As a mid-sized business, we would like to control our HR costs by better managing recruitment, hiring and the tracking of employees’ work hours. How can HR management software help?

The advantages of human resource management software are many. First, the software allows a company the benefit of an integrated and comprehensive view of any employee. This holistic view of all employees in the organization gives managers the information to make collective time- and cost-saving decisions related to recruitment, hiring and work-hour tracking. Finally, using software to manage the administration of your employees frees managers from paperwork so they can truly manage their employees in a hands-on way.

An HR management application is more than just the sum of its parts. Among other capabilities, it allows the maintenance of data on recruiting and applicants, training, position management, job classification, salary, benefits information and vacation allowances.

Recruitment
The recruitment of talented individuals is one area where an organization can take advantage of HR software. First, the software can be used to define the skills and job experience a given job demands. Then it can help your organization find the right person by quickly filtering the job applicants from possibly hundreds, down to a manageable number. This cuts costs significantly, as you need only interview applicants who match the specific skill requirements. HR applications usually provide a means to accept resumes online and schedule interview times for potential candidates. Also, maintaining information on people who have applied for positions can be very useful, especially if the candidate who is offered the job does not accept it. The next most qualified candidate can be notified without another review of all the remaining applications.

Track training
When the right people are hired, it’s important that they continue to develop their skills. As a result, maintaining training and certification information is vitally important. There may be instances where employees must take specific courses at particular times to keep certifications in place. With an HR application, this training is tracked, and reminders of training times can be sent automatically to employees. Tracking the training costs also lets a company better plan next year’s training budget.

Time worked
HR applications can track the time worked by an employee each day. They can also identify people who regularly work overtime, so an employer can get an overview into individual workloads. It also helps managers when it’s time to adjust staffing levels, by indicating when it makes the most sense to hire more employees for a looming project.

The other aspect of tracking work effort is tracking absences. If an employer is able to identify when employees are sick, trends will appear and managers can take appropriate action.

Vacation time can also be monitored and administered. It is possible determine how much vacation time an employee is entitled to, based on various criteria. By tracking leave entitlements and the times that leaves are taken, the employer can determine the financial liability of all employee vacations that the company is responsible for at any one time.

Self-service
One variety of HR applications is changing the way employees interact with their employers. Such software can allow employees to control and update their personal information in the company system. It is far more efficient to allow employees to update their mailing addresses, especially at T4 time, than to ask them to send a form to the HR department so a clerk can type the information into the system. Putting the control in the hands of the employee eliminates duplication of effort and speeds up the task and, just as importantly, empowers the employee.

If you use the Internet or a corporate intranet as a communication and workflow vehicle at your organization, HR technology can convert these self-service items into Web-based HR components of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to reduce transaction costs and provide greater HR and organizational efficiency.

Through employee or manager self-service, HR activities rely less on paper-based processes, benefiting employees, managers and HR professionals alike. Costly and time-consuming HR administrative tasks such as travel reimbursement, personnel data changes, benefits enrolment and enrolment in training classes reduce HR transaction time and lead to HR and organizational effectiveness.

In addition, HR management software provides advantages related to privacy. Privacy concerns are always diminished when you limit paper-based processes. This is especially important with regard to personal employee information. A security breach by your HR staff is far less likely if the information is in your HR management system, and if it’s password-protected and maintained and updated through the system, the Internet or your local intranet.

HR management software saves HR departments significant time and money when they recruit and hire their employees, and then go on to track their work hours. It also cuts down on labor-intensive, paper-based processes, leaving managers with the time to manage their employees and help them develop and increase their skills person-to-person.

Andrew Woodman is project manager and Wendy Summers is an HR/Financials consultant at xwave‘s St. John’s, Nfld. offices. xwave is a systems integrator providing technology solutions, infrastructure services, and IT fulfillment.

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