You may have previously considered, or even had plans for, giving your employees the ability to work remotely. Due to the recent social changes in response to COVID-19, those considerations may have accelerated into a necessary reality to keep your business running during this time that we're all supposed to remain at home.
A few days ago, our I.T. Manager, Dionne, published a blog post about the various technologies that you might need to rely on so that your employees can get their work done seamlessly and securely from a remote location. That post addresses how people can stay connected to your organization. But how does your organization stay connected to them...informationally, culturally, practically?
A cloud-based Human Capital Management system offers many built-in solutions to keep your organization aware of your employees' activities and help them stay informed in the face of rapid change. The following features keep everyone working together, even when they're in different places.
Mobile Time Tracking
Exempt and non-exempt employees need to track their work time no matter where they are, especially when allocating their hours across multiple departments. For remote employees, physical and even spreadsheet-based time-sheets can pose a problem in this regard. Those methods rely on employees jotting down the time they spend on various activities and then re-creating it, sometimes days after the fact. This delay leads to inaccurate time reporting and unreliable information.
A full-featured HCM system like People Savvy HCM comes standard with a mobile app that includes employee time-sheet access on a phone or tablet, as well as via any web browser. HCMToGo, in this case, allows employees to track their work time in real time, so that nothing has to be re-created from days-old memories or scribbles on scrap paper.
Once complete, employees can submit their timesheets from the app and have it automatically routed for review, and the reviewer can use that same mobile tool to approve or reject the time, rather than sift through email threads and chase down print-outs. What's more, managers and administrators can view and report on timesheets at any point in order to see where employees are spending their work hours.
Employee Self Service (ESS)
Routinely, employees get paid for all those hours they submit on their time-sheets. Even though most employees are paid though direct deposit these days, pay statement distribution remains an irritating - and often wasteful - challenge, especially where remote employees are concerned.
An HCM system that includes Employee Self Service features allows Payroll Administrators to spend less time stuffing envelopes that will often never be opened. Instead, employees can securely access their pay history, including copies of their pay statements, whenever and wherever they might need to. If the employee needs a physical copy of the document to prove income, s/he can simply download a pdf copy and print it out. This approach saves time and the environment.
Other ESS functions that employees can use, if given permission, are access to W-2 history, direct deposit assignments, and benefit statements.
Whether the information relates to a pandemic or the location of the annual company picnic, keeping remote employees in the know can be difficult. Company-wide emails often become a tangle of threaded replies, resulting in confused off-site employees who don't know where they are supposed to go or what action they are supposed to take. Gathering people together on a conference call is time-consuming and frequently forces employees to delay other important business tasks in order to attend.
Announcements that appear when employees log in to the company's HCM system via mobile app or browser offer the perfect solution. They are hard to miss, they can be easily updated with the most current information, they appear wherever the employee is, and they don't become confusing because people can't reply or comment publicly to them.
Even better, announcements only take a few minutes to create, and they can be configured to appear to just a few selected individuals or company-wide, depending on the message.
When employees go remote, they often take quite a bit of gear with them. Laptops, phones, routers, firewalls, and other expensive equipment are typically required technology to facilitate the employee's day-to-day work functions. If that remote employee leaves the company, the organization wants to make sure and get all of those costly and reusable assets back. That means remembering what walked out the door to begin with, which is where HCM asset tracking becomes invaluable.
Asset tracking allows you to capture detailed information about equipment in an employee's possession. The fields are uniform, so that the necessary information doesn't vary from asset to asset or employee to employee, like it might if a note about the asset were shoved in a file folder somewhere. What's more, documentation such as UPC codes or images of the assets can be uploaded with the record to prevent confusion down the road when the asset needs to be turned back in.
Upon the employee's termination, the system will notify a manager or administrator of the outstanding items so that they can be recovered as part of the termination procedure, rather than after it's too late.
One positive thing that we may discover from the present, difficult situation is how productive, convenient, and satisfying it is to have a remote workforce. But it will only be successful if employers are prepared with the right tools to manage those remote employees and keep them feeling like they are part of a unified organization.