By Shelly Renwick
Even in today’s digital age, some human resources (HR) professionals are still more comfortable keeping track of employee information on spreadsheets and in email folders or locked file cabinets. The thought of keeping all that data in the cloud creates anxiety for some. But the real concern should be centered around the increased likelihood of a data breach or compliance violation associated with a physical paper trail and information that’s cobbled together from different systems — not to mention lost productivity.
Today’s competitive labor market accentuates the need to have a robust single-solution HR system. The right technology can assist with more than keeping track of employee records, time off and payroll; it can be a recruiting tool, help with capacity planning and even inform decisions for more accurate billing. Another huge benefit is that modern HR systems can integrate with a company’s ERP and CRM to eliminate repetitive and manual processes and improve company performance.
In short, technology such as NetSuite can allow HR to become a more integral strategic partner that helps an organization succeed. Here are just some of the areas it can help manage:
Every HR professional knows managing a workforce involves more than payroll and hiring and firing, although NetSuite can certainly help manage those functions. The technology also helps with employee onboarding, tracking and communicating health initiatives and safety protocols, and it can be used as a tool for job requisitions and recruiting.
Employees can even access a feature in the system to help foster engagement by giving kudos to fellow workers on an employee message board. Creating an engaging culture is increasingly important when it comes to recruiting and retention.
Timesheets and PTO Requests
Tracking individual timesheets and managing time-off requests and approvals is a perennial challenge for many supervisors and HR professionals. Rather than punching a time clock and transferring information to a separate platform, employees can log their time directly within a secure employee portal. The system fully automates appropriate payroll, taxes, W2 generation, ACA reporting and direct deposits.
Time-off requests submitted by employees are automatically routed to managers for approval. Once approved, an employee’s record is automatically updated to reflect remaining time off. From a supervisory standpoint, management can see select employee PTO schedules for capacity planning and proactively address potential schedule conflicts.
Customizable roles and permissions are assigned so that only authorized users can access information. Employees can see their individual pay stubs, change withholdings or view other personal data securely.
HR and supervisors can easily access an informational dashboard to view comprehensive analytics and reporting. Some companies track actual time worked on a project to determine how long it took to do a job and compare those metrics with what was budgeted. Any discrepancies can be addressed or, if the time to perform a job is consistently under or over estimated budgets, pricing can be adjusted accordingly.
It’s not uncommon for an employee to submit a stack of expense reports with stapled receipts and handwritten notes. With HR technology, employees can submit expense reports electronically and upload receipts to improve processing time and accuracy.
Employees can also easily submit purchase requisitions. For example, if someone needs to purchase folders to hand out at a presentation, the electronic request can be submitted, approved and automatically routed to purchasing. Many people still fill out paperwork for such requests, which can easily get lost or delayed. By digitally storing these types of requests, an HR system creates more visibility for involved parties on a shared dashboard and results in quicker response times and an accurate audit trail for compliance.
Employee Performance and Compensation
Tracking employee performance reviews and outcomes across departments is a challenge in itself. When a company has multiple divisions or locations, it becomes even more difficult. Knowing whether a supervisor is taking care of an employee issue in another state rather than wondering if a potential probation situation is being allowed to drag on is unlikely when any documentation and correspondence records are kept securely in one system. The system can even issue alerts if action isn’t being taken in a timely manner based on workflows that are set up during implementation.
Workflows can also issue reminders for when performance reviews are due and keep track of associated documentation, forms and previous reviews and growth initiatives for individual employees. Accurately tracking an employee’s reviews and compensation helps supervisors create a thorough and helpful review process, improving employee satisfaction.
Reporting and Compliance
When records are kept in multiple formats and across multiple systems, accurate and timely reporting becomes nearly impossible. Gathering documentation associated with expense reports, time off and other employee data is extremely time consuming. With an HR system, any employee-related data is kept in one central system, and HR staff can run custom reports at the click of a mouse.
More than ever, manufacturers need to leverage technology to gain a competitive advantage. The best solutions create transparency across an entire organization by ensuring compatibility and seamless integration between its HR, ERP and CRM systems. This approach helps improve employee satisfaction, reduces payroll costs and errors, improves security and helps ensure compliance.
The functionalities outlined in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about the robust capabilities of NetSuite, reach out to the certified NetSuite specialists at Wipfli for a complimentary consultation.