Getting HR back on track

As the year draws to a close, HR teams are looking at ways to enhance employee welfare and the employee experience

Getting HR back on track

There’s been a considerable amount written around the disruption to workers during 2020 – but there’s far less discussion of the disruption to HR departments, and how their own priorities for the year have been thrown out the window.

But it’s something that’s very much been on Matt Paff’s mind. As Managing Director at vSure, he now sees his challenge for the remainder of the year to pick up the pieces and help HR departments around the country get back on track.

“If you look back at the beginning of the year, HR teams had a big focus on improving the employee experience, adding automation and ensuring compliance,” says Paff. “No company wanted to be the next big thing in the news due to underpayment or abuse of foreign workers.”

All positive initiatives, with big considerations at stake. But then the pandemic hit – “This year’s been a crazy ride,” notes Paff – and suddenly a host of technological and policy shifts sidelined the goals of HR departments all over Australia.

“Workplace mental health came pretty firmly into focus,” says Paff. “We also had businesses dealing with mass layoffs, stand downs and reduced hours in some sectors. Conversely, we saw phenomena like grocery retailers like Woolworths and Coles having massive recruitment drives. All of these things fall pretty heavily into HR’s lap.”  

But as 2020 draws to a close, priorities are circling back to their goals from the beginning of the year. HR departments will be looking at ways to enhance both employee welfare and the employee experience in a creative fashion.

“Employee experience is a huge buzzword at the moment,” says Paff. “Anyone who’s attended a virtual HR conference over the last few weeks can see how it’s been placed front and centre.”

And for good reason, too. Positive employee experience improves engagement and reduces staff/candidate churn. How companies treat staff during this period creates an opportunity to reinforce company culture across each touchpoint, from recruitment to offboarding.

“Importantly, when it comes to compliance, effective procedures combined with an enhanced employee experience improves response rates and accuracy, reducing mistakes and the need for HR teams to follow-up,” explains Paff.

The challenge, of course, is that many HR departments are now leaner, and accordingly need to do more with less.

“There’s less time, less staff, fewer resources and less money to spend,” says Paff. “So automation is very much on the priority list, because no-one has the time for menial tasks.”   

The need for proactive compliance has been heavily highlighted too, Paff notes. No-one wants to be front page news for the wrong reason, and the last few years have seen numerous large companies having their brands and reputations damaged through scandals connected to underpayment and mistreatment of foreign workers.

But how will departments resolve all these disparate – yet interconnected – goals? That’s where Paff sees vSure stepping in.

“We exist for three main reasons, and all of them align closely with those industry priorities,” says Paff. “First of all, we see a streamlined Right to Work process during onboarding as a means to help deliver a better employee/candidate experience and reduce the time it takes to collect and validate evidence of work rights. Similarly, we can automate non-citizen, work rights/visa checks and rechecks/monitoring, as well as providing governance over the Right To Work compliance obligations. A better employee experience. Reduced HR admin. More robust compliance. Tick, Tick, tick!”

These are tasks which present particularly time-consuming challenges for HR departments, and can have serious consequences if handled incorrectly, notes Paff.

“If you’ve got a proven reputation for handling procedures and compliance effectively, that’s a boost to your reputation and the wider employee experience,” says Paff. “We think that’s something critical for HR departments to consider as we start to return to some kind of normalcy.”


Want to find out more about how vSure can benefit your business? Right now vSure is running a half-price offer for HRD readers – click here to find out more.

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