Question time with ADP UK’s Service Director, David Johnson
Q. How do you see the HR and payroll industry evolving over the coming years?
HR and payroll systems will become integrated, streamlined and effortlessly simple to use via advanced technologies.
Outside of the workplace we are already becoming reliant on tools that make tasks in our personal lives a lot simpler. Apps such as Uber enable us to book and pay for a taxi from our mobiles in just a matter of moments. And if we look at banking, this process has been made easier than ever via laptops, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. We can now even make a transaction by simply using the counterpart’s phone number.
These developments are quickly infiltrating the working world, and we can expect to see similar tools widely deployed by businesses over the coming years. Such technologies will make the people function much easier to manage. Platforms will increasingly streamline a wide range of important HR tasks. From pension contributions and pre–employment screening to real–time performance feedback and outsourced services, different responsibilities will all be incorporated into one central system. This will broaden the scope of work involved in HR and payroll, while also increasing the simplicity of accessing any information relating to an employee.
Q. How do HR strategies influence employee engagement and productivity?
Providing a competitive set of employee benefits is one of the core ways to boost employee engagement and productivity. Businesses and HR should therefore regularly review the benefits they offer and ask staff whether these are the sort of benefits they wish to receive.
If they aren’t satisfied with what they are offered, this is likely to impact their motivation and consequently their productivity levels.
HR has a responsibility to work with senior management to ensure the nature of work the company offers is interesting and stimulating. For example, organisations could run indices looking at how much monotonous, repetitive work is involved in each role. Of course employees’ personal preferences regarding their day–to–day vary, but formally measuring what their roles consist of can be helpful in maintaining a balance of responsibilities. This enables organisations to build a workforce that is engaged and inspired. While looking after your current employees should always be a priority, organisations need to remember that this goes hand–in–hand with their external employer brand. The job market is becoming more and more transparent, as employee review sites such as Glassdoor are very popular among those weighing up their career options.
If employees feel dissatisfied at work, this is likely to negatively influence their experience and any reviews they leave, which could have a seriously detrimental impact on a firm’s ability to attract top talent.
Overall, I expect technology to play an increasingly important role in ensuring employees feel stimulated and happy at work. This extends beyond HR systems, communication tools, or internal systems,
and touches every aspect of our roles. New tools are constantly being introduced to carry out routine tasks so that employees can focus their attention on completing more exciting work.
Q. How do you see employee desires developing over the coming years?
There is a major trend towards flexible working. More employees are looking for flexibility within their roles, a less restricted working pattern, or the freedom to take a career break. Our recent research found that 36% of UK employees want to follow a mixture of flexible and fixed hours, while another 37% would like to adopt a totally flexible working pattern. Organisations need to be mindful of their employees’ situations, and seek to accommodate their requests when possible.
The world is also becoming more aware of the holistic role that health and wellbeing plays in how satisfied people are at, and outside of, work. Employees now expect their employer and working environment to support and enhance their wellbeing. An incredible 31% of employees feel that maintaining a good work–life balance is a top motivating factor for them. I think this is an area that will only grow in importance over the coming years and HR needs to be ready to meet these expectations.
Q. How is technology enhancing your relationships with clients?
What clients want from their HR and payroll provider is straightforward: integration, increased simplicity and a wider variety of services. Whether this means accessing a payslip,
checking the funds in their pension pot, or viewing their annual performance review, we are seeing more and more people requesting an holistic, self–service HR experience.
We always recommend that organisations choose their HR solution with their employees in mind. If we take a look at Amazon, they provide a simple and easy–to–use online shopping platform that relies on self–service and doesn’t require interaction with a member of staff. However, there is always someone on hand who can help with any issues users may have. This seems like such a simple and effortless procedure, but I think it’s one that organisations should look to replicate to keep clients happy. We are always seeking to implement similar strategies within ADP, which have the end goal of making the client experience easier and more efficient.
Despite desires to be self–sufficient, it is interesting to see an increase in clients wanting to collaborate and communicate with one another. They value the ability to ask questions and find out more via online portals that have a similar feel to Facebook or Twitter. This is something we have embraced at ADP. Our portal – The Bridge – enables clients to collaborate and spark up discussions with one another and to raise queries online.
Q. What challenges do you see businesses facing in the future?
Recruiting and retaining top talent will always remain a key business challenge. Businesses continuously look to attract bright and energetic teams of people who are self–motivated and most importantly, happy where they work. This has – and always will be – a key priority, but how we do this is going to change. The world of work is continuously evolving, and the organisations who flex in response to these changes will be the ones that thrive.
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