Find & Compare HR Software
HR software is a program designed to help businesses with human resources. It’s used for payroll management, staff recruitment, employee training and more.
Need help choosing? Check out our review of the 15 best HR software.
HR software is commonly also called by several other names, and it can be useful to use these terms when searching for a new platform to use in a business. They include:
While some services use terms like HRIS or HRMS to indicate that they’re designed for specialised tasks, like collecting employee information, these terms are generally synonyms.
Taking HR into the digital age has numerous benefits, ranging from accessibility, simplicity and speed.
HR deals with some of the most important information in your company, like employee success rates and payment details, but it can easily become too closed-off.
Using an online HR software platform allows employees to access their details easily and independently, without needing to submit requests to another department. (This is called ‘self-serve’ HR, and is explained in more detail later.)
A primary benefit of taking HR online is that it makes it much easier to build what’s called a ‘single source of truth’.
Rather than paper records, which can quickly become outdated or inconsistent, computer records are automatically updated and collated into easy-to-parse spreadsheets or charts.
Another bonus is that greater access to your company’s data means you can make facts-driven decisions more easily.
If a shift in HR policy results in increased employee engagement, you know to keep it going; if it leads to a drop in productivity, you can quickly identify what needs to be changed, and how.
To put it simply, software is powerful because of how much time it can save us. HR in particular is notorious for paperwork that’s necessary, but repetitive.
Using HR software means you can access any employee’s information near-instantly, and several time-consuming tasks—payrolls, calculating benefits, allocating days off—can be seamlessly automated.
The time saved on these menial tasks flows back directly into improving a company’s overall efficiency.
HR is a big field. Some tools try to encompass everything you might want to do, whereas others are smaller and more specialised.
Deciding whether to use an all-in-one approach or several smaller systems together depends on your existing tech set-up and goals.
Here are some of the biggest pain points these tools focus on:
Introducing new talent to a company often entails a lot of busywork. Personal details have to be recorded, payment systems set in motion, training delivered and progress monitored.
Tools in this category, like those offered by BambooHR, aim to streamline this process and automatically track what onboarding tasks a new employee has yet to complete.
Put simply, these services help you hire new talent. Manually typing up and posting job offers to sites is error-prone and time-consuming; these tools can typically take a template message and post it for you to several of the most popular job boards.
In addition, many offer systems for tracking potential candidates for a given position, letting hiring managers easily keep track of which applicants have which experience or skills.
One of the main duties of HR is to make sure that the existing talent base is working as well as it can.
HR software automates the process by giving managers a unified platform for assessing employee skills, tracking improvements and flagging up potential warning signs.
Wages are always complex, because they require interacting with numerous outside entities (banks, payment processors, building societies…), as well as calculating varying factors like overtime, bonus pay or additional benefits.
Several pieces of HR software work to simplify this by automatically calculating how much each employee is due, as well as other necessary-evil bookkeeping, like PAYE deductions and other tax concerns.
Modern HR software works off of a monthly subscription model, usually broken into different tiers for different levels of features and support.
It’s important to note that it’s typical to charge a flat base fee per month—usually in the realm of ten to twenty dollars—plus an additional charge for every employee in your organisation.
Zenefits’ highest plan, for example, costs around twenty dollars per month per employee.
Whether or not these costs beat out that of traditional HR is something that companies should research internally before making the switch.
While charging per-employee might sound steep, good use of HR software can easily lead to leaner HR departments, saving much more overall in salaries.
Almost all HR software in the modern day is subscription-based, meaning that rather than a flat fee, you usually pay a small monthly fee for as long as you use the service. In addition, most also offer free trials to help judge whether or not it’s right for you.
This is usually clearly advertised on the product’s site. In general, privacy is of high concern for these companies, as they don’t want to be held liable for privacy breaches.
A handy tip is to check if the service follows the ISO/IEC 27001 standard, which sets out a series of general guidelines for privacy and appropriate data handling.
Because modern HR software is decentralised and easy-to-use, it’s often possible for employees to fill in and access information relevant to themselves, rather than having this done by the HR department.
Common use cases include payroll management and scheduling—letting employees see a record of their past payslips and upcoming shifts from home or on the go is a great way to get everyone on the same page without any extra effort on your part.
Self-service HR lets you offload work from your dedicated HR department, leaving them to focus on more interesting or important tasks. However, that work now gets done by your regular teams, which may lead to a dip in productivity.
Before implementing self-service functionality to your HR strategy, then, you should consider rolling it out gradually or only for certain features.
As most HR software works in a web-browser, almost every computer can run them without issues. The difficulty in switching over comes primarily from learning a new system and changing the company workflow to adapt.
To make things easier, importing existing data is a standard feature, meaning that you’ll be able to continue with your existing HR records, rather than remaking them all from scratch.
If part of your business already works digitally, it’s also worth checking out what ‘integrations’ a given piece of HR software supports. Integrations basically just means what other pieces of software a program can talk to—Gusto integrates well with the popular accounting tool QuickBooks, for example.
While many of the tasks done with HR software are either comparable or identical with those done with pen and paper, the fact remains that computer systems are complex and can require specialist knowledge.
To that end, many companies offer positions for human resources officers who specialise in digital implementations. Some example job titles include:
These specialists often work as liaisons between a company’s tech and HR departments.
They help bridge the gap between HR specialists, who may need help using a new digital system, and I.T. staff who are unfamiliar with specialised HR software and tools.
No. It’s more than possible to run a hybrid system where parts of your HR strategy are executed online, and others are done the old-fashioned way.
Even if you plan to transition your business or department to using one of these tools, a gradual shift is usually best because it gives your teams a chance to get used to the new workflow.
To that end, moving responsibilities over to the digital platform one-by-one is a good way to make the change to digital easier.
Every business is different, and finding the right HR software can be a process of trial and error. The biggest choice is whether you want to work with one single solution, or multiple HR software platforms that tackle different pain points.
Still deciding what HR software is best for you? Click here to read our review of the 15 best HR software.
Storing staff records? Make sure your business complies with UK data protection law. Check out this easy guide to see what you need to do!
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