Employee-Centricity, Remote Onboarding

On the HRIS: it was built for HR teams, not for employees


Are you asking too much of your Human Resource Information System (HRIS)? Companies try to squeeze in as much as possible, but it can feel like putting a square peg into a round hole – it just doesn’t fit. An HRIS specializes in managing payroll and keeping track of employee information. No matter how hard a company tries, employees just won’t be logging into their HRIS every day. It can’t be a communication hub and it’s not going to help create company culture, certainly not for a remote company. 

Let’s set the stage. When employees need to communicate, how often are they using an HRIS vs. a messaging tool? It’s almost always Slack and email, almost never Workday. If ADP is used as the Source of Truth for employees, how often are they actually in there searching for answers? Again, almost never. Modern organizations and even departments end up living in various tools designed for their daily duties because information naturally ends up scattered across softwares. Even when policies and benefits are crammed into BambooHR, employees don’t gravitate there. HR teams will think they have a solution but will find themselves constantly fielding the same questions – putting out frequent fires instead of focusing on bigger pictures and a roadmap for the organization.

Example #1: learning about coworkers

Take a company directory and employee profiles as an example. Of course, this can be found in any HRIS. Arguably this would be one of the top features employees would actually need from Paychex or BambooHR. Companies will have a list of people in the HRIS with the exact information people are looking for but people don’t use it. Instead they prefer to look folks up on Slack, Teams, email, and even LinkedIn over an unappealing HRIS directory. ADP and the others are built for HR teams not for engineers and sales teams trying to learn about their coworkers. 

The information gathered in the HRIS can be made into much richer profiles, like Cleary’s Org Chart and Profiles and include information beyond the basics. Classic org profiles have name, title, and email but in a remote first workplace time zone, remote working days, and working hours can be essential for coworkers, as well as seeing what projects people are working on and who they report to. 


Example #2: joining the company 

One feature more and more HRISs seem to be offering is onboarding. This would make sense since employee information will already be added in and often the HRIS has some company information plugged in there. But really this is all about the backstage process again. In this case, employees will have to use the onboarding but how does this option impact the employee experience? Does this actually set them up for success and does this create a positive company culture? Just having a point solution doesn’t address the nuances of joining a new company and adjusting to a new workplace, especially a remote or hybrid one. 


For most HRISs onboarding is an afterthought, add-on module and that’s the experience employees will have moving through it. Often we get the sense that companies feel like onboarding is ‘checked off’ and no longer a pain point, but they find themselves still struggling with retention and fostering company culture. Cleary can pull critical information from HRISs and create a more holistic and thoughtful onboarding journey, one that comes with an onboarding buddy! Setting up a strong foundation and continued support system for new hires will help foster retention and productivity.


Too much is actually less value

The problem is exacerbated when buying teams stretch what they are looking for with an HRIS and try to fit the tool into a mold that can do more than it should. Sometimes they end up buying one that under optimizes what an HRIS should actually do well – help the HR team run their processes more efficiently. Now, all one tool is doing is solving multiple pain points poorly and ineffectively. Teams actually get less value, by trying to get too much out of one HRIS tool. 


Finding employees their own home for information 

Here’s the thing, HRISs are one of the most important tools at any company and no one is replacing it. In part because if people don’t get paid – there will be no people to manage. But HRISs simply are not built for the masses, the systems are made for HR teams. For that reason, companies need a tool for the rest of their employees to get the information from an HRIS that they need. That’s where Cleary comes in. An HRIS would work in the background while Cleary presents the information in a user-friendly platform. 


There are a number of reasons, we have seen employees gravitate toward Cleary as their main communication hub and it’s rooted in integration capabilities. 


Home base from day one

The first is the pre-onboarding experience. This makes Cleary the first experience employees have with their new company and it’s where they continue to get up to speed. Since Cleary can integrate with ATSs and HRISs, automated journeys can be triggered when someone accepts an offer. This streamlines the process for admins to make sure no one and nothing slips through the cracks and for new hires, this gives them a place to easily follow their tasks and get connected to the company. 


Easily searching and sharing information

The way everyone works now, information lives in many different tools, including Cleary itself. The Pages feature can be a Source of Truth, where native content can be created and saved, including policies, handbooks, SOPs and more. That’s on top of people saving content in various wikis. Cleary makes searching easy by integrating with Google Drive, Confluence, and Notion and searching across those tools. 

Company announcements can be made within the same platform through the News feature, further solidifying Cleary as a communication home base for employees. Again with integrations, since Cleary can integrate with messaging apps and email, teams can create announcements once and with one-click share across platforms. 


In the end, an HRIS reigns supreme when it comes to payroll and employee tracking but trying to squeeze too much into a software not made to be an employee platform can backfire. HR teams need to first look out for themselves first by buying the best HRIS for their department then think about their employees and a tool for them – that uses the critical information from the HRIS and creates a platform they would want to use. 

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