In 2020 and 2021, there was a significant disruption in the workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a substantial number of employees to work from home. This change forced many companies to undergo a paradigm shift to accommodate new work arrangements.

HR departments across the country had to transform their processes to align with the shift in work operations. They realigned productivity and performance objectives to sync with remote processes, and businesses had to change their workflows to accommodate remote work.

The frantic catch-up work over the last two years taught businesses an essential lesson about the importance of continuous HR and operational improvements. This article will discuss HR process improvement ideas that you can implement in 2022 to accommodate increasing numbers of remote employees.

Simplify Your Essential HR Processes

Remote work is here to stay, which means you need to adjust your HR and business processes to accommodate the new normal. For example, new employees must fill out their I-9s in person. They cannot do this remotely. You must keep these sorts of things in mind when adjusting to a remote work environment.

Make sure both your employees and managers understand all business workflows, and you should also redesign your workflows to be simplistic and easily repeatable. Remove any unnecessary steps and provide clear instructions to help your employees. If you have any HR team members on staff, they should instruct the other employees on how to use the essential features of your HR system.

Improving the user experience associated with your HR processes will save tons of time for your business operations. Capture data provided by the system and use any insights gained to make the most effective business decisions and make improvements where necessary. These changes will mitigate risks and significantly improve the employee experience.

Document Your HR Processes

Most small-to-mid-sized businesses have no more than one HR professional on staff, and many have none at all. It’s critical that they document your current (and any changes made to your) HR functions and policies. If that person leaves your company or goes on an extended vacation, anyone with minimal experience should be able to fill their shoes and keep the ship running smoothly.

Documentation is critical if your employees work remotely. Your employees need to know how to request time off, make changes to their direct deposit settings, view and adjust their benefit plans, among other things, without hassle. Putting a set of standards in place minimizes deviation and helps eliminate mistakes.

For example, you probably changed your recruitment process to accommodate remote hiring. While the process itself likely remained mostly intact, there are probably some changes to document. Who is involved in each step? Who makes specific decisions? Multiple parties are involved, so you must keep everyone on the same page. By documenting these changes in detail, you’ll standardize your approach and ensure that nobody overlooks crucial steps.

Inquire About Employee Needs

Remote working environments bring challenges that never existed before. Issues, such as home Wi-Fi connectivity, team collaboration, and home office set-up, that are prevalent now never had any thought given to them two years ago.

You must be proactive about the situation and ask employees what they need to be successful instead of sitting back and waiting for employee requests to start flowing through the door. We would advise you to establish a monthly survey that polls your employees to discover their greatest challenges and what they need to remain productive. These surveys are an excellent way for you to stay in contact with your team members and keep employee engagement high.

However, your employees’ needs go far beyond task completion and productivity. It’s natural for remote workers to feel isolated and lonely. Remote work can diminish team collaboration and camaraderie. You should check in with your employees regularly to see how they are faring. You could even enlist the services of a mental health professional whom your employees can speak to if they are struggling with life, work, or a combination of both.

We recommend that you encourage any opportunities for your employees to interact with each other, whether it’s an in-person or virtual team lunch, regular learning seminars, or an extracurricular activity on weekends. Providing your employees with these opportunities goes a long way toward building and maintaining team chemistry in a remote environment.

Invest in Collaboration Tools

If a large percentage of your workforce is remote, that likely won’t change for the foreseeable future. We recommend investing in collaboration tools like applicant tracking systems (ATSs) and performance management systems (PMSs). Tools such as these enable you and your managers to communicate with your employees more effectively. You will see productivity increases in areas like priority settings, checklists, due dates, and task management.

Anonymous surveys are more important now than ever before, thanks to a decrease in communication caused by increased numbers of remote employees. These anonymous surveys are a great way to gauge how your employees are feeling and determine ways you can improve their work experience. We recommend that you provide incentives for hitting survey completion goals. For example, if your employees complete more than 80% of the surveys you send out, treat them to a nice dinner or a sporting event.

Automate HR Processes

Human resources deals with several tedious, menial tasks, such as timekeeping, payroll, and benefits administration. The more you automate these tasks, the more you free up HR’s time to work on more critical and complicated tasks. There are some simple changes that you can implement almost immediately that will make a significant difference.

For example, HR has to keep track of many documents and continuously remind employees to submit these documents. You can set up automatic emails to notify employees when they need to submit documents and remind them of hard deadlines. This simple fix can alleviate some pressure from your team and minimize human error.

HR contracts and documents are essential to many business functions, and automation can remove the responsibility of these repetitive administrative tasks from your team members’ shoulders. Automation goes a long way toward improving your operational efficiency if correctly implemented and will help your business become more agile and responsive in the future.

If you ask us, transitioning from pen and paper to a digital organization method is the most critical step you can take. Unfortunately, this is a step that most businesses cannot take overnight. It can be a long, monotonous process, particularly if you have dozens or hundreds of employees, but it is a process that will benefit your company in the long run. You wouldn’t believe the number of companies that still rely on old-fashioned paper documents.

Transitioning to digital documents and records saves time and space and eliminates the hassle of keeping track of thousands of important papers. A fully integrated HR management platform that keeps track of employee benefits, timekeeping, and payroll is ideal. However, for most companies, outsourcing their day-to-day HR processes to a third-party company is more cost-effective than hiring a team of HR professionals and investing in a software solution.

Outsource Your Daily HR Functions

Let’s face it. Human resources is a hassle. Hiring and retaining top talent, writing employee handbooks, dealing with issues, and continuously striving to improve your business’s operations are tall tasks. Outsourcing your HR department can significantly decrease the weight on your shoulders.

If your company struggles to keep up with the daily demands of human resources and constantly evolving laws and regulations, outsourcing is the answer you’ve been looking for. Employer Advantage works passionately to decrease your burden and free your mind from the hassles of HR, payroll, and other integral functions of running a business.

While you and your management team will never be 100% hands-off, you can do away with much of the grunt work by outsourcing. Interested in learning more? Email us or give us a call at 1 (877) 887-6780 to discover how Employer Advantage can get you that much closer to achieving HR bliss!