From rhetoric to ROI: Driving strategic employee relations for better HR ROI

Nicole Currie

Written By Nicole Currie

31st January 2024

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UK workplaces are grappling with business transformation with a digital shift to AI leading the way, but outdated employee relations (ER) practices still hold HR back. To navigate the digital revolution, HR must:

  • Champion modern, fit-for-purpose tech
  • Empower people functions with best practice
  • Equip managers with self-service tools for key employee relations matters.

This isn’t just about efficiency; it’s also about maximising return on investment (ROI) and unlocking the full potential of your workforce. Think substantial business savings, a revitalised HR team free to focus on strategic initiatives, and ultimately, organisational success. This was the reality for United Utilities who have already achieved impressive results, saving £2.15 million through proactive absence management.

Embracing this shift isn’t without its challenges. While a recent People Profession survey reveals UK and Ireland HR teams recognise their critical role in shaping adaptable business strategies, a gap lingers between perception and reality. Some feel their strategic impact is overlooked. Fully acknowledging the strategic value of HR is the bridge to unlocking financial prosperity and achieving better business outcomes for all.

Move beyond the mere rhetoric and dive deeper into this compelling business case for investing in employee relations tech transformation, exploring how modern ER solutions can unlock substantial return on investment, fundamentally transforming how HR can drive business success.

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What are the challenges of HR in digital transformation?

A startling 14% of employees and 19% of managers consider HR unproductive according to a recent HR Grapevine survey.

Among other reasons, this perception may be linked to outdated case management that relies on ticketing systems and manual Excel spreadsheets. These systems can hinder HR teams from proactively driving employee value proposition strategies and contributing their expert skills to business goals, as they are bogged down with transactional tasks.

employee relations analyticsWhat if HR could break free from these constraints and focus on strategic initiatives that directly impact business success?

Fit-for-purpose employee relations solutions provide a powerful suite of tools to address these challenges. The right resources enable more efficient processes. Whether it’s technology, skilled personnel or streamlined workflows, the efficiencies reduce costs and increase productivity, directly impacting ROI.

Learn more: Employee relations case management software

Maximising HR ROI with cutting-edge guided journeys for managers

Imagine a world where managers can handle 90% of people-related issues without the need for HR intervention (2023 results). This would create a culture of empowerment, which is exactly what Sainsbury’s achieved with empower®.

Sainsbury's case study empowerBy using simple, digital guided journeys, with lock-points and resources that ensure managers can confidently and consistently self-serve employee relations matters, Sainsbury’s transformed the way managers work.

This significantly improved the consistency of employee experiences and enabled managers to handle employee relations matters in the moment, at any time of day of night. To learn more about the results that Sainsbury’s achieved, you can read their case study here.

Empowering managers with expert-guided journeys for employee relations transforms the workplace by boosting confidence, efficiency and trust. Managers overcome administrative burdens and handle people matters effectively, while HR shifts focus to strategic initiatives.

This translates to a more engaged workforce, faster problem resolution and a significant ROI from streamlined workflows and reduced HR dependency. Employee trust flourishes as managers become proactive allies, building a dynamic and positive environment where everyone thrives.

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Transforming HR data into strategic insights

Real-time data can be leveraged to enable HR to make informed, data-driven decisions that boost employee satisfaction and contribute to increased productivity.

When HR decisions are based on current and accurate data, organisations are better positioned to implement strategic initiatives that align with their goals and objectives. This helps drive strategic initiatives that lead to a win-win situation for efficiency and ROI.

Think about the impact HR could have if we freed up some of their time by utilising employee relations technology to automate routine tasks. HR can then focus on:

  • Creating engaging programs, such as initiatives for employee wellbeing and professional development.
  • Championing diversity and inclusion initiatives through comprehensive policies, training, and recruitment strategies.
  • Leading talent recruitment and retention initiatives and practicing agile workforce planning.

Currys empower case study The HR team at Curry’s were able to focus on strategy thanks to the time freed up through transforming its employee relations function, and this led to the introduction of a progressive Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) policy roll out.

With the help of AdviserPlus experts, who provided consultation and policy design services, a suite of modern, on-culture policies was created to meet the needs of the contemporary workforce. These policies cover a wide range of areas, including gender reassignment, menopause, pregnancy loss, and more. You can find the full case study here.

Predict, prevent, perform: Strategic employee relations for business transformation

HR leaders seeking increased team performance and tangible business growth should replace reactive problem solving for proactive prevention. Here’s how fit-for-purpose employee relations technology helps:

  • Predict and prevent: Real-time data and advanced analytics empower your HR team to identify trends that could indicate an issue with brewing conflicts, mitigate discrimination risks by identifying where additional training may be required, and proactively address issues before they escalate.
  • Safeguard and streamline: Safeguard your organisation from costly legal issues with one source of truth for real-time data and audit features, ensuring the right information reaches the right people at the right time.
  • Boost satisfaction and reduce turnover: Improved issue resolution and proactive interventions elevate employee satisfaction, minimising turnover and reducing costly recruitment cycles.
  • Trendspotting for proactive leadership: Become a workplace trend spotter, addressing challenges before they snowball. This proactive stance ensures strategic and effective responses to emerging issues identified within employee relations data, such as bias or bullying.

With smart employee relations technology, you can unlock a happy, productive workforce that fuels your bottom line. Replace reactive resolutions, embrace prevention, and watch your business thrive.

Nurture a culture of excellence with data-driven insights

Taking the next step involves technology and digital transformation empowering proactive decision-making, utilising data to achieve cultural excellence. Embracing this proactive future enriched with data-driven insights, made possible through advanced analytics and digital transformation, you can:

  • Reveal root causes: Dive deeper than surface-level issues as data reveals the core of complex cultural challenges, enabling you to build a stronger foundation from the ground up.
  • Ignite engagement: Proactive management, fuelled by cutting-edge tools, builds a positive and productive environment, boosting employee satisfaction, engagement and retention.
  • Invest wisely: User-friendly dashboards provide real-time insights at your fingertips, pinpointing areas with the highest potential impact and ensuring that your resources contribute to long-term success. United Utilities achieved remarkable savings of £2.15 million through a proactive absence management strategy, guided by comprehensive management information and analytics insights.

By embracing new ways of working, enriched with data-driven insights, organisations can optimise resource allocation, prioritise high-impact people initiatives, and set the stage for the future of work.

Revolutionise HR through employee relations transformation

Ready to see the ROI impact of being proactive and data-driven with your employee relations case management processes?

employee relations analyticsTake the first step in building a business case for investing in employee relations transformation. Click here to start an assessment that will calculate and reveal your cost reduction and business transformation potential.

For deeper insights into the benefits of employee relations transformation, download our guide ‘Employee relations transformation: Revolutionising HR with data-driven insightshere.

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