As social distancing and remote work become the new reality for businesses around the world, it’s important to stay on the lookout for process improvements whenever possible. This is true whether your team has always worked remotely or if it’s become a new necessity amid today’s unprecedented challenges.
As part of a broader shift towards flexibility, remote work has been on the radar of businesses of all sizes for quite a while now. Those that joined the trend early have had time to experiment and refine their internal processes, specifically in terms of HR and recruiting. What strategies and tech resources work for them?
For organizations of any size, the right digital infrastructure must be in place to underpin any effective remote management strategies. Without it, facilitating the basic internal interactions that make your business run become much more difficult in a digital environment. Worse, essential HR elements may begin to fall through the cracks without a proper tech stack to support them.
In addition, remember that many aspects of HR play important roles in determining the long-term sustainability of your business. However, the challenge is that many of these HR elements are themselves often taken for granted (even in a physical, in-office setting). We’ll touch on a number of these aspects in the sections below.
The move towards digitization and HR analytics over recent years reflects a growing awareness of this challenge and how organizations can take a more holistic approach. Talent management software not only allows you to more seamlessly translate your existing HR processes to a remote setting, but it also helps to ensure that the often overlooked or invisible functions of HR don’t fall by the wayside either.
Let’s walk through a few of the most important benefits of talent management software for remote teams:
- Centralization of your HR data
- Support for your recruiting efforts
- Feedback and culture-building
As the world economy experiences new disruptions practically every day, doubling down on your HR, management, and recruiting processes will be essential. Even if your team is working in a new way, that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. However, you do need to invest in tools to safeguard what you’ve already built.
1. Centralization of Your HR Data
First and foremost, the core functions of any talent management software involve streamlining how your business handles one or more aspects of HR. Also called performance management, this area includes tasks related to supervising employee work, providing feedback, facilitating workflows, and generally defining and managing the structure of your organization.
Using dedicated software to manage these tasks gives you the immediate benefit of centralizing them. This is similar to why a business uses a CRM or database to centralize sales and transaction data. With a complete record of employee engagement data, it becomes easier to identify trends or issues as they arise and then refine your approach for the future
For instance, has your business historically lost employees to turnover after they’ve been with you for a certain amount of time? Centralized HR software can help you answer that question in just a few minutes. That trend might indicate the need to define clearer career tracks or job descriptions at that point. This is more important than ever during times of economic turbulence for older and younger workers alike.
Features like performance management facilitation and record-keeping, exit interview questionnaires, and organizational chart creation would all be great examples of what to look for in software to help centralize your efforts.
2. Support for Your Recruiting Efforts
Talent management software can also have major benefits for your remote recruiting processes as well. You might use a comprehensive management platform that includes integrated hiring features, or you might use your own set of separate recruiting platforms, interview software, and candidate trackers.
Either way, using a tech stack of HR software makes it easier to find the right additions to your remote team and offer them a stellar candidate experience.
Not to mention, the nature of remote work often makes it difficult to meet qualified candidates in-person, so software plays the crucial role of facilitating those interactions digitally. Today, virtual interviews have become a new necessity for many businesses practically overnight. Making the move to virtual interviews is much simpler when you’ve got the right software in place to support those efforts.
In addition, if you’re using a centralized talent management platform as discussed in the previous section, you can see some additional systemic benefits across your recruiting process as a whole thanks to access to a complete record of your business’s employment data.
For instance, complete compensation records and integrated features to calculate and manage pay ranges can drastically simplify the process of offering a starting salary to new recruits. Not to mention, basing your compensation decisions on data and standards is always the smarter choice to protect your business from inadvertently discriminatory practices.
Remember, labor and recruiting regulations still apply to newly remote businesses! Working with a professional-grade set of talent management, compensation, and recruiting software can be a major help in keeping your processes fully compliant as we adapt to a changing reality.
3. Feedback and Culture-Building
Two of the most prominent functions of HR in any business are facilitating feedback and shaping the internal culture of the organization. These tasks are just as important for in-office, newly remote, and fully remote teams, and HR software can play a critical role in ensuring they don’t fall by the wayside for your own business.
- Feedback and performance management. Whether your business follows a structured quarterly/bi-annual/annual structure or a more modern continuous feedback model, using HR software to anchor the process is a smart move. This keeps your records of reviews and conversations organized for easy access, which ultimately gives employees a fairer experience. When working remotely, it can be difficult for managers to point to specific wins and opportunities, but a centralized system helps address that issue. This works in both directions, too! Facilitating, recording, and acting on employee feedback is critical for strengthening your HR processes and your business as a whole.
- Building culture through transparency. Along similar lines as the performance management benefits above, HR software helps to make your remote business’s internal processes as transparent as possible. Easy access to their own employee records, Total Rewards statements, advancement opportunities, and more are essential. Coupled with an open, proactive approach to communication and effective video conferencing tools, you can create a culture of transparency for your business. Consider working with an HR consulting firm or expert if a big-picture strategy update sounds like a smart move for your business.
Strengthening culture can definitely be a challenge for remote teams. The task ultimately comes down to keeping employees engaged with your business by reiterating the contributions and value they bring to the (virtual) table. Transparency, communication, and performance management processes that don’t feel like major ordeals are great ways to support that kind of engagement.
Talent management software, whether a comprehensive platform or individual software solutions for specific needs, plays important long-term roles for your business beyond their core initial purpose. There are more options on the market than ever to provide talent management solutions for organizations of all types, so it pays to do your research.
Check out our “how to choose” guide on performance management software to get your bearings and begin exploring the space.
Remember, strong HR and recruiting processes can safeguard your growth during any period of disruption. Boosting engagement, streamlining internal work, reducing turnover, making smarter hires – all of these can put your business in a stronger position as we head deeper into 2020. With the right tech supporting you, you’ll be doing your business a real service.
About the Author
Jennifer C. Loftus is a Founding Partner of and National Director for Astron Solutions, a compensation consulting firm. Jennifer has 23 years of experience at many organizations and volunteers with many notable HR non-profits, including SHRM. There she serves as a subject matter expert to the SHRM Learning System and as a SHRM instructor. In 2014, Jennifer received the Gotham Comedy Foundation’s Lifetime Ambassador of Laughter Award.