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Don’t You Dare Enter Any Data for Your Employees

In a December 2023 updated report, Ernst & Young (EY) found the average cost per manual data entry made by an HR professional increased to $4.78. Read about EY’s latest findings for more information.


For everything we do as consumers, we do it all on smartphones, whether it be buying things on Amazon or bypassing the line at Starbucks because you used their app to order and pay.

The digital transformation isn’t on the way – it’s already here.

Technology connecting us directly to the database has enriched our lives in a remarkable way. It makes us more efficient. It makes us more accurate. It makes us better. In short, we live in an incredible age.

So why is it that when Americans go to work, that direct relationship is replaced with an indirect one?

Win-win or lose-lose?

When you ordered from Amazon for the first time, you didn’t fill out a form and fax it over to Amazon so Jeff Bezos could key in your information. You went online, entered your own information one time and, bam, you were an Amazon user.

But in the workplace, many of us still face manual processes that predate the internet. Employees cease to have direct access to their own personal information, meaning someone (typically HR) middlemans that data for them, and that’s a lose-lose.

With today’s tech, there is only one person who should be entering direct-deposit numbers, hours worked, dependents and beneficiaries, time-off requests and more: the employee in question. All of this and more – from checking our pay rate to viewing training videos – can be done through a single app, whenever and wherever.

The power of one

The single app is critical, too. Some companies are stuck in the middle of the transformation: having self-service technology, but having too much self-service technology. In other words, they may have employees use an app for payroll, but an entirely different one for benefits and yet another for expenses, and so on. From the perspective of the workforce, that’s not convenient.

Imagine if all you could do on your phone was the ability to make and receive calls. And you had to use a separate device to take photos, and another to play games. You don’t have to imagine, because that is the way things were before June 29, 2007, when the first-gen iPhone hit the market and changed the world.

Just as Americans embraced the phone that does it all, they crave apps that do it all, too. To offer them anything less won’t get you more efficiency or productivity.

The bottom line? Yours

Here’s another reason why HR (or any intermediary) shouldn’t be doing the work employees can do themselves: $4.39.

According to a new study by Ernst & Young, that dollar amount is the average cost per data entry without self-service HR technology.

And that’s just the average! Other tasks carry significantly higher per-data-entry costs, from $17.89 to prepare and distribute training materials to employees, to $18.47 to obtain and provide information to employees about changes to their benefit plans.

That’s expensive. That’s profit leak. That’s a waste for any company, regardless of size, and the damage only accelerates with each passing day.

For employers that have yet to embrace app technology in the workplace, please note that the world has cleared the major hurdle for you, because your employees already possess the ability and means in their hands: their smartphones.

In fact, the Pew Research Center shows that mobile phone usage in the U.S. stands at a staggering 100% among ages 18-29. Those women and men represent millennials and Generation Z, whose members have grown up with this technology in their households, and the effects of that cannot be overstated. Yet I will: Companies are going to have to make this change in order to attract and retain talent for the years to come. The sooner your company does, the more valuable it will be.

About the author
Author picture, Jennifer Kraszewski
Jennifer Kraszewski
Jennifer Kraszewski, Paycom’s senior executive vice president of human resources, has more than 20 years of HR leadership experience, driving transformative, business-focused human capital strategies in high-growth industries to achieve efficiencies, compliance and employee engagement. Named by Human Resource Executive® magazine as one of the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers in 2020 and 2021, Kraszewski is a featured blogger and hosts webinars on HR topics through the Society for Human Resource Management, HR Daily and She is SPHR- and SHRM-SCP-certified.