Many small businesses still use spreadsheets to manage their employee records. This could include their personnel record, annual leave, sickness records, and more.
Even with a very small number of employees in your company, it doesn’t take long before the administration burden you face with using spreadsheets for all of this starts to add up. On top of the time-wasting, there are also security and legal aspects to consider with your HR spreadsheets.
Here are 5 reasons why you should stop using spreadsheets for your company’s HR. It might be time for you to consider a different approach.
1) Spreadsheets require more IT skills than you might expect
Spreadsheets are great when you have a single person who is responsible for updating them. This person will understand exactly how the spreadsheet works and they can easily tell you what the data means.
But what if that person isn’t available to help you? Really understanding a spreadsheet can require you to have serious IT knowledge. Even when you want some simple information, such as how many days of holiday you have left, without fully understanding how the spreadsheet all works this could take you a long time.
And when you want to add some data it can get even more difficult. Do you remember exactly what fields you need to complete and what codes to use?
When you don’t have the right skills to be working with the spreadsheet you just end up feeling frustrated and wasting time.
2) Spreadsheets are slow and time consuming
Updating a spreadsheet with some information can take you a long time. You waste time filling in the same information over and over again.
When you want to get some information out of a spreadsheet, you need to scan all over it looking for exactly what you need. If you need to compare records or use records together, you will probably need some pen and paper to keep track.
HR software can speed everything up. You can save lots of time on basic admin so that you can spend your time on more valuable business needs.
3) Spreadsheets are a big security risk
Spreadsheets are a complete security risk for your company. They are stored directly on PCs and laptops and you often send them around in emails.
This is all fine when there is nothing sensitive in your spreadsheets. But when it comes to your HR spreadsheets, EVERYTHING is sensitive. Keeping your confidential information stored in spreadsheets is a very risky business.
4) Spreadsheets can easily lose data or be out of date
When you have lots of your people updating a single spreadsheet, it is far too easy for a date to be lost. Because spreadsheets are never very simple, it is easy for you to update the wrong records in a spreadsheet.
If you are sharing your spreadsheets by email, it takes no time at all to save the wrong copy back over the original document. If you have ever done this, you will know just how hard it is to recover the original document.
Accidents happen all the time. But if you are using spreadsheets, you are asking for them to happen.
5) Spreadsheets don’t provide an audit trail
Did you know that you should keep a full audit trail for almost all HR decisions? Holiday, sickness, disciplinary records, job titles.
When an employee requests some time off, you should record at a minimum the following information:
- When them made their request
- When you made the choice to approve it
- Who made the choice to approve it, if it wasn’t you
- If the request is denied you should record reason
- When you told the employee about your decision.
- And more
With a spreadsheet, even if you decided to include all of this information, you are just making your spreadsheet even more difficult to use.
Things get even more difficult in other areas of HR. Trying to keep track of outstanding sick notes, or plan and log appraisals.
Are you still using spreadsheets for your HR?
As you have seen, using spreadsheets for your company HR can introduce some problems and risks.
If you’re still using spreadsheets to keep track of HR, it might be time to start looking at making the leap to real HR software.