click here.