HR’s 4 Biggest Wastes of Time

The one thing nobody can buy more of is time. That makes our use of time one of the most important decisions we make. Here’s how to use your time better and fire the biggest HR time-wasters in your office.
HR's 4 Biggest Wastes of Time

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It’s a fact that pretty much everybody wastes time at work, but we’re going to discuss the different ways HR pros waste time even when they’re heads-down and busy.

Everybody would prefer to spend time on high-impact strategic work rather than low-impact administrative tasks. As you learn to properly handle these time-wasters, the balance will shift and you’ll have time to make a greater impact on company success.

HR Time Waster #1: Messy Data


HR houses a lot of important data in every organization. They hold personal employee info, performance info, time-off info, benefits info, salary, assets, certifications, and the list goes on. 

If this data is held across multiple platforms or spreadsheets, presented in different ways, and duplicated in multiple places, it gets messy. Unfortunately, messy isn’t just obnoxious—it’s costly.

When your information storage is disorganized, it’s slow. Documents can be hard to create, find, and edit which leads to outdated or conflicting information.

Every minute spent looking for or updating data is a minute you can’t spend strategically pursuing company goals. 

"Every minute spent looking for or updating data is a minute you can’t spend strategically pursuing company goals."


Believe it or not, the solution to disorganized data is organizing it. 

You could take the time to simply organize your current process, but in the long run, it’s probably worth it to make an upgrade.

Find a software solution that helps you organize your data. Eddy is an example of a great tool that can put all of this information in one place that’s easy to navigate and quick to edit. 

Not only does HR house a lot of information, but it also has to follow a lot of legal requirements. Having a good Information housing system not only saves you a lot of time, but it also keeps your ducks in a row so you stay compliant.

It’s obviously a lot easier to organize your data when there’s not much of it. It gets harder when you have 180 employees and hundreds of spreadsheets.

If your company is small and the HR department is just becoming a thing, now is the time to put a process in place. Eddy is a great way to do that.

HR Time Waster #2: Paper-based processes


A few of the many problems with paper-based processes are that they get lost, they’re not secure, they’re old-school, they’re slow, and mistakes are frequent and hard to find.

Let’s talk about employee onboarding as an example of why paper processes are something you could live without.

New employee onboarding is important. You have to get your paperwork ducks in a row for the employee to officially start working at your company, and there are a lot of paperwork ducks. 

On paper, this takes hours out of your employees’ first day, and it keeps HR people busy as well. Onboarding and other paper-based processes are brimming with inefficiencies that you can solve if you keep reading.

"...Paper-based processes are brimming with inefficiencies that you can solve..."


Each new employee signs an average of 12 documents during the onboarding process. If you have a software solution, the employee can do all of this by themselves before they start work.

Done right, the paper side of onboarding can take practically zero minutes out of your day. 

Opening a document, electronically signing it, and sending it off is much faster than the paper-trail alternative.

Compared to their paper-based counterparts, digital onboarding is like sending a text instead of using the pony express. There’s no question which will save you more time.

HR Time Waster #3: Manual Time-Off Tracking


Far too many companies manage employee time-off through manual and messy processes. If time-off requests come from employees verbally, by email, and by text message, You will lose track of things at some point. 

This might leave you with a pile of time-off requests to sort through, or worse, an insufficient workforce when you need it.

In addition to these inefficiencies, there are also a lot of manual calculations you have to make:

  • Running time-off balance totals
  • Year-to-year time-off rollover
  • Time-off allowance changes
  • Repayment of unused time off

Time off is a great benefit to offer your people, but it could become your efficiency’s kryptonite if you don’t have the tools to manage it well.


It’s simple, get a time-off tracking system that does a good job of keeping track of employee time-off.

Again, Eddy does a great job of this. 

In only minutes, you can create vacation or sick time-off plans and add employees to those plans. Time off requests, approvals, and paid time off balances can all be held in one convenient place.

By simplifying the process of managing time off, you’ll have more time to make work a better experience when employees are actually in the office.

HR Time Waster #4: Meetings


I think we can all agree that pretty much nobody likes meetings. They take time to prepare for, to sit in on, and to digest. They quickly jump off-topic, and we often leave feeling like little to nothing was accomplished. 

Leslie Parlow, Constance Hadley, and Eunice Eun wrote an article for Harvard Business Review on this very topic. From that Article:

“We surveyed 182 Senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking, 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.”

I don’t think the problem has to be explained further, let’s get into the solution.

"71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient."


Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and the single richest man in the world, as of when this article was written, is very particular about the meetings held at Amazon.

First off, meetings are only held if it’s absolutely necessary. Secondly, the “two-pizza rule”. Meetings are not held with more people than can be fed by two pizzas. The principle is simple, the more people at a meeting, the less gets done.

Additional ways to keep meetings on point is to have predetermined objectives and a time limit. If you have something to accomplish and a deadline for that goal, people are more likely to be focused on achieving the outcome and getting back to work.


It makes sense that if you could spend less time on administrative tasks, you’d be able to produce more high-impact work. 

To find that efficiency, you have to audit your time, take into account the biggest drains on your time, and streamline whatever process or task takes the biggest chunk out of your day.

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