Long-held preconceptions about the human resources department are changing. The team is increasingly being recognized for its important role in creating strategic value to the business—and so is technology like HR software.
Human Resource software is used by employees to manage the many important matters that aren’t directly related to their jobs but are part of the employee experience, including time off, benefits, payroll and more. It is leveraged by human resources professionals and leaders in the department to streamline the process of collecting and maintaining accurate employee-related data and making sure the business is in compliance with federal and state health, safety and labor laws.
Managers use HR software to help employees develop new skills and progress in their careers and to track their performance, as well as scheduling employees for work and making note of any workplace issues. Finance teams appreciate reports on tax compliance, payroll and benefits expenditures and headcount analysis to project future costs.
- Efficiency and productivity: Research shows that almost 80% of organizations are using HR software to facilitate information gathering or add process efficiencies. There’s no doubt that companies with sophisticated HRMS systems reap significant gains in talent retention while freeing up HR staff for value-added projects and minimizing audit findings.
- Employee experience/morale: The tools found in HR software play a role in enhancing the employee experience. This is because of the continuous feedback through the system between employees and HR managers.
- Employee development/retention: The biggest HR software investment for organizations surveyed by Sierra-Cedar is in talent management tools; the top functionalities sought are around recruiting, on-boarding and performance management. Getting good people on board is important but keeping them is even more so
- Cost savings: Managing payroll and benefits costs is a top priority for all organizations, given that salaries, payroll taxes and benefits are generally among the largest line items. HR management systems provide human resources teams with a number of ways to save, without cutting back on the employee experience.
- Reduced errors: Automating payroll is a high-value area for small businesses because manual data entry results in the most payroll errors. Besides the time required to correct mistakes, errors in tax withholding open the company up to unnecessary penalties from tax regulators.
- Regulatory compliance: Making sure the business is complying with regulations at the state and federal level has long been the responsibility of human resources—and that job is only expanding in scope. Organizations report a high rate of success in using their HR systems to monitor compliance needs.
- Attendance monitoring: Time-card fraud happens, and it costs organizations time and money. Fraud can run the gamut from taking long lunch breaks, to “buddy punching,” when a friend clocks in for an employee running late, to billing for hours that weren’t actually worked. Time clock systems require employees to swipe their employee IDs to punch in, which eliminates some of those issues. They add another layer of security by requiring manager approval and can also be configured to send alerts to managers if timelines aren’t adding up.
- Simplified benefits administration: The process of designing and managing employee benefits is complex, even for small companies. Benefits administration functionality in HR software automates calculations of benefits eligibility, allows self-service by employees to pick coverage and integrates with payroll to make sure the correct amount is deducted from the employee’s paycheck. This is more accurate and saves time.
- Data security: HR, working with the internal communications team, must ensure that relevant security policies are kept up-to-date and that employees know how to identify and what to do with, for instance, phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or links. HR software processes keep policies current and ensure employees have signed off. On the HR side, the system provides role-based access and rules in the system that guard against unauthorized access to employee data in the first place.
- Metrics: Access to metrics for analysis is critical for HR cost management, compliance risk management and improved employee engagement. The top source of that information is the HR system.
- Improved decision-making: When HR professionals aren’t spending lots of time on administrative tasks and can trust that day-to-day benefits, payroll and personnel administration are accurate, they can focus on improving the overall employee experience. If the benefits administrator isn’t mired in trying to ensure compliance and providing reporting, she can look for new ways to educate and engage the workforce on the benefits available to them—thereby raising morale and aiding in retention.