by Peter Glen
Modeling Accounting Efficiency Methods in HR
HR departments can learn a thing or two from their Accounting counterparts: namely, process automation. There is no denying that spend management process automation has saved many organizations (possibly even yours) time, money and frustration. Companies that have implemented spend management have automated its approval workflows to streamline processes and remove time drains like confusing requisition email threads, missing paper requisitions, and lost approvals. The time previously spent managing outdated manual processes has been reclaimed and redirected towards more business-critical matters. Along the way, overall costs associated with lost requests or late payments are down.
The same style of process automation that accounting departments enjoy can also help your HR team manage their daily tasks, too. In this article, we will explore a few common HR requests and see how these tasks can be simplified leveraging software your organization already uses. But before we dive in, let’s take a look at the two main components that will combine to help streamline and automate your HR office.
These days when most people think about requisitions, they think of purchasing. But a requisition is merely an employee’s official request for something they need. In spend management terms, a requisition can be for purchasing, expense reimbursement, interdepartmental resources like IT equipment, and the like.
HR has its own common types of requests: time off/vacation, alternative work arrangements, new hire and new hire setup, to name a few. In many organizations, these requests are handled via a paper-based processor is facilitated through spreadsheet forms. Automating these requests not only boosts efficiency but also reduces errors when using the same kind of notification and tracking system that is trusted by accounting users.
The approval workflow is the route each request takes to final approval. Each request may have a simple or complex approval workflow based on the nature of the request and its’ defining factors. There may be multiple approval levels and, at any step along the way, the approver may request additional information or associated documentation. In a manual process, these types of requests become difficult to track and management of multiple requests becomes exponentially more cumbersome.
How to Hack Your Process
Not every company has implemented a full HRMS/HRIS/ HCM system and still rely on paper filing systems and Excel spreadsheets to manage their data. If this is your company and your accounting team is already using a Spend Management system, you are in luck. We have a great, cost-effective hack for you.
Using your existing spend management software and processes as a model to boost overall efficiency in HR requests can be a great way to get more value out of software you already own. You’ll get bonus points because your users will already be familiar with the software. Now let’s look at a few common HR requests that can be streamlined using your existing spend management software.
Time Off/Vacation Request
Time off/vacation requests are very common and are often tracked via a manual approval process that usually starts with a paper request, spreadsheet form or email. You can easily leverage a preset approval workflow, all request details, and approval steps inside your existing Spend Management system. The associated documentation can be captured in one centralized location for easy access and review.
Hiring new employees comes with a host of requests and approvals that can be associated with the process. An automated approval workflow built inside your Spend Management system can streamline the entire process. Everything from the initial request to fill a new position, through multiple position requirements reviews, ad copy, routing resumes for review, and all the way to IT setup requests (computer, phone, email, network permissions, etc.) can be managed in a way that endures no details are neglected during the hiring and onboarding process.
Alternative Work Arrangements
From time to time, employees may need to request an alternative work arrangement. These requests can now be automated to include some or all levels of the organization. In most cases, managerial approval may not be necessary, but they still need to be made aware of the temporary change. Using automation functions within your Spend Management tool, most approval workflows can include notifications so other department managers can be brought into the communication process without requiring a direct approval.
The HR Office of the Future
These are just a few scenarios which can be improved with a streamlined process and the aid of approval workflow automation software. It also illustrates a way to gain more ROI mileage from software you already own. Don’t be afraid to look into more ways your approval workflow automation software can be used to increase efficiency and tracking, and help bring your HR Office into the future.
In the case of eRequester, customers have been finding creative ways to use the Approval Workflow Engine for more than just spend requests for several years. Now, with the introduction of a Forms Module, users can go even further by creating forms from scratch for virtually any request scenario: HR, IT, Sales and Marketing, you name it. The Forms Module uses the same easy-to-use interface and lets you build a form, then get the form reviewed, approved, and saved for use. Users only need to select the form and fill it in. The approval workflow engine takes it from there and automatically routes their response for approval and any further handling.
Ask your software provider how your organization can boost or introduce HR automation for very little cost with a software suite you’re already familiar with.
About the Author
Peter Glenn is a Senior Level Manager for Paperless Business Systems, Inc. and Product Manager for eRequester Purchasing and Expense Management Software. He has been a key player in the recent growth and direction for the eRequester platform and has been an integral part of the team since 2009.
Article reprinted from the Spring 2017 issue of Bellwether.
Subscribe to get a copy mailed to you each quarter for free.