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How Can HR Technology Improve Employee Engagement & Retention?

Industry Trends

14 March, 2023

How Can HR Technology Improve Employee Engagement & Retention?

Karolina Kulach

Karolina Kulach

Senior Content Marketing Expert (HR & Payroll)

HR technology can effectively improve employee engagement and retention.

Employee engagement is a top priority for businesses and HR departments in:

  • The Great Resignation (due to skills shortage)
  • The economic downturn (due to limited hiring budgets)

It costs between $61,000 and $80,000 to replace every employee who leaves. Thus, it pays to keep your employees engaged, so they’re reluctant to leave.

In this article you’ll learn about:

  • Using HR and payroll tech to save money and make time for strategic HR and employee engagement activities
  • Trends in HR technology and what you can expect in the coming months and years
  • Why outdated solutions won’t work for today’s HR (and what will work instead)
  • HR and payroll technology that can make your workday easier

Download this printable HR Calendar 2023 to plan HR activities and increase employee happiness throughout the coming year!

Employee Engagement Calendar 2023: FREE Download

What is HR technology?

HR technology (HR tech) refers to the software and hardware for automating essential HR functions.

HR tech can help HR professionals streamline time-consuming tasks, including:

  • Filing
  • Data storage, organization, and analysis
  • Talent acquisition
  • Performance management
  • Compensation management
  • Communication
  • Benefits administration
  • Corporate training and education programs

In today’s business world, HR departments crave all-in-one solutions with integration capabilities:

  • Data-driven tools that can manage all HR processes throughout the employee lifecycle
  • Platforms that can pass data to their payroll systems and prevent duplicate data entry
  • User-friendly software with employee self-service options like viewing payslips or changing personal information in the system
  • Accessible solutions that include mobile capabilities
  • Tools with flexible payment options that allow employees to fully manage their own payments, for example choose when they get paid without disrupting their employer’s processes

As a result, the global software market and HR automation are growing.

HR statistics: Global HR software market 2020-2028 (chart)
HR statistics: automation growth (chart)

HR technology vs. employee engagement

The significance of technology in HR is growing. Automation and AI help HR professionals improve core processes and interact with employees.

HR statistics: automated HR process growth (chart)

For example, chatbots are a good way to provide immediate answers to common questions employees ask about general organizational processes.

Furthermore, employees are increasingly expecting self-service capabilities, especially in the current reality and the era of remote work. People want to have access to essential documents like payslips. They also want to own their personal information.

This is not to say automation should entirely replace human interaction. Quite the contrary, automation can help with specific (usually repetitive) tasks, so HR departments have more time for those that require the human touch.

This is essential in both the Great Resignation (quiet quitting) as well as in the economic recession. Many companies have reduced recruitment costs and have decided to invest more in employee engagement and building a great company culture.

Employee Engagement Calendar 2023: download now

That said, the loud layoffs we hear about don’t paint the full picture of the overall job market. Attracting and retaining the right talent is still challenging for HR departments and businesses.

After all, job seekers don’t want to be in a last-in-first-out situation if the company takes a dive, and most employees want to be sure they work for stable organizations.

Now consider automated payroll. It can help attract and retain talent by:

  • Getting the basics right, like paying your staff accurately, on time, and with full payslip information
  • Automating data entry so you can focus on boosting employee engagement
  • Giving employees both more flexibility and control over when and how they get paid with tools like self-service payroll or salaries-on-demand

Technology can’t replace the human touch and human interactions. However, it can help make work more human by freeing up time for what matters.

Outdated solutions are not suitable for today’s HR and payroll

HR and payroll software that is over 10 years old is not suitable for a modern business. Still, 29% of companies use a payroll system that is 10 years old or older, according to Kronos and the American Payroll Association.

Currently HR and payroll processes are well-suited for unchanging things in a stable world. However, such a world doesn’t exist. Businesses are operating in increasingly volatile environments. That’s why today companies need modern HR and payroll services that are effective, efficient, and flexible.

Piotr Smolen, Co-Founder at Symmetrical

Traditional ADP (Automatic Data Processing) systems are effective for companies that operate in stable environments with uncomplicated processes.

But today we’re dealing with fast-changing and more volatile workplace environments, especially during the recession.

Therefore, modern HR and payroll software should:

  • Reduce the existing cost of running HR and payroll operations
  • Address the challenges of manual work (so you don’t have to manage your payroll manually in spreadsheets risking errors, double entries, and delays in payroll processing)
  • Handle flexible salaries (so you meet the current reality and employee expectations)
  • Address the challenges of global hiring and remote working
  • Be flexible, so operations keep running smoothly when the unpredictable, such as a pandemic or a recession, happens (so you have access to HR and payroll data anytime and anywhere)
  • Allow to integrate multiple processes and systems and keep data securely in one place

Modern HR and payroll solutions

Modern HR and payroll software facilitates hiring, managing, and retaining employees in any company. It’s not a static system, but flexible and compatible with other applications.

