HR Software Buyer's Guide
Whether you’re processing hundreds of job applications or conducting performance appraisals, HR is a business function that influences every aspect of your business. Having the right software to depend on not only makes life easier, but produces quantifiable results. Fortunately, there are many HR Software programs offering an array of powerful, effective tools to support your business. Selecting or switching to the perfect HR software system for your company involves deep business examination and thoughtful research and analysis of the features and system capabilities that will best suit your business now and scale with you as you grow. These factors can make selecting the HR software for your business seem overwhelming. However, this guide will provide insight and tools for selecting your perfect HR Software.
Conduct a Thorough Business Review
Before you begin searching through all the HR Software on the market, it is important to take the time to complete a thorough business review. To begin, you should gather together a variety of people within your company who are responsible for business decisions and any others who will represent dedicated users on the HR system that you choose to implement in your business. By having a mixture of people within your organization participate in this discussion, you are more likely to gain a deeper insight into what your company needs from your HR system to communicate effectively and drive growth initiatives forward.
Once you’ve gathered the key people for this discussion, it’s important to dive into your business needs and discuss what gaps or holes may exist in your HR processes or systems. Be specific, and keep a detailed list of all the things that you’re looking to improve and how various HR software offerings can help you accomplish these goals
Questions You Can Ask to Guide Your Business Review Process
• Which areas (recruitment, performance evaluation, employee engagement etc.) have software that is outdated or cumbersome to use?
• Are there any specific functions that you would like to speed up or automate?
• How much can you afford for purchasing a new HR software?
• Are your employees skilled enough to use it, or will training have to be provided?
• How can you get support for troubleshooting, should any problems arise?
• Is a cloud-based solution more viable, or an on-premise one?
• Will you or your employees need to access the software while they’re away from their office computers i.e. do you have a need for mobile-friendly software?
• Does your HR software need to be integrated with other existing software?
• When it comes to deployment, are you willing to transition all in one go, or introduce the software to your company gradually?
Build Your HR Software Budget
After you’ve conducted a complete review of your business needs and have a strong understanding of your HR software requirements, it is important to figure out the budget you can allocate toward purchasing or upgrading your HR software. Using the list, you prepared while reviewing your business needs, you can determine how much value will be created by using a HR software solution, and prepare your budget accordingly. There are HR software solutions available along a sliding scale of prices that are affordable for most any business, so when you create your budget for this purchase, you should give yourself spending limit as well as a range of pricing models including one-time installation costs or monthly fees.
No matter what your specific requirements are, there’s a software product to suit both your needs and your budget. Apart from the initial purchase price of the software, you also need to consider other factors that may contribute to costs. Some of these include:
• External hardware, especially if you opt for an on-premise software solution
• Periodical payments for subscriptions or renewal if you wish to use a SaaS platform
• Regular maintenance
• Customizing your software with more add-on features, as opposed to an off-the-shelf package
Consider HR Software Deployment Options
As you plan for your new HR software, you will also need to think about which deployment method makes the most sense for your business. The main several deployment options available include: On Premise and cloud-based solutions,
(i) On Premise Deployment
If you wish to buy or lease the equipment and hardware necessary to operate your HR system, and if you want 100% ownership of your HR data, then you will want an On-Premise Deployment. If you choose this option, you will need to have adequate space onsite to house the hardware as well as a knowledgeable IT staff to manage and maintain your HR system. With this type of HR software system deployment, you can expect a more significant upfront cost, but if you run a large company, this solution could very well make more sense financially in the long run.
(ii) Cloud-Based Deployment
Cloud-based HR Software deployment is very popular for business use, and operate in a hosted data center that operates in the cloud. Cloud-based HR software solutions and are typically much more cost effective because there is no need to invest in buying, leasing, or maintaining your own hardware. The system operates through the internet, and most providers have affordable plans available for any size business, based on features desired and number of users on the system.
Think About the People in Your Company Who Will be Using Your HR software
An important step in selecting the best HR software solution for your business is to consider the people who will be using the system most. Gathering this knowledge ahead of time will help you select the best option for your business, complete with all the tools, features, and support needed without overextending your budget or selecting an HR solution that does not fit your business.
As you think about the HR software users in your company, think over these questions to find the best fit for your teams:
• How many users will be using the system?
• What levels exist in your users? (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced)
• What are the needs of each group of users?
• What type of support will users need as they learn and use the HR software?
