I remember watching a potential hire wait for an interview with my veterinary hospital manager (who also ran our HR).
Several clients were holding their barking dogs and hissing cats, receptionists were trying to answer phone calls, process invoices, and guide visitors to their rooms. Meanwhile, nurses were rushing in emergencies and struggling to hold dogs 3x their size.
At the same time, our hospital manager was solving a disagreement between nurses, trying to locate a doctor for help, signing off on PTO requests, processing payroll, and preparing to interview the girl waiting.
I noticed the interviewee anxiously looking at the door. Even though we were laughing through the chaos, it was quite a sight to behold.
This is one reason Human Resources (HR) is crucial for any work environment, even though it’s often overlooked and underutilized.
An HR manager supervises employee relationships, maintains compliance, recruits new hires, and performs many (if not all) back-office duties.
Usually, small businesses will task an existing employee with these additional responsibilities. We like to call this “second hat HR” because it’s another hat they wear, but it isn’t their primary role or area of expertise.
This can be risky, especially if your employee isn’t familiar with benefits, compliance, OSHA regulations, and recruiting new hires.
But sometimes it doesn’t make sense to hire a manager when you have a growing team of people.
This is when an HCM platform can come in handy for HR: it streamlines back-office processes, empowers employees to manage their own information, and assists HR in staying compliant.
By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll understand how an HCM system can support your HR manager and take a load off their shoulders (or yours).
As an HCM provider, we know how important it is to put your real energy into expanding your team, ensuring employee happiness, and keeping your business risk-free.
1. Streamlines back-office processes
Save your HR manager the trouble of manually posting to several job boards, re-entering data, and going over benefits options with employees. An HCM software can reduce their time on these tasks with an Applicant Tracking System and Electronic Onboarding.
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
Having an established hiring process, time-saving tools, and quick follow-through are key to finding (and keeping) your next great employee.
You can equip your HR manager with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that enables them to streamline the process of posting positions, scheduling interviews, and accessing actionable insights that will improve your hiring processes in the future.
An employee usually spends their first day filling out a tax form, handing in a voided check, and reviewing the company handbook or other paperwork – and your HR manager usually oversees this.
Electronic Onboarding allows the employee to fill out all of this information before they begin their first day. This means that your HR manager can focus on getting to know your new team member and making them feel comfortable in their new position.
2. Empowers your employees
Employee Self-Service and Performance Management improves your employees’ communication with the HR department and makes everyone’s day a little easier.
Employee Self-Service empowers your team to change their own information, from the bank account where they receive their paycheck to their benefits plan. They can also submit PTO requests, view their accrual, and access their paystubs.
This alleviates your HR manager from small tasks that add up and take valuable time out of their day.
Performance Management Reviews
An HR manager gauges the pulse of your team. After all, they oversee the relationship between your employees and leadership.
A clear understanding of the progress your team is making towards goals and objectives fuels their engagement, productivity, and wellbeing. It also helps in reducing turnover.
A Performance Management System measures and guides their individual and collective progress. It helps your HR manager systemically connect with your employees through performance reviews, feedback, and goal setting, and monitoring.
3. Maintains compliance
If you have more than 20 employees, federal and state laws require you to offer continuing medical care coverage to most employees covered at the time of separation. COBRA is not straightforward so having an expert on your side prevents you from making costly mistakes.
When it comes to labor and employment laws, change is the only constant business leaders can expect. Failure to keep up with evolving regulations can lead to significant penalties and negative publicity, especially if an employee files a complaint claiming a violation of rights.
A robust HCM platform will offer timely, cost-effective solutions for:
- Direct discussion and legal advice from an employment attorney
- Legal counsel representation during employment-related situations
- Online knowledge base with checklists, legal summaries, forms, and FAQs
Plan Document Management
Compliance experts will help you create, update, and distribute important benefit plan documents, eliminating a typically time-consuming and tedious task.
While larger employers may have the resources to prepare custom plan documents for every employee benefits plan, most small employers lack the resources and expertise to maintain these documents. At the same time, failure to do so can lead to costly penalties.
Leveraging general counsel is an expensive option that most small-to-medium-sized companies cannot justify. Mistakes are costly – especially for a small business trying to survive.
An HCM platform will also:
- Provide web and phone-based support
- Offer experts in compliance
- Mail required notices to employees
- Bill retirees and employees for insurance premiums
- Print and file ACA reporting forms
An HCM platform with a benefits administration function will act as an extension of your HR department. If you’re a small business that simply wants to ensure health insurance compliance, thinking about an HCM partner may be the right move for you.
However, you still need to factor in the expense of implementing an HCM platform. Even though adding a benefits function is relatively inexpensive (we charge $2 per employee per month), it may be unnecessary until your team grows more.
Account-based plan administration
Account-based plans can be a competitive advantage for employers seeking to provide their team with the best coverage and tax-preferred options available.
Over 40% of workers said their company loyalty would increase if their benefit options were customized to meet their individual needs. (Rogers Gray).
A customized, account-based plan allows your employees to enroll in benefits at any time and access their personal information anywhere. This empowers your team to manage their personal information and allows you to view reports, improve efficiency and reduce errors.
You can also set up and distribute debit cards and reimburse out-of-pocket expenses.
These features allow your organization to focus on the most strategic, value-added activities for growing your business. By leveraging a dedicated team of benefits professionals, you can solve the complexities of inefficient plan setup, changing regulations, employee turnover, and other daily challenges.
Let HR get back to HR.
If my former manager had an HCM platform to help her with these HR tasks, it would have made her day a lot easier.
It would have streamlined her responsibilities, from approving a PTO request with one click to scheduling interviews with applicants. It also would have provided her with a safety net concerning benefits and compliance.
She would have been able to channel her energy into managing her team, finding excellent hires, and improving the back-office processes for a better veterinary clinic.
Are HCM platforms for everyone, though? Not necessarily. If you’re a start-up or you’re just beginning to grow, your team probably isn’t large enough to pay for these features…yet.
Additionally, if you work in an industry where there are lots of potential HR hazards or you are heavily reliant on OSHA guidelines, you may want to hire an experienced HR professional instead of delegating it to a member of your team.
Unless your team member count stays small or you work for yourself, you will have to integrate HR into your business one day. Whether that looks like outsourcing your HR, hiring a professional, or assigning the tasks to one of your employees, HR is a must-have for any business.
Whether you’re looking to hire an HR manager or you’re juggling these tasks yourself, read this article to consider potentially outsourcing your HR department.