Modern HR and payroll software is a holistic system that allows you to:

  • Generate in-depth reports and insightful statistics
  • Measure trends
  • Give your workers access to their real-time compensation information
  • Understand ​​the performance and cost-effectiveness of your business
  • Make more profitable strategic business decisions
HR statistics: breakdown of HR automations (chart)

The right HR solution can be a game changer when it comes to employee retention.

For example, by getting the average wages of your employees, you’ll have a better idea about whether you’re paying industry-standard wages to your staff. This is important if you don’t want to see your employees go to competitors who offer better salaries than you do.

Trends in HR technology

HR solutions are becoming more innovative, flexible, and globalized.

First, HR and payroll software is becoming more innovative (smarter) with the use of AI and machine learning.

Watch the video below to better understand the impact of AI on HR.

Using AI in HR and payroll can help:

  • Automate repetitive and tedious tasks
  • Anticipate what employees want from HR and payroll
  • Manage payroll compliance by automatically monitoring and updating constantly changing regulations, laws, and taxes
  • Companies scale more quickly

Therefore, the Symmetrical automated payroll solution uses advanced AI-based technology that allows companies to forget about manual processes and spreadsheets.

Second, HR and payroll software is becoming more flexible. No wonder: more complex payroll cases and types of employment are rising. They’re especially common in fast-growing startups and in the gig economy sector.

Digital platform work growth

Therefore, today HR and payroll departments need flexible systems and technology capable of handling multiple variables and processing the fast-changing data.

Moreover, flexibility is a top factor that could prevent employees from leaving an employer. Thus, many employers cite flexible workplaces as their top retention strategy. They’ve started experimenting with different solutions to address labor shortages.

For instance, to make jobs more appealing, some retailers offered to pay store workers daily rather than weekly. To provide flexible pay like that, a flexible payroll solution is a must.

Flexibility is also required when companies expand globally and hire remote employees. Keeping track of the latest employment regulations, taxes, and policy changes in different countries is essential. A smart and flexible system can help you stay compliant in non-standard situations and at all times.

Finally, HR and payroll software is becoming more globalized with businesses expanding internationally. The modern HR solutions also need to address the demands of the gig economy (digital platform work).

Using AI for better data collection and decision-making in HR

HR and payroll need better data for better decisions. HR statistics are essential for many strategic business decisions. Unfortunately, HR departments have lagged behind in this regard.

According to the study by Capita Resourcing:

  • A quarter of businesses say their HR and recruitment teams are the least proficient at collecting, analyzing, and acting on data.
  • 4 in 10 said that the ineffective use of data was likely to have a negative impact on candidate and employee experience.

Luckily, today AI and automation can help with a big data gap in HR, starting at the onboarding stage. It can help analyze key data and identify trends as well as pain points.

As a result, payroll and HR can take co-ordinated steps to improve employee satisfaction and retention. They can address issues proactively.

For instance, high resignation rates among employees from particular departments or pay grades can highlight the areas that need particular focus.

There is a strong link between payroll and HR. Together, they can gain an excellent collective understanding of their employees and what makes them want to stay or leave (whether pay-related or not).

Finally, many employers understand the benefits of AI and automation in HR. But often, they don’t know which software to choose or how to implement it. Locating the right partner requires some legwork and due diligence. But it’s worth the effort: it saves lots of time, money, and hassle long-term.

The Great Resignation and quiet quitting

The Great Resignation is a shortcut for the historical quit rate happening on the job market as a result of Covid-19. The pandemic has reshaped many employees’ priorities.

It’s also worth mentioning quiet quitting. The term refers to employees who show up at work to do the bare minimum. According to some people, quiet quitting is a trendy new name for worker dissatisfaction and lack of engagement.

Engaged employees = happy employees. Download Employee Engagement Calendar 2023!

Employee Engagement Calendar 2023: FREE Download

Even though we’re living during the economic downturn, employees continue to leave their jobs (or “quit quietly”). Therefore, employers must act quickly as employees have more power and flexibility than ever before.

What is essential for employees in the era of the Great Resignation and quiet quitting?

  • Compensation
  • Flexibility, including flexible work hours and remote work
  • Work-life balance
  • Mental health and well-being benefits
  • Meaningfulness in work
  • Career advancement
  • Positive culture
Employee retention in the Great Resignation: why are you looking for new opportunities?
Employee retention in the Great Resignation: survey

Compensation is still at the top. However, like never before, employees value work-life balance, flexible schedules, advancement potential, and the ability to work remotely.

