Technology has been pivotal to streamlining and modernising the world of work. Automated processes have saved thousands of hours of manual work, and most of today’s businesses rely heavily on technology in every aspect of their daily operations.

But when it comes to automating processes in the HR department, have we taken it a step too far? For example, should businesses use automation in instances of bereavement leave, or should there be a protocol for human intervention to safeguard employees?

Whilst technology and automation might make employers’ lives easier, they could make or break the relationship with employees. Every member of staff should still receive the compassion and empathy they deserve if they need to take time off work for personal reasons and shouldn’t have to deal with an automated response or boilerplate email.

However, if used properly, technology could actually boost your rapport with your employees…

Navigating employee relations

As an employer, building and maintaining a personal relationship with your employees is crucial for creating a healthy values system in which your staff feel appreciated and taken care of. Upholding a good employer-employee relationship boosts motivation and, therefore, productivity. Employee relations also have an enormous impact on your business’ retention rate. If you have a negative relationship with your employees, they’re likely to seek an alternative role and increase your turnover rate.

Yet, businesses often become so focused on providing their customers with a stellar service that they forget to focus on their employees — which could be detrimental. After all, your employees are at the very core of your business, so you’ll be unable to service clients to your full potential if your staff aren’t happy.

Adapting to a new normal

The pandemic served as a much-needed wake-up call for the world to refocus on mental health in the workplace and safeguard employee wellbeing. But although COVID-19 brought with it several positive shifts in working attitudes and a suite of new technologies to facilitate remote work, it’s easy to forget that it’s had much more of a direct impact on the lives of some than others.

Thousands of people have lost a loved one to COVID-19 and can’t be expected to continue working as normal — if at all — in such traumatic circumstances. Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) recently updated its bereavement guidance to include new resources on supporting staff who’ve suffered a bereavement related to COVID-19, providing advice to employers on how to handle this difficult situation in a supportive, compassionate and practical way.

COVID-19 continues to test the limits of employer-employee relations. In our new normal of hybrid working, it’s easy to let your efforts in maintaining these relationships fall to the wayside. And if you’re running a global company and can’t be in the same office as your employees every day, staying in touch with everyone regularly just isn’t feasible. But what if there was a way to identify any red flags that could alert you that an employee needs someone to check in with them?

A blended approach for happy employees

Businesses assume that using technology or outsourcing their HR services to a global employer of record (EOR) means taking a less humanistic approach. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Research from the Harvard Business Review indicates that 65% of a manager’s current workload could be automated by 2025. So, HR teams could use technology to automate menial tasks and free up time for managers to build more human relationships with their employees.

What’s more, implementing HR technology allows you to track and monitor employee leave. Processes around paid leave are often automated. However, using technology gives you visibility over whether anyone is taking time off for bereavement — meaning you can intervene and provide the support they need. But whilst technology can be useful in some areas of managing HR, relying on automated HR services to manage bereavement in the workplace is unlikely to make your employees feel valued. Your business should assess where it’s suitable to automate processes and where real people need to get involved. If an employee is taking time off for bereavement, it’s your HR department’s duty to ensure any sensitive situation is treated with empathy rather than as an automated check-box exercise.

Equally, when you work with a global EOR, an artillery of state-of-the-art software becomes available, alongside a team of automation experts that’ll streamline your HR and payroll processes. As such, most organisations are concerned that they’ll lose the personable aspect of their business’ HR department if they outsource to an EOR. The last thing you want is to lose your business’ identity along the way and damage the relationship with your employees.

However, when you work with an EOR, they’ll flag any instances of illness or bereavement leave to your in-house HR department so that you can check in with your employees directly. If you take the initiative to save an employee from suffering in silence, it could be critical to maintaining that relationship.

We do it because we care

Despite what you might assume, working with an EOR like TopSource Worldwide enhances your relationship with your employees rather than damaging it.

We offer world-class outsourced HR services to help businesses with their global expansion. And when it comes to running a business, we’re experts in understanding which areas of your HR operations require automating and which require involvement from real people. We also know that one size can never fit all, so we’ll tailor our HR services to fit the needs of your business, slotting in technology where necessary and approaching everything on a case-by-case basis.

Despite being a global organisation, every one of our employees works against a shared set of values to ensure our service is holistic and personable — no matter where in the world we’re based.

Our values underpin everything we do. We’re:

  • Positive: our can-do attitude propels us to success as we always look for the positive and aspire to achieve positive results in all situations.
  • Accountable: we take responsibility for our actions and always follow through with our promises.
  • Personable: our team comprises caring, compassionate and thoughtful individuals who strive to give you, your customers and your employees the most ‘human’ service possible.
  • Adaptive: we’re constantly challenging the status quo and finding ways to improve — for ourselves and our clients.
  • Honest: we’re firm believers that the truth will set you free, meaning we’re always 100% honest with our clients and each other.
  • Determined: our team is incredibly driven and hardworking. We’re tenacious and persevere to deliver on our promises, individually and collectively.

As part of our global EOR services, we offer comprehensively managed HR support to provide rounded and professional assistance to short and long-term HR. Get in touch today to find out more.

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Published On: April 4th, 2022Last Updated: April 5th, 2022

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About the Author: Paul Sleath

Paul is responsible for global marketing and communications including brand, advertising, digital marketing, and demand generation. Paul has a wealth of experience previously co-founding PEO Worldwide and was also the former managing director of CPM People/Stipenda.