If you ask HR professionals about the challenges they face on the job each day, chances are good that among the issues you’ll hear about are complaints related to employee data. Especially in small companies, HR sometimes must still capture, store, and manipulate data manually. And that can spell trouble.

HR professionals in small and mid-sized companies love BambooHR’s cloud-based HR software because of its ability to gather HR data in one convenient, easily accessible location. How many times have you had to make the mad dash from one place to another to track down information on employees’ time … or benefits use … or training … or any one of hundreds of data points? You know how frustrating it can be.

There are many reasons why HR practitioners long for automated systems that enable them to keep workforce data at their fingertips. Here are three of the top issues they cite:

1.     Centralized data drives HR efficiency

In organizations with numerous business units or departments, and in companies that have operations in multiple locations, data about employees tends to be scattered. Each department, unit, or location may maintain its own records about its workers. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, for HR to easily gather and analyze employee data.

When data is centralized and accessible, errors are reduced and data accuracy increases. Not only does HR save time, but so do employees in other units or locations who may have been duplicating efforts.

Reports are easy to generate when the information that goes into them is stored in one central place. BambooHR affords HR professionals the convenience of easy customization – set up the report content you need and route reports to the recipients who need them. When information is required quickly, Bamboo gives HR the power to respond right away.

2.     Centralized data leads to better talent management

How often have you had to respond to requests from managers for information about their direct reports? Requests to confirm earned vacation time or sick time, inquiries about training and development, and other routine questions take time to answer. When HR data is collected and stored in one location, managers can take advantage of self-serve options to address everyday inquiries quickly.

Because front-line managers are every company’s key link in performance, it’s especially important to ensure their access to the information they need to manage talent effectively. When managers can review employee data easily, they can better ensure that their workers’ individual goals are aligned with organizational objectives. They can readily see where the company has workers with specific skills, and they can see where additional training may be needed or where potential problems might arise.

As companies grow, the convenience of centralized HR data helps managers identify employees who are performing well and have the potential to grow along with the organization. Information about development goals, completed education and training, career-growth objectives, performance levels, and the like can pinpoint the high-performers who will make great candidates for advancement.

3.     Centralized data lowers business risks

It stands to reason that organizations with centralized HR data have taken a strong step toward reducing risk related to their workforces. More accurate data and information that is centrally stored and readily available when needed makes mistakes less likely.

Accurate information about a company’s workforce helps business leaders at the highest organizational levels. When they decide on business goals and the strategies needed to achieve them, leaders must consider not only the money, time, tools, and technologies required, but also the human capital needed.

Centralized HR data can be gathered quickly into relevant reports and analyzed to provide insights into the organization’s greatest asset – its workforce. Ultimately, good information helps leaders lower the likelihood of risks that can arise from faulty decision-making. In the long run, that can spell the difference between failure and success for your business.