Should You Be Delegating HR Admin Back to Employees?
Many HR managers find that their day is consumed by payroll, benefit management and other administrative activities that otherwise seem to remove the “human” from human resources. However, new tools continue to emerge to allow HR to automate those tasks and, in some cases, delegate that work back to employees.
“What we’re looking to achieve with software is to free HR managers to do what you might call ‘proper HR work’ rather than reactive administrative work,” explains Chris Wakely, head of the enterprise team for Thomsons North America, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of global benefits management and employee engagement software.
For Thomsons, that has meant development of a software platform called Darwin that allows employees to manage their benefit information and get rapid answers to their questions.
“Darwin has its own what we call ‘engagement manager’ within it that allows you to automate how you communicate with employees,” Wakeley says. “Let’s say, for example, the employee just got married; they can use [software] to automatically communicate what a change in marital status means for them with regards to the benefits you have in a particular country.”
He adds, “A lot of our clients using it are able to maximize employee engagement around benefits and HR-type communications.”
Although Thomsons gears its software primarily to large corporations, Wakely points out, “Certainly a lot of global organizations, large or small, have the same problems.”
Large or small, by automating day-to-day HR tasks, this department suddenly is able to spend more time working on management type issues that are more often falling to the HR department.
One of the key drivers toward promoting employee adoption of benefit administration is finding a tool that is simple to use. HR has always been about engaging employees, but finding software that is engaging has been a challenge until recently. More and more software developers are looking to create a “consumer-centric” experience with benefit administration software.
Thomsons is just one case in point.
“Although our software is a business tool, we’ve designed it to be like using a website that you’d use to buy something at home in terms of the experience, the use of colors, how it flows, etc.,” Wakely says. “We want this to help our clients engage their employees better [as] a piece of software that is enjoyable to use. Functions such as creating employer brands, helping in all the key parts of the onboarding process when you initially make an offer, and using cool pieces of technology and branding actually helps our clients to better sell their proposition.”
In the end, inviting employees to take control of their benefits by simplifying the process could be the beginning of an HR department that is able to focus on people, not spreadsheets.