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Why Employee Relations Teams Need Purpose-Built Tools

Jul 20, 2022
Deb Muller

The role of employee relations (ER) evolves and expands every year. From navigating the avalanche of change ushered in by COVID 19, to supporting the growing importance of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) departments, ER increasingly drives the policies, processes and decisions that help organizations maintain a healthy employee experience during very uncertain times. ER is not an afterthought, nor is it an HR “tag along,” so why do ER teams still settle for afterthought, tacked-on technology? 

In our Sixth Annual HR Acuity Employee Relations Benchmark Report, we found that while 73% of organizations are using technology to support ER, just 46% use tools that are purpose-built for their function. The rest are using modules inside of larger applications built for other business functions. Does marketing nurture leads in Excel? Does finance manage accounting in a CRM system? Of course not. Business leaders choose software with the data, functionality, workflows and built-in resources that support their function, and ER should too. 

We surveyed ER professionals about what they value most in using purpose-built platforms. Beyond table stakes gains in compliance, they’re most excited about reliable, data-driven insights that help them expand their impact. Specifically, there are three notable reasons why advanced ER teams invest in software specifically built for them:  

Creating a single, centralized source of the truth 

Purpose-built platforms naturally build a single, centralized source of the truth by aggregating consistent data on case types and volumes, investigation outcomes, speed to close and more. With the data living in a single place and a consistent format, ER teams can easily access metrics that both drill down to the employee level and zoom out to see bigger picture trends and hotspots. 

Supporting executive decisions with real-time data 

Purpose-built platforms give ER teams confidence to provide executive teams and boards with critical decision support. Of those surveyed, 67% of teams actively report metrics to executive leadership, and nearly 92% of those who rely on metrics track an average of nine different ER metrics to gain insights.  

Identifying trends and fortifying training opportunities 

Purpose-built platforms empower ER teams to identify trends and proactively train both employees and people leaders. Indeed, 65% are using their metrics and data to identify trends and hotspots. Once they see issues arise, a full 56% use the data to create better ER policies to address them. They share case studies with other business leaders to explain the root cause of growing issues and build earlier support for the ER policies they create to address such issues. 

Better data and insights are just part of the story though. Using a purpose-built platform empowers ER teams to make deeper impacts that go beyond data and address something less tangible, but just as important – more agility and a better offense where it matters most – at the people leader level. 

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More Agility: ER software includes built-in tools that adjust quickly amid unpredictable political, social and legal landscapes. For example, the recent end to forced arbitration, brings required change to ER policies and investigations practices. With software built to stay up-to-date, ER teams can quickly adjust policies and consistently communicate to and scale process changes with leaders across the organization. 

Better Offense: ER software includes powerful tools that strengthen the impact of your leaders at the front lines. Your people leaders are often the first to hear about issues and influence whether those issues escalate or not. To play the strongest offense, they need to know current company policy, understand what to say and feel confident about when to escalate. Purpose-built tools give leaders instant access to accurate policies, templates and workflows right when they need them most. 

As the role of ER continues to gain prominence, now is the time to review your toolset. If you don’t have a system purpose-built to strengthen your impact, now is the time to build a business case for investing in exactly what you need.  

Learn more about HR Acuity’s SaaS technology solution that is purpose-built to provide your employee relations team with the processes, procedures and tools they need to manage employee issues and investigations. Sign up for a Curiosity Tour here 

Additional Resources 

Deb Muller
Deb Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, employee relations case management and investigations software that combines documentation, process, and human expertise so organizations can meet the challenge of managing employee relations in the modern world.