Implementing an effective HR strategy and using the right tools to achieve organizational goals is something managers cannot ignore in today’s competitive market. HR is among the most important processes businesses of all sizes should consider optimizing.
Small and medium businesses tend to ignore the importance of using HR software to improve productivity, mostly because they don’t see a lot of utility in such a software. However, the right solution can prove to be a great asset in the long term. Modern web-based solutions allow SMBs to get started quickly without having to heavily invest in the IT infrastructure and maintenance. Let’s start with what is HR software before moving onto further details and some of the best HR solutions currently available.
What’s HR/HRM Software?
HR/HRM software are designed to support businesses in managing their human capital and are also known by other names, including Human Resources Information System, Human Resources Management System and Human Capital Management software.
The traditional method of managing HR has been reactive i.e. the management is reactive to employee requests and issues with a focus on basic employee management and labor relationship management. Since the focus is narrower, HR teams are not so keen in educating workers to maximize productivity as they assume that the employees will pick up on stuff from managers.
Strategic HR management on the other hands is proactive and helps organizations look ahead for their future needs and develop HR strategies accordingly to meet them. Strategic HR has a broader mission than traditional HR with a focus on employee development and education. Compared to traditional HR that mainly focuses on the current workforce, strategic HR takes into account the future needs and talent promotion among the existing employees.
HR solutions can broadly be categorized into two main groups as follows:
The Core or Traditional HR Software
These are typical solutions that businesses use to deal with different processes, including employee records, payroll, managing HR policies, benefits and compensation, attendance tracking and compliance with the law and other regulations.
Strategic HR Systems
These solutions are primarily focused on recruitment, hiring, orientation, training, succession planning and talent development.
Benefits of Using HR Software
The features and functionality of different HR solutions can vary, but there are a few common benefits including:
Improved Efficiency, Better Decision Making
HR software serves as a common platform that provides everyone with accurate and up-to-date HR data. Whether it’s generating reports, understanding attendance patterns or keeping track of employee performance, HR solution ensures that everyone is on the same page and puts important information at management’s fingertips.
Automation helps businesses streamline their processes and increase productivity. It can significantly cut the time usually spent on manual processes and basic administrative tasks. SaaS HR solutions serve as a centralized hub for HR data and eliminates data duplication.
Digital experiences make employees feel appreciated and enhance engagement. Self-service functionality allows them to do the essential stuff themselves such as updating personal information, checking HR policies, requesting a leave using their mobile devices, which makes them feel more responsible and makes work life easier.
Cloud-based storage, regular backups and no paperwork means the HR data is safe and secure in the cloud. This significantly reduces the chances of human error and reduces security risks. SaaS solution providers go to great lengths to ensure security, data backups and availability, so businesses don’t have to worry about it.
Automation and streamlining of HR tasks makes it easier to measure the ROI by diminishing the time required to do it manually. This allows the management to re-allocate their focus and time on things that matter the most and spend more time on achieving strategic goals instead of basic administrative and routing tasks.
IT Cost Savings
On-premises and in-house are costly and consume large sums of money for maintenance and support. It’s the provider’s responsibility to ensure availability and other aspects of running a cloud-based HR software, allowing IT support to focus on more important tasks.
Maintenance and Automatic Updates
Updating and adopting an on-premises solution can be a time consuming task and might cause service interruptions. When using SaaS HR solutions, businesses don’t have to worry much about downtimes and keeping the software running smoothly. Updates are implemented at the back end across the board, so the users can take advantage of the latest features without updating anything themselves.
Most modern saas solutions are not just standalone products, and can be integrated with other systems and apps such as communication and collaboration solutions. Automatic notifications, simplified communication and integration with other apps saves time, increases productivity and allows businesses to get more value from the existing IT investment.
Cloud-based SaaS solutions allow the workforce to stay productive while on the go and enables them to get important stuff done using their mobile devices. Important decisions about things such as attendance and time management can be made from anywhere using a device with an internet connection.
On-premises vs. SaaS HR Software
We have already covered the benefits and challenges of using SaaS solutions, which also applies to SaaS HR solutions. On-premises solutions are installed locally while SaaS solutions can be accessed online. Cloud-based solutions are highly scalable and flexible, but both types of SaaS HR software solutions are still a lot better than spreadsheets and paperwork.
