Five ‘horrors’ that keep HR managers up at night

Published on 16/10/2019 by Sonia Navarrete

HR issues

At Halloween we open ourselves to the things that scare us most. For many of us, that means ghosts and spirits, but for managers HR issues are much more real. From the nightmares of payroll and timesheet management, to the monsters of compliance and talent management, their days are fraught with complex and time-consuming tasks.  

In this seasonal special, we look at the top five HR issues facing UK HR managers today. But to be sure that you don’t have a sleepless night, we’re also going to show how these horrors can be vanquished with the right choice of HR software in the UK. 

Payroll management

Keeping on top of the payroll can make even the bravest HR manager tremble in his boots. Using only manual processes, managing the ever-changing range of salaries, wages, bonuses and deductions that underpin every business becomes a hair-raising challenge. In fact, 40% of businesses now spend 80 or more hours per year on taxes, payroll, and working with accountants – time that could be better spent. 

However, thanks to automation software, you no longer have any reason to fear the payroll as an HR issue. Today’s software allow you to sit back and let the system take care of salary and wage management. Payroll Software can track time off, holiday accrual, benefits and retirement accounts to provide a complete package that firms can manage on their own. 

HR managers are increasingly aware of the benefits on offer with payroll software: according to our survey, 21% say it’s the main feature they are looking for in new HR software. 

Talent management

Another HR issue is how to accurately evaluate the work carried out by employees and ensure they are adequately rewarded and given tasks suited to their skills. With skills gaps emerging across many business functions this imperative is more pressing than ever: if you’re unable to manage your talent effectively you could see them march off to work with a competitor, leaving you understaffed in critical business functions.  Like Martine Robins, Director at HR Dept Woking and Guildford, comments: “the best way to avoid this is to be very clear about the skills and experience that you need in your business when you are looking to recruit.”

Companies with EU nationals as employees are also looking at software to help their EU employees ensure that all their  employment and residential status is uploaded to HR software when requesting settled status following Brexit –  due to happen later this month. Jules Wix, Apprenticeships and Talent Manager at Cambridge Spark comments that employees “can access any evidence needed quickly and as employers we have an overview of where our staff stand.”

Software can make talent management much more accurate, reliable and effective. Talent management software puts data at the heart of talent management and gives employers the digital tools they need to manage, evaluate, and compensate based on performance. Doing so improves the effectiveness of the workforce and provides useful insights into employee needs. 

Employee engagement

Closely related to talent management is the need for HR managers to keep employees engaged. When employees are not engaged by their work, they will be less productive and more likely to look elsewhere. According to one study, highly engaged teams are 21% more productive than those with low engagement. Conversely, disengaged employees are estimated to cost the UK £52-70 billion per year in lost productivity – and 70% of UK employees say they are disengaged. 

This is very scary stuff. Getting employee engagement wrong costs your business money, adversely affects employee experiences and makes winning the war for talent harder. But fear not – software is at hand. Employee engagement software can help you build awareness amongst employees of your corporate culture and its values (something that is becoming increasingly important to employees). What’s more, through employee surveys, gamification tools, team sentiment analytics, and many other applications, employee engagement software can help increase employee’s level of investment in the company. 

Jules Wix comments that the key to employee engagement is to use all the tools and platforms possible for effective communication and education, keeping the process transparent and relevant for all team members. Jules states that “once people can see and track their own holiday on the HR system, own and edit their own employee data in a GDPR compliant way and check the policies that impact them they feel safer and more comfortable in the knowledge that the company is focused on them.”

HR issues

Time Management

If your employees manage their time correctly and complete tasks efficiently, the business can improve margins. Good time management can also help your employees create the right work/life balance, thereby improving satisfaction and making it more likely they will stay with you. One study found that employees work 21% harder if they believe they have a good work life balance than those who don’t. 

However, without the ability to automate the tracking, storage and analysis of data around how employees spend their time, the dream of time management quickly turns into a nightmare. HR managers that rely on analogue timesheets face an ongoing horror-show of manual data collection and number crunching where errors are all too easy. 

It’s little wonder, therefore, that in a recent survey, 21% of HR managers said time tracking is one of the main features they look for in a software package. Known as ‘time clock’ or ‘timesheet’ software, there are a range of options on the market that can help you automate the tracking of employee attendance, scheduling, and holidays. 


The spectre of compliance is truly scary. One wrong move, and your business can find itself facing crippling fines and even legal action. 

Perhaps the scariest of compliance burdens is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which applies to the personal data of employees as well as customers. Three quarters of HR managers have said has significantly impacted their business. 

But GDPR is just one of many regulations that HR managers have to help their business comply with, such as pay gap disclosure laws, National Living Wage payments and employment law obligations. HR managers can feel like they are spinning compliance plates, and that it will only be a matter of time before one or more come crashing to the ground.

Fortunately, the complexities of compliance can be overcome through software. Compliance software works by automating the processes by which internal controls and policies are monitored, ensuring that the standards required by the many HR regulations you need to follow are met. 

If you are an HR manager and are looking to get rid of the ghosts chasing you ahead of Halloween, visit our HR directory on Capterra to find out how software can be your best allied in fighting them.

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.