Five people management tips to help SMEs save time and boost productivity


People management can literally cost you ‘big time’, with research from Breathe HR finding small business CEOs spend up to a fifth of their working week on HR admin. 

Ditch the brain drain, bolster your business and sweep these five time-consuming tasks off your to-do list by using HR software to support and streamline your back-end processes.

1. Set up regular reviews and give credit where it’s due

Regular performance reviews that are tailored to your organisation and aligned to your business goals are a major asset. They help you track performance and engagement, recognise and reinforce good behaviour, and inspire your employees to bring it.

But “regular” means every three to six months, and when you’re a busy small business owner, it’s easy to let something like this slip through the cracks. Especially when one study found it can take an average of 17 hours to prepare for each review!

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HR software streamlines this whole process, tracking performance in a consistent and measurable way, automatically booking appraisals, and notifying both parties about their time and location. It also supports company growth and employee morale by:

  • Allowing you to set clear expectations, goals and targets, which can easily be reviewed and updated; 
  • Linking these to your business objectives, so you and your employees can see how their work directly contributes to the success of the enterprise; and
  • Providing a platform for the team to share back-pats, kudos and otherwise congratulate each other on jobs well done.

2. Make STP-compliant payroll smooth and hassle-free

HR software puts the power of payroll management back in your hands by taking care of the whole shebang. 

Are we talking the full financial service, including STP-compliance, and calculating and processing individual payments, super and PAYG contributions? You betcha. Reporting too, and all of it streamlined and friction-free.

3. Store documents securely on the cloud

Remote working is obviously on the rise since the pandemic hit, and it’s increasingly popular among employees. In fact, in one study, 80% of respondents said they would be more likely to stay in their current role if they could work remotely, suggesting it could have quite an impact on retention rates.

All of this extra flexibility and mobility means businesses need a secure and central location to store and retrieve working documents, and one of the major benefits of cloud HR software is that it’s accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection. 

Users can log in on any device to access what they need, when they need it, which naturally boosts productivity. You can also see who’s viewed a document and send reminders and alerts at the click of a button, resulting in better oversight and workflow.

4. Manage leave requests in one place

Make stressful leave admin a thing of the past by using HR software to:

  • Set up individual leave allowances in next to no time; 
  • Conveniently track and manage requests from the one place; and 
  • Keep a calendar view of when people are away, for better forward planning and to avoid potential clashes. 

Your employees will appreciate the switch to software too, since they can use any device to log in and view their total leave allowance or book their time off. 

5. Swap spreadsheets for software and put your people first with an easy-to-use online system

Speaking of the convenience and user experience of your greatest asset, you could do your staff (and your employer brand) a big favour by swapping spreadsheets for seamless software. 

Filling in employee data, keeping on top of training schedules, viewing rosters and organising time-in-lieu — with the right HR software, essential everyday tasks such as these could be automated, streamlined and made oh-so-simple for your employees. 

There’s no getting around the fact that running a small business is a big, round-the-clock job, but HR and payroll software can help lighten the ‘people management’ side of things at least. 

Start thinking about what you could do with all those extra hours — week after week, year after year. Where else could you put that time and energy?

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Breathe is here to support Australian small business with intuitive, easy-to-use HR systems. Our goal is to give small businesses more time to focus on their most valuable asset – their people.

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