Driving Government Efficiency, Part 2
In our last blog post, Driving Government Efficiency, Part 1: Start with Accounts Payable, we talked about using the unfortunate reality of extreme staff downsizing to our advantage by finding a new way to approach AP in government. Now, let’s take a look at another commonly overlooked administrative department: human resources.
And why wouldn’t it be overlooked? Public sector HR departments have just been the epicenter of the greatest historic reduction in staff in the history of U.S. government. On top of having to maintain their primary responsibilities of managing staffing, benefits, employee documentation and much more, they are now overwhelmed with the task of reducing the size of government to save money.
This is a thankless job and one that should never be mistaken for an effort to improve government, even if staff reductions were essential to balance your budget.
So, what’s next for your HR department?
How can we turn the pain of downsizing into an opportunity to improve the efficiency of your HR department?
Let’s consider three trends HR professionals have been talking about:
- One trend HR departments have embraced is improving service to their customers: the government workforce. The key is the availability of information and the ability of employees to access self-service tools to take care of their needs – things like time-off requests, life events and address changes. After several years of being the bearers of bad news, HR professionals are rebounding with hopes of making things easier for their colleagues.
- Another topic of discussion is the recruitment and retention of staff, particularly IT staff, since public sector jobs can pay less than the private sector and may not appear to offer as many perks. And these organizations may own better technology than the local county has been able to afford. So, as the rate of retiring public sector employees continues to climb, there is even more concern about the future staffing challenges for your city or county. Public sector HR professionals are looking for any advantages they can find to make public sector employment desirable.
- At the same time, data security has been a challenge. With employee files holding confidential information and information like disability status or disciplinary actions, that paper employee file is now a liability. What measures have you put in place to protect your employee files, particularly file sections that might cover more sensitive topics? How do you track who accesses these files?
There is no doubt that each of these trends requires the time and attention of dedicated HR professionals. The ultimate challenge is how to find that time? The answer is to search for efficiency and leverage the trend toward self-service and electronic or digital employee files and processes. A digital employee file is a way to meet each of these trends while redirecting staff time from file rooms.
The advantages of going digital
For HR, digital employee files deliver five great benefits:
- Less filing and printing time and costs
- The end of detested triplicate forms for taking time off
- HR staff no longer have to answer the phone constantly because employees can search and access their own information
- Better security for the information in documents and the ability to apply even more security to manage legal requirements
- A document access audit trail
It isn’t often that the catastrophe of downsizing is leveraged for improved government. In the case of HR, simply surviving the reduction in force is hard enough. But, what if you could do one thing and have it support you as an HR professional while improving efficiency and reducing risk for your agency?
The digital employee file is that rare technology option that can support self-service and better service for your staff while reclaiming your time and reducing agency risk around information compliance.
As you consider your next HR initiative, why not pick an option that offers so many wins and drives efficiency? Going digital may be re-imagining public sector HR, but this change is essential and helps you overcome the most common concerns of HR professionals while providing additional security for your colleagues’ information.
That’s the one communication from HR that everyone would look forward to.