What are the must-have features of HR software?
The role of the human resources specialist has evolved to such an extent that trying to manage employee information with spreadsheets simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Not only do these take hours to manage, but they don’t provide the essential insights needed to effectively recruit, hire, cultivate, evaluate and retain employees.
According to Forbes, the global shift to remote working, together with the Great Resignation, has forced companies to turn to technology in order to meet their human resource requirements. The business magazine cites Fortune Business Insights, which predicts that the global human resource technology market will grow from $24.04 billion in 2021 to $35.68 billion in 2028.
Consequently, more and more companies are relying on HR software to automate and optimise their HR functions and processes.
Considering the diverse range of platforms on the market, choosing HR software for your business can be overwhelming. Some may offer an array of features, but only a few of these may be suitable to your business. Of course, everyone wants a solution that will enhance efficiencies and performance in their business. But how do you know which features are must-have for your needs and which are optional?
Assess your needs
Before deciding on a particular HR solution, it’s important to identify your business requirements, as well as the short-term and long-term objectives you want to achieve with the system. These could include factors such as:
- Automating mundane human resources tasks so that HR specialists can focus on more strategic functions;
- Ensuring effective communication and interaction between managers and employees, especially if your business operates a remote or hybrid workplace;
- Giving employees control over their personal information;
- Generating meaningful information and data-to-dashboard reporting for decision-making.
It’s also important to consider whether the proposed HR solution will integrate seamlessly with your existing applications and business tools, and if it is scalable enough to meet the future needs of your business as it grows and evolves.
Equally important is whether it is easy to use and how much training users will need in order to use the system effectively and to its full potential.
Along with these considerations, here is a list of 12 must-have features and functionality that businesses should look for in HR software.
- Centralised database
The HR solution you choose for your business should be capable of managing the entire employee lifecycle from a single database. This means that all essential employee information – name, address, bank details, salary, job role and department – is kept on a centralised cloud-based database that integrates with all other modules in the system. If the information is changed in any way it is automatically updated across the system, ensuring that your employee data is always current and accurate.
- Recruitment and onboarding
Key to an organisation’s success is its ability to attract, hire and retain the right talent. Look for a human resources system that not only facilitates the recruitment process from the creation of a vacancy through to the appointment of a successful candidate, but also aligns it to the overall organisational strategy. It should incorporate easy-to-prepare and use templates that streamline the hiring process, as well as the ability to accept or reject candidates based on predetermined criteria.
Following successful recruitment, new hires need to be onboarded. Automating this process with HR software reduces the burden on managers and the human resources team, who don’t have to chase after the employees to complete onboarding documentation. Instead, the systems sends automatic notifications timeously to the relevant department, ensuring that new employees have all the equipment, user accounts and access passes they need to hit the ground running from their very first day at the company and are firmly placed on the pathway to success.
- Time and attendance
Tracking employees’ attendance and managing their timesheets is an extremely time-consuming and laborious process if done manually. Once all the attendance data has been captured, it has to be exported to the payroll system, which is another huge job and, if not done correctly, can result in payslip errors that lead to disgruntled employees and create a culture of negativity and mistrust in the company.
Consequently, a time and attendance module that is integrated with payroll and accounting software is an essential component in an HR solution. Besides the capture and management of employee working hours, the module should also incorporate biometric identification systems to avoid ‘buddy punching’ practices, and be able to configure all leave types used by the company (holiday, sick, maternity, study and any other types of special leave) across departments, locations and projects and in accordance with corporate policies and practices.
- Performance management
Companies whose employees work effectively towards achieving the organisation’s strategic objectives have a significant advantage over their competitors, and a robust performance management module, as part of the HR software system, is key to achieving this.
Employee outputs are optimised by ensuring that their performance is evaluated against predefined outcomes. Some modules include features that allow employees to provide feedback on the achievement of these outcomes, for example, they can highlight obstacles and roadblocks that prevented their outcomes from being met, thus promoting transparency and ensuring accountability.
Reports and dashboards enable managers and supervisors to accurately track progress and analyse results, and even provide feedback on employee performance. This eliminates the need to engage in time-consuming performance review meetings, and managers and the HR team can then focus on those parts of the process that add real value, such as providing mentoring, training and support in areas where it is most needed.
- Employee training
A training management module enables companies to identify skills gaps in their workforce and deliver learning and development programmes that are aligned to individual training needs. Development planning can be done for each employee and their progress tracked against the individual development plan.
The training module can also be used to monitor and measure the effectiveness of employee learning and development programmes, thus ensuring the company receives a positive return on its investment.
Using the training module to decrease performance gaps helps to create an engaged workforce that is motivated to perform at their best.
- Employment equity
This is a feature your HR solution absolutely cannot do without, especially in the South African context where equal opportunity and a fully representative, balanced workforce are non-negotiable.
An equity module provides the essential tools South African companies need to establish and maintain the information, plans and reports required to comply with the Employment Equity Act. Additionally, compliance around employee relations is driven by catering for the recording of incidents related to disciplinary and grievance procedures.
- Payroll integration
Human resources and payroll may be different functions within the business, but they share critical connections within the employee lifecycle.
Running human resources and payroll separately is extremely risky for any business. The same data has to be captured multiple times, increasing the likelihood of errors. If the data is out of sync, the cost to the business can be significant.
Unreliable information results in inaccurate and late salary payments and even accidental overpayments, all of which increase costs and negatively impact employee productivity and morale.
All this can be avoided, however, with an integrated HR and payroll solution. Read more about the benefits of integrating your HR software with payroll here.
- Succession planning
Succession planning is the bedrock of a strong continuity strategy. HR software that incorporates a succession planning module enables companies to plan for the future by performing gap analyses to determine employee strengths and weaknesses and identify their development needs.
In this way, high-performing employees can be placed on career paths to specific positions, with a view to replacing existing executives when they resign or retire. This ensures that the company’s business-critical roles are always filled with the best person for the job.
- Employee self-service
As work environments become increasingly digital, so employees are coming to expect on-demand access to the systems they use.
To this end, employee self-service (ESS) systems have become a boon to companies, as they alleviate the administrative burden for HR and payroll by automating these important tasks for employees, enabling them to take care of their HR-related tasks themselves. And they can do this at their convenience and while on the go – accessing the company intranet or web-based portal from any internet-enabled mobile device, at any time and from any location.
Read this article to find out how you can empower your employees through ESS.
Many organisations are choosing to roll out an ESS system that also incorporates a manager self-service (MSS) component. Like its ESS counterpart, MSS offers numerous benefits, not only for users, but also for the organisation. Click here to find out more about how your business can achieve the best of both worlds.
- Reporting and analytics
An HR solution that includes reporting and analytics will not only save you a considerable amount of time, but also ensure that you derive the most from your data.
Besides a comprehensive lists of standard reports that can be produced, the HR solution should also come with a report writing tool with which custom reports can be written. This can provide valuable insights into employee performance, absenteeism and performance. Analytics takes it one step further by analysing the data to support enhanced decision-making and guide the company’s business strategy.
- Robust security
Because human resources data consists of employees’ personal and financial information, it is especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Consequently, the HR solution you choose must incorporate robust security features to ensure that data integrity is never compromised.
- Legislative compliance
The human resources department is responsible for ensuring that the company’s activities comply with current labour legislation and regulations, regardless of the country or region in which it operates. Your preferred HR solution should automate compliance and reporting, and identify areas where compliance is lacking so that immediate corrective action can be taken.
Choosing the right HR solution for your business can make a tremendous difference to its future growth and prosperity. An automated system can increase productivity levels within the organisation and change market perceptions of the company for the better.