The Problem With Excel

The Problem With Excel

Who doesn’t love their Microsoft Office programs? Word, Excel and PowerPoint have been our reliable go-tos for over a decade, making it difficult for companies and individuals alike to put them aside in favour of more suitable alternatives.

We’ve entered the age of big data and digitization; of companies racing towards optimization with whatever means they have available. The big trends are all about the importance of communication and the relaying of data, from market to customer research, to internal sales and HR analytics. As far as industry best practices are concerned, entrepreneur and business pioneers are of one mind: you need to start processing your information in a smart way. And that means leaving good ol’ Excel behind.

As many as 1 in 5 businesses are reliant on Excel for spreadsheets. Whether it’s to communicate data internally, or to provide external communication to relevant parties, Excel is still the preferred method for specialists; particularly those in the field of HR.

Used as a means for calculating gratuity and payroll, organizing employee records, and even as a semi-notepad for upcoming expiry dates, Excel has been seen as the panacea for HR departments for all their processes and tasks; a one size fits all program that acts as a balm for all the mundane administrative items they need to complete to keep their department running.

If you’re looking for optimization, Excel ain’t going to cut it, and here’s why:

There’s no analytics. There’s nothing but numbers.

We’ve discussed the importance of data in this day and age. There’s no disputing that if you want to improve and grow as a department and company, there needs to be some backlog of information you can use to make informed decisions about what’s working and what’s not.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for optimization, Excel isn’t going to provide you with the solution you really need – at least, not without you spending more of your time sifting through thousands of bits of information, many of which you’ll have to find and manually insert yourself. 

Perhaps you want to put together a spreadsheet of which days/months employees are mostly taking annual or sick leave to better prepare your department for absences? Perhaps you want to see if there’s any correlation between productivity and the activities organized by HR? Most HR software will be able to give you a breakdown on those kinds of figures. Excel will not.

It’s messy, and unsafe.

You might be the best at making beautiful spreadsheets, but the simple matter is that they are messy, require constant update and upkeep, and are prone to corruption. How awful is it to find your trusty document with all 5 years of employee records no longer opens? Surely, the discerning HR professional would want to acquire something with more stability – like a cloud system that can be accessed from anywhere from any member of your department, edited independently, without fear of being deleted or lost to the software void.

It’s not sharing-friendly.

Everyone wants data – not just your line managers. It’s helpful for the team to see where they’re going, what’s new, what’s happening, etc. Naturally, one of the best ways to get around that is sharing the spreadsheets and information discussed. The problem with that? Nothing is truly live or safe when a document is being passed around. There’s ample opportunity for something to accidentally be deleted, changed, or saved during rotation. So, what’s the point of amassing all this awesome information if it is too delicate to really touch on a daily basis?

There’s alternatives.

There’s no excuse. Hundreds of different types of HR software (HRMS) are around to sort your administrative tasks and streamline processes. Automation is the key to alleviating workload, improving transparency between colleagues via communication of data and goals, and ensuring that your business is on the right path to optimization.

As much as Excel has been a great friend to all of us in the past, it’s time to bid farewell to this antiquated piece of tech and approach new software that enables so much more than Excel was ever capable of doing.

Related links:

3 HR Headaches That You Can No Longer Afford To Ignore

Empowering Team Members. It’s Possible!

3 Signs You Are Ready for HR Automation