July 13, 2022 Optimization Support

Training, Inclusion & Access: Three Keys to Employee Empowerment

While companies of all descriptions are feeling the strain of losing employees and hunting for replacement talent, it is the HR department that is bearing the brunt of both keeping up with hiring and developing techniques to better hold onto valuable employees. As companies get creative with strategies to combat the fallout from the Great Resignation, many HR departments are discovering that focusing on meeting the needs of individual employees is as important as developing infrastructure based on what research says employees want.

Establish Connection from the Start

The use of virtual and pre-recorded training processes might feel efficient as well as sufficient to connect with employees, but in many cases the reality is that new hires want to feel like more than just another body coming in the door. The constantly pivoting HR professional might initially feel that allocating face-to-face attention runs counter to the push for time-saving process automation that preceded the pandemic. However, if HR departments are canny about when and where to employ the personal approach, they can reap rewards from mastering both techniques.

According to a 2022 report from the HR Research Institute, only 17% of HR professionals strongly agree that HR maximizes the employee experience. While this statistic is alarming, the more concerning inference there is that 83% of HR professionals are not having a positive experience themselves. Knowing this, there is a reason to identify actions that can be taken to help boost your team’s morale. Certain processes pack more of a punch when it comes to obtaining results through personalized interaction and the place to start is within functions that produce real payoff for both the employee and the company.

Leverage Personalized Training to Boost Engagement

Christina Bindl, Wise Consultant, understands why employee expectation and sentiment has shifted as of late. With years of HR and payroll experience under her belt, she’s seen how human resources departments have to pivot quickly to stay ahead of recruitment and retention trends.

Bindl feels that actively arming employees with the education and tools to do their job effectively is a great first step to decreasing turnover. She urges clients to go beyond vendor-provided or self-paced training. “A common complaint is that it’s just not engaging; [employees] don’t feel like they’re learning anything new or useful,” Bindl explains. “This creates a snowball effect, as people become reluctant to attend more training, and then they fall further behind.” This is as true of HR and payroll professionals as it is of any other type of worker.

On the flip side, providing personalized training that engages and empowers the employee establishes a trend that feels supportive and promotes confidence. Bindl urges clients to leverage the expertise of Wise consultants to provide more active training to their new HR and payroll staff. Targeting what the individual employee needs and wants to learn to be effective on the job is hard to achieve with a one-size-fits-all training video. “After so many virtual events, employees are craving hands-on experiences,” points out Bindl. “Nine times out of 10, people don’t work well with just instruction. They learn better when they get to experience it hands-on and pose questions to live experts.” 

Train for Long-Term Success

Investing in targeted, experiential training can be especially fruitful if you are having to navigate sudden turnover or you discover too late that there was a lack of process/job documentation from the departed employee. Bindl has seen this scenario play out before, ultimately costing the company money and time. “We had a client that we were offering payroll support for. When we took them live, everything was great and their system was running smoothly. We were able to support them on their payroll while they found a long-term payroll employee,” says Bindl. “However, they came back a year or so later and engaged with us again for payroll support because they had issues with W2s and earning codes [because] the new employee that they had hired to run payroll had been brought on without sufficient training in the new system. This caused their whole system to be out of whack as mistakes piled up. The best remedy at that point is to perform a system utilization review, which can be an unexpected cost. It ultimately all comes down to the training,” she affirms.

While this scenario can feel frustrating, create risk and dip into a company’s bottom line, it is preventable. “When you get someone new on board, it’s imperative that you take the time and invest in that person with proper training,” explains Bindl. “You’ve already invested in your HCM system–failing to invest in training can ruin your system and ultimately require you to plow more money into fixing the problem.” Avoiding this snag can prevent future headaches and help keep morale at a higher level.

Next-Level Employee Empowerment that Pays Off

Not only will proper training help to mitigate mistakes, but it will also allow for more confidence and buy-in from your employees. Bindl notes that when key user employees are well-educated on the HCM system and can utilize its robust feature functionality with confidence, they are better-informed decision-makers. This tip is especially pertinent for companies that are shopping around for a new HCM system and want to empower employees to use it effectively. 

However, Bindl has seen that many companies fail to offer key users a seat at the table when it comes time to discuss potential upgrades or changes to their HCM system. “The key players are the people who are actively working within the legacy system,” points out Bindl. “Instead, many companies have only executive-level team members attend sales calls where the product demos occur. While these execs understand how to make large purchase decisions, they probably aren’t asking the right questions simply because they don’t know what to ask.” 

This approach can result in the purchase of an HCM system that might not be the best choice for company needs/goals and frustrated HR and payroll employees. “People often underestimate how important it is to include key user employees in these conversations,” reiterates Bindl. Roping in your team of everyday users and system administrators can not only improve the odds of selecting a better product but also boost morale and jump-start change management. “By including key players like your payroll team, you can really dig deep and examine the exact issues your unique business may be having and how this system can provide a remedy,” points out Bindl. “Not only are you getting better expectations for what the new system is going to do, but you’re also allowing these key players to have more buy-in to the new system. It’s much more empowering–it ultimately improves the employee experience.” This approach can create a user-adoption chain reaction that spreads throughout the entire employee population.

Use Your HCM System To The Fullest 

When it comes to HCM system utilization, achieving worker adoption of self-service functionality can be trickier than it should be. Hard-to-find links to key functions or information housed across different channels can discourage employees from trying because they have to spend too much valuable work time searching for links or trying to find up-to-date information. This is disempowering and ultimately creates more work for HR and payroll because they end up fielding more calls, emails and requests than they would if workers could easily find the self-service features and important company details in a central location. “One thing that I feel is an essential part of a good, valuable HCM system is an internally-housed intranet. However, this system feature, which is present in many products, is often underutilized,” says Bindl. “This isn’t unique to one client or industry. As many companies have navigated the digital shift, they may be using multiple platforms to store important employee information and there may not be a uniform process to store or provide access to resources.” 

Bindl recalls an instance where she ran into this exact problem recently. “I think we can all relate: your IT team leads a meeting to go over best practices on a particular platform and sends out a one-pager to recap at the end. But, you go back to reference the document later and just can’t seem to find it!” This frustration has become increasingly common as remote work becomes the new norm, and what may seem like a few extra clicks can fuel frustration if employees can’t easily find essential information such as items pertaining to benefits, pay, or tax forms in a central location. 

Bindl suggests that companies invest the time to build out a user-friendly intranet and solicit suggestions for which resources should be available on it from their employees. They really do know which features and information they most want access to! This one improvement will make workers feel heard, promote self-sufficiency and improve the employee experience.

Employee Experience Enhancements Work! 

To some, these adjustments may seem trivial or like a bunch more work. But, for HR and payroll professionals who are navigating an extremely taxing point in the business landscape, finding the time and energy–or bringing in the right consultant–to provide hands-on training, involve key users in decision-making, and solicit ease-of-use suggestions from employees, can greatly improve morale and curb turnover. Bindl and her team believe that taking these measures are no longer luxuries, they’re mandatory for building a culture of empowerment and buy-in.

Let Wise Help You Improve Your Employee Experience 

If you’re looking to make some adjustments, lean on the seasoned professionals at Wise Consulting. Whether you’re hoping to revisit your training practices, need guidance on how to optimize your HCM system, or need quality payroll coverage for an undetermined period of time, our team is here to lend a hand. Contact us today by calling 800-654-4550 or sending us an email at HCMHelp@WiseConsulting.com

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