One of the single most beneficial things you can do for your department is to create efficiencies for common processes. Think about the manual processes you do every day and for every reoccurring project. From creating year-to-date tax imports to managing more complex projects like payroll contributions for a global ESPP program, these tasks take time and are prone to human error.
A quick Google search shows over 620,000 results on the drawbacks of manual processes. So why are manual processes still prevalent? From operating in reactive mode to presuming that a process works ‘well enough’ to lack of funding, companies are still doing a lot of manual work for these reasons. Manual processes, however, are inefficient, expensive, and steal time away from employees who could have higher value roles and responsibilities.
Think before you repeat—if you are doing the same things over and over, stop and ask yourself if it could be a good process or project to automate. The goal should always be to streamline repeatable tasks.
If manual processes are draining your productivity, there are things you can do to free up time, talent and money. Here are five tips to help:
Determine your areas of focus for improvement. What specific processes, or even parts of processes, are most prone to human error, are subject to risk, demand a lot of time and/or might warrant a better user experience? For example:
- End-to-end equity transactions, e.g., 6039 reporting
- End-to-end self-service, e.g., online ESPP enrollment
- Data transformation, e.g., integrating data from multiple business units or countries
- ESPP contribution funds management
- Data analysis, e.g., pay ratio calculation
- Reconciliations, e.g., plan reserve management, cancellations, terminations
Communicate with your team / get your people on board. Is everyone on the same page? Have you brought the necessary individuals into the discussion? This is a key step that needs to be done in close consultation with other stakeholders and actual users of the process. Speak with everyone that’s going to use or be affected by your new processes. What are their needs or challenges or pain points currently, and what are they hoping to get out of an automated solution?
Always start with the voice of your clients, i.e., plan participants and/or interdepartmental partners. What do they want and what can they expect to be improved with automation, e.g., real-time payroll compliance; reduction in purchase allocation time, participant self-service. If you can’t trace back something you’re automating to an improved client experience or a departmental benefit, that’s usually a good indication that you shouldn’t be automating it.
Start with a few very manual and repetitive processes that, once automated, will result in visible improvements, such as importing employee demographic information into your stock administration system or automating responses to common participant inquiries. Then begin examining other more complex cross-departmental processes that are often error-prone for further automation opportunities.
Choose the right workflow automation solution. Decide on the means to the end—how do you wish to achieve this business goal?
Consider outsourcing as a solution. Outsourcing is the most strategic solution for automating processes and doesn’t have to displace employees. Many aspects of stock administration, payroll management and HR are often outsourced so that employees can focus on more strategic matters.
All companies come to a point where manual processes are no longer sustainable. Is your department at this point or in a potentially vulnerable position? Talk to us to find out more.
Computershare is a leading provider of employee equity plans administration. Our solutions can help you automate many of the manual functions you use to manage your plans. Learn more at
www.computershare.com/employeeplans or fill out the form below to contact our plan administration specialists directly.