HR Software Buyer’s Guide For Small Business 2015

dreamstime_xs_20095916There is no longer any excuse for HR professionals and small business leaders to not be using HR software to manage the talent within their business in 2015. The days when you could say that HR software systems are too: hard to use, expensive, less efficient than excel and paper based systems are long gone.

There is no doubt that modern HR systems are: easy to use, web based, free or extremely affordable and can be signed up to in minutes. The process of managing people and HR processes in your business will be much more effective with HR software.

But, of course, there is a lot of choice out there and some of the options can be overkill for small businesses or simply insufficient for others. So, I thought I would provide some simple tips and advice on choosing a HR software system for a small business.

1.It must have a smart, easy to use and sophisticated leave system. Most of the laborious admin in HR comes from recording and tracking leave taken. It forms the lionshare of the HR admin burden. Now, when choosing you HR software, make sure you demo and check out the leave system. It should have some or all of the following features:

  • It should be easy to use
  • It should ideally include all bank holidays preloaded
  • It should allow users to select multiple leave types, (e.g. holiday, maternity, compassionate etc..)
  • And it should allow employees to request leave and following manager approval it should automatically be added to the employee’s record.
  • And the system should calculate leave balances automatically based on preset leave allowances and leave taken year to date.
  • The system should have a calendar view making it easy for managers to  plan leave across their team to avoid clashes.

2.It must have Self service. One of the most laborious parts of the HR process is updating and maintaining HR records. HR software has rendered this mundance admin task obselete and you should not be doing this manually anymore. Make sure therefore that your HR software enables staff to log into the system through a web browser and update their personal details such as address, next of kin, etc… as well as update their leave records. If the system doesn’t have this functionality, find one that does, as plenty of HR software systems offer this functionality.

3.It must be Web-based with third party support. Most small businesses and small biz HR professionals don’t have the time or inclination to be setting up HR software on machines, buying licenses etc.. and you shouldn’t have too, as long as you choose a web based, HR system with third party HR support. All you then need is a web browser to access the system and if there are any problems, just call them.

4.It must have smart document management. You really don’t want to be maintaining a laborious paper based system, when you can use a more efficient electronic alternative. Choose a HR software system which allows you to upload and securely store private documents such as: passports scans, contracts, appraisal document etc… with each person’s electronic personnel record. You should be able to upload and share group documents such as employee handbooks etc… with all employees via the system. It’s vital that your HR system has this level of functionality if you are to make the most of it.

5.Diary system with reminders. So much of the HR process is about tracking events and dates such as: interviews, start dates, end of probationary periods, appraisal meetings, completion of goal’s date, contract end dates etc… So, try and find a HR system with an event diary management system which allows you to schedule and diarize key events and invite attendees, and which sends out reminders.

At the very least you should be looking to procure/buy a HR software system that has all these features as a minimum.

As a nice-to-have, you should ideally be looking for a system that has a sophisticated suite of warnings and alarms, e.g which tells you if 2 people have booked holidays at the same time, or if a goal deadline is approaching, or if someone has used up their holiday allowance or is near to it, or if someone has taken too many sick days, or has not taken enough holidays etc….

If you’d like some advice on which HR software system you should choose for your organization and would like some support in choosing one and setting one up, please contact me.

You can find a list of 6 Free or Affordable HR Software Systems for Small Business here.

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