Does this sound familiar?
Your business is growing. Fast. Your focus has been on sales and business development. And more often than not, HR administration gets pushed further and further onto the back burner until it’s too late — you’ve got an HR crisis on your hands and no effective way to deal with it.
Luckily, there are solutions for your small business that doesn’t equate to hiring a full team. Most often, the middle-ground option that many small businesses opt for is HR software. Yet, like anything else in your business, you want (and need) to know that you’re making a sound investment.
So how do you know which human resources software is the best for you? How do you know if you’ve chosen the best HR software for your business? There’s a lot to consider, but here’s a list that can help you remember to evaluate the most important elements.
How to choose the best HR software for your small business
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to figuring out what HR software is best for your business, the key is understanding your business’ needs. Because no one business is exactly like another, the place you’ll want to start is by understanding your companies current needs and having an idea of its future needs. With that information squarely in hand, you can begin evaluating the elements that separate one HR software service from another.
There’s simply no getting around it — money is a major factor for any small business. Ranging from $2 per user per month to a flat fee hovering around $39 a month plus an additional cost per user month, cost ranges by each software offering and varies greatly depending on what each platform offers.
Do you want to be stuck sorting through an online user manual or do you want to have a team of dedicated customer service professionals there to answer your calls whenever you need?
Just like cost, there’s a range of options when it comes to the kind of customer care you’ll want and expect from your HR software platform.
Like all software platforms, some are simply easier to use than others. It all depends on whether you’re willing to invest time into figuring out a new software and all of its quirks (or have a manager who you can assign to do so) or you expect an investment in HR software to be more or less a turnkey operation that’s practically up and running the moment you install it.
Even if benefits aren’t a major part of your HR needs now, what are the chances that they will be in the future, especially if your business becomes as successful as you know it can be? Are you OK with migrating over to an HR software system with more capabilities later on as you need them, or would you rather pick one at the beginning that will be able to handle both your future and current needs?
Mobility has been slower to come to HR software systems than others, but it’s an increasingly popular feature in the flexibility-fueled 21st-century work landscape. Even those on your team responsible for payroll and other HR functions will need a break or a work from home day every now and then. How important is it to you that the people who need to use your HR software can access it from outside the office? How important is it to them?
Especially for companies with a robust hiring process (hey, those people you bring in the door in the early stages can make or break your company!), the ability to track applicants as they move through your hiring process through your HR software can make the hiring and onboarding process a seamless transition on both sides. This is the main reason that applicant tracking is a standout feature for many small businesses.
What other software platforms does your business rely on that you’d expect your HR software to be able to interface with? What about the Google suite of offerings or Microsoft Office 365? Got any spreadsheets you’d want your HR software to be able to pull from? If so, you’re going to want to pay attention to which programs each of the HR software platforms you’re looking at can integrate with.
Do you currently have (or will you eventually want to have) trainings that you’ve written yourself? If so, then you’ll want to consider looking at HR software platforms that allow you to author and host your own training materials. Another key training component is compliance. Some HR software platforms allow you to keep track of which training milestones each employee has hit, which can be particularly important if your company focuses on on-going education or is growing quickly and will rely on keeping a growing staff up to speed on changes as they happen.
Closely related to training is performance management. No one likes to think about it, but when the time inevitably comes to fire an