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The Rise of Data-First HR: Using CRMs to Build a Better Workforce

The Rise of Data-First HR: Using CRMs to Build a Better Workforce

HR can harness a CRM to help make employees more engaged, motivated, and happier to fulfill a company’s key business objectives.

Human resource professionals do a lot more than write job descriptions, manage benefits programs, and post vacant positions on LinkedIn. They are the quintessential relationship professionals – helping bring together the right talent and employee experiences that makes businesses successful.

The relationships that HR leaders influence include those between managers and their team members, those between peers at the same level and even the connection between senior leadership and front-line workers. Their role doesn’t stop with recruitment and onboarding, however.

HR teams are now at the forefront of a host of critical issues that affect small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across Canada. This includes:

  • The need to develop diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies that attract and retain a wider range of talent.
  • Working with senior leaders to establish the best approach to hybrid work based on employee expectations and business needs.
  • Striking a balance between practices that boost productivity and efficiency, and the need to support employee health and wellness.
  • Exploring strategies to boost employee engagement and avoid the risk of “quiet quitting,” especially during challenging economic times.

As with any other area of business, the actions HR professionals take can’t be based on speculation or guesswork. They need data, whether it’s about employees, organizational performance or both. This can create challenges when HR teams have to dive in and out of a wide selection of tools to get the data and insights they need. They need a single view of the truth – which is exactly what a CRM can provide.

CRMs first became known as a transformative tool for sales departments, helping reps centralize and gain a better understanding of all the customer data that can influence a deal. HR may be working with a different kind of data set, but the same kind of benefits apply. A CRM can help identify what employees want and need as well as the areas where an SMB can empower them to do their best work.

Just as a sales rep might use a CRM to nurture prospects and get more business out of their best customers, HR professionals can leverage CRMs to enhance the entire employee journey. This includes the moment they’re hired, to ongoing career development, and any support they might need along the way.

Ultimately, a CRM provides the foundation for data-driven HR, with a number of key benefits:

Automation of key HR processes

The moment someone in a company needs to hire a new person, confusion often sets in. It can start with a search through filing cabinets for the right form to request a hire, followed by additional paperwork that can go missing between one office and another.

A CRM accelerates this kind of process, making it easy to create digital forms to request a new hire and specify details such as their role, the rationale for the hire, and so on. Approval processes become easier too, when all the information is contained in a cloud-based CRM which can be accessed from anywhere.

Other steps in this process – from posting the job to a company intranet to wider distribution on job boards – are similarly turnkey when they happen through a CRM.

The same goes for processes like onboarding, where alerts and notifications can go out immediately before a new hire starts so that they are equipped with everything they need from day one.

Capturing the voice of employees

As companies adopt hybrid work models, it’s more important than ever to ensure that leaders are able to understand what managers and frontline employees are going through on a daily basis. This can happen through formal status meetings or more impromptu check-ins. In both cases, though, the feedback leaders receive should become the subject of deeper analysis about morale and culture.

This is not unlike the way sales reps have standardized on CRMs, capturing notes about their customers’ key objections and pain points. The technology works just as well to store, manage and analyze employee data, including their sentiment.

Employee surveys and performance reviews are other rich sources of data that a CRM can help manage, informing everything from coaching techniques to company-wide policies.

Establishing a platform to connect self-service tools

Generally speaking, employees don’t like having to come to HR on a regular basis. It’s nothing personal. In fact, it’s akin to how customers often prefer to get answers or assistance on their own without having to pester a company.

Thanks to products like Salesforce Lightning, it’s now possible for HR to take the lead on developing simple apps that let employees make changes to their benefits plan, submit travel requests and other tasks. Low-code tools like Lightning means even non-programmers can provide these kinds of experiences. There are also plenty of options on AppExchange that would be highly useful in HR.

Traditionally, the risk of deploying self-service HR tools is that it would become complex and challenging to keep them all up-to-How date. The data that runs through them, meanwhile, could become siloed and therefore less reliable for HR and employees to use.

Those worries go away when self-service apps are integrated with a CRM. All data becomes part of a unified whole, where HR and business leaders can keep on top of usage trends and even discover opportunities to digitize other employee processes.

CRMs can also connect with customer service tools, which have similar capabilities that could enhance HR processes and employee experiences.

A strong employee experience has a direct impact on the quality of the customer experience a company can deliver. Just as CRMs played an integral role in customer experience by transforming sales, HR can now harness a CRM platform to help employees be more engaged, motivated, and happier to fulfill the company’s key business objectives.

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