What software is best for your HR needs? Let us break it down for you!
For a first-time buyer, HR software solutions are a hard-nut to crack. First of all, there are hundreds of different types of general-purpose HR software in the market—the kind of software solutions unaware buyers fall for. Then, there are HR software solutions that excel in a particular subcategory. On top of that, there are cloud-based HR software systems.
How do you decide what’s best?
Nowadays, HR software solutions take care of everything from maintaining an employee database and archiving personnel records to creating manuals and organizational charts. They are the center of management in modern day enterprises. Built on an integrated database of personal information, reports from HR software are where people from HR departments and business owners analyze and learn about vital workforce metrics, such as staffing allocations, compensation costs, and turnover.
However, HR systems also cover a set of disciplines for which software companies have made discrete solutions. In this guide, we will cover both general-purpose HR management systems and HR software that excels in a particular department.
From regular HR tasks like payroll, job application tracking, and attendance tracking to advance tasks like training and performance appraisal reports, HR software solutions are suited to a variety of workplace tasks.
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
An ATS tool lets you follow your candidates from the first interaction until the day they leave your company. The ATS tool and recruiting software both allow you to source job applicants and track candidates through the interview and hiring process. Most will also let you share open jobs on career websites.
PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice for best ATS: Bullhorn Staffing and Recruiting, which goes an extra step, and even allows you to share job postings on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ in addition to job websites.
Benefits Administration (BA)
Benefits Administration (BA) lets you manage and track employee benefits like health insurance, paid time off, compliance, and retirement accounts in an easy-to-use interface. Often this will be a module of an all-in-one HRIS system.
Others have more complex BA requirements and need software that specializes in BA. Flush benefits packages are a major selling point in attracting top talent to your startup, small-to-midsize business (SMB), or enterprise business.
The separate BA platform or BA capabilities you select inside your HR suite should be able to take care of basic medical, dental, vision, life insurance, and disability, with customizable plans.
We’ve found that the leading all-in-one BA and HR platform Zenefits adds the ability to manage payroll and retirement benefits, too, and that puts it ahead of the pack.
Performance Management (PM)
With this software in place, your HR department can track and manage employees’ appraisals in one place. Many comprise support for goal tracking, knowledge and growth plans, and reward planning.
SAP SuccessFactors Perform and Reward does an amazing job of providing active mechanisms for assigning and pursuing goals, giving feedback and training, and then probing those criteria during later appraisals of your employees’ work.
Online learning platforms
Enterprise online learning platforms are intended for companies that conduct training with staff and seek to offer more elasticity in terms of how much content you can store in the content repository, how many courses and tests you can make, how many varieties of dashboards you can generate, and how many people can access your content.
Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) platform is also an option if you want to make more collaborative, lively courses that syndicate training sessions.
Not only do payroll administrators have to produce checks and direct deposits that are precise, but they must also ascertain that the basic calculations—taxes and other withholding—are also accurate to the penny. In addition, they must submit taxes and returns to the IRS and local tax agencies punctually or risk paying hefty fines and other penalties.
Payroll applications guarantee that these obligations are met with accuracy.
The market is pretty crowded in payroll applications department, but these are our top 7:
- Patriot Software Full Service
- Paychex Flex
- Sage Payroll Essential
- Intuit Enhanced Payroll
Employee scheduling & shift planning
A mounting sum of small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are moving away from Google Spreadsheets or Microsoft Excel and towards scheduling solutions that are more fruitful and help to keep teams satisfied. Time Trade works best for this.
Choosing HRIS for your business
Picking HR software that’s best for your SMB or enterprise relies greatly on three factors: size, needs, and budget. If your HR department is content with standing setups for ATS, onboarding, shift scheduling, or performance reviews, you do not need to overspend on a core HR platform that includes those options.
Zenefits’ platform is preferred among fast-growing, venture capital (VC)-funded startups because of its integral benefits modules, including health benefits, employee stock options and 401k retirement savings plans. If your company doesn’t want to switch its payroll provider, you can sign up with Zenefits or BambooHR, which rely on ADP, Gusto (previously ZenPayroll), and Paychex for payroll data.
Most HR software platforms come with companion Android and iOS app. If you are planning a hyper-mobile deployment, Fairsail and Namely are worth your attention. Their mobile apps include all or almost all the functions of their web-based services. Also, check out a platform’s mobile apps before you commit or distribute BYOD guidelines in your company.
Costs vary widely. At the bottom lies Zenefits’ revolutionary freemium business model. Most vendors charge anywhere from $2 to $12 per employee per month. A few vendors do not provide everything in a single package and offer hiring, payroll and the like as add-on modules and charges at the rate of per module like:
- Managing payroll
- Recruitment and onboarding
- Gathering, storing, and accessing employee information
- Keeping attendance records and tracking absenteeism
- Performance evaluation
- Benefits administration
- Learning management
- Employee self-service
- Employee scheduling
- Analytics and informed decision making
Maximum number of users
Most of the HR software systems are locked down to the maximum number of users they allow. That is, an HR software specifically designed for small businesses that tops out at 2,000 will decline the 2001st user. While software from vendors such as Deputy, Fairsail, and Namely can accommodate 3,000 to 10,000 or more users, they cost substantially higher for an SMB setup.
When you grow in number, you might have to switch to an enterprise-level system and re-enter some of your data. That will take time and effort and may lead to unnecessary expenses.
Although HR software and management systems are a welcome step up from Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheets, a buyer must look at budget, location, and what HR software their company is using so they don’t pay for identical services. Try to buy what you came for. Don’t fall for the persuasive traps of a sales pitch if you don’t need what’s offered. Stick to what works!
Chirantan Mungara Patel helps companies avoid and solve technical digital marketing disasters. Chirantan has spent 6 years deeply involved with digital marketing focused on large, technically complex sites such as Softwaresuggest.com, and most recently works at AppitSimple Infotek.