Change has happened, you need to act now before it’s too late

2020 has been quite a year. The COVID-19 pandemic changed many aspects of life and made employees and businesses take stock of their current situation.

As we approach the end of the year, businesses will start to look at planning for 2021 and beyond. Have you already started your planning process for next year? If so have you included proposals for your HR systems and payroll? Now is the perfect time to start reviewing your existing systems and looking at potential improvements.

You would say that though wouldn’t you, we hear you cry!

On the contrary. If you take a look at our Age of Agile HR report, you will see some of the monumental changes that have occurred in the world affecting business over the last 11 months.

The impact and speed of these changes have been unprecedented. The fallout from them will continue for many years to come.

Remote working

Let’s take remote working for example. In March 2020, many countries enforced/ encouraged their teams to work from home if they could. Since then, this way of working has almost become the default for jobs that can be done virtually.

However, many companies had to implement measures overnight to ensure their employees could work from home. After the practicalities of giving people the basic tools, companies now need to start looking deeper into the systems they use to manage their workforce.

Remote working seems to be here to stay, in one form or another. Sometimes remote working has been enforced by governments and now companies are starting to see the benefits of remote working for both their bottom line and staff.

The flip side is that everything is not all great for continued home working or indeed that it is widespread throughout the world. Our Age of Agile HR report shows that different regions/ countries were more/less inclined to have their staff working from home.

There has also been a significant effect on people’s mental wellbeing on this sudden change. It was reported that 41% of British workers felt more anxious after working from home.

Ensuring working from home, works for everyone

With the factors of isolation, managing remotely and/or issues with some people having to be at a place of work, it creates many questions for HR.

Having clear policies and procedures is a must. This can ensure fairness and that it is a level playing field for all employees.

Aside from policies and procedures, you need to make sure your HR systems enable staff to manage their remote workforce effectively. Be this from recording working hours to continuous performance management, you need a robust cloud-based system to be able to do this.

As this type of working seems to be here to stay, you need to look whether or not your company’s processes and systems can cope with this in the long run.

You should start looking now at your internal systems. The longer you leave it, the more complex and difficult it can be to implement a new system in the future, as you may have been coping with inefficient processes that become embedded in the company, which become harder to undo.

How was furlough for you?

Furlough was the word that came into the lexicon of many people this year. Yet for many HR and payroll managers it presented some major challenges.

For the uninitiated, furlough was where companies that were forced to close during the COVID-19 due to government restrictions had their employees’ salaries partially paid usually by the government.

For payroll managers looking after payroll in multiple countries, this could cause quite the headache as each country had different rules, regulations and levels of payment. This is especially the case if you have to manage payroll internally.

For example in the UK until the end of October 2020, the government paid 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. In Germany, the government paid 67% of net wages up €6,700 per month for employees with children and 60% for those without.

If you are responsible for payroll across different countries, you need to be on top of the local rules and regulations to ensure your company is compliant.

Dan Wilson, UK Country Manager for Alight | NGA HR notes: “We are aware of a number of companies that have been having difficultly implementing Furlough schemes. It can get complicated very quickly when you have to look after multiple countries’ payroll”.

“You need a modern cloud-based payroll system to handle this easily or outsource the work to remove some of the pressure from your payroll teams and allow the business to continue to operate and respond to the change”.

Are your systems agile enough?

This year has demonstrated that with governments around the world support employers and employees differently through the pandemic, your systems need to be agile to accommodate these fast changes.

In addition, companies have had to adjust shift patterns quickly in order to accommodate social distancing measures in the workplace.

Faced with these challenges, are your current HR systems agile and robust enough to accommodate regular changes?

Over the next few months and years, there will be more challenges to come, get in touch to see how we can help you prepare your HR systems both now and in the future.