5 reasons why using spreadsheets is no longer feasible for managing employee relations data

Nicole Currie

Written By Nicole Currie

28th June 2024

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Employee relations data provides a goldmine of insights into workforce behaviour, engagement and performance. However, effectively analysing people data is often hampered by using tools like Excel and Google spreadsheets and basic ticketing systems. Relying on these tools to manage employee relations data not only creates a heavy administrative burden but also increases the risk of human error and data inconsistencies.

An AdviserPlus study revealed that more than a quarter of large enterprises with over 1,000 employees continue to use Excel and Google Docs for data analysis. This reliance indicates a significant gap in investment in specialised employee relations case management technology. Depending on spreadsheets for capturing employee relations case information results in labour-intensive manual analysis of data and this approach often fails to provide the crucial people insights into trends and patterns essential for data-driven decision-making.

Despite the clear need for market-leading HR technologies, many HR leaders grapple with budget constraints. However, advocating for digital HR solutions tailored to manage the complexity of employee relations data can drastically improve efficiency, productivity, and employee experiences. Demonstrating the transformative benefits and return on investment of these technologies is crucial for securing stakeholder support and driving organisational success.

To build a successful business case, delve into the specific reasons why tools like spreadsheets fall short in effectively managing employee relations data.

Five downsides of HR using spreadsheets to manage employee relations

Limited functionality: Spreadsheets lack the capability to create customised dashboards that provide real-time access to critical people insights at the click of a button.

Unlike specialised HR software, spreadsheets do not offer features for designing intuitive dashboards tailored to HR needs. Dashboards tailored to your organisation’s objectives are essential for consolidating diverse people data sets into a single interface, enabling dynamic data exploration through interactive elements like filters and drill-down capabilities.

This functionality empowers HR professionals to easily visualise complex data sets, uncover hidden patterns, and identify emerging trends promptly, facilitating informed decision-making and proactive management of employee relations and organisational performance. Improving analytical capabilities is key to building effective case management practices.

Error-prone people analysis: Errors in manual data entry on spreadsheets pose significant risks, impacting HR decision-making. These mistakes undermine data confidence and hinder HR’s strategic initiatives. Switching to digital processes is crucial. It ensures consistent data quality and provides clearer insights for HR professionals to focus on strategic goals.

Currently, HR spends valuable time on data entry instead of strategic tasks that drive organisational success. Inaccurate data can also lead to compliance issues, risking incorrect reporting and legal repercussions. Relieving HR from manual data tasks frees them up to focus on activities like strategic manager development and EDI initiatives which adds more value to the business.

Security concerns: While spreadsheets are a familiar tool, they lack the robust security features necessary to protect people data effectively. This exposes organisations to significant risks, including breaches that compromise privacy and violate regulatory requirements. One of the critical issues with spreadsheets is the absence of features that enforce access control, which means there’s no assurance that only authorised personnel can access specific information.

Compliance with privacy regulations like GDPR becomes challenging, as they may not provide adequate mechanisms to ensure data protection and regulatory compliance. The consequences of inadequate data protection can be severe, including costly penalties from regulatory bodies and damage to the organisation’s reputation due to data breaches.

Restricted team collaboration: Effective collaboration is essential for optimising productivity and ensuring seamless teamwork. While traditional tools like spreadsheets serve their purpose, they often prove inadequate in managing complex employee relations cases and facilitating real-time updates across teams. Managers using spreadsheets may not have access to real-time alerts or prompts when people matters need attention, which can lead to delays in addressing critical issues.

The absence of shared dashboards and centralised access also hinders HR’s ability to monitor and manage employee relations cases efficiently. Working in silos makes it difficult for departments to share insights and coordinate efforts effortlessly, often prolonging the resolution of workplace disputes unnecessarily. This limitation in collaboration tools means that managers are not empowered with timely information to manage their direct reports proactively and effectively to minimise the strain on HR who need to focus their specialised people skills on complex cases.

Lack of valuable people insights: Extracting meaningful insights from spreadsheets can be a daunting task, consuming significant time and effort. For HR leaders, this process is crucial yet labour-intensive, requiring meticulous analysis to uncover trends, identify risks, and support informed decision-making in employee relations.

Without clear insights into workplace dynamics, HR leaders may struggle to pinpoint where line managers require additional training or support, which can hinder overall performance. This proactive approach is essential for preventing unnecessary escalations, mitigating risks, and ensuring a culture of transparency and accountability within the workforce.

Gone are the days of waiting for email updates or sifting through multiple versions of Excel files. Today, specialist software ensures that all stakeholders have access to the latest information in real time. Whether it’s HR professionals updating case statuses or managers reviewing progress, everyone stays informed without delays.

Investing in employee relations case management transforms HR

The business outcomes speak volumes:

  • Cost reduction: Large enterprises leveraging empower® have achieved a 10% reduction in sickness absence costs, indicating its effectiveness in managing and reducing the impacts of sickness absence – a significant cost for organisations.
  • Risk mitigation: Effectively managing and documenting employee relations cases can reduce employment tribunal claims by up to 50%. empower® reduces legal risks and costs associated with employment disputes through better documentation and management.
  • Manager empowerment: Empowering managers to handle up to 90% of employee relations tasks builds a more engaged and efficient workforce. Trusting managers to take on more responsibility in handling employee relations not only enhances their engagement but also increases operational efficiency by reducing dependency on HR for routine tasks.

Choosing the right tools for employee relations management is crucial for modern businesses. This strategic shift moves organisations from reactive problem-solving to proactive management, enhancing overall business outcomes. Investing in empower® empowers your organisation to navigate complex HR challenges with confidence, ensuring smoother operations and delivering a positive return on investment.

Learn more with a personalised discovery call

Discover how empower® can transform your HR operations and drive tangible business benefits. Contact our experts today to explore transformative solutions and build a compelling business case that demonstrates ROI to your stakeholders: Schedule your discovery call.

FAQ – What is empower®?

empower® by AdviserPlus is a market-leading employee relations case management system designed to simplify the management of sensitive people data. It offers enhanced visibility and deep insights into employee relations cases and their outcomes, enabling managers to proactively manage employee relations, ensure compliance, support a positive workplace culture, and gain a competitive edge. Automated alerts prompt line managers to take timely actions, improving the employee experience and minimising errors, thereby allowing HR leaders to focus on strategic initiatives rather than routine tasks.

With real-time data and advanced analytics, empower® enables HR to identify trends, address issues proactively, and make informed decisions. Unlike spreadsheets, empower® centralises the management of people data and employee relations cases, ensuring consistency and facilitating collaboration without compromising security.

By replacing outdated tools like traditional spreadsheets with empower®, organisations can streamline their employee relations processes, ensure data security, and enable their HR teams to focus on higher-value initiatives. This drives a more productive and positive workplace environment, leading to better business outcomes. Find out more, or book a demo here to see it in action.

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