Employees want DIY HR tools — but some employers fall short on offerings

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Today’s younger workforce expects self-service HR tools to help them with everything from onboarding as a new employee to setting up payroll and performing standard HR tasks. But a company’s size usually determines whether or not it offers DIY HR tools to its workforce.

In short, smaller companies are slower to adopt these tools, according to a study conducted by HR technology provider Paychex.

Paychex found that 73% of full-time U.S. workers expect their employer to provide a high-level of employee self-service, allowing them to independently complete a variety of HR-related tasks.

More than 65% of companies polled with 20 to 500 employees currently offer tools to workers to perform “simple administrative HR tasks via self-service.” Less than half — 46% — of respondents with fewer than 20 employees are doing the same.

Small to medium-sized business owners realize that their workers — especially members of the millennial and Gen Z generations — expect these services. Sixty-two percent of full-time workers in businesses with 50 employees or less said they expect any employer to offer at least some level of HR automation. For respondents who work in very small firms with less than 10 workers, 60% expect these offerings.

As industry predictions state that millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, it’s evident more workers will push for DIY HR tools — and employers will have to step up, explains Tom Hammond, vice president of corporate strategy and product management for Paychex.

“Millennials have grown up being tech-dependent and their expectation is they should be able to do things on their own,” Hammond says. “That’s a demographic that’s not really looking to go visit an HR resource to say, ‘how do I change my address or update my marital status and exemptions.’ They expect to log in to a mobile app and change their address.’”

He adds, “It’s just a mind shift.”

Hammond says smaller companies are slower to adopt these tools because of concerns over the technology, cost and the time needed to operate these solutions.

But there are benefits: Along with giving employees greater control over the HR experience, it also can help onboard new workers before their first day of work. That can save time on employees’ first day on the job, historically filled with filling out forms for several hours.

“You’ve got to give an experience to your new employees that is different, better and more efficient that sends a real vote of confidence that [the new worker] made the right call,” Hammond says.

Self-serve HR tools also can drive improvements in HR and benefits departments, and allow human resource managers to work on important day-to day matters, Hammond says.

“We’re hearing from HR staffers that they need the technology just to keep up with the pace of change, and drive out inefficiencies inside of their organizations,” he says. “We’re seeing pressure from both sides — from a millennial workforce that’s demanding it and a set of HR professionals that are also demanding it for a different reason.”

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