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The benefits of using web-based HR software

We all accept the technological age is here and understand the changes it has made to our daily lives. Software surrounds us and without it we would be unable to book that cheap flight on the internet, create a spreadsheet on our laptop or modify a design on a CAD system. 

Obvious? Maybe, but why then when it comes to managing human resources, the most valued asset in any organisation, are SME’s reluctant to embrace the benefits and advantages of HR Software.

In a recent interview, Jane an HR Manager at a city-based computer company, told us that administering the HR function within her department without the aid of a web-based software solution, was like building a house without any tools. 

“The foundations were in place – we had approximately 10 employees and were looking to grow.  I had produced an employee handbook, contracts of employment and job descriptions all on Microsoft Word.  It was an arduous task but at least we had the basic procedures laid down. I created a simple Excel spreadsheet to record holidays and absences and whilst in essence, this was almost manageable with only 10 employees, actually working out the correct holiday entitlement for each member of staff (several with varying part-time hours), not to mention the bank holidays, was a nightmare,” Jane stated.

Small businesses owe it to their staff to have a structured framework in place to support their employment and Jane agrees, “We needed some solid bricks to build the department and I had to convince the Board that an HR software system was essential. The company was expanding rapidly and the manual system was becoming onerous.”

Automating manual tasks in any company can be cost-effective and time saving – an absolute necessity where managing people is concerned.

“The Departmental Managers wanted to be able to access their own staff records to approve holidays, monitor sick or organise rotas and employees wanted to be able to submit timesheets and overtime themselves anytime and from anywhere,” Jane continued. “The need for a software solution was becoming crucial, we now had in excess of 40 employees and the paper system was taking up too much of my time.  The Board were hesitant though and being a software house wanted to write their own programme,” Jane laughed, “I knew this was impractical as the R & D Department were consistently overstretched and I needed an immediate resolution.”

Keeping a track on changes in employment law and current UK legislation can be a minefield but with the right HR Software in place, companies can be assured they are HR compliant.

“We had to conduct a disciplinary interview and it would have been much more reassuring to have had an automated workflow process in place to ensure I was following current guidelines,” Jane said. “We were also looking to achieve Investors in People (IIP) Standard and this involved accurate record keeping and a revamp of our appraisal system; it was at this point that the company agreed to invest in an HR software solution.  With almost 100 employees and still growing, it was a major relief to know that I was finally going to get the support that I needed to help the business flourish,” Jane smiled.

If most SME’s can acknowledge the effectiveness of social media on their business development and the indispensability of on-line communication channels that they couldn’t manage without, not to mention the transition to a paperless work environment, then surely a web-based software solution that will reduce HR administration, promote investment in people and improve productivity is a must.

“How I coped before the software was in place, I just don’t know,” said Jane, “but I do know that now I can utilise my time more effectively and have the capacity to be more involved in achieving the overall objectives of the business; the flexibility that the software provides allows me to spend more time working closely with managers on training and development, which can only improve performance in the long run,” Jane enthused.

Jane smiled, “At last the building not only has a solid foundation but because we have the right tools now we have been able to build our walls and secure the roof; the interior is a lot safer now.”

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