Keeping Up with the Growing Needs of HR

If you’re an HR professional, you know the volume of paperwork that comes with the job. HR is required to keep vast numbers of records on each employee; this can fill multiple file cabinets. Plus, keeping this data secure is another issue.

Then there’s the “democratization” of HR data, which means the demand for rapid expansion of access to such data by groups both inside and outside the organization. As recently as a few years ago, only HR staff members worked with personnel data. Today, employees, managers, health insurers, workers’ compensation carriers, senior executives, job applicants, and even regulatory agencies have/need access to it. As a result, each set of users requires different needs. For example, executives use summary data from the system to aid in strategic decision-making, while applicants derive initial impressions of the organization from the corporate recruiting website.

Solutions?

One solution is to manage your HR paperwork through technology and web-based applications. These can dramatically change how human resource management is handled, often resulting in cutting costs and expanding or improving services. Research has documented that businesses that adopt sophisticated HR technology far exceed their performance levels compared to those that do not. Your organization may already have automated basic HR administration in place; however, simple automation falls short of maintaining a competitive advantage. Today, businesses are challenged to take more aggressive steps in the form of “e-HR” technology to transform their practices and market their brand.

The term “e-HR” describes how HR service delivery uses web-based technology. Implementing e-HR requires a fundamental change in the way HR professionals view their roles. Now HR professionals must not only master traditional HR skills and knowledge, but they must also have the ability to apply that knowledge via technology.

A human resources management system, human resources information system (HRIS), or human capital management is a form of human resources software that combines a number of systems and processes to ensure easy management of human resources, business processes, and data. It involves the integration of hardware, software, and business processes used to implement an e-HR approach. HR departments often provide broader, more effective services when they operate via a web portal. For employees and applicants, this means having to rely on HRIS for most HR services. One potential downside to this approach is less interaction/personal relationships between the organization’s employees and its HR staff.

HRIS is flexible in terms of meeting the needs of a business. It can be as simple as employing a small employee database, developed internally by a company with a few employees, or as complex as fully integrated, multimillion-dollar Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that offers economies-of-scale to large firms. Of course, there are many variations in-between.

The latest research regarding HRIS shows that it includes:

  • Implementation strategies available to HR executives who want to move toward e-HR.
  • Ways HR technology supports recruiting, selection, training, performance management, compensation, and benefits administration.
  • How effective e-HR is and the degree that employees embrace it.
  • Issues that influence the strategic use of e-HR technology.
  • Identifying common pitfalls in a technology-based HR delivery model and how to avoid them.

Taking an e-HR approach can have broad implications on core HR functions in a majority of organizations. While the following is not an exhaustive list of issues to consider, just know that some functions are not addressed in detail here, due to a lack independent research.

What are your options if you decide to implement HRIS?

Deciding to implement HRIS is a big step. In doing so, you have many options, such as deciding whether to develop your technology in-house or hire external vendors to handle it for you. If you go outside your organization, the advantages include the process being more cost-effective and, in all likelihood, providing a more complete HR solution. However, you could be overwhelmed with how to choose the right vendor and product for your business. To start with, you need to determine whether a single platform or an integrated solution is right for you. Are you looking to support multiple HR functions or use multiple smaller systems, sometimes referred to as “best of breed” solutions? Either way, each supports a different HR function.

Multiple HR Functions

An integrated HR solution deploys outsourcing strategies in the areas of human resources, workers’ compensation, employee benefits, benefits administration, and payroll to small businesses throughout the U.S. If you’re looking for an integrated solution, you’ll work with a single vendor to develop a platform that incorporates multiple HR functions. Frequently, these platforms are part of an enterprise-wide information system architecture that covers a variety of business functions, including a general ledger, customer relationship management, and logistics.

Option #2: “Best of Breed” Solution

A “Best-of-Breed” strategy acquires and deploys systems that offer the best possible capabilities in areas, such as payroll, recruiting, performance, onboarding, and more, and require an integration plan to “bolt together” each of these point solutions.

