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HR software: How to choose the right one

Updated: Apr 27, 2022


So you’re thinking about making the move from paper to digital record keeping. This is a large step for any business as it will change the way your business operates and making the right decision for the future with software that will grow or contract with your business is key.

There are numerous systems on the market with varying levels of complexity and they all lean in one direction or another either more health and safety or more #HR. As a result of this it’s best to start making a list of the key areas that you want to improve on within your business. This might be time keeping, absence monitoring, general record keeping, communicating with your staff, risk assessments or perhaps company documents to name just a few.

Now might also be a good opportunity to ask other business owners what they use and find out what works well and what does not as all of these systems have their strengths and weaknesses. Understanding what these are will ensure that you are not left disappointed and that you venture into this with your eyes wide open, as back tracking once you have crossed the line is no easy task!

Give some thought to who is going to be using the system and how they will interact with it. When you have your short list arrange demonstrations with those that will be using the software the most. This way you can make the decision together and you are more likely to have your team buy into the system: if this doesn’t happen, you can be certain of an uphill battle as everyone pulls in a different direction and your system gets used less and less.

Consider the screen experience that users will be receiving when using the system. This is really important as it wants to look clean and simple; it can be the most powerful system on the market but if you need to be a rocket scientist to use it this will hinder its progress within your business, (unless you are building rockets obviously!).

Think about how you need the system hosted. We have worked with companies that have insisted they must own the software and it must sit on their server. This is OK but you will be seriously limited in the software that you can choose from so you may have to compromise and technology now moves forwards so fast that you may be quickly left behind.

Cloud-based software is excellent if you have an excellent internet connection; not so good in a rural environment on dial up so will yours cope?

Cost will undoubtedly be a driver and you will not be surprised to learn that there are many ways you can pay for this type of software. Outright with or without a service charge to include updates is one way as you then know what your costs are going to be, allowing for a little inflation on the service contract. You can pay monthly like a rental that is all inclusive of service contracts and users which is often based on numbers or licenses. Alternatively you can pay by employee per month: this is a great way to do it in our opinion as it allows for the growth and contraction of your business so you only pay for the employees registered on a month-by-month basis.

Be careful with contracts and understand what the price increases are going to look like going forward. We have experienced software providers trying to impose an 80% uplift in annual fees, making what was initially very competitive software taste very bitter.

Bolt-ons are often used to add additional functionality to a system so be careful when you get your demo and be sure that you know what you are getting for your money.

Updates and personalisation is also something to consider when setting out as you will want the system to be branded and you may need it tweaked slightly for your business so get these prices up front.

The next thing to consider is importing of data. This one can seriously catch you with your trousers down! Firstly, remember this is going to be your system with your data and ensuring that data is accurate is key to the whole system working effectively and accurately. When a business tries to short-cut this process by using lower-paid or irregular staff such as temps, students or apprentices, they risk relying on individuals who do not necessarily understand or have the buy-in to the system or your business to make sure that they are as forensic with the detail as you will require.

So factor in some admin time to ensure that this is done or checked when the system is first started. Some systems will integrate with other software and most will update from a CSV. file that you have exported from another program. But make sure you understand before taking the plunge what resources are required to get your data from its current location to the software.

Once you have chosen your program you need to start thinking about access rights: who can see and do what and when? How easy is this to change and modify as the business grows and develops? And will you remain #GDPR compliant?

As you can see this is a minefield! Having worked with software for over 10 years now in numerous organisations and industries, we believe that the software we offer is one of the best out on the market in 2021. It allows us to support our clients remotely with full access to all of the relevant information, just as if it were straight out of the filing cabinet. It also ensures compliance, with key dates for tasks such as documentation review and contract updates not forgotten, appraisal reminders and auto archiving of disciplinary and grievance information.

Our software will also allow you to carry out audits of your sites and generate actions directly into the system meaning everyone who needs to be aware of a non-conformity is immediately notified there is a problem and that action is required.

The system you choose should be simple, user-friendly, adaptable, intuitive, grow or contract with your business and be cost effective.

Remember, the software you choose should go the distance with your business so it’s important to get it right.

If you would like a demo of our system at BHP then please get in touch….. or on 01243 641726

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