The Excess Admin Trap: Why the Employee Experience is Bottom of the Pile

HR teams are failing to spend enough time improving the employee experience and often struggle to engage an increasingly diverse workforce – that’s according to new figures released by The Access Group.

The HR technology specialist spoke to leading HR professionals from across the UK to find out the challenges they will be focusing on over the next 12-months.

Whilst almost 30 per cent cited inefficiency, excess admin and inaccurate data, just 9.9 per cent said they would be tackling how to communicate better with a more varied workforce. Even lower was the 2.8 per cent who said they would be taking on the challenge of creating a more flexible and personalised employee experience.

“The role of HR teams should be so much more than just processing and reporting,” said Damian Oldham, HCM Divisional Director at The Access Group.

“It’s evident that this isn’t happening and the valuable skills of HR people are often being wasted. More firms need to be empowering HR teams by giving them the tools to spend less time on admin and more on initiatives that drive success. We need to be doing more to create environments where people are happy, productive and find meaning in their work.

“Knowing how employee experience differs from employee engagement is an important first step. According to experts, it’s a bottom up concept where processes and workflow are designed around existing tendencies of employees.

“Many factors contribute to good and bad employee experiences. Knowing why people feel disgruntled is the first step to making changes, whether it be greater flexibility or the opportunity to work collaboratively with other departments. Or it could be something as straightforward as enabling staff to book holidays using an app on their phone or praise a colleague, which makes work feel more social and less of a chore.”

When it comes to engagement, Damian believes that HR departments now face the task of navigating huge shifts in the way they manage their people, mainly due to evolving demands and workforce diversity:

According to the latest stats from Deloitte, millennials (born 1981-1995) and Gen Z (born 1996-2012) now account for over 50 per cent of the total global working population. These generations are comprised of digital natives and natural disruptors, and together bring a new set of expectations and behaviours to the workplace.

“At the same time, no company can afford to neglect the professional and personal challenges of baby boomers and Gen X; their experience remains just as vital in guiding companies through periods of growth and transition.

“We have reached a pivotal moment where many key processes can be automated, and HR teams are rapidly re-evaluating their role, so they can better deploy their expertise. It’s not always a one-size fits all approach, so freeing up HR professionals to focus on what they need to do to support their diverse workforce is the first step in attracting and retaining talent across multiple generations.

You can read more on both of these topics, and others such as training and development, recruitment and onboarding, and health and wellbeing in The Access Group’s free Undercover HR Boss guide, which includes insights from hundreds of senior HR leaders across multiple industries. Taking inspiration from the TV show Undercover Boss, the guide features a fictional organisation and the challenges it’s staff are facing, all underpinned by real-life HR insights.