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For those of us who have been in the work world for a few years, we still remember the days when no one had a PC or smartphone and the Internet didn’t exist. Of course, those days are long gone, and today’s technology allows us to do amazing things at work, including many applications that assist in managing the Human Resources function.

Along with all its benefits, technology also creates its own challenges due to our dependence on it and employee use. To better utilize technology and deal with those challenges, here are four points for employers to consider related to HR and employee use.

1: HR Applications and Information

Think beyond the spreadsheet. There are so many applications out there for companies to consider which can make the HR function easier to manage. These include systems and software for applicant tracking, employee onboarding, document management, time tracking, payroll processing, benefit enrollment, performance management, and more. When considering use of these applications, employers should consider compatibility with other systems, ease of use, budget, implementation time and cost, and maintenance. Many are cloud based for ease of use and access.

In addition to applications to make your work more efficiently, HR knowledge resources can be available at your fingertips. For example, to avoid the frustration of hunting online, consider subscribing to an HR information center, such as KMA’s 24/7 HR Support Center. This user-friendly, online, subscription-based service offers HR tools, Webinars, training, articles, alerts, job descriptions, access to Federal and state law libraries, and even a mobile app—all just a click away.

How can you determine which HR applications and knowledge resources are best for you?

  • With many employers using an outsourced payroll provider, ask your payroll vendor about other HR applications they may have to consider.
  • Network with your business partners on what has worked for them.
  • Try out products by asking for a demo or free trial.
  • Get quotes from multiple providers and key in on training and service provided so you have support after the purchase.
  • For products with many features and options, employers can consider investing in only one module for a specific HR function, such as applicant tracking or electronic onboarding, and then consider adding on others later after trying out the system.

2: Security of Employee Data

With data breeches occurring frequently, maintaining the security of employee data in the electronic world is a must.

  • Discuss security with your IT staff or provider to ensure protection of employee data and to make sure an action plan is in place if such a security breech occurs.
  • Consider developing and communicating security protocol such as password use, how to securely send data, regular updates for virus protection, using security features on cell phones, etc.
  • Educate employees to watch for phishing schemes and other security steps to follow. Employee behavior while using technology can pose a big risk for employers.

3: Safety Issues with Technology Use

While working on a computer or smartphone may not seem dangerous, workplace injuries do occur from improper use. In addition, we are all aware of the dangers of using electronic devices while driving—and safety can definitely be an issue if you have employees who drive for work.

  • Train employees on proper workstation set up and employee work positioning to avoid strains and injuries caused from improper equipment use. This training is required in Maine for employees with four or more consecutive hours of daily computer use. (If you have questions about this requirement, contact KMA about its Video Display Terminal (VDT)/ Ergonomics training, part of our “Employee Fundamentals & Compliance” custom training programs).
  • Consider stand-up desks, separate keyboards, and stands for laptop users.
  • Encourage employees to take breaks to give their eyes and the rest of their electronically-engaged parts a rest.
  • Communicate with employees on your safety requirements, including no electronic device use or hands free only operation while driving.

4: Policies and Procedures for Technology Use

Developing policies and procedures for use of technology is important to clarify procedures, address security issues, and communicate allowed or prohibited practices to employees—all of which can help reduce risk. Following are important technology related policies which companies should have in place in their employee handbook:

  • Electronic Devices/Cell Phones
  • Use of Company Electronic Equipment
  • Social Media
  • Time Recording
  • Remote Work

Use of technology can help make HR work more efficient and HR’s job easier to do. Careful planning for HR use, being mindful of employee data security and safety, and establishing policies and procedures around its use can create a better technology experience.

For More Information or Assistance

From access to knowledge resources, to training on the use of technology in the workplace, to developing policies and procedures to safeguard employee health and wellness and to reduce employer risk, KMA is here to help. Contact us today with any questions about technology best practices in the workplace.