by Shayne Thomas
12 Mar 2020
Why Do You Love Your Spreadsheets So Much?
3 reasons why using spreadsheets for HR-related tasks is so “yesterday”
It’s time to have a serious heart-to-heart. First off, we know people love—even if somewhat reluctantly—their spreadsheets. Since the advent of Microsoft Excel, it’s become a near habit to create a spreadsheet for everything. Sure, they come with a lot of built-in bells and whistles, that those of you who love your formulas, macros, and pivot tables appreciate immensely, but when you start attaching them to emails and sharing them around, it is a recipe for version control disaster. It goes without saying that the arrival of cloud-based spreadsheets was a sigh of relief for many.
But that still doesn’t let you off the hook. Why? Because while spreadsheets serve a lot of fabulous number-crunching purposes, they are not—and should not be—the end all, be all of how you manage your various HR tasks.
Of course, we understand that when many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB) are just starting out, they may not need fancy tools and systems to manage their HR operations. For all we know, when your business first started, you may not have even had a dedicated HR pro managing this work at all. And that’s a-ok. Every business goes through a startup phase.
However, as businesses expand, grow, and mature over time, their systems must do the same. This includes how you manage your HR activities—and, unfortunately, you’ve really got no excuse at this point to keep on relying on your steadfast spreadsheets to do the heavy lifting. It’s simply not an efficient way to go about your day-to-day activities.
Now, we are fully aware that we’ve just criticized something that you likely hold near and dear to your heart. But we’re doing it for your own good. Though, if you’re still clutching onto your spreadsheets for dear life, here are a few reasons why you should just let go:
Problem 1: Spreadsheets stunt your growth potential
There is no business in this world that doesn’t want to succeed. A byproduct of success is, you guessed, business growth. And as businesses grow, they need systems in place to manage, nurture, support, and fuel that growth.
Sorry to say this but manual processes don’t drive growth. This rule applies whether or not you use the most beautiful spreadsheets ever created to go about your day-to-day work. Unfortunately, if you still are a big fan of your spreadsheets, you’re not alone: based on Cornerstone’s recent Performance Management survey, we found that 45% of SMB’s still use spreadsheets to record the results of employee feedback meetings. (Eeeek!)
This also comes at a time when 89% of HR leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are key to successful outcomes. But we also found in our survey that the top three reasons why managers don’t give feedback regularly is because they either don’t have enough time, the right structure or tools in place, or the right coaching skills to be effective in giving feedback—or a combination of all three. Your dedication to spreadsheets won’t help overcome these hurdles; if anything, they will just perpetuate them further.
We all know how important feedback is today. It is the foundation for employee engagement, satisfaction, happiness, and retention. It is also a way that employers invest in the development of their employees—which based on LinkedIn’S 2019 Workforce Learning Report, a whopping 94% of employees said they’d stay at a company longer if the company invested in their growth.
But you can’t invest in growth if you’ve got unnecessarily manual processes getting in the way. Not to mention, because these processes can be rather tedious and cumbersome, they inadvertently discourage managers and employees from engaging in regular feedback conversations. This is why the right tools are so important. Not only can they help you begin to develop a culture of feedback, but they also can provide useful information—like coaching notes, conversation best practices, 360-degree feedback templates, reporting dashboards, and more—that help everyone get the most out of the feedback process. This is the key to growth.
Problem 2: Spreadsheets are a waste of time
Even if you have a deeply rooted love for spreadsheets, there’s no way you can deny that a very detailed spreadsheet with multiple columns, rows, formulas, and, of course, broken links, can be hard to wield. Getting them perfect, which is virtually impossible, takes a lot of time and effort. And seriously, who has that much time these days to spend on a spreadsheet?
The answer: no one. And neither should you!
Keeping tabs on how your company gets work done—and ensuring that how you go about it is as simple and seamless as possible—is critical for running a successful business. And while your beloved spreadsheet can house as much information as you decide to throw at it, it certainly isn’t going to take any burden off your shoulders or necessarily guide you towards making better decisions that will drive your business’s short- and long-term success.
So, put your spreadsheet away and start thinking about investing in a smart, innovative solution that will not only automate once overly time-consuming processes—including tedious data entry—but also help your business be more effective at continuous performance management.
These solutions, like those we build at Cornerstone, are more than just places to hold an incredible amount of data. They are so much more than that! These tools tap into the wealth of data that exists in your company to both eliminate administrative burden and provide insights that allow everyone in the company to make better decisions.
So, why waste time when you can get more meaning work done?
Problem 3: Spreadsheets are riddled with errors
We’ve already hinted at this, but let’s say it again: there is so much room for error in a spreadsheet that it’s almost laughable.
And if you run a business that requires abiding by strict compliance laws, maintaining a high level of employee data protection, providing audit-ready reports, developing streamlined processes for recruiting and onboarding, and managing all aspects of the employee life cycle—in other words, any business—you really have no room for error.
Spreadsheets don’t give you a real-time “paper trail.” They also are at the mercy of human error and, under most circumstances, have no data protections in place. Why risk all of this important information to a spreadsheet when you can have a solution that manages it all effortlessly and can reduce human error significantly? (Hint: you shouldn’t!)
Peoplework > Paperwork
Alas, if you’ve made this far, there’s a very good chance that we have shattered the last glimmer of hope that you had for spreadsheets. Sorry, but not really sorry—because we know that there’s such a better way to handle HR-related tasks these days. After all, that’s the entire reason why Cornerstone exists: to help you see that there’s so much impact you can make within your business by eliminating all of the paperwork that gets in your way.
We firmly believe that “Peoplework” is more important than paperwork in driving long-term business success. Make that your focus today. And if you’re ready to say good-bye to your spreadsheets now, the team at Cornerstone can help. Contact us today to learn more.