Digitising the employee relations process
Jamie Disney Employee Relations Advisor at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust explores the importance of digital transformation in the Human Resources (HR) department.
November 12 2019 - With digitisation and efficiency driving many of the changes currently sweeping the NHS, numerous Trusts are in the process of evaluating the systems they have in place. HR departments are part of this transformation and have a vital role to play in helping organisations adopt digital processes.
As one of the largest employers in the South East, with 8,000 members of staff, the employee relations team at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) is responsible for ensuring employees are engaged, productive, motivated and fostering positive relationships. Part of the team's wider role is to help the Trust meet its strategic objective of creating a great place to work for current and future staff. In order to streamline processes and enhance case visibility, we set out to introduce dedicated case management software into the department.
It was important for our team that the system we implemented provided us with intuitive workflows and advanced reporting capabilities, giving us the ability to not only store relevant documentation centrally but also link similar case together and increase our visibility of employee relations trends.
Case management in the cloud
Built around our HR policies, we chose to implement Selenity ER Tracker as a way to standardise case management at the Trust. Since going live we've been able to tailor our workflows and create the visible stages and steps we need. Most importantly the system has given us a place to centrally and securely store all case documentation and attachments.
Before the software, our employee relations team would have to check case files or use additional documents such as spreadsheets to track how long cases had been open for. Now we have visibility of our caseloads and can easily see the number of cases we have and what stage each one is at.
Selenity ER Tracker has not only helped us streamline processes but it's also made the team more consciously aware of how long cases have been open for. We now have the functionality to click into a case to find out how long it has been running and when it was last updated. As well as how early the issue was resolved and whether it was informal or made formal.
Additionally, digitising our employee relations processes with specialist HR software has helped the team to monitor changes to employment such as suspension. Previously, our employee relations team would have to keep manual records detailing staff suspensions. The retrieval of that information could be lengthy and would often involve team members having to go back through paper case files and letter correspondence. Now we are able to easily manage the number of employees who are on suspension, key dates and timeframes - the software raises the visibility of this information as well as highlighting the financial implications to the Trust.
Creating custom reports and determining diversity
Annual reports are an important part of demonstrating the quality of services and providing an overview of each Trusts achievements and plans for the coming year. Previously, collating information for the annual report could often be a time-consuming process that involved downloading information and analysing the data manually.
Since the introduction of Selenity ER Tracker the reporting process has been greatly simplified. We're able to utilise the software's built-in reporting capabilities to define parameters of our searches and run summary reports that are generated instantly - it's dramatically reduced the annual reporting process, transforming it from a two-week task into one that only takes a day or two.
Having analytics on hand means that we're able to easily identify key metrics such as the number of cases we have open, length of time and common case types. In addition, we can also run independent reports based on the nine protected characteristics. This feature is especially valuable to the Trust's dedicated quality and diversity team.
Having a dedicated HR case management system has not only helped the Trust to visualise employee relations data but it's also allowed us to identify trends and hone in on hot spots with the aim of resolving situations early on. The software provides us with full visibility of the team's caseloads, helping us to prioritise activity and ultimately adhere to the Trust's HR policy.