The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic will have caught many employers off guard for different reasons with few having been unaffected, perhaps even on a long-term basis.
For some employers, the worst may now be over; having made their way through the lockdown and now coming out of the other side as they reopen or prepare to return to the workplace. Other employers may still have difficult times and decisions ahead.
Unfortunately, the future is still uncertain for all of us as we navigate the delicate balance between getting the economy functioning and controlling the spread of the virus, with a second wave and the reinstatement of lockdown measures remaining a real possibility.
From an employee management perspective, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of being able to quickly react to the fast-changing situation. Having ongoing instant access to employee information, being able to search by date, employee name, keyword etc,
As such, employers who were already set up with cloud-based HR systems prior to the pandemic would have been in an advantageous position compared to those that were not.
Using the benefit of hindsight, here are the ways in which a Cloud-based HR system will have helped employers during the initial and ongoing stages of Covid-19.
Cloud HR systems encourage employers to be organised with employee-related paperwork and record keeping. By simply being able to access employee records remotely and therefore being able to quickly locate all information relating to an employee’s employment, including access to their Contract of Employment, would have made the process of making decisions relating to employees somewhat easier.
On the other hand, those with a more traditional approach to keeping employment records, with paper-based files, will undoubtedly have faced further hurdles – having to physically go into the office to access employee files, dig through to find the right ones and then having to transport them all home. Any incomplete information would have to be found and entered manually, and the process of sharing information between key decision makers would also have been a struggle, involving scanning and emailing documents. All of these processes are manual and time consuming, which at a time when stress levels are already raised, is unnecessary.
Make informed decisions quickly
Speed would have been of the essence for many an employer, especially in relation to placing staff on furlough, or making amendments to pay or working hours.
Cloud HR systems usually allow searches to be undertaken by employee name or keyword, allowing you to find all of the information to need within a few clicks. Most will also have built in reports that can be produced at the press of a button. Moving forward, employers will need to remain agile in case of a second wave or further lockdown measures.
Unfortunately, many employers will be forced to make difficult decisions as a result of Covid-19. Having a secure platform where documentation can be stored will allow employers to store information and communications with employees, including any changes to their contracts. Assuming procedures are followed correctly in line with up to date employment law, this can help to protect an employer’s position in relation to any future employment claims.
Companies that have accessed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CVJS) or placed staff on furlough, must keep these records for a minimum of six years for HMRC reporting and audit purposes. Having this data securely stored electronically makes life much easier when those requiring access are working from several locations.
Track and trace
As companies reopen their premises, they may need to restrict the number of employees on site for social distancing purposes, or may consider more flexible working in future with staff splitting their time between home and the workplace. Some HR management systems allow you to ‘book’ spaces in the office and cap the number of people on site at once. You can also run reports detailing where staff were working on a certain date, making it easier to contact other employees in the unfortunate event of a someone testing positive for coronavirus.
Although no employer will have had an easy route through the crisis to date, depending on how they were set up to manage employees, some may have at least found navigating it easier than others.
KMC Human Resources works with breatheHR – one of the leading online HR management systems designed for the SME market. Easy access and monitoring of staff absence (holidays, sickness and other types of absence), work location, furlough information etc, the system allows for online storage of all personnel information. Rather than having to keep paper files for each employee, and having to physically be in your office every time you need a piece of information about a member of staff, breatheHR allows you to access personnel files from anywhere there’s an internet connection.
If you want to get back in control of your HR administration, or bring your employee management into the 21st century, please get in touch.