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HR Software Best Practices HR Software Best Practices

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 By Alison Diana

Repeatable HR Best Practices for Improved Services & Decreased Costs

By empowering your human resources department to follow HR best practices, your company can become a beacon for the best and brightest employees, allowing you to attract and retain talented individuals and grow your business.

Each year, local, regional and state civic organizations, as well as general business magazines, recognize the most-respected businesses to work for. Why is this seen as so important? Because being recognized as an outstanding employer facilitates recruiting and retention objectives, and more so, the company's top business objectives that are enhanced with a motivated and productive workforce.

New HR and Human Capital Management (HCM) software applications are providing powerful tools such as simplified integration with other business systems, business process automation, business intelligence and more which aid HR best practice achievements, better serve employees and further differentiate your organization.

However, HR software isn't applied to a blank canvas, perhaps as CRM software may be. No matter your industry, you must abide by laws and regulations designed in large part to protect employees. Some industries - think financial services, public sector and healthcare, for example - are more stringent than others. But all HR departments have a responsibility to make certain their companies are mitigating risks of lawsuits by ensuring they are complaint with the many rules and regulations surrounding discrimination, harassment, disability, unemployment insurance, and social security, among others. Designing creative business processes while maintaining governance can be a delicate balance.

HR Software Best Practices to Consider

In the interest of the company and all employees, it is wise then to learn from the successes of others and strive to adopt proven best practices in all levels of the business, including Human Resources. Here are some HR software best practices to consider:

  1. Like any other business application, HR software cannot live in isolated splendor. It should coexist and integrate with other enterprise software programs such as payroll, time and attendance, and the company's financial or ERP system. Some vendors offer all-in-one suite solutions that incorporate payroll and HR, but it's wise to put both components through separate tests to make sure you're getting the best solution for the company's goals. Don't take a software vendor's word for it: Make sure you actually see system integration in action, especially if your other applications are older, custom or not the leading or most popular programs. It's also helpful to recognize that newer integration technologies as such as SOAP-based or XML web services are replacing hard-coded API (application programming interfaces) integrations as they are faster to deploy, less costly to maintain and more forgiving during software version updates and upgrades.

  2. As the economy slowly but steadily resurrects itself, the pace picks up for mergers and acquisitions. Acquiring companies will grapple with consolidating and standardizing disparate software programs, including HR software, for efficiency, accuracy and cost-savings. But if you're the acquirer, don't assume you're using the best program: The company you've just purchased could be running the stronger HR application and it pays to run a side-by-side comparison to make sure you're selecting the right tool.

  3. The Human Resource department often is the harbinger of change, whether it's a new benefits program, the cancellation of a popular offering or an internal reorganization. Communication skills are, therefore, critical: Having the ability to speak to all employees, quickly before rumors snowball, using multiple forms of media, is vital to your company's health. From ethics and mental health, to legal issues and benefits, HR is the hub that touches all employees and it must have the tools and processes to provide accurate and timely information periodically or on-demand in a crisis situation. With today's social networking tools at their disposal, HR professionals have more ways than ever to reach out to employees in the online venues where employees prefer to congregate. Don't make the mistake of believing communication tools and channels must operate under company control to be effective.

  4. Performance management is a valuable tool within HR software because it gives upper management visibility into the contributions each individual and group is making toward the company's goals, revenue and profit. In addition to the standard baseline performance - that applies a set of performance metrics, identifies goals and creates a plan to reach them - businesses also should address less tangible areas such as contributions to company culture, gaining employee buy-in, aligning performance and organizational goals and selecting the most appropriate business intelligence tools, recommends Victor Holman of Lifecycle Performance Pros. "You can use all the industry standard metrics you can find, but if internal processes aren’t in place to educate and motivate those being measured, or if different departments are executing the same functions differently, the systems you have in place will not drive peak performance," he advises. "Metrics quantify high performance, but it’s the best practices and processes that get you to that level."

  5. Looking to boost employee productivity within their own department, Human Resource professionals should also seek a solution that automates many of the mundane and repetitive tasks associated with their job or their role within the company. After all, the paperwork typically surrounding vacation requests, personal days and sick time can be eliminated with online capabilities available in most HR solutions. However, know your company: In some businesses, an Internet-only approach will be unpopular and a low-cost reward system may be necessary.

  6. Being able to adapt to change is the lifeblood of any organization - and preparing employees to adapt often falls under the jurisdiction of the HR department. HR software should give staff online access to the employee handbook, code of conduct, rules for social networking sites and training topics, as well as ongoing education, company announcements and benefit descriptions. Understanding what motivates and excites employees allows HR to successfully prepare staff to embrace change.

  7. Sometimes, the best person for the job does not work on-staff and HR should be equipped to successfully partner with outsource providers, especially in an age where corporations increasingly are looking at ways to slash costs and overhead. "In order to ensure a successful outsourcing relationship, the buyer organization must retain employees with very specific skill sets who also have the ability to partner with the outsourcing supplier," Gary Budzinski, president of human resources outsourcing at Aon Consulting, told Outsourcing Best Practices. "The buyer's retained organization needs to have contract and project management capabilities to maintain strategy and formulate policy decisions."

With an eye on best practices for HR, businesses can learn from their peers and adopt methods that achieve common objectives such as improved employee services and decreased operational costs, and further set an example for every other part of the company in a way that no other department can match. End

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With an eye on best practices for HR, staff can learn from their peers and adopt methods that achieve shared objectives such as improved services and decreased costs.


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