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No substitute for human touch

Professional memberships, conferences and exhibitions still top of HR and Payroll Managers list for keeping current with their industry.

Carval Computing, a specialist supplier of fully integrated Time & Attendance (T&A), Human Resources and Payroll software has today announced findings from a survey that was conducted in July and August. The survey covered people working in HR, IT, Payroll, Finance and areas related to HR from organisations with several hundred to several thousand employees. When looking to keep abreast of the latest industry developments, tried and tested means such as professional memberships where cited by 69  of respondents and over half (56 ) looked to conferences and exhibitions for information. Next popular were commercial publications, trade press and forums. The surprising result is that while Social Media is beginning to influence, its use is still not widespread.

John Ovington, Operations Director at Carval Computing stated; “Use of Social Media may be on the increase but it is by no means as pervasive as some commentators would have us believe.”  While absolutely no one that responded to the survey cited Facebook as a reference source, Twitter is used by less than 6  and less than 12  use industry blogs.  Of Social networks  Linked In was favourite, used by a third of respondents (35 ).   However there were notable differences between functions with Linked In being used far more by HR than either Business & Finance or Payroll and IT using Linked In least of all.

The survey asked respondents about the skills they needed to do their job. Many of the usual stereotypes held true with IT needing technical skills and to be good problem solvers, Business & Finance said that leadership, teamwork, flexibility, adaptability, problem solving, networking and diplomacy where important. Payroll claimed attention to detail, accuracy, understanding of legislation and contracts, and good communications skills.  HR had the longest list of skills, the most important being communication and people skills, understanding legislation/best practice/HR policy, understanding the organisation, IT skills, time management, accuracy and trustworthiness.Interestingly all, with the notable exception of IT, felt that patience was an important virtue when dealing with their colleagues.

When asked about challenges at work all functions reported lack of time as a major challenge. Business & Finance reported challenges with budgets, technology and introducing cultural change to the organisation. IT reported a mix of technical challenges that included new software or upgrades, developing new systems, providing support and the successful delivery of IT projects to meet business requirements. Payroll had similar issues, but with the major added challenge of getting accurate information from the rest of the organisation (for example, timesheets), keeping up to date with legislation and dealing with HMRC. For HR the main challenge was balancing day to day work with more strategic work, communications and reporting to the rest of the business.

John Ovington summarised; “When it comes to day to day work, HR, Payroll, IT and Business & Finance all have different challenges, but with the common theme of not enough time and the requirement to be good communicators. This survey shows that despite the hype about social media, it seems that as far as HR and Payroll and those related to these functions are concerned, you can’t beat that face to face people-based contact.”

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