In the unpredictable whirlwind that is a day in the life of an HR professional, spreadsheets have firmly established themselves as the harbingers of headaches and the thieves of joy. Of course, everyone likes a good spreadsheet that performs functions they’re designed for, this isn’t a spreadsheet hit piece we promise, but oftentimes spreadsheets are a “good enough” band-aid used to achieve a much more complex goal. That’s when they fall short of being an effective solution at best and cause administrative nightmares at worst.
Software has become both so ubiquitous and specialized that today there’s easy access to a unique solution for nearly every situation currently managed by a spreadsheet, though spreadsheets are often the first line of offense for completing a task because they’re relatively easy to use and the financial barrier of entry is practically non-existent.
The issue arises when they become such an administrative burden to manage that their use actually becomes detrimental to accomplishing the tasks at hand. The issue gets compounded when they become a compliance liability.
Step 1) Make the Time
Like any other legacy software, spreadsheets tend to overstay their welcome simply because they seem too cumbersome to replace or it’s “always how we’ve done it.” If you want to release yourselves from the hell of smart cells and having to navigate the “tabyrinth” sprawling across the bottom of your window, you need to make time.
“But I don’t have time because I spend all day in spreadsheets,” you might be saying to yourself, to which we say, “Precisely.” Make the time to evaluate which processes are currently under the thumb of spreadsheets, and you might be surprised how many you have to manage merely because that’s just how the process started at your organization and no one ever shifted course.
Identify which tools exist that do those processes for you and eliminate human error in the process. Start with your most frustrating tasks and the ones that put you and your org at the highest risk and then work your way down.
You should never be too busy to evaluate if there are better ways to achieve a goal that can save you time and increase performance. It will save you time and money on ibuprofen in the long run.
Step 2) Make the Case
Spreadsheets look free as a budget line item, but what are the costs really? If you’re proposing a software solution you’ll no doubt get asked about ROI. Well, let’s start with your time. We’re guessing none of you reading this got into human resources to have an unhealthy amount of your workload be bogged down by administrative work.
No, you got into this line of work to be strategic, and strategic human resource management is all about creating a competitive advantage through a company’s workforce. By eliminating administrative burdens you’re freeing up your bandwidth to do impactful, meaningful work that will positively impact the bottom line as you’ll be able to focus on big-ticket expenses ranging from talent acquisition to retention
Software solutions can also often ensure compliance and data security. Can your organization afford to leave itself vulnerable to legal risk because all of its important info exists in the too-easy-to-fat-finger cells C11-C43?
Step 3) Make the Change
Change can be scary, but it can also be really exciting. The perception of “change” is all in how you choose to look at it and how well you prepare for it. Effective change management will play a pivotal role in ditching those dastardly spreadsheets, so make a plan, stick to it, and reap the rewards of a better way to work.
Here’s a great checklist to help you start your journey for changing up the way things are done at your organization. When the change is underway, make sure you are still able to accomplish all the tasks you need to get done while the new solution takes hold.
Changes won’t happen overnight, but when done smartly, intentionally, and with open communication on expectations, the process will be smooth and your ROI will be realized sooner.
Step 4) Make the Most
Perhaps you’re thinking your company is too big to change from the historical web of spreadsheets that dominate you on the daily. Conversely, you might be thinking your company is too small to warrant a software investment that might eat up a proportionally large part of your budget.
Large companies have complexities small companies can’t fathom, and because of that, data breaches and spreadsheet management and QA/QC efforts all clog the pipes of efficiency and leave you exposed to major risk.
People Teams at small companies, where fewer employees mean they are even more valuable, aren’t getting the support they need when they need it most because you just don’t have the bandwidth to do the job you love to do effectively or efficiently. This can lead to costly turnover and struggles in attracting talent.
Make the most of your organization’s budget, and your time, by evaluating which spreadsheet processes can be replaced by specialized software, making the case by demonstrating ROI and risk mitigation, and implementing an effective change management process. Free up the time to support your people in the ways that matter most, and leave the spreadsheet-based administrative burdens in the past.
Tilt is leading the charge in all things leave of absence management through easy-to-use tech and human touch. Since 2016, our proprietary platform and Empathy Warriors have been helping customers make leave not suck by eliminating administrative burdens, keeping companies compliant, and providing a truly positive and supportive leave of absence experience for their people.