On-premises solutions provide businesses with more control over processes and data and are highly customizable. But they are expensive (upfront costs, maintenance, infrastructure etc.) and usually don’t offer the level of scalability and flexibility fast-growing businesses need to keep up with their growth.
SaaS HR solutions work online and don’t require businesses to invest in IT infrastructure and spend a lot of money on training. You can find more about how SaaS solutions can help SMBs achieve their goals here. The main benefits of picking a SaaS HR solution over on-premises solution includes:
- Low upfront costs and time savings
- No installation and maintenance, secure
- Can be accessed from anywhere, using almost any device
- Role-based access, customizable access levels
- Faster implementation and transition
- Accurate, real-time reporting and performance assessment
Why SMBs Should Consider Using HR Software?
HRM software is usually associated with large organizations and enterprises that have to manage thousands of employees. But today, even SMBs can afford to buy one, thanks to much lower upfront costs, flexible pricing and cloud-based delivery. SMBs also have to deal with spreadsheets and piles of paperwork, including employee records, which is not an efficient way of managing HR.
Many think of HR solutions as expensive and difficult to implement and manage, but that’s not the case anymore as there is a solution at every price point. Some providers even offer the basic versions of their HR solution for free. Modern HR solutions have come a long way from traditional on-premises solutions and are now a lot easier to deploy and use.
Key Features to Consider When Picking a SaaS HR Solution
Picking the right solution mainly depends on what an organization already has and the functionality it needs. Not all businesses need fully-featured and top-of-the-line HR software that comes with all the functionality. Paying for something you’ll not use is not only a waste of money, but can also make it difficult for employees to use the software because of more complexity. The basic features businesses should look for in a SaaS HR solution include:
- Self-service functionality that allows employees to check approvals, make requests and update information
- Time-off management
- Policy management
- Analysis reports
- Employee records
- Integration with other systems in use
Some solutions are more user-friendly than others, while other solutions are more comprehensive and provide added functionality. Growing businesses might want to consider functionality such as talent management, performance management, payroll, recruitment and training.
Tips for Picking the Right Solution
Most providers offer a trial or demo version of their HR solution. Test-driving a solution in the real world gives you a fair idea of how well it fits into a work environment. After considering your requirements and matching it against what a solution has to offer, the next thing you should do is to book a demo or sign up for a trial version, which can help confirm if you have picked the right solution. Here are some important things to consider when test driving a HR software, which also applies to other business solutions:
- Is the vendor reputable and what existing customers say about it?
- What kind of support does the vendor offer?
- Is the vendor located in the same region or offshore (support timings)?
- Is the vendor dynamic and has a clear vision for the future (updates, feature enhancements etc.)?
- Is the user interface simple enough?
- Is the solution user-friendly, easy to learn and use?
- Does it contain all the required features needed to deal with current situation and future growth?
- Does the solution provide self-service functionality, so employees can perform basic tasks themselves?
- Does it help businesses reduce risks and ensure security compliance?
- Will the solution help cut costs keeping in view the initial and operating costs as well as annual savings and time period?
- How secure is data transmission and storage, does the vendor use encryption?
- Does the solution provide insightful and actionable information based on which the management can make strategic business decisions?
- What is the refund policy and what will happen if you think the solution is not working for you?
- Is the solution fully cloud-based, hybrid or only locally accessible?
- Is the solution customizable, flexible and scalable enough to meet future growth requirements?
Our Picks for Top 5 SaaS HR Solutions
Kronos HRMS Workforce Ready
KRONOS HR solutions simplify and automate HRM and offer self-service capabilities that enable businesses to boost productivity, control costs, engage employees and minimize compliance risk. It simplifies management of different HR functions including payroll, benefits management, onboarding, talent acquisition and management. The Workforce Dimensions, Workforce Ready and Workforce Central are specialized solutions customized for different HR needs, organization sizes and business goals.
KRONOS Workforce Ready offers enterprise-grade functionality for SMBs, which make it a robust solution that is highly configurable. However, this level of functionality also makes it more complex than other solutions, while KRONOS’s definition of SMBs might not be the same as what we consider as small and medium businesses.
Its main strengths include HR process automation, self-service functionality, strategic focus on the workforce, granular reporting and availability of optional modules such as talent acquisition and performance management.
- Self-service functionality
- Time tracking
- Absence management
- Mobile apps
Oracle Fusion Cloud HCM
The Human Capital Management system covers all HR processes from hiring to retirement, including talent management, global HR, workforce management and payroll. One HCM across different departments including finance, customer experience and supply chain make it a cloud unifying solution that provides a cross-platform and consistent experience.
The AIO HR solution is suitable for mid-sized and large organizations that need a highly configurable, agile and comprehensive solution, which can consolidate a variety of HR processes, payroll, recruitment and talent management. Businesses also have the option to use modules combined or separately according to their own requirements.
The Global HR system covers the core HR components, while Talent Management covers employee lifecycle and Workforce Management covers labor costs. The Analytics module provides real-time and actionable insights into performance. The AI-first approach enables organizations to make smarter and more informed decisions.
- Workforce modeling
- Talent acquisition and reviews
- Career development monitoring
- Time tracking
- Business intelligence
- HR help desk
- Performance management
- Compensation/benefits management
- Data visualization
- Expense management
Freshteam is competitively priced (starts from $50/month) and feature-rich solution targeted at small and medium businesses. It helps businesses make impactful decisions by providing them with solid functionality, including applicant tracking, onboarding, employee database and time management.
The software is free for up to 50 employees, making it a great option for startups and small businesses that don’t plan on going all in for an expensive solution. Users can export all their data whenever they want,, so they are not stuck with any particular vendor.
The intuitive and easy-to-user interface makes it easier to manage recruitment and application tracking and can be seamlessly integrated with other Freshworks products. The unified and secure database allows businesses to securely store recruitment information and related files.
The platform works well for SMBs as well as freelancers and recruitment agencies. All recruitment operations can be carried out using a single dashboard, which saves users from having to keep switching between different tabs and windows.
- Recruitment CRM and employee directory/database
- Application tracking
- 360-degree profiles
- Personalized engagement
- Collaborative hiring
- Time-off management
- Employee onboarding
- Mobile apps
- Offer templates
- Bulk emails
- Contextual conversations
- Interview feedback
- Social media integration
- Reporting and insights
- Employment referrals
The HR solution helps businesses focus more on people than HR processes and allows them to turn information into tangible results. The comprehensive software includes hiring, onboarding, culture, people data and analytics and compensation. Although pricier than other options, it takes a thorough approach to HR and comes with open APIs that allow businesses to get started quickly and integrate the solution with other apps.
The end-to-end solution covers all employee lifecycle aspects and provides HR teams with the visibility they need to attract, acquire and retain talent. The modern, sleek and user-friendly interface and a comprehensive feature set makes using BambooHR an enjoyable experience, while integration with over 20 HR systems means the information stays up to date and accurate across all platforms.
- Centralized database
- Reporting and analysis
- Controlled access
- Application management
- Performance management
- Smart reminders
- Employee onboarding
- Absence management
- Email reminders and invitations
- Employee portal
- SSL security
The platform is designed keeping unique requirements of small and medium businesses in mind and is also priced accordingly (starting from $25/month). It provides HR teams with the right tools they need to stay ahead of the competition.
The solution covers payroll, employee benefits, health insurance, hiring and onboarding, financial benefits, time tracking, and can be seamlessly integrated with other systems including accounting, time tracking, POS, business operations and expense management systems.
Its robust payroll features, intuitive interface and automation functionaries saves time and minimizes chances of error in payroll management (you can learn more about these errors in Manual Payroll Vs. Computerized Payroll Systems article). Consolidation of all the employee data, including emergency contacts helps with HIPAA compliance and provides the level of transparency modern businesses need to stay competitive.
- Automated payroll
- Digital paystubs
- Flexible schedules
- Digital signatures
- Coworker directories
- Spending, health savings accounts
- Commuter benefits
- Filterable reports
- Time-off tracking
- Contractor payments
- Automated tax processing
- Organizational charts
- Customizable offer letters
- Pre-tax benefits
- Checks and direct deposits
- Cancel payroll
Asking the right questions is important when choosing between different HR solutions. Due diligence and research is the key in finding the perfect fit as not all HR solutions work equally well for all businesses. The right solution should fit business needs like a glove, which is possible when the organizational objectives and the software work in harmony. Picking the right SaaS HRM solution requires an in-depth understanding of the business, areas where it struggles and the direction where it’s headed.