HR systems are a crucial investment for any organisation with employees.
We explore everything you need to know about HR systems for medium-sized businesses, including:
An HR management system is an application or suite of applications that’s used by organisations to automate and manage human resource (HR) processes. This can include Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), Human Capital Management (HCM) and Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS).
At a very high level, HR systems capture, store, provide and report information to their users. The breadth and depth of functionality available within a particular HR system, and the integrations it has with other applications, varies from provider to provider. Some low-cost solutions provide basic capabilities with little, if any, configuration options, and enable the storage of personal information about employees and help HR teams with basic admin and reporting functions. More comprehensive systems, such as Ciphr HR, provide functionality to help organisations and their people be as productive as possible across the entire employee lifecycle, sitting at the heart of all people processes, and support ongoing activities related to priorities such as performance management and improving the employee experience.
At the same time, these HR management systems enable organisations to better understand their workforce on a real-time basis, predict future needs, make informed decisions, and comply with rapidly-evolving HR and payroll regulations.
HR systems support and enhance an organisation’s HR activity. These activities can include employee lifecycle management such as onboarding and performance management, as well as fundamental HR administration including policy acceptance and payslip management. HR systems allow HR teams, managers and employees to collect, store and report on relevant people data, including organisational policies and processes, location details, and entire workforce documentation. All this data is captured and stored safely and securely. HR systems are also able to automate some HR tasks, and streamline key people-related processes such as recruitment and employee onboarding.
Thanks to technological advances, these systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can be adapted and flexed to meet different organisations’ requirements as they evolve and grow. Popular functionality within HR systems includes:
The most effective HR systems integrate seamlessly with the software that organisations use outside the HR function and that rely on up-to-date, accurate data about the organisation’s people using it. Integrating HR systems with these other platforms through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) enables organisations to eliminate duplicate data entry and streamline tasks across all business units.
There are numerous organisation-wide benefits to investing in an HR system, some of which we’ve already touched upon. Here’s a round-up of some of the main advantages:
There are four main types of HR systems, all supporting various processes:
Most organisations, regardless of their size or sector, have some form of HR system to help them manage their people data.
With the right HR system in place, organisations can effortlessly streamline time and resource-intensive processes, improving efficiency at all levels and generating valuable savings at the same time. Paper records are replaced by electronic data, paving the way for improved data security, accuracy and cost savings due to reduced admin and better data quality.
Furthermore, HR systems can now be accessed by managers and employees from anywhere in the world. Cloud-based HR management systems eradicate the need for on-premise hosting, enabling HR teams from global organisations – as well as deskless workers – to log in via their computer, laptop or mobile device and access what they need 24/7. Meanwhile, most cloud-based solutions are automatically updated and the data is backed up by the software provider.
It’s widely acknowledged that streamlined and timely HR processes help deliver a better employee onboarding process and create that all-important positive first impression. From a wider perspective, HR systems are also instrumental in improving overall recruitment processes. For instance, historic applicant data can be stored securely and revisited the moment a new vacancy becomes available.
Finally, HR is now expected to provide strategic direction that supports an organisation’s goals. Accurate people data, supported by robust analytical tools, ensures that HR is able to get the necessary insights to make informed decisions and predictions about future needs.
HR systems pricing can vary significantly, and is often determined by key factors including:
Complexity of the product
Complex HR systems tend to have more features and functionalities — such as benefits administration, performance management and compliance tracking — which in turn drives up the price tag. Customisation is another price influencer, with fewer configurability options often correlating with a lower cost. Integration capability with other software such as payroll, recruitment, and onboarding can also impact the price of HR systems.
Size of your organisation and number of employees
Larger organisations with more employees often require HR platforms with complex functionality, integration capabilities, and customer service and support. Often, HR system vendors charge on a per employee basis, so higher headcounts will naturally cost more. It’s important to evaluate your business needs to select the most appropriate option for your current and future organisation size.
Deployment method (cloud-based vs on-premise)
Cloud-based HR systems — hosted on remote servers — are typically available on a subscription model where customers pay a recurring fee (as well as a setup fee for implementation) and the vendor remains responsible for maintaining the server environment and deploying updates. On-premise HR systems place the onus of hardware maintenance, infrastructure updates and IT support on the customer, and as such cost less.
