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importance of a computerised system in business

Using a computerised system The commonplace use of computers in business generally means that those responsible for keeping personnel records are likely to have access to one, even if not solely for personnel use. If the organisation has no computer but is considering buying one, then attention has to be given to: • capital outlay and any ongoing maintenance costs • security (of equipment and access) • costs of staff training • any site specific needs, for instance portability. Computerisation of records can help management by: • increasing the flexibility of the information available – for instance, SETTING UP AND RUNNING A PERSONNEL RECORDS SYSTEM 17 5 advise train work informm advisese trainn inform with you workk with with youou monitoring equal opportunity issues becomes easier when personnel records can be sorted by age, sex, job, grade, pay rates and so on • speeding up the provision of information • producing cost benefits through administrative savings – staff time can be reduced on routine tasks • increasing efficiency, particularly with changes to records, routine forms and letters, print-outs for checking and so on. However, computerisation of records should not mean that there is no longer any direct contact between personnel and staff. For example, whilst a computerised system can provide details of an worker’s sickness absence, it may not reveal the underlying reasons for that absence – but talking to the worker might. Computer record systems set up after 24 October 1998 are fully covered by the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 (see Appendix 2 for details). Reviewing the system As with any system, personnel records should be reviewed from time to time to check their effectiveness. Include the users and operators of the system in the review as they will know the strengths and weaknesses of the system, for instance a new manager may be unaware of the job descriptions for the workers in their area of responsibility. The main questions to ask in any review might include: • is it providing the answers required and providing them quickly and accurately? • is the organisation making effective use of the information that is available? • is all the information useful and necessary? • is there any unnecessary duplication of records? • is it proving easy to keep the records up-to-date? • what improvements