Human resources (HR) professionals who embrace technology are getting to spread their influence in the workplace, according to Paychex's inaugural Pulse of HR Survey report.
Recently, the payroll and human capital management company quizzed 300 HR leaders at U.S. small and midsized businesses (50 to 500 employees). More than two-thirds of respondents said they had branched out of their administrative roles and had taken on more strategic responsibilities.
Many are rubbing elbows with C-level executives.
Three-quarters (75 percent) have earned a seat at the leadership table, thanks to HR technology. Forty-one percent meet with their CEO, CFO or both once a week. Nearly a third reported that they have access to top management when and if they need it.
"Technology is a powerful tool in our everyday lives and especially for HR leaders, with the right solution offering countless opportunities for increased accuracy and efficiency," said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. "Technology, combined with knowledgeable service professionals, can empower today's HR professionals to make objective, data-driven workforce recommendations to the C-suite that will ultimately help achieve the organization's overall business goals."
HR solutions are enabling professionals to more effectively and efficiently manage their workforces and make sure they get paid fairly and on-time. More than half of those polled said HR technology allows them to make quick (and accurate) work of time and attendance tracking, time and attendance tracking, and of course, payroll.
Like their peers in sales or finance, HR professionals are also discovering the benefits of data analytics. The vast majority of respondents (86 percent) said analytics helps them make more objective and informed decisions.
However, the quality of the insights produced by analytics tools is only as good as the data on which it's based. Nearly half said they fret about using the correct type of data in support of their business goals.
And while technology is a boon for HR workers, too much of it can be a detriment if the tools are not all on the same page.
Only 23 percent of survey takers said they use a single integrated HR solutions suite with seamless data-sharing capabilities and 44 percent use multiple separate systems with at least some integration. Bouncing between tools and reentering data is taking a toll on many workers and their productivity. Nearly a third (30 percent) reported that they spend 15 to 29 hours each week rekeying data, according to Paychex's findings.
It's bad enough that workers are losing precious hours to duplicate data entry, but there are other risks in avoiding automated and integrated HCM systems.
Endlessly rekeying data or copy/pasting information between applications increases the likelihood of errors that take time to correct, or worse, delays in getting paid. Newer, cloud-based solutions also offer mobile and self-service functionality
, allowing employees to keep tabs on benefits and vacation days or make updates to their mailing address without filling out paper forms or endlessly trading emails with an HR department.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.