Level of customer support and training required
HR system vendors that offer a more basic level of support may charge a lower price, but it’s important to consider the value of the support and training that allows your business to use the product effectively. In some cases, paying more for an HR system that includes support and training may be a better long-term investment than opting for a cheaper solution with limited support.
The best HR system is the one that meets the needs of your organisation, as well as each of your stakeholders – including HR teams, line managers, HODs, and employees. Your HR system requirements may include extensive integration capabilities, while others may focus more on customisation and branding functionality; each organisation will differ.
Where possible, take the time to explore the HR system marketplace and see them for yourself. Many leading HR systems providers will only be too happy to provide you with a demo and answer any queries you may have. When it comes to testing out the software, make sure as many end-users as possible are involved in the HR system selection process. It’ll help guarantee you ultimately invest in something that works for everybody.
Selecting the ‘best’ solution very much depends on your organisational needs, which should be the main starting point for carrying out any HR system-related research.
As is the case with any software investment, it’s essential you identify the best option for your organisation based on your current and future needs. In doing so, it will save you significant time, money and anguish in the long run.
Start by taking a step back and assessing the HR system landscape while also factoring in any budgetary, technology and time constraints you may have. Define your HR challenges and how you want the system to tackle them, and identify both your technological and business requirements. Your should also seek input from across your organisation, and find out what other systems and processes other departments use that rely on up-to-date, accurate data about their people.
Once you are clear on your objectives and requirements, create a shortlist of suitable HR system providers and obtain all the information you need in order to make an informed decision. Take advantage of demo opportunities and review customer feedback such as case studies and reviews. For more guidance on making sure you select the right solution, read our Top 10 HR system selection mistakes – and how to avoid them.
How long it will take to implement a new HR system depends on how straightforward or complex your requirements are.
Simple HR systems can be purchased with a credit card and set up almost immediately. However, if you require something more complex that’s tailored to your specific needs, it can take several months to roll out the implementation of such a system. Before signing up with a vendor, you should understand what the implementation process will be, the expected timescales, any costs and your responsibilities at each stage. Your HR system provider should be seen as a partner you can turn to, to get everything setup and aligned to your needs.
At Ciphr, we believe that a huge factor in the success of any technology project is its implementation. That’s why we’ve created The Ciphr Way, a logical series of steps that take our customers from an initial welcome and project kick-off, through to implementation, approval and handover to our customer success team. The Ciphr Way helps keep everyone on track to achieve their objectives and ensure our customers get as much value out of Ciphr’s solutions as possible.
We’ve spoken a lot about HR systems; now we want to delve a bit deeper into what they look like in reality. Ciphr’s SaaS people management platform includes HR, payroll, recruitment, onboarding and learning solutions, enabling organisations to attract, engage manage and retain their workforce more effectively. And because our HR software is cloud-based, it enables entire organisations to stay connected and work efficiently.
We also provide seamless integration with an ecosystem of specialist, third-party tools using our API technology. Our aim is to help organisations unlock the value of their people.
Our HR software solutions are widely recognised for being highly intuitive and providing excellent reporting which, in turn, can help reduce the costs associated with recruitment and HR by up to 70%.
The power of HR systems aren’t to be underestimated. Regardless of the size of your organisation or the sector in which you operate, these solutions can facilitate significant, organisation-wide improvements.
Increased efficiency, reduced costs, an empowered workforce and successful recruitment and onboarding processes are among the many benefits. Furthermore, these solutions are capable of delivering these benefits year-on-year, with the latest technological advances fuelling these results even further by continuously improving functionality.
If you already have an HR system, ask yourself if it is working as hard as it should be, and supporting your changing needs. If you don’t yet have one, don’t delay. The right HR system is an investment that will pay off in multiple ways from the moment you implement it.
To experience Ciphr's award-winning HR system and learn about the benfits it can offer your SME, request a free demo today.
To discuss how Ciphr could help your organisation, call us now 01628 814242.
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