Therefore, to attract and keep employees:

  • Offer them a positive onboarding and workplace experience
  • Treat them holistically
  • Make sure they’re satisfied with what and how they get paid
  • Show that you value them as people: recognize their personal interests, passions, goals, dreams, and struggles
  • Don’t waste time on manual, repetitive work and processes that tools can do

Wasted time in HR has a long-term impact on your company’s profitability, especially at a time when retaining employees can be extremely hard.

That said, payroll has a critical role in employee retention. It’s also an area where you can automate unnecessary work.

Read on to learn more.

How to minimize payroll expenses and mistakes? Download our FREE guide to find out!

Payroll Mistakes: FREE Guide

Wasting time and money on manual payroll processing

Entering, verifying, and managing payroll data manually is tedious and time-consuming for HR and payroll departments.

Additionally, in today’s business world, we’re increasingly dealing with payroll transfers that are more complicated than regular monthly transfers. For instance, consider calculating pay for freelancers, hourly employees, or frontline workers.

As a result, today there’s a lot to keep track of when calculating pay and it’s easy to make payroll mistakes.

Unfortunately, 49% of US workers will start looking for a new job after experiencing only 2 problems with their paycheck (The Workforce Institute, Kronos Incorporated). Payroll statistics speak for themselves.

Payroll mistakes can result in:

  • Employee dissatisfaction and lost trust in the workplace
  • Low employee engagement and retention
  • High costs
  • Poor reputation: being perceived as a financially unstable employer with poor (payroll) management
  • Difficulties in attracting new talent

The solution? Consider creating a payroll master file for automation and a payroll checklist. It will free up time for strategic HR activities and boosting employee engagement.

HR should focus on employees, not manual work and correcting errors. HR should focus on building a happier workplace where “employee turnover” sounds like a foreign word. This has a big impact on bottom lines.

Wasting time and money on fixing payroll errors

You can’t afford to tolerate incorrect payments and poor payroll. Checking and correcting payroll calculations can be costly and time-consuming.

Further, having incomplete or inaccurate payroll records is a costly mistake. You risk miscalculating pay, misclassifying employees, and more.

Unfortunately, managing employee records is not easy. Workplaces with high employee rotation may know this pain particularly well. Inputting and updating payroll data is a never-ending story and can result in errors, costly penalties and other repercussions.

But why take your precious time to resolve payroll errors instead of preventing them from happening in the first place? Invest now in improving your payroll processes so your company doesn’t pay for it later.

With the right payroll software, payroll teams can identify problems that may negatively impact the payroll cycle’s completion. This way, they can solve them before the payroll is run.

A poor payroll process vs. employee retention

Payroll and HR is often overlooked as an essential aspect of an organization’s profitability and growth.

But businesses struggle to retain employees because of poor payroll, which contributes to a negative workplace environment. This often results in a bad employer reputation. And who would want to work for a company that fails to pay employees smoothly?

Problems with keeping employees and attracting new talent are costly. Think about the hassle and costs of recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, and training new candidates.

Does it make sense to use your HR team’s time on manual data entry, salary calculations in Excel spreadsheets, correcting payroll errors, and dealing with high employee turnover? Is it a good idea to give up the benefits of the innovative technologies of the 21st century? Can your company afford (more) problems with payroll? You probably know the answers to those questions.

Anna Jagiello, Digital Product Expert

For better talent attraction and retention as well as keeping business costs down, consider a modern and reliable payroll system.

Such a system will also help you avoid messaging your payroll provider to ensure they have up-to-date and correct payroll data. Avoid this inefficient process with a tool that can instantly detect incorrect data.

HR technology: conclusion

Many HR departments need more innovation, automation, and flexibility to improve employee engagement and retention effectively.

Today most companies can’t afford to use HR and payroll software that worked ten or even five years ago. The times, and the needs of HR departments, have changed.

Piotr Smolen, Co-Founder at Symmetrical

Payroll is one area that can be a game changer. Modern payroll software can help you keep manual work to an absolute minimum, address changing employee needs, and make time for the things that count.

Therefore, think about how you can automate repetitive HR & payroll tasks to be there for your employees when they need you.

Are you still relying on the methods you used five or ten years ago? It’s time to bring your business into the future!

Symmetrical offers easy, automated payroll services with the support of a dedicated team of payroll experts to help you:

  • Put an end to payroll and HR chaos by automating tedious tasks such as manual data entries or calculations
  • Hire and pay people in a cheaper, easier, and more automated way
  • Connect all your HR-related systems and integrate them into one automated process

Automation combined with expert support makes payroll management easier. It’s so simple. Ready to take your payroll (and business) to the next level?


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