UK employees call for more digital solutions for HR management amid the pandemic

23 November 2020

Learnings from the past eight months have highlighted that the majority of UK employees would prefer to have more digital options when handling HR-related issues. When it comes to productivity, a survey conducted by HR and payroll services provider SD Worx found that 45.5% of employees in the UK are only moderately satisfied when it comes to their digital HR tools for employees.
  • UK employee engagement since March was just above the average
  • Only a quarter of employees can find answers to HR-related questions through digital tools
  • Around a third still have to call on the HR department to get their questions answered
  • In response, 62.3% of employers admit to short-term plans to improve their HR service delivery to staff, with 61.7% saying they will focus on improving employee experience

The survey conducted within 11 European countries also found that the average rating for employee engagement within the UK just surpasses the halfway mark, sitting at a rating of 6.6. With the role of technology playing a major role in the current climate, employers seem to have understood the urgent need for change, with 62.3% of them having short-term plans to improve their HR service delivery to employees.

Playing catch up with mobile access

When it comes to current solutions available to UK employees, only between 19-25% can confidently state that they are able to find answers to their HR questions instantly through digital solutions. This involves sourcing answers to topics such as annual leave, sick leave, expenses and pay slips in a completely digital way. The survey also found that an average of 47.6% of UK employees find the best way to do such activities is through a fixed device, such as a desktop or laptop.

However, as remote working becomes the norm, the flexibility of being able to use both fixed devices and mobile devices when working is no longer a luxury but a necessity. In the remit of HR functions, mobile capabilities seem to be lagging behind in the UK. The study shows that when dealing with leave or employee pay, only around 30% are able to do so through a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, negatively impacting employee experience.

A third of employees still have no choice but to pass by the HR department to get their questions answered, which can be challenging under the current circumstances. This is contrary to what they wish: about half of them would love to see their HR queries handled by digital solutions.

Companies reconnect with their most important capital

The pandemic has taught many UK employers that their most valuable capital is the workforce. However with varying stressors, keeping employees engaged through an invaluable working experience can be difficult. As a result, 61.7% of UK employers had highlighted employee experience as a priority and are either in the process, or will soon be, of improving the day to day work life for employees.

Cathy Geerts, Chief HR Officer at SD Worx, said: “In this day and age it’s shocking that a majority of staff still have to pass by or call on the HR department to get their simple queries answered – all amid difficulty accessing digital HR solutions, or because those tools aren’t user-friendly enough. At times like these, this can put fresh pressure on HR teams that are already overwhelmed with new tasks of having to keep people safe, support their physical and mental wellbeing and to keep staff productive, motivated and engaged. Now is the critical time to invest in user-friendly HR tools to not only boost productivity, but ultimately to take the overall employee experience to the next level.

In our quest to deliver the best-possible employee experience, we’ve launched an innovative digital platform. This allows our employees to easily register time, upload sick notes, revise their vacation days and enter data on bike use and carpooling, among other things. The cherry on top: SD Worx makes sure all this information is flawlessly transferred to our payroll engine, resulting in reduced workloads and correct pay slips,” said Filip Peeters, HR director at Nike European Logistics Campus.