By Steven Kuhn
Today’s human capital management (HCM) software delivers a host of competitive advantages you’re probably familiar with-faster and less labor-intensive talent management processes, streamlined workflows, improved communication, fewer data errors, and enhanced legal compliance.
But there’s another significant advantage of HCM software that often goes unrecognized: it can help you increase employee engagement.
That might not seem apparent at first blush, especially since many factors impact employee engagement. However, a study by MSW Research and Dale Carnegie Training identified three key engagement drivers:
Employee Engagement By the Numbers
If you think about these key drivers carefully, HCM software directly supports the first two and prevents the third from being eroded by poor talent management processes:
HCM tools improve communication, one of the most important factors impacting the employee-supervisor relationship.
HCM tools can be used to help an employee feel connected with the culture, co-workers and your company.
Few things erode employee confidence faster than being managed poorly. If your company’s managers aren’t using your HCM tools effectively or if your talent management processes are filled with problems and bottlenecks, employees will lose faith-not to mention productivity and motivation-no matter how much they like their work. HCM tools help you manage each employee efficiently throughout the entire talent management lifecycle. This creates the kind of employment experience that workers enthusiastically share on social sites, job boards and through word of mouth.
Here are five more ways that high-quality HCM tools can help you build engagement throughout the talent management lifecycle.
Many companies underestimate the importance of their recruiting process to long-term employee engagement. The truth is … people should start feeling a connection to your company even before they become employees. Otherwise, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle from the start.
A quality applicant tracking system might be your biggest ally in this effort. It will assist you in two key areas.
First, the ATS will help you determine your best talent sources and attract stronger candidates. You can track the quantity and quality of candidates coming in from your talent sources (e.g. job boards, social media sites, internal referrals, external recruiting sources), helping you focus on sources delivering talent that fits your company’s needs. And because you’re getting candidates that fit your company, this helps ensure you’re welcoming employees who are excited to be part of your team and eager to contribute from the start.
Second, the ATS will also help you provide a smooth hiring process-you won’t have the unnecessary delays and communication problems that plague many organizations. For example, according to the 2015 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report, while “most companies send an immediate ‘thank you,’ nearly half of candidates never received an indication about the status of their application.” The quality of a hiring process makes a difference to candidates. More than 3 in 4 candidates (77 percent) are willing to accept a salary that is 5 percent lower than their expected offer if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process, according to CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior study. Plus, candidates will carry this positive view of the company into their first days as employees.
When you bring in new hires, you want them to be productive as quickly as possible, but mounting evidence shows that you shouldn’t just rush through the onboarding process. One notable example: a report by the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton found that effective onboarding improves employee performance by 11.3% and increases employee engagement and retention.
HCM software tools can help your organization create a more efficient and more effective onboarding experience. First, ATSs can ensure that all the necessary paperwork is filled out and filled out correctly, which allows HR to focus on getting new employees integrated into your company culture-an important step for creating and sustaining engagement.
Second, HCM tools are highly valuable for HR in those culture integration efforts. For example, some tools include portals that allow you to share videos and documentation about your company. And because of their onboarding task management capabilities, they help ensure that all new employees receive the same general onboarding experience, and that nobody falls through the cracks.
While accountability is usually regarded as the greatest benefit of any performance management system, the best systems have a direct link with employee engagement. These modern systems provide automated tools that help you reward employees for going above and beyond in their duties, which supports employee engagement efforts for all employees. According to a 2015 study by SHRM and Globoforce, 83 percent of respondents said their employee recognition efforts had a positive impact on employee engagement.
Performance management systems facilitate quality, consistent and relevant feedback. There are two feedback areas of note:
Research consistently shows that the most common reason employees leave organizations if because of their relationship with their immediate manager. Often the problem is communication-employees feeling that their manager is not communicating with them, listening to them or addressing their concerns.
Manager self-service available through quality HCM tools addresses this problem. Managers get instant, direct access to valuable information (such as journal notes entered by co-workers, other managers, etc.) that helps them address issues more quickly. They can also quickly review time-off requests and performance reviews, both of which allow them to communicate better and faster with their employees.
Time management tools are also noteworthy, as they help managers optimize schedules for employees-especially those who are paid by the hour. Employees can enter their shift preferences, and when managers work on schedules, they can take those preferences into account every time. As a result, employees are more likely to be scheduled to work when they want to work.
In short, self-service tools help managers do a better job of supervising and communicating with employees and addressing their concerns in a timely way-all of which are essential for creating and sustaining a quality relationship.
Quality HCM employee self-service tools give your employees access to their demographic, payroll and benefit information, as well as to information about your company and your people. This fosters engagement because it empowers your employees, shows them that your company trusts them, and helps them forge stronger connections with your company and their co-workers. The following are some more specific benefits of employee self-service:
Obviously, the value of employee self-service depends on how much the service is used. To facilitate use, modern self-service systems grant employees access through their mobile devices. After all, greater numbers of workers of all ages and in all functions are using mobile devices to get their jobs done, inside and outside of the office.
If your company isn’t using modern HCM software, your employees probably aren’t as engaged as they otherwise would be.
And since employee engagement is connected with higher productivity, reduced turnover and higher customer satisfaction, not using the software could be significantly hurting your bottom line.
Steve Kuhn is Vice President of Criterion, a leading provider of modern HCM software solutions that comprehensively manage HR, payroll and recruiting for mid-market companies. He possesses over 25 years of HCM software experience and has worked with some of the more recognizable enterprise software organizations and boutique software houses. Steve brings a unique perspective of the HCM space with his background in product development, marketing and sales of HCM solutions across most industries.