Two Things to Consider when Choosing Your HR Software

The role of tech in HR has become more and more prominent over the years, and it is undeniable that no HR department can function optimally without some software support. From day-to-day workforce management, to value adding touch points; HR softwares can support virtually every step of the employee journey, while streamlining admin and ensuring compliance.

And while no one argues the crucial role software plays in the efficient running of an HR function, finding the right software for your business can be time consuming and confusing, as you navigate the many options that are out there. If you are getting started on this journey, or if you are currently reviewing your tech partners, there are two main aspects that you need to consider before launching your software search.

Full solution or specialised product?

Before embarking on your search, you need to identify what your company’s specific needs are. Are there specific issues your HR department is struggling with? What are the pain points in your employee journey? This will inform you if you need a full solution to run your employee journey or if you want assistance with specific parts of the journey.

A full solution will help you recruit, induct, run performance, exit, leave management, storage of employee files, employee directory, all in one centralised place. Whilst a specialised solution will offer the functionality to recruit, run performance or leave management as a stand-alone process.

Hosting the full employee journey in one piece of software can provide a positive user experience, not just for the HR professionals but also for employees. However, it may also provide less detail and more limited functionality than a specialised solution, which could impact the results you get.

You may also want to consider your organisational structure. If your recruitment needs don’t link to your performance initiatives, then you may just want to run those areas separately using a stand-alone solution that is specifically targeted to those needs. This approach is often favoured by bigger companies. However, if you are interested in analytics related to acquisition and retention strategies, having an all- in-one solution will help to pull comprehensive reports and draw valuable insights.

The basic architecture or intelligence embedded

Another important difference between available softwares relates to providing a shelf structure as opposed to providing some sort of intelligence or model to run your systems with.

A shelf structure allows you a bit more freedom as to how you want to go about your HR processes as it will let you define your basic structure with which you will run your daily operations. This solution is better suited for fleshed-out HR departments that have used their own systems and need to migrate them to a more automated way of working. 

If you are new in the HR arena, shelf structure software can be intimidating as you may not have clearly defined objectives for your HR department, hence you won’t be able to translate that into software functionality.

Most software these days come with some sort of Intellectual Property in them, models they use to process and produce recruitment or performance results. Usually, software solutions buy models from research institutes, for example Success Factors uses the research from Korn Ferry to build their personality profiling that has an effect in the recruitment shortlisting function.

Or BambooHR uses the 9-box metrics tool to plan career development linked to performance ratings which are based on manager and employee answering three questions (tried and tested by their large customer base).

There is an upside to this model, you have a more elevated HR function without the need to do it all yourself. And generally speaking, well-known software providers will use reputable models as a foundation for their solution.

However, using a model to determine the way you structure and label practices in your HR department, can have a detrimental effect in the way you interpret and implement your acquisition and retention strategies. You will likely end up with blindspots as there are the inevitable variables that relate to very specific circumstances such as country, company culture, business mission, company performance, socio-economic background, language barrier that a built-in software will not be taking into consideration.

Furthermore, when you buy a piece of software you usually find yourself creating workarounds to the actual functionality the software brings, because on its own it doesn’t meet your requirements 100%. Oftentimes software solutions charge a large fee for any extra customisation, as they need to involve their development department to write code specific to your needs that is probably not a scalable feature for them.

The best approach

Having laid out the landscape of possible solutions and what you need to consider when buying a piece of software for HR, we conclude the best solutions are those built locally. You are not only investing your money nationally and backing a home grown solution, but you are also building relationships with companies that are experiencing the same national context you are. Locally made software will understand what the Skills Development or Employment Equity Acts are about, they will understand specific Leave Management rules and Basic Conditions of Employment for drafting contracts, which international solutions may not.

If you are in the hunt for an HR software ask the potential providers the following questions:

– What model underpins your systems for recruitment and performance? Which research institute backs this model? If none, how many people have you surveyed to design this model and how did you validate it?

– What case studies do you have that prove your software helps run a more efficient HR department?

– How customisable is your software? What level of customisation is possible to ensure it meets my company’s needs?

Having built several HR departments for different company sizes in different industries, I have not found a software that meets my client’s requirements to the T. So we decided to embark on creating our own software with a no-code tool.

When you build your own solution, you embark on a creative journey as you unpack your processes one by one. You will find that each process needs a trigger, which will set off an action which usually requires some sort of human or computer processing, for which then you produce an outcome and reporting of such outcome is required.

In order for your solution to be efficient you need to look into ways to replace human intervention for those tasks that do not require human processing. For example, shortlisting candidates from a pool of applicants can be done through computer processing. Creating your employee directory stems from structuring your data as your inputs come through (input being the personal details form every new employee completes), the monthly processing of annual leave balances can take place from formulas embedded to your leave tracking system, collecting probation feedback can be done by automating email requests to both managers and employees to provide input on a monthly cadence for the following 3 months. 

To develop a no-code process that creates efficiency and minimises human processing you need to consider three main components: 

  • What triggers the procedure?
  • What action is required after the trigger?
  • What is the desired outcome?

The actions required may vary from formulas to process data to email automation with pre- determined text or completion of a form.

Whilst creating your own solution may take longer than the other options, we love the fact that it will answer your very specific needs. It requires an analytical brain to come up with the structure, and many iterations to get it right, as well as someone dedicated to championing the software as you run your HR daily function. 

Schedule a free consultation with VHRS to understand how you can implement a no-code solution that is tailored to your