Determine the Features and Tools Your HR Software Must Offer
The features offered by HR software providers are the tools that will help enhance your companies’ HR processes. While your business needs, users, and budget will all work together to help you choose the HR software for your business, there are a list of core features offered by most HR Software providers that you will want to make sure are included in whichever option you choose.
The core, must-have features of HR software systems include:
• Centralized Database Systems
Want to know the number of people who applied for medical reimbursements, and how much each employee has claimed the same for? Or how about tracking how many took leave without informing prior?
A centralized employee database consolidates every piece of information pertaining to employees; from basic particulars to payroll, medical, leave and any other custom field your business requires. From this point onwards, it’s easy to filter and search for the information you need – all within a few clicks.
• Performance Appraisal Management
This is especially an issue in larger organizations, where hundreds of employees work under one roof. At any given point in time, an overwhelmingly high number of employees may be awaiting their performance appraisal. Automating this process for both managers and employees streamlines the process of gathering information from both parties, while preset values can be compared to those that have been inputted in due course of the evaluation.
Subsequently, reports can be efficiently generated to present results in an easily digestible manner – thereby allowing decision makers to focus on the core aspects of improving employee performance.
• Survey Management
Do you feel like you’ve hit a dead end when it comes to your employee retention and engagement initiatives, simply because you are unsure of how to proceed? Distributing surveys are applicable in this context, but manually processing results from a large volume of paper-based surveys can be less efficacious than preferred.
Creating surveys through your HR software, distributing them electronically and gathering anonymous feedback makes life a whole lot easier. This way, deciding the theme you want to set for your next cocktail event or the topic you want to conduct your next workshop in involves no guesswork, what with all the results meticulously produced on a dashboard or via a report.
• Applicant Tracking System (ATS) For Recruitment Purposes
Receiving hundreds of CVs and reviewing each to determine which ones can be shortlisted can be a distressing endeavor, what with a long list of other tasks that would be awaiting your attention at the same time. This is where Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can guide you on creating organized repositories of CVs, and filtering relevant applicants through keyword-based searches.
• Learning Management System (LMS)
A Learning Management System that’s integrated with your HR software can assist not just those who work in HR, but in any other department to create training materials for workshops, seminars and the like. From slideshows to assessments, an LMS that has been customized for your organization’s special needs can help facilitate all activities, without the need for using multiple software to manage and execute.
HR Software support offered
When it comes to obtaining support for your software, you will need to consider what you need in terms of assistance from your vendor, as well as how much of it. This will be both before purchasing your software, as well as after purchase.
If your employees are tech-savvy, it is most likely that a minimal level of vendor support will be needed, especially for training. What would happen if you have queries after your team started using the software, or if a problem arose? It will be a relief for you to ascertain whether you will be eligible for after-sales support, and to what extent.
Research and Compare Multiple HR Software Providers
Once you have a firm grasp on all the things you need and want from your HR software, and understand what you have to invest, then you can begin researching and comparing HR Software providers. There are many excellent HR software providers on the market, and you’ll undoubtedly be able to find your perfect system if you take a bit of time to really look into what each provider offers and compare your top choices against one another to determine which is best for you and your business. As you compare your options, make sure to keep your list of key business needs and required features handy so you can reference them and keep yourself on track as you absorb all of the information and create a short list of viable HR software options.
Set up Meetings or Demos with HR Software Providers on Your Short List
Software vendors always have a way of showing you how their products work and what you can expect on a regular basis, through practical insights. This includes complimentary trials and demos, which can be taken advantage of for up to a month before converting to the paid plan.
Know What to Look for in Your Perfect HR Software Provider
As you meet with various HR software providers that you’re interested in working with, you should do some due diligence in researching their reputation before you commit to purchasing their services. Some of the key things you should look for in your perfect HR software provider are prominence, reviews, and support.
Industry prominence and popularity
Vendors who have a long-standing history of supplying quality software are a sensible option, for the software needs of your own business too. On top of that, if a leading vendor is able to provide an HR solution that exactly matches the needs of your business, it’s an ideal match!
Reviews from current or past system users
First-hand accounts of those who function in an industry similar to yours may be the best advocates for your preferred type of HR software. Ask trusted colleagues or even hit a search online to see what comes up, in order to determine the credibility of your vendor/software.
How Can You Get Started?
• Firstly, discuss the problems your team in HR face, and what would be ideal solutions. Reserving a budget based on what you can afford shall also be an important factor to consider during this stage.
• Reach out to reputed software vendors by hitting a search online, or by asking colleagues for personal recommendations.
• Make sure to generously experiment with different software solutions via demos, before you make your final call.