I’ve been helping a friend process payment for some temporary work they’ve been doing through various different recruitment firms and employment intermediaries. They’re not terribly into computers hence the offer to help, particularly with everything being online nowadays – the initial contract, the submitted ID-documentation, and of course the hours and expenses worked.

All supposedly quick and easy with no hassle, although reality is somewhat different, including for those who are familiar with the online world. It’s not so much a fault or error or glitch with their websites, it’s more the effective use of them being unclear, and identifies an issue I’ve been piping on about for years regarding websites and the internet – the actual technical design and operation of them is easier now, it’s how to use and update them that’s the challenge to simply ‘work’ in real life.

Anyway, I suggest that all recruitment firms and employment intermediaries, big and small, at all ends of the spectrum, help make this simpler to actually use for people. For themselves it will be easy peasy as you deal with it day in and day out, but if you look at it from a consumer’s perspective it aint, hence here’s a few tips:

1. Get your procedure as similar to others as possible, and as simple as possible. So decide whether people need to login with new user accounts on your website, what emails you’re going to send to them with links to use, what documents need agreeing through the website, and then how to process the actual hours of pay and expenses. Some you have to downward a spreadsheet and complete – but do you print off and sign, or just attach and email back with no signature. Others have a PDF to complete, but again do you print and sign, or does it allow digital signatures. Out of the three different ones I’ve been involved with over the last month, one even had two different websites to use separately.

2. Make clear what pieces of information you accept. So whether things attached on an email, or always submitted through the website. Whether literal hand-written signatures are needed, and if so how they can be sent back – instead of just post, can you scan them back (I’ve actually started taking a photo of these signed-ones on my mobile phone and attaching on an email).

3. Make a nice video or easy tick-list of what to do. Yes loads of T&Cs are needed to see and agree, but also provide a simple list as well. Infact ideally make a 30 second video, and actually make it as childlike as possible. We’re all busy people and want to learn the bottom line procedure in as little and fun a time as possible.