This guest blog has been provided by Jessica Barrett Halcom. Jessica is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.
The idea of work-life balance isn’t so much an idealistic goal as it is a near-urgent need, now reaching levels of criticality. Stress is at an all-time high with 80% of workers feeling stressed on the job. Add to that rising workplace violence and health and personal problems due to work-related stress, and we’re nearing crisis stage. Couple the stress of the job with long commutes, the demands of family life, and an increase in living expenses, and it’s easy to see why more people are craving and requiring better work-life balance.
As employers and leaders, what opportunities do we have to help our employees realize a better overall quality of life through balancing careers and personal lives? Technology has blurred the line between personal and professional lives. The physical locations and hours that one conducts business have expanded from the typical 9-5 Monday-Friday. People check email from their smartphone while sitting on the beach in the Riviera Maya and text their spouse between meetings to finalize dinner plans.
What are some ways that we can alleviate the stress of a demanding job? Turning to human resources (HR) software has some surprising benefits. Here are some ways that using HR software can improve work-life balance.
Set the right tone from the beginning by using recruitment tools that make the application and interview process seamless and simple. Use a tool that allows applicants to search for positions, upload a resume, and answer pre-interview questions as quickly as possible and within an intuitive interface. A positive user experience starts a candidate off right and shows that you respect their time. Additionally, this same software can begin the onboarding process as soon as an offer is accepted, so your new hires feel like a part of your culture immediately.
Social and Recognition Tools
Social media is so widely used now that it makes sense that instant messaging platforms have popped up as a workplace social solution. Online, asynchronous communication tools and HR software can make it easier for teams to communicate regardless of location or time zone differences. Why not use these tools to encourage employee connection?
Use technology to share pictures from recent vacations, chat about what employees did over the weekend, or announce happy news like an engagement to build relationships and further balance work with life. Many HR software platforms include a running list of important anniversaries and birthdays. See if you can’t extend these features or integrate them with your communication tools.
Not long ago, employees were required to fill out forms, have them approved by their manager, and then hand deliver them to the HR department to have that information entered in to the system by another employee. When an employee had a baby, they’d need to show up at the office as soon as possible after giving birth to fill out a life event form. So many unnecessary manual processes!
One of the simplest ways to improve work-life balance with HR technology is through an online benefits administration portal that allows employees to change their own life events, update healthcare benefits changes, and participate in wellness programs–without having to schedule a face-to-face meeting with an administrator.
Work Schedule Management
For many people, taking time off, especially in the form of a well-deserved vacation, is essential to work-life balance. Having the ability to see the team’s work and vacation schedule in a transparent and easy-to-navigate format makes scheduling and requesting time off effortless for both employees and their managers. Modern HR software includes calendars or calendar integrations that track employee time off and scheduling to give employees the power to schedule their own time off around the needs of the team.
Learning Management Systems & Individual Development Plans
Part of a balanced life means the opportunity to keep growing and developing. Tight work schedules, location, and job requirements can make professional growth difficult. Having a learning management system (LMS) built right into your HR technology makes it simple for employees to take courses when and where it works best for them. Within an LMS system, employees can also create an individual development plan (IDP) they can work on with their leader in order to identify the next step in their career and map out how to get there.
Mobile platforms hold a critical place in ensuring that HR technology is an important part of improving work-life balance. Now that most other business software like customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software have moved to the cloud for mobile access, this feature is expected. No longer does an employee have to travel to the physical office to complete work, adding flexibility to schedules. When companies choose mobile HR software, they help employees by extending that flexibility. The world is mobile and working from a smartphone or tablet is essential to employees finding a way to balance the demands of their fast-paced lives.
As more employees value an employer’s ability to ensure quality of life, it’s critical that employers and leaders do their part to help employees find better ways to improve and achieve work-life balance. One of the easiest ways to improve workflows (and therefore job satisfaction) for employees is by implementing software that eases manual processes and provides a central communication hub for the entire company.
Be careful when choosing your software, as siloed platforms that don’t exchange information can cause more manual work and problems than they solve. A fully-integrated human capital management (HCM) software can bring many of the features mentioned in this article together in a single, easy to manage platform. The best HCM software will give companies full customization access to combine the features they need into an interface that works best for them.