Hosted HR

Published: April 4th, 2006

You may not be aware that much of the data entry related to HR that your HR department and your employees perform on paper-based forms can be completely outsourced online. The ASP model is alive and well for many different applications.

General staff can update information (such as changes of address or marital status), over the Internet, instead of filling out forms and dropping them off with the HR director. Or your HR department can administer entire applications through this method.

For example, depending on what features an employer has selected, online applications can either record training events or provide approval processes for employee training programs. They can do the same for vacations. Most of HR-DEPT.COM’s basic HR applications are part of an employee information system it provides with a vacation scheduling package built-in. This application handles not only requests and approvals, but it has reporting and controls to stop people from taking more days than they’re owed. Other possible applications include annual salary reviews, performance management, staffing support, exit interviews, competency assessment profiles, employee directories, and hosting of policy manuals, other forms and product libraries.Here are some reasons you might consider taking the outsourced route:

  1. Love the familiar: The biggest advantage of the HR software application service provider (ASP) model is the way applications can be adapted so that employees use forms they’re used to working with already, but simply enter the data online. This means there is almost no need for training on the system since, after they log in, users see a form that they know well. The ASP model also cuts paper costs and is therefore better for the environment.
  2. The need for speed: The speed and ease with which employees make use of the hosted applications generally cuts the costs of administering formerly paper-based processes significantly.
  3. Controlled entry: You decide who gets access to an application. If you don’t give an employee a user name and password they can’t use the system. For a smaller employer where often the accountant gets saddled with the HR chores, “expecting that person to change your address because you decided to move last weekend isn’t really a smart use of his time,” says Ken Duff, president of HR-DEPT.COM Inc. “Why not just go in and change your own address in your HR file? It’s employee/manager self-service.”
  4. Access from anywhere: Because an Internet browser is the user interface, there is no IT support for your company to worry about, no software to maintain and none of the typical IT activity associated with software support. You need only make sure your people have active access to the Internet. And employees can use the applications from anywhere. “You don’t have to worry about your corporate firewall, or people dialing in from home. Some people have a firewall and some don’t. It doesn’t matter. We handle all the security at our end,” says Duff.
  5. Proactive support: The ASP gets access to your HR applications and files from anywhere, and can therefore provide full and immediate support. At HR-DEPT.COM, the person responsible for a given client account (and the president and a programmer) receives an e-mail message whenever a user with that client receives an error message. Now, employees aren’t running to HR when there’s a problem. In fact, they will likely receive a call or an e-mail message offering support.

Ken Duff is president of HR-DEPT.COM Ltd., of Ottawa, an ASP provider of HR applications.

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