HR is at the heart of most organizations. Whether it’s recruitment, staff retention, performance appraisal, employee metrics or overseeing payroll, professional development and employee wellness programs, there’s certainly plenty going on in HR. That’s why productivity is a key issue – and where HR technology can help.
The challenge for many HR departments is that the breadth and depth of the roles and responsibilities make it difficult to find HR technology that will enhance and support productivity while also being agile and flexible. If your organization has been grappling with these issues, an intranet could well be the solution. So, let’s find out just how an intranet can improve HR productivity in your business.
If the idea of an intranet is new to you, then let’s first be clear on what we are talking about. Utilizing cloud technology, an intranet is a private, internal communications network. It comes with an integrated set of tools and features that will support more efficient and effective working across the board.
And the good news is it’s super easy to set-up and manage, so much so that even a technophobe can do it! In fact, your cloud intranet could be up and running in just a matter of hours. For small businesses in particular, which may be lacking an internal IT resource, this is definitely the time-saving, hassle-free option.
What are the great tools and features you can expect to find on an intranet? Well, an intranet offers a truly customizable solution. Not only can you pick and choose the features you want, but you can customize the intranet’s look and feel with your own choice of fonts, colors, and branding. In this way, the cloud intranet can reflect your customer-facing internet site and marketing materials so that it is instantly recognizable to staff as well as being reassuringly familiar.
Take your pick from the following great tools to increase the productivity of HR staff as well as employees:
- Newsfeeds, blogs and newsletters on a company-wide or team basis
- Corporate calendars highlighting key meetings, events or deadlines
- Online staff directory, user profile and biographies
- Secure document and file storage
- Custom forms and workflows
- Employee quizzes, surveys and questionnaires on a range of topics
- Centralized knowledge management
- Collaboration spaces
Having access to all these great tools in one platform makes for a truly versatile solution that’s hard to beat. Now let’s look specifically at how it will impact on productivity in HR.
One of the great advantages of the intranet solution is that only one sign-on is required to access all the tools. So, whether you are after the latest edition of the staff handbook, are compiling the quarterly employee metrics for the board, or perhaps you want to canvass staff views on the revised employee benefits package, the integrated nature of the platform means you can achieve all these things plus a whole lot more in one place.
Do away with the need for multiple apps (and often incompatible) platforms. HR staff will no longer be working from several screens all at once, nor will employees have the nightmare of trying to remember lots of different passwords.
It’s a different story with an integrated intranet.
Cloud HR Technology
Most companies now use some form of cloud technology even if it’s just G Suite or Office 365. This offers many benefits including:
- anytime, anywhere access
- easier collaboration
- increased flexibility
- more opportunities to simplify integration
- high availability and uptime
- automatic backups and updates
- greater cost certainty
Imagine if these benefits were translated across all your business’s technological platforms?
In terms of HR productivity, staff can be working 24/7 no matter their location. The HR manager who is attending an out-of-state expo, for example, can still log on and check progress with the annual performance appraisal system.
The staff member at a university recruitment event can also log on and give potential candidates up-to-date information on internal training and development opportunities.
And the HR team member can sign in and catch up on all the latest company news during their daily train commute.
In addition, it is possible to embed G Suite or Office 365 apps and documents directly in the intranet. This means that staff can easily collaborate in real-time on cross-departmental projects, while the intranet will provide that all-important contextual or explanatory information.
Furthermore, the intranet is optimized for the smaller screens and trickier navigation of smartphones and tablets. A mobile-responsive intranet means that employees still have access to the same digital tools and functionality as head office staff regardless of the time zone or location.
In today’s digital workforce – which is increasingly made up of employees working flexible hours, telecommuters and freelancers – the ability to connect and communicate critical.
An intranet means that these staff can complete works tasks and remain productive even if working from home. What’s more, including reporting mechanisms and tools will allow management to retain oversight of their output.
How much time do your HR staff spend on dealing with queries and requests for information form the workforce? Given that HR is at the heart of every business and has such a broad range of functions, HR is typically the go-to department for any work-related inquiry. This means that HR team members can spend large amounts of time resolving these queries and sourcing information.
HR technology, such as an intranet, is the central repository for all company information, the easing the burden on HR staff. Employees can instead source information for themselves directly from the intranet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, Sam in Accounts can check out the employee benefits package, submit a request for a new team position, complete a holiday request form or confirm the deadline for the submission of the quarterly accounts.
This self-service approach is empowering and motivating for individual staff. The intranet’s self-service option means that the organization as a whole will not be wasting valuable time on sourcing information and data. And it also means HR staff will be freed up to get on with other more important tasks. And staff morale improved, impacting employee engagement.
Onboarding Made Easier
Inducting or onboarding new employees into the business is a critical function for HR. New employees need to feel welcomed and a part of the company. They require access to the necessary tools if they are to be up and running as quickly as possible.
Research tells us that a successful onboarding process sets the staff member up for a positive employee experience and a long association with the company. An intranet will make effective onboarding much easier. You can create a dedicated and customized onboarding section on your intranet to house all the information and resources new staff need: staff handbooks, mission statements, online forms for IT setup, payroll and personal details plus job-specific information such as product manuals, knowledge checklists and how-to-videos.
An online onboarding checklist like the one we have developed here ensures that nothing gets missed. And it also means that managers can see at a glance the employee’s onboarding progress.
Also, the intranet’s online staff directory will be an essential tool for the new recruit. We have all had the same experience of those first few days in a job when you meet lots of colleagues and promptly forget their names within a few minutes! It’s an embarrassing problem that thankfully an intranet can easily resolve. Online directories with staff members’ photos and a biography showing their key areas of work and current projects, mean that the new recruit can quickly put a name to a face. It also helps the new employee to get a sense of where their colleagues sit in the organization.
And further down the track when the new staff member is firmly entrenched in their role, the online directory means they can identify internal sources of help and expertise directly for themselves.
The days of tasks being completed through paper or email processes are thankfully numbered. Automated online processes and workflows are not only faster, they are also more accurate and less prone to errors or information going astray.
With an intranet it’s easy to create your own online forms using the integrated forms builder function or an embedded G Suite or Office 365 app. So whether it’s a simple workflow such as booking a vacation, or a more complicated process – such as managing the company staff appraisal system – the intranet’s forms builder enables you to set up rules and actions along with notifications and submission reports.
The intranet can automatically send forms and workflows directly to the appropriate manager or department for action. And you can use custom statuses to guide the user through the process. You can set up your forms to display the status of pending, approved, declined or hold depending on where the workflow is at in the system.
What’s more, information can be exported directly to other departments as necessary, for example, payroll in the case of expenses claims, or IT for setting up new staff on the company network.
Cloud Intranets: Cost Effective & Flexible
There is one other aspect of cloud intranets worth highlighting: flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
Cloud intranet providers charge a fixed monthly fee for their service which encompasses unlimited data, unlimited numbers of users as well as ongoing support along the way. The advantages of this cost certainty to small businesses (in particular) are not to be underestimated.
So, if your business has up until now only been considering HCM or HRMS options, then it’s worthwhile adding a cloud intranet into the mix. The integrated, inherently flexible nature of the intranet means that it will be ticking several boxes at once.
This makes for more efficient, effective and ultimately productive working throughout the company, and not just in HR.
Here at MyHub we offer a free demo where our experienced and knowledgeable staff will take you through our intranet software and highlight the key features relevant to your business.
If you like, sign up for a no-obligation 14-day trial. This allows you to really test the software.
Get in touch today and find out just what a difference a cloud intranet – the ideal HR technology – can make to your company.