A 2015 study by the Society for Human Resource Management reveals that most employees are seeking a meaningful work experience. In an effort to supply it, employers are increasingly moving their HR processes to the cloud. In fact, the Information Services Group (ISG) states that the desire to provide a positive user experience is a chief reason employers shift to cloud HR solutions.

How popular is cloud HR technology? Stratospheric. ISG’s 2015 survey shows that over 70 percent of respondents have implemented or intend to use cloud HR technology within the next two years. Besides reducing time spent on HR-related tasks, an effective cloud HR system takes an integrative approach to improving employee experience – from the job applicant stage all the way to off-boarding. An ideal integrated solution can transform the employee experience.

Integrated Cloud HR Technology

The swiftly evolving workplace and the role of HR demand that employers leverage technology that adapts to current and future organizational needs. According to ISG, midsized companies are adopting cloud HR models faster than larger companies, with the latter typically using both cloud and on-premise HR systems.

PwC’s 2016 technology survey indicates, however, that 61 percent of respondents are looking to work with one HR technology vendor instead of multiple vendors. Similarly, more and more employers are choosing integrated HR solutions (over legacy on-premise systems) that combine the following functions into one Internet-based, or cloud, platform:

  • Workforce administration
  • Benefits administration
  • Payroll/time and attendance
  • Talent management
  • HR analytics

A best-practices, future-state cloud HR system will deliver:

  • A positive user experience, including being easy to manage
  • Modern design and ongoing innovation
  • Analytics that reveal business outcomes
  • Mobile access

A system with the above components can provide prospective and existing employees with an interactive experience that ultimately increases retention rates.

Elevates the Job Application Process

A study by Pew Research Center found that most adults in the U.S. have searched for jobs on the Internet. With a cloud-based HR solution, employers can reach their target audience by posting jobs online. Candidate-employer interaction begins at the job application stage, immediately introducing the applicant to the employer’s brand while accelerating the recruiting process. For example, applicants can:

  • View open and currently filled positions
  • Create their own profile, making it easier to reapply in the future
  • Use their LinkedIn profile to simplify the application process
  • Receive automatic email updates

To use the system, candidates only need a web browser and an email address.

Simplifies Onboarding

Lack of a cohesive platform can cause new hires to become mired in paperwork, which slows down the onboarding process. Cloud HR technology enables paperless onboarding, which allows the employee to access, complete and sign the relevant new hire forms electronically – including I-9, W-4, state tax forms, background check form, agreements, and company handbook acknowledgement.

The employee enters personal information into the database only once, typically at the application stage, reducing the likelihood of errors and lost paperwork. The data is stored in the cloud and can be accessed whenever necessary.

Empowers Employees with Benefits Selection Tools

SHRM’s 2015 survey concluded that 63 percent of employees regard benefits as very important to job satisfaction – and employers are taking note. Benefits administration has reached a worldwide adoption rate of 86 percent, says Sierra-Cedar, a technology consulting firm. It’s no wonder, then, that employers are modernizing their benefits administration processes via integrated cloud technology. For example, employees can make benefits election online and compare their elections with alternative plans. Since the system is integrated, the information automatically flows to payroll, eliminating double keying.

Facilitates Time and Attendance

Gone are the days when employees submitted their timesheets in person to their supervisors or payroll departments. With the right cloud HR solution, time reporting has never been easier.

  • The system prepopulates the online timesheet with standard work hours.
  • When reporting time, the employee reviews the timesheet and makes the necessary edits.
  • After the employee submits the timesheet for processing, the respective supervisor reviews and approves it in the system.

In addition, employees can view their leave balances and submit time-off requests through the system, allowing managers more time to focus on higher-level tasks.

Grants Access to Personal and Payroll Data

By logging into the integrated HR system, employees can make changes to their personal data plus review and obtain certain payroll records, without having to seek additional assistance or fill out complicated forms. They’ll easily be able to:

  • Make changes to personal data, such as address, email address and phone number
  • Update emergency contact information
  • View/update tax withholding data
  • Update direct deposit information
  • View pay statements
  • View and retrieve W-2s for tax filing

Encourages Engagement across the Organization

The term “employee engagement” has become quite popular, and for good reason. A report by the Harvard Business Review states that 71 percent of respondents view employee engagement as very important to business success. Organizations therefore need all the assistance they can get when it comes to employee engagement. An integrated HR database can be that helping hand. Employees can use their PC or mobile device to:

  • Upload a professional photo of themselves
  • Collaborate with colleagues and join group discussions
  • Post opinions and feedback
  • View company directory
  • Share company news
  • Receive alerts, notifications, and workflows

With a range of performance management tools at their fingertips, managers can develop talent, align teams, recognize contributions and reward employees accordingly.

Invests in Your Employees

Integrated cloud HR technology comes in different forms. Not all systems are built to heighten employee experience. If the system is too difficult to use or doesn’t promote employee engagement, the employer will likely see little, if any, return on investment. What’s needed is a solution that delivers a holistic strategy that keeps employees invested from their initial contact with the company up to their departure.

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