What Is Virtual Human Resources?
Virtual human resources (also known as virtual HR) is the process of connecting employees to a range of technologies and HR services when they need them. This allows employees to go straight to resources through a self-service platform, rather than always going through an onsite HR representative.
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What’s the Difference Between In-House HR Management and Virtual HR?
Depending on the organization, one system may work better than the other. Common distinctions between in-house and virtual HR management include:
HR Team Location
The main difference between onsite and virtual HR is where your HR team resides. In-house HR professionals usually have their own office space. Virtual HR teams telecommute to their companies.
In-house teams typically work in their company’s headquarters or a branch office. Virtual HR professionals can work from the comfort of their own homes, their favorite local coffee shop, or anywhere with a reliable internet connection. A remote-friendly environment can give teams more autonomy to decide where and when they’ll work best.
The location of HR departments influences how employees interact with them. While emailing is an option for both in-house and virtual teams, in-house teams can communicate with employees face-to-face.
Virtual HR teams can maintain open communication with employees in many ways—even if they're distributed across the country or the globe. Whether it’s through instant messaging programs like Slack, video calls through Zoom, or virtual office hours, remote HR professionals can easily address employee questions about payroll, benefits, and more.
Availability of HR Resources
In-house HR resources are only available during their operating hours, which can fluctuate. Meanwhile, virtual HR resources are available 24/7 through the organization's HR software. This complements remote HR professionals who likely have specific office hours, as well.
Flexible options for team locations, communication methods, and access to HR resources can improve employee satisfaction and foster a more self-sufficient company culture. By offering employee self-service, you can lighten the load for your HR teams while empowering your employees and managers to monitor their time off, access reports, and more.
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Can HR Work Remotely?
The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing work-from-home trends have spearheaded the rise of remote HR jobs. Since the amount of job postings offering the ability to work remotely has doubled after the pandemic, it stands to reason that employers building remote teams need remote HR leaders to source and onboard new hires.
HR software and communication applications like Zoom and Slack make it convenient for remote recruiters to onboard new employees and support current workers. Plus, their position as a telecommuter allows them to relate to your remote workforce in meaningful ways.
Why Is HR Technology Important?
HR technology is crucial for HR departments. New software and systems allow HR professionals to efficiently perform the following actions:
- Contact employees
- Store, organize, and access a high volume of files
- Manage data for critical analysis
- Recruit more job candidates for open positions
- Conduct data-driven performance reviews
Without technology, HR professionals would have to rely on time-consuming manual processes for sorting through employee documents and insurance policies. Technology eases that burden, encouraging fewer errors and improved efficiency.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual HR?
When managed properly, virtual HR services offer more advantages than disadvantages:
- Easier access to HR departments: Employees no longer have to walk over to the HR office to ask a question or schedule an appointment to talk about their benefits. Within virtual HR teams, professionals are available to answer questions more readily.
- Updated technology: When HR teams primarily work in virtual environments, they're more likely to prioritize new HR technologies. As a result, professionals are likely to be more up to date on the latest HR trends, technologies, and software.
- Improved employee satisfaction: When employees can talk about benefits, time off, and other HR-related issues at a moment’s notice, they can feel more satisfied with their jobs and overall employee experience at the company.
- Better productivity: Satisfied employees usually lead to improved productivity in the office. Additionally, HR teams that rely on virtual technologies can be more efficient thanks to automated processes.
- Impersonal practices: Some employees prefer that certain HR tasks, like dismissals and performance reviews, be conducted in person. When everything is done virtually, even through video conferencing, employees may feel disconnected from the company.
- Security problems: A virtual platform with insufficient security protocols can put your company's sensitive information at risk. Most HR software models apply strict safeguards to prevent this issue, but it takes some research to find the right one that makes the possibility of unwanted third parties accessing your employees’ information as low as possible.
What Services are Offered by Virtual HR?
Companies using virtual HR can still enjoy the same services and features of an in-house HR team, such as:
- Onboarding new employees
- Tracking workflows
- Keeping employee records
- Reporting performance analytics
- Tracking new applicants
- Offboarding terminated or retired employees
- Keeping time records
- Organizing payroll
- Managing performance reviews
- Maintaining employee satisfaction
- Updating company policies
- Implementing benefit packages
Launching a virtual HR program is a win-win for your HR department and employees. By freeing HR professionals from manual and time-consuming tasks, they’re better able to focus on what matters most—supporting your people.
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