2020 has proven to be one of the most challenging years for companies around the globe who are seeking to maintain a competitive edge while dealing with the radical overhaul in how businesses operate as a result of the global pandemic. HR tools for administration are crucial now more than ever, bridging the gap between the near-obsolete world of paper-based management and the multi-channel communications digital age.
Pitacs Limited is one such company who have embraced digital HR admin tools and experienced the positive results, from boosted employee engagement, more effective alignment between teams and individuals, and streamlined, cost-saving HR processes.
Read on to find out how they did it.
If you have an Ultraheat branded radiator or heated towel rail installed in your home then you’re already familiar with Pitacs Limited’s products. Pitacs Limited has been manufacturing and distributing high quality steel paneled radiators throughout the UK and around the world since 1990, renowned for their designer quality.
Pitacs launched an electrical division in 1994, expanding their business to include electrical and data cables with BASEC and HAR certification, as well as an expanded range of general wiring, low voltage cables and control cables stocked in local and national companies. In 2016 the company again expanded its product line to include TIME LED along with a variety of additional LED filaments bulbs and fittings.
Pitacs comprises a workforce of over sixty employees is structured as a mixture of office-based and off-site working, and as such they have faced several strategic challenges to the way they conduct their HR and admin processes. They have also faced challenges in creating a sense of unity between head office teams and employees working in warehouses, and overall increasing engagement throughout the company.
By using a comprehensive suite of HR admin tools, Pitacs Limited were able to overcome these challenges and deliver impressive results. Let’s take a look how they achieved this.
Increasing engagement across a disjointed team
Effective employee engagement can have a profound impact on the performance of a business. When done well, engagement creates a workforce that is more efficient and productive, with staff prepared to do their best work to achieve company goals and go the extra mile to ensure success. A study from Gallup, The Right Culture: Not Just About Employee Satisfaction, discovered that the behaviour of highly engaged business units resulted in 21% greater profitability.
In contrast, low engagement can have potentially grave consequences to both performance and a business’s bottom line. As the Gallup study also highlighted, companies experienced a reduction of 41% for absenteeism when they engaged their employees, concluding that approaching engagement as a business strategy yields better results.
The leadership at Pitacs understood the necessity for a platform which could boost engagement across a disparate workforce, bringing office-based and warehouse employees together when addressing new workforce initiatives. By using the Newsfeed feature of their tools, Pitacs HR leaders and managers were able to ensure that important new updates and alerts could be sent instantaneously to the relevant staff regardless of their geographical location.
The ability of employees to “Like” and “Share” items in their newsfeed gave Pitacs additional insight into how their engagement efforts were impacting performance, with reports on engagement showing a 20% increase in engagement from 63% to 83%. These tools also provided information at the departmental level, allowing for greater nuance to their insights into sentiment and engagement.
Streamlining HR admin with tools
Pitacs Limited’s woes when running a HR department trapped in paperwork are well understood by any manager or leader who hasn’t yet made the transition to digital HR tools. HR admin tasks based on paperwork are time-consuming and ineffective, as well as being more prone to error or data loss.
Prior to implementing a digital HR solution, Pitacs found themselves mired in a labyrinthine system of paper based tasks that required manually filling out forms for holidays, which then required managers to produce an additional document to be sent on to HR, often from one physical location to another.
After transitioning to the new digital system, Pitacs’ HR team were able to streamline the entire absence management process so that holiday requests and sickness absences were registered and monitored in a single, instantly accessible location. With the ability to create custom reports of various absence types, Pitacs leaders were in a position to make data-driven decisions relating to productivity and improve well-being, while also reducing the hours spent on admin per month from eight hours down to just one hour.
In addition to streamlining absence management with the Holidays and Time Off feature, Pitacs used their HR admin tools to:
• create a virtual filing cabinet for documentation, including the ability to collect e-signatures from employees working off-site and in warehouses.
• Monitor working shift patterns to identify any areas for improvement.
• Compile analytics and reports for individuals, teams and departments to hone in on potential issues before they become a big problem.
Overcoming new challenges posed by the lockdown
Pitacs Limited was one of thousands of UK companies whose operations were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. With a large proportion of their workforce placed on furlough, they were able to use their communications platform to provide guidance and instructions to their employees.
This was especially significant when considering the mental health and well-being of their workforce. A report from the UK’s The Health Foundation titled Emerging Evidence on COVID-19’s Impact on Mental Health and Health Inequalities, revealed more than two thirds of the British public were somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 was having on their lives, with levels of anxiety and depression only beginning to fall in early June, when the lockdown measures began to be lifted.
Through communicating to individuals and teams the future plans of the company, along with information on mental health well-being tips designed to reduce anxiety, Pitacs were able to create a happier workforce capable of staying motivated through times of potential social isolation and uncertainty.
Unifying teams with multi-channel communications
Whether dealing with remote workers, office workers or staff based in a warehouse, effective communications tools are paramount to ensure everyone is brought up to speed on the important issues of the day. Having previously used paper-based communications and word of mouth to communicate information between their office-based staff and warehouse operatives, Pitacs found this to be awkward to track, as well as posing difficulties for two-way dialogue and the potential for miscommunication.
By choosing a platform capable of SMS, email and mobile phone notifications, Pitacs were able to bring their workforce into instant alignment on a daily basis. Updates to company policy and other important changes could be disseminated to the relevant employees and teams, with leaders given clear feedback that their communications had been received regardless of where the workforce was physically located. For more urgent matters, Critical Alerts could be used to ping a notification directly to an employee’s mobile phone.
These improvements in communication also had the benefit of increasing the engagement of the warehouse teams, fostering a stronger two-way interaction by giving them access to the information they needed in a quick, transparent manner.
Amplifying post-lockdown guidelines to the workforce
Not only were Pitacs Limited able to use their HR admin tools to effectively communicate with their furloughed workforce during the lockdown, these tools also helped them to quickly and effeciently communicate new rules around returning to work once the lockdown was eased. Social distancing guidelines and other pandemic-related measures required for staff returning to the office and warehouse helped to ensure a safe working environment.
Pitacs’ proactive approach ensured that the company were fully operational following the lockdown, achieving their highest ever turn-over for the month of July, 2020. Through the application of HR admin tools, the company was able to address its core concerns of reducing time spent on admin and HR tasks, increasing engagement across the workforce, and unifying employees split between head office and the warehouse team.
Moving forward, the company plans to add performance management tools to their digital suite for a comprehensive analysis of their objectives and performance.