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4 Tips for Delivering a Better Employee Experience in HR and Payroll

Imagine you’re a new hire and you’re unsure about how to request a copy of your completed W-4. You send an email to your HR manager, but don’t get an immediate response — maybe not a surprise, considering that the HR department is swamped with year-end transactional tasks, not to mention working remotely and still adapting to the associated challenges.

On a case-by-case basis, getting answers to employee questions might seem relatively minor, but if processes are unclear and constant help is needed, it can take a toll on both HR professionals and employees. IT research firm Gartner found only 13% of workers were fully satisfied with their employee experience.

The reasons for discontent range from lack of direction or the use of tedious paper forms during onboarding — which can complicate, or at least delay, the process of ensuring proper tax withholding, especially as laws evolve — to troubles balancing data security with user experience. Employees become frustrated, while HR teams are consumed by repetitive manual tasks and oftentimes a sea of paperwork.

The good news is that a better employee experience, one that’s more responsive to workers across all environments, is possible. Innovations like chatbots for HR, full HCM/HRIS workflow automation and comprehensive compliance form libraries all provide significant upgrades to the employee experience. Let’s take a closer look.


Tip #1: Start a conversation with HR chatbots

Chatbots are AI-powered virtual assistants that use a particular type of logic to answer employee questions and steer them through key processes. A chatbot for HR might help with:

  • Recruiting: During the recruiting process, chatbots offer a streamlined way for candidates to get updates on their applications and ask certain types of questions. A Talent Board study found that candidates who interacted with chatbots were 80% more likely to continue with recruitment. Meanwhile, chatbots may also help HR teams screen candidates.
  • Onboarding: Chatbots enable guided self-service for employees during onboarding, as they can type a question and get a quick answer without having to go through the HR department itself. For new hires, chatbots can provide a structured list of tasks to complete each day, assistance with tasks like filling out the I-9 properly or help with enrolling in a health plan and periodic reminders.
  • Ongoing self-service and support: Because they are software programs, chatbots are available 24/7/365 as long as a company’s network is up. They can scale to multiple platforms — text, voice, the company website, etc. — and provide quick, consistent answers on all of them. And humans may still intervene as needed, like for more complicated inquiries.

In these use cases and others, chatbots for HR use artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret a human’s request, look through possible answers and applicable data sources and then respond in natural language. They deliver a better HR and payroll experience, although they need well-integrated backend services to connect to for best effectiveness — which is where a close focus on HCM and HRIS system improvement comes in.


Tip #2: Use workflows to simplify required tasks in HCM and HRIS platforms

Complex, highly manual and disparate HR and payroll systems can be an obstacle to a positive employee experience.

There is the typical problem of making employees navigate multiple systems, each with its own user interface and experience. Jumping between interfaces takes a toll on productivity, requiring extra time and overwhelming users with unnecessary complexity. It’s important to consolidate as much functionality as possible in one application and make it easier to use via automated workflows that walk employees through required tasks.

The right automated technologies make a big difference in performing key activities correctly the first time. For instance, CIC Plus integrates with large HCM systems, including Workday, ServiceNow, Oracle Taleo and Cornerstone, to streamline tax withholding down to even the local level. Through Single Sign-On, new hires can easily complete their withholding elections within their familiar HCM environment, thanks to support for a wide range of forms that eliminate error-prone, paper-based processes.

Similarly, CIC Plus’ I-9 Management System simplifies the complex onboarding activity of completing an I-9 for employee verification. The I-9 process can be confusing to employees and oftentimes can lead to errors. Our I-9 service fully automates the process for section 1 and 2 and even integrates E-Verify as needed.


Tip# 3: Ensure secure access and support for remote workers

The acceleration of remote work, both long-term and as a result of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, has further increased the need for secure technology applications for HR teams. Organizations must communicate with and manage employees in new ways, while still ensuring all existing security and compliance obligations. Screen sharing, video conferencing and chatbots for HR can all help employees find answers to questions about how to access what they need.

HR and payroll experiences are being reshaped for this new reality, but it can be a tricky balancing act in terms of security and user experience. For example, two-factor authentication is a critical piece of securing access to sensitive information. However, the added time and complexity of needing to check a separate communications channel can lessen the user experience.

Finding the proper balance is easier with an experienced technology partner and a good support system for employees.

Tip #4: Take a new approach to employee check-ins

For the best possible employee experience, HR may need to rethink how often you do performance check-ins with employees. On the bright side, HR workers are much likelier than the workforce as a whole to be able to perform their essential duties while working remotely. According to a LinkedIn survey, 85% of HR professionals think they can work effectively from home, compared to 66% of all workers.

HR’s comfort with telecommuting is good news for helping others find their way when out of the office, too. Video calls, messages and requests for feedback during more frequently scheduled check-ins can form high-quality connections between remote workers and their organizations, as well as identify any areas for improvement in terms of employee engagement.

CIC Plus can provide the expertise and solutions, from our fully automated workflows designed to complete all necessary compliance activities accurately and quickly to our integrations with leading HCM platforms to help you deliver the right experience to employees. Learn more by connecting with our team or scheduling a demo.