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Simplify Administrative Work

Freeing HR Staff : 6 Ways to Simplify Administrative Work

Most business owners understand that too much administrative work is a burden. It's costly, inefficient, and limits potential opportunities. Yet, why do we accept that the average HR professional spends nearly all (86%) of their time on administrative tasks, as per research from EY?

To be fair, a big part of HR's job involves handling transactional task. Ensuring smooth operations like payroll and benefits administrative is crucial. However, viewing the HR department solely as an administrative function brings its own set of issues.

Administrative Tasks Hold Companies Back

Excessive administrative work can act as a barrier for companies looking to maximize efficiency. When admin tasks consume a large portion of resources, companies may struggle to seize opportunities that could improve their efficiency. This can lead to missed chances for streamlining processes, workflows, and ultimately improve levels of productivity.

It's important to note that HR teams no longer need to spend so much time on administrative tasks. Smart automation and technology-enabled self-service options can free up a huge amount of bandwidth and reduce the overall burden placed on HR teams, making them more efficient and effective.

Discounting HR's Strategic Role

When HR is overwhelmed by administrative tasks, its strategic contribution to the business diminishes. This heavy workload hampers HR's ability to actively participate in corporate strategy and restricts its role in shaping the company's future. Instead of focusing on strategic tasks like talent management and culture, HR must dedicate the majority of its time to transactional duties.

As a result, HR is often seen as just a cost-center rather than a strategic partner that can drive innovation and support business goals. This narrow view fails to recognize the vital role HR plays in aligning people with business goals.

According to EY, HR’s true value “lies in bringing a powerful combination of people capabilities to business problems, rather than the depth of just one skillset.” When HR is too busy, they can't efficiently use their skills to solve important problems and help the business succeed.

It Limits HR’s Capabilities.

An HR group that spends most of its time on manual administrative work won’t have the capacity to administer services to a larger and larger workforce as the business grows. They’ll be spread too thin, and every aspect of the employment experience will suffer. In other words, an administration-focused HR is not scalable. In this situation, HR itself can begin to act as a constraint on the business’s ability to grow.

The Cost of Administrative Overload in HR

Per research from The Hackett Group, the most successful (what they term “world-class”) HR organizations operate at 25% lower cost while requiring 31% fewer staff. Notably, they are also 91% more likely than other HR groups to “act as strategic advisors to the enterprise.”

Too much focus on administrative duties simply costs more, requires more staff, and steals time from more strategic initiatives. This is likely why so many businesses view HR as a cost-center: if they’re spending 86% of their time on admin, they don’t have the bandwidth to create value.

How Do You Reduce Administrative Burden?

Simplifying administrative tasks is crucial for HR professionals to boost their effectiveness and strategic impact within companies. By cutting down on time spent on routine admin duties, HR teams can shift their focus to more valuable activities.

In the following section, we'll explore various ways and tools that HR can use to lighten their workload and maximize their potential as strategic partners within the business.

6 Ways to Simplify HR Administration in Your Workplace

Complexity in HR is a hot – and complicated – topic. HR leaders say that their HR administration has grown significantly more complex over time. “Being a competent HR professional has become increasingly complex,” say researchers from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Brigham Young University, and Utah State University.

The increasing complexity is because HR professionals need to learn new skills, especially with technology like workforce analytics and automation. There are also more regulations, compliance requirements, and processes have become more complicated. HR teams are facing new problems such as remote work, or economic challenges, and making sure they follow labor laws during unprecedented situations.

That complexity saps productivity and eats time. Research from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) suggest that complexity can diminish between 16% and 50% of executives productive time. Given this, how can HR deal with this added complexity?

1: Make Simplification a Priority.

Focusing on simplification is vital, but it takes both time and dedicated staff. For instance, technology firm Adobe found that its performance management process used up a massive 8 million person-hours annually!

This shows how overly complex systems can weigh heavily on a business. To tackle this problem effectively, companies must be ready to invest the needed resources to untangle and streamline these processes. By doing so, they can cut down on inefficiencies and boost productivity across the board.

2: Examine Complexity.

HR guru Josh Bersin recommends first assessing complexity at your organization. “In order to make things simple,” he writes, “you must first understand how complex they really are, and from there boil it down to its essence.” Through this approach, companies can identify complex areas and develop targeted strategies to streamline processes and improve efficiency.

3: Consider Time as Valuable as Money

Excessive tasks within tight timelines can complicate work processes. By approaching time as something to be budgeted, companies can pare back on meetings, calls, and forced multitasking. This allows HR teams to focus on essential tasks and allocate time more efficiently.

4: Enhance Skills.

Fast Company recommends that HR leaders develop their business acumen as much as their HR acumen. “The complexity of business today requires an HR leader to possess an intimate grasp of the business, industry, market, and more.” HR professionals need to broaden their knowledge beyond traditional HR functions.

5: Embrace Automation.

With advancements in HR technology, automating routine tasks like payroll and benefits administration can greatly simplify work for employees. This not only streamlines the process but also generates a great ROI. This way, HR teams can allocate their time and resources better, allowing them to focus on strategic goals that drive business growth.

6: Partner with Others.

Working with outside HR experts and organizations like Professional Employer Organizations can improve business efficiencies and simplify in-house HR tasks. By outsourcing transactional work to third parties, internal HR teams can concentrate on improving business success and growth. For more details on how third-party HR services, such as PEOs, can empower internal HR teams to become strategic partners, check out our article, “Does Strategic HR really make a difference?”

Ready to optimize your HR operations and boost business productivity? Consider partnering with CoAdvantage, a nationwide Professional Employer Organization (PEO). With our comprehensive and cost-effective HR solutions, including but not limited to: HR administration, HR technology, workers' compensation management, and tailored health insurance packages. From payroll to compliance and risk management, we've got you covered. 

Let us handle the complexities of HR management so you can focus in growing your business. Fill out the form below to discover how CoAdvantage can support your company's success!