HR Software

5 ways on how to improve HR processes in your business

Team Talking About How To Improve HR Processes


To improve HR processes, there are various tools and techniques you can deploy. However, it can be difficult to know what to focus on first. Start with these 5 methods to improve your HR processes today.  

As an SMB owner or HR manager, you don’t have the benefit of an entire HR department. Whatever HR practices are in place are your responsibility. This is not an easy undertaking, especially as HR is a multi-faceted area responsible for the entire employee lifecycle of every person in a company.  

Many SMBs we speak to here at Access PeopleHR have fragmented processes. Disparate software, lengthy on-boarding protocols and inconsistent performance review procedures are commonplace. Those responsible for HR normally have other responsibilities that cannot get neglected. Splitting your time and prioritising can be stressful. As a result, HR is often the area that suffers most.  

So how does one go about ways to improve HR processes? What actionable steps can you take today to start making long-term improvements? Read on to find out more.  

The best 5 HR process improvement ideas & examples

In this section, we’ll take you through five HR process improvement examples that you can use to improve your HR processes.  

1. Undertake a HR process improvement assessment

To start improving your HR process, you must consider your current situation. We call this an HR assessment. It's a comprehensive review and evaluation of your existing activity. 

An HR process improvement assessment shouldn’t be mistaken for an HR audit. Audits focus on specific aspects of a company’s HR. It identifies things like compliance issues and policy gaps. Instead, HR assessments evaluate all your HR practices. For example, recruitment, payroll, performance management and so on.  

In simple terms, an HR Assessment can be a useful tool for determining whether your SMB is meeting its HR needs. 

2. Automate cumbersome HR processes 

Once your process assessment has been completed, it’s now time to take a look at some of your specific HR activities. Ask yourself: 

How many of these tasks are repetitive in nature? Could they be automated? 

Many HR activities are manual, process-driven and time-consuming. SMBs tend to allow too much of this to consume their day-to-day. This can lead you to unknowingly neglect your people. Do you find yourself stuck in a spreadsheet rather than solving a workplace dispute? Chances are you’re spending too much time on those cumbersome HR activities. These could be automated through using HR software 

HR processes that you can automate: 

  • Employee onboarding – Key documentation can be added to an online portal. 
  • Time off and attendance management – Employees can mark attendance online, request holiday, check status of requests, and so on.  
  • Training and development - Taking your learning programs online allows you to train a large number of employees simultaneously. Assessments can also be completed online.  
  • Employee data management – Employees can track and manage their own personal data, and it is consolidated in a single place. It is also password-protected, so data and workflows remain safe.  

By automating these tasks, you will find yourself able to focus on more long-term, company-wide initiatives, rather than the time-consuming day-to-day tasks that don't contribute to organisational growth. 

3. Adopt a cloud-based system 

Cloud-based HR systems are just that - installed in the cloud.  It means that your software is hosted on the internet. You don’t have to manage physical servers yourself or run software applications on your own machines.  

We use cloud-computing – in some form – without really knowing it. Examples include Gmail and Dropbox – but there are many examples we could draw from. 

So, it’s not a new concept. Yet, a large proportion of SMBs are still using paper-based and/or outdated HR systems. In some cases, this might be the best solution for you. But if you worry about data security and compliance, or if you want people to access/edit documents in real-time, then a cloud-based system should be a consideration.  

So, let’s take a quick glance at the benefits you can expect from cloud-based systems. 

Benefits of cloud-based HR systems: 

  • Improved security 
  • Easier access to information 
  • Increased productivity 
  • Better recruiting 
  • Improved compliance

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4. Allow your employees to self-serve 

Employee HR Self-Service (ESS) can empower your people, providing them with single, centralised access to things like: 

  • Personal information 
  • Holiday booking 
  • Payslips 
  • Benefits information 
  • Training 

Having everything feeding into one platform saves everyone time and frustration. But with self-service HR, there are many more benefits. Employees can access what they need, when they want (and on any device) – giving them more control. This means happier, more empowered staff. If you’re responsible for HR, this also means you’ll be fielding fewer support calls and emails! 

5. Improve HR processes with workflow management 

Many top-tier HR systems will offer automated workflow management capabilities. But what exactly is workflow management, and how can it help with your HR processes? 

Workflows are sequences of actions or tasks performed to accomplish a particular goal. Structured workflows follow a defined path, which can be sequential or parallel. For each desired business outcome, the path will often have defined variations. 

Many processes within HR are repetitive. For example, recruiting, performance management and holiday requests/approvals. Workflow automation can be applied to save time and standardise certain repetitive tasks.  

Benefits of workflow management systems:

Benefits Explanation
Defines processes Processes governed by digital workflows always meet certain standards. A consistent approach to internal policies improves compliance and prevents errors, forgetfulness, and favouritism from occurring. 
Increases collaboration  If certain processes involve multiple people, a workflow can clearly define the roles and activities, calling them in at the right time, encouraging collaboration and bypassing company silos. 
Increases reliability  Employees can feel confident that requests are being routed appropriately and getting to the right people. 
Maintains deadlines  Automated notification systems keep participants up-to-date and informed about upcoming tasks to ensure deadlines are met. 
Improved compliance  An HR workflow ensures that approval flows and business hierarchies are respected, allowing you to establish complex and differentiated approval flows for each process. For example, an employee's annual leave might be approved by a different person than their performance review or training enrolment. 

How can HR improvement processes benefit my organisation?

HR improvement processes can benefit your organisation by simply improving the way you carry out various HR responsibilities. By automating repetitive tasks, you are standardising your process and mitigating the risk of error. In addition, cloud-based systems can improve data security and compliance. Furthermore, allowing your employees to self-serve relieves pressure on HR and empowers your team to manage their own data. 

When we speak to customers, most want to become less reactive and more proactive. They don’t want to keep “putting out fires” - so they can focus on longer-term business initiatives.  

An improvement in HR processes allows you to be more proactive in your strategy. This can benefit every facet of HR. 

Let's say you lose your best employee. A proactive approach would be to have a pool of qualified candidates ready to fill the position. This can only be achieved if the right tools are in place to prepare you for such eventuality.  

Bottom line: To improve employee experience for mutual benefit, HR processes, resources, and tools must be carefully considered. 

With that in mind, let’s recap some of the steps you can take to improve HR processes: 

In considering some of these steps, you can expect short-term wins to be: improved productivity, increased engagement for staff, safer data and reduced risk of non-compliance. And when it comes to long-term wins, you can expect: increased staff retention, more of a contribution to company growth and even increased profitability.  

Utilise software to benefit your business

You are likely using software to help improve several of your business processes. But software specific to HR purposes may be a relatively new concept for your SMB. With that in mind, we hope this article has given you some useful HR process improvement ideas.  

HR software is an investment. Therefore, you may be reluctant spend on software that's not useful or beneficial. A core benefit of HR software that we’ve not explicitly mentioned in this article is its scalability. This means you can select a package that suits the current needs of your business.  

As your business grows, you can add functionality to manage increased demand. In other words, you won’t be paying for functionality that you don’t yet need. This makes the investment of HR software more viable. Particularly important in times of economic uncertainty. 

If you think HR software will help you improve on your HR processes, don’t hesitate to watch our 4-minute demo. Once you've watched it, feel free to discuss your current HR needs with us further. We're always happy to help. 

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This is just one in many articles we’ve written to help SMBs navigate the world of HR software. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to take a look at some others we’ve written: 

Rich Newsome
By Rich Newsome Digital Content Writer

Rich is a content writer at Access PeopleHR and has a wealth of experience within the tech space, including HR software. Passionate about providing website visitors with informative and easy-to-understand content, Rich is committed to helping SMBs find the best solutions for their needs. With a flair for writing, Rich's content engages and educates readers, guiding them towards informed decisions.