Admin keeps HR off the strategic path

HR professionals are spending most of their time on administrative tasks, leaving strategic considerations by the wayside.

Tasks including booking holidays, running reports and updating absence records are all taking their toll on the profession’s ability to be more strategic, according to new research by HR and payroll software provider Snowdrop Systems, with administration taking up to three days of the HR week.

More than 110 HR professionals across a range of sectors took part in the research, conducted online during October 2004. Respondents ranged from HR officer to HR director, with 84 per cent in organisations with 50 or more employees.

The main findings:

  • HR professionals spend 60 per cent of their week (22 hours) on administrative tasks

  • Admin is cut by more than half (to just 10 hours) for HRs who can share the load with line managers and staff, by giving them online access to HR records

  • Despite this, only 13 per cent of HR professionals get help from line managers and staff

  • 43 per cent spend two hours each week just co-ordinating training and setting up network and e-mail privileges for new recruits

  • Almost a third spend up to five hours a day each week running reports, with one in 10 taking almost a whole day (six hours) to complete the task

The top five administrative tasks:

  1. Setting up and co-ordinating induction training

  2. Checking data is accurate

  3. Running reports

  4. Recording progress on training and development

  5. Dealing with admin around departing employees (including returning company property, dealing with benefits, closing e-mail and network accounts, recouping training costs and informing payroll.


Other time-consuming tasks involve requests for and booking of holiday time, chasing and updating absence records around sick days, chasing material on appraisals and employee development, checking for expired qualifications and alerting line managers about probation periods.


By Quentin Reade


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