While many companies have gotten onboard with current technologies and chosen to adopt HR systems, some workplaces still manage key functions of human resources using messy and disconnected systems that may include both manual and electronic counterparts. If post-it notes, spreadsheets, and paper documents are being used to organize employee information and communicate schedules, an HR system may be of great benefit.
Features of HR Systems
With HR systems moving beyond infancy and into a more optimal realm within the vast array of different companies that utilize the systems, it is now possible to pick and choose needed features. In order to select the best features, however, it is imperative to understand what is out there. The following are features that are available with most HR systems, but companies may be able to select and utilize as many or as few features as needed.
HR Information Database
At the heart of an HR system is the employee information database. HR systems can eliminate or reduce the need for hard-copy employee files, keeping all of the information very organized and easy to access in a virtual electronic filing cabinet.
Payroll systems are an important part of HR systems. Having an HR system allows an organization to keep employee data integrated with payroll data, which can be very helpful when it comes to making changes in pay, scheduling and keeping track of employee hours.
Many companies find employee self-service to be an invaluable feature of HR systems. Employee self-service may allow employees to view and make changes to their information, submit time off requests, communicate with peers and HR professionals, and view schedule information. Self-service portals are often accessible through any mobile device, increasing convenience and timeliness for employees and managers.
Paper performance appraisals can be a hassle and are somewhat limited in scope and effectiveness. When performance management is done using an HR system, information regarding performance is collected on a continual basis. Managers can then tap into information directly from the system without having to dig through paperwork, and even fill out appraisal forms directly in the system.
Benefits open enrollment times can be confusing and hectic, but both the confusion and time spent on the process can be cut down by investing in an HR system that offers benefits administration. Systems that include this feature walk employee through enrollment, simplifying steps and explaining aspects of policies that may be unclear. Benefits administration features often make it very simple for employees to make changes to benefits when life changes occur, as well.
Recruiting and Onboarding Options
Recruiting and onboarding are integral parts of human resources management, but can be time consuming. HR systems can make it easy to place job postings on social media and company websites, simplify the application process, filter applicants by qualifications, and even transfer information into employee files when hiring decisions have been made.
Benefits of HR Systems
Performing a complete overhaul of the existing HR systems that are in place can be helpful if many of the processes are still done manually or if there is a patchwork of manual and electronic systems.
Shifting to a system in which all of the main functions of HR are connected and can be accessed from one place can also save labor hours. Therefore, it may be worth expending the time and money to switch to a streamlined system if there are disparate automated systems.
If some systems that are in place are working well and it doesn’t make sense to shift all features, however, individual features can benefit companies in the following ways:
Electronic Employee Database
Storing information electronically can improve efficiency in recording and finding information. This can be a substantial benefit for companies in which information is routinely lost or misplaced, or where large filing cabinets are needed to contain the information of a large workforce. In addition to being able to store the information using less space and find needed data in seconds, electronic data can also be analyzed for strategic purposes and better secured against breaches.
Automated Payroll System
Having an electronic payroll system can save a company the trouble of outsourcing payroll needs and give the company more control over payroll information. Of course, at the very least it makes sense to link in-house payroll features directly to employee information and time and attendance tracking software. This can reduce the risk of entering and calculation errors greatly while making paydays easier.
Self Service Portals
Self-service portals can streamline communication and approval processes, saving HR professionals’ time and reducing the likelihood of errors or communication gaps. Allowing employees to access and have some degree of control over their own information can also help to boost feelings of empowerment and engagement. If scheduling features are included as part of self-service, it can be instrumental in correcting and avoiding many different types of scheduling issues and conflicts.
Performance management features that capture performance information continuously and summarize this information allow managers to obtain a more complete picture of each employee’s strengths and skills gaps. Management can strategically use this information to gear training and provide regular feedback. They may also use it for the traditional merit increases and annual reviews. This type of performance review can be highly beneficial when it comes to succession planning and overall productivity improvement.
Allowing employees to manage their own benefits using an HR system can save valuable labor hours and increase employees’ understanding of their own benefits and options. Automating benefits enrollment and management can also help to reduce the likelihood of non-compliance violations, which may save money in penalties and help to preserve the company reputation.
HR systems can save companies tremendous amounts of time and can help to ensure that the best employee candidates are hired. By tapping into a larger candidate pool and allowing top talent to apply easily, HR systems can help to immediately raise hiring standards. Connecting recruiting systems to the employee database can also make it simple to convert application information into an employee file once hiring decisions have been made.
Authored by: Dave Rietsema