If a “Best of Breed” (BoB) solution is right for you, then you’ll consider multiple vendors and select the best applications for each functional area you’ve identified. In this case, you may find yourself working with one or more vendors to meet your HRIS needs. For example, you may find yourself employing a solution from one vendor, while a second handles your time and attendance issues, and a third is in charge of your payroll solutions. If you run a smaller business and lack the resources to purchase a single comprehensive solution, or you want to use technology selectively, this could work for you. However, whichever way you go, there are pros and cons.

Integrated vs. Best of Breed Solutions

Integrated solutions:

  • Feature a common interface “look and feel” across applications. This makes learning and transitions easier for users.
  • Use integrated data, technological infrastructure, and reduce the need to manage multiple technological architectures.
  • Offer greater ease of integrating data from multiple HR functions.
  • By only using one vendor, this lessens the complexity of vendor management.
  • Can be less costly per application to implement compared to BoB solutions.

On the negative side:

  • You have limited customization options. Due to the large scale and integrated nature of these solutions, they can be inordinately expensive to customize or maintain customizations when new versions are released.
  • You may not have the best solutions available in each functional area.
  • Upgrades can be challenging to handle, because of a possible domino effect: a change to one function may dramatically impact others.
  • You might be reluctant to introduce new features and upgrades, because of their complexity.

Best of Breed solutions:

  • Lets you develop a “best fit” solution for each functional area.
  • Provides quicker implementation: fewer employees are affected, because the system is simpler.
  • You’re not committed to a single vendor to meet all your needs.
  • In order to remain competitive, vendors need to be more responsive to your (user) needs.
  • You can purchase what you need in terms of functionality.

The cons of best of breed solutions include:

  • Difficulties integrating data across applications.
  • Each application poses a different interface. Your staff have to face increased learning curves.
  • Requires juggling management relationships with multiple vendors.
  • Different applications need to operate with each other, which, at times, can pose a challenge.

Delivering the Technology

Once you’ve chosen an integrated or best-of-breed solution, how will that technology be delivered? Three approaches are popular:

  1. Will you purchase and install hardware and software within your company and have your internal IT staff operate it? While this can be relatively time-consuming, in the past, it was the only approach available.
  2. In you decide on the hosted approach, you’ll purchase applications and have them installed, but they’ll be housed at your vendor’s site and will be supported by external IT staff.
  3. Software as a service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. It’s sometimes referred to as “on-demand software.” When subscribing to SaaS, the software is developed and deployed remotely and is accessed via a web browser.
  4. Vendors may offer businesses access to the same software package (known as multitenancy). This term refers to a software architecture wherein a single instance of software runs on a server and serves multiple tenants. Systems designed in this manner are often referred to as shared. A tenant is a group of users who share a common access with specific privileges to the software. SaaS is not very attractive to organizations that already have invested heavily in HR technology, because their previous investments may not be salvageable. SaaS is also less attractive to firms looking for customized software, because these vendors offer multiple organizations the same software on a common platform and cannot customize the software to each organization’s individual needs.
  5. Both hosted and SaaS approaches can be effective for organizations that don’t have the resources or technical expertise to implement a large, integrated system. Too, many vendors are starting to market SaaS applications available to small and mid-size businesses that want to provide employees with HR services similar to those at larger competitors.

Want Help Choosing What’s Right for Your Business?

ASAP Payroll Services offers the HRIS solution AdvancedHR. It’s a fully-featured solution that offers a unique combination of employee communication and traditional workforce management, which enables managers and employees to easily access and update their information. With integrated applicant tracking, new hires can onboard by e-signing their I-9, W4, WH-4, and any company documents, including employee handbooks. AdvancedHR can also handle benefits administration and online benefit enrollment. It totally integrates with ASAP Payroll Service’s payroll system, Evolution Payroll, to become your “one-stop shop” for all of your human capital management needs.

For more information or to receive a quote on how ASAP Payroll Service’s Advanced HR and Evolution Payroll software can work for your business, contact  (317) 887-2727 or visit our website at: asappayroll.com.

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