Applaud, the leading workforce experience layer, today reveals that the average employee is losing up to four hours a week on clunky HR admin, contributing to a productivity crisis for organisations across the globe.

The finding, which forms part of a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Applaud, March 2021, titled the The Future of HR, employee experience fuelled by consumer-grade technology’ is just one of a number that reveal the impact legacy HR tech investment and lack of interoperability is having on the employee experience.

Unsurprisingly, as organisations have looked to adapt to a more remote, flexible working environment, investment in HR tech has accelerated over the past few months. 50% of organisations now see workplace tech investment as critical, and 43% as a high priority. 

The proliferation of new HR systems, while a positive sign of the way organisations are supporting their employees, is leading to something of a technological overload. Almost all (84%) of organisations now have between 6-15 HR systems in place, with three quarters of these (75%) set to further expand or upgrade their HR tech in the coming months.

The report finds that often new technologies are onboarded without regard to their useability and consideration as to whether they are interoperable with existing systems. This has led to HR service desks having to spend a significant proportion of their time on non-strategic, often repetitive HR admin, which quickly filters down to the day to day employee. Too often organisations adopt HR platforms that are complex to navigate, difficult to access remotely and have poor user interaction and experiences.

The pandemic has only accelerated the problem as the majority of organisations (74%) found they faced challenges in their ability to support remote working employees. While many looked to onboard new systems to help ease the situation, 89% still report significant inconsistencies between remote workers’ employee experience of HR tools compared to those of in-office employees.

With Forrester finding that 90% of organisations are currently missing out on maximising their return on investment on HR technology, now more than ever, HR departments need tools that connect existing HR platforms and work in ways that are intuitive for their users.

The solution is to look for more personalised consumer-grade platforms which offer a vastly superior user experience and can work seamlessly with existing systems. And the proof is in the responses, with HR leaders believing having such tech in place will enable employees to repurpose up to 50% of their time doing more value-add activity. Taking the UK and US national averages of a 40-hour working week into account, this could mean up to 20 hours of the week portioned towards more strategic high-value projects.

Commenting on the report, Duncan Casemore, Co-founder and CTO, Applaud stated “The Pandemic has accelerated the adoption of new HR technologies as organisations look to support their employees’ ability to work seamlessly. When it comes to the employee experience however, more is not always better.

“Businesses need to take a considered approach when implementing workplace technologies. They need to make sure that the tools they are adding complement their existing systems, are easy to use and come with that consumer-grade feel we’ve come to expect in our personal lives.”

Speaking on a panel discussion focusing on the topic of the report Lucy Adams, CEO, Disruptive HR said: “We can’t talk about the employee experience without talking about HR technology; it's absolutely integral. When we speak to HR teams across the world they consistently say that outdated systems and clunky time-sapping technologies get in the way of them being able to do their best work”

Federica Santini, HR Director, Lacoste speaking on the same panel said: “Businesses must make sure they have in place all of the relevant HR tools to make sure that they are able to provide the best employee experience, if not they risk losing new employees within the first three months of joining the company.”

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