Making employees feel heard is even more important than you think. According to one study, 75 per cent of employees would stay longer with an organization that addressed their concerns.
Without the right tools, ER teams might struggle to handle employee issues in a timely, thorough and sensitive way. Employee relations software benefits organizations of all sizes by streamlining your complaint handling and investigation processes. This article explains how one tool can help you resolve employee relations issues faster, boost engagement and more.
One tool can help you investigate every complaint and incident.
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Using different tools to handle different types of issues and complaints can lead to confusion and duplication of effort, and often isn’t the most cost-effective solution.
With employee relations software, you can manage and investigate both HR and ER issues, including:
- Employee misconduct
- Absenteeism and punctuality problems
- Discrimination, bullying and harassment
- Policy violations
- Health and safety incidents and concerns
- Employee/management disputes
Using a single tool to handle all both your HR complaints and ER investigations ensures none fall through the cracks. This reduces your risk of a costly fraud scheme, escalated harassment problem, widespread health issue or other negative outcome.
RELATED: What is Employee Relations Software?
When you’re dealing with sensitive employee issues, you need to respond as quickly as possible. Failing to address a problem right away gives it time to escalate, or for repeat incidents to occur. In addition, putting off an investigation into a complaint or concern increases your risk that the employee will file a formal grievance or take legal action.
Employee relations software benefits teams by helping them address issues faster to protect both employees and the organization. First, you can integrate the software with your existing hotlines or other intake mechanisms. As a result, whenever an employee files a complaint or submits a tip, the software instantly creates a new case file.
Next, the case is automatically assigned to the next available team member, or to an investigator based on case type (e.g. harassment, health and safety, compliance). You can also manually assign cases to balance workload and avoid conflicts of interest.
These steps eliminate the need to check your hotline, manually create a case file for each complaint, copy over the employee’s information and complaint details and sort through team members’ schedules to assign the file. Faster case creation and assignment means you can get right to work correcting issues and improving employee experience.
When you use a paper-based case management system or keep your data in spreadsheets, it’s hard to gain insight into your workplace’s issues. If your employee relations software has a case-linking tool, though, you can prevent repeat incidents from happening.
Using artificial intelligence, the tool flags connections between case files (such as employees involved, location or issue type). This makes it easier for you to spot trends that you could miss otherwise.
For example, say a manager recently moved to a new position, from your New York office to your Chicago office. In New York, they were issued a warning for bullying behavior years ago. Now, in Chicago, another bullying complaint has been made against them by an employee.
Because of the different location and time between incidents, you might miss this pattern of behavior. Luckily, employee relations software points out the link so you can monitor the situation.
One of the biggest time-wasters when handling a case is tracking down supporting materials. After spending hours searching through databases or emailing coworkers to send you documents you need, you could still misplace them.
Employee relations software with a centralized database lets you store all case material right in the file. Supporting documents (such as an employee’s attendance record or interview notes), as well as audio, video and image files, are all in one place so all team members can easily reference them throughout the process.
At most companies, many people work together to resolve employee issues. Whether you need input from another department in your organization, an external professional (e.g. lawyer, mediator) or just another team member, you need to balance teamwork with confidentiality.
Employee relations software offers a secure platform for collaboration. Each team member’s profile can be modified (manually or based on their role) so they only have access to the information they need for their tasks. Everyone can complete their work on the case right in the software, while sensitive employee data is kept as private as possible.
Data entry can be one of the most time-consuming parts of handling employee concerns. When an incident occurs or an employee submits a complaint, you have to manually enter all of their data into a case file. That time could be better spent addressing the issue.
Employee relations software can integrate with your existing employee database or HRIS to save you time. Just choose the employee’s name from a drop-down menu and the software automatically fills in the rest of their information (e.g. employee number, contact information).
This is especially helpful for cases with multiple subjects, such as a manager who has been accused by numerous employees of misconduct or an employee who is accused of harassing more than one person.
Writing a final investigation report is one of the most important parts of resolving a case, yet one of the most tedious. You need to communicate your findings and recommendations to your company’s decision-makers, but writing a long document takes time away from more complex tasks you could be working on.
With employee relations software, you can produce a complete final report in the click of a button. The software gathers all of the data from the case file to create a full report that you can share with managers and other stakeholders. This not only saves time at the end of an investigation, but is also helpful if you’re asked to produce another copy of the report in the future.
Every employee issue or complaint is an opportunity for you to improve your workplace experience. If you don’t take it, though, you risk overlooking an issue that’s negatively affecting your employees.
Some employee relations software analyzes data so you can spot trends and work to correct and prevent issues. Set the parameters you want to explore (such as region, store location, incident type or even employee), then the software organizes data into a heat map, chart or graph.
You can also analyze your workflow by sorting cases based on age or progression status. Are you taking too long to close cases? Do cases get stuck in a certain stage? The software helps you identify where you need to focus your efforts without spending hours on data analysis.
Your team always has multiple cases on the go, often concerning different types of complaints. Keeping track of everything can be challenging and you risk cases falling through the cracks if you don’t use a robust management system.
One of the biggest employee relations software benefits is that it keeps team members organized as they work. Team members get reminders when they have a task coming due. They can also set their own “to-do’s” to fit their working style.
Tasks and deadlines are automatically assigned according to case type. Not only does this ensure that each case is handled consistently, but also helps your team comply with reporting requirements.
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Juggling multiple team members each working on multiple cases means many managers don’t have time to check in on each case’s progress manually. You trust each team member to stay on top of their work, but what if they don’t? Your company could face consequences, from a good employee quitting to lawsuits or fines.
Employee relations software can help managers oversee their team’s work in a number of ways. First, managers receive alerts when a task is overdue. Each case file also contains a timeline of activity, detailing who did what on the case and when. Together, these help managers track case progression and see if any team members are falling behind.
Finally, ER teams can’t always be at the office. You might have to investigate a complaint that was made at a different work site. You might be away at a conference but have to meet an urgent case deadline. Or, you might work remote and live thousands of miles away from your organization’s home office. Accessing a paper- or spreadsheet-based case management system would be difficult in all of those situations.
However, web-based, mobile-friendly employee relations software lets you work on cases from anywhere with an internet connection. When you’re not tied to the office, you don’t have to wait to work, ensuring you don’t miss important deadlines or forget key details of an interview or incident.
Employee Relations Software Benefits
Employee relations software streamlines your case management processes. As a result, your team can respond to issues more efficiently and effectively, making your organization an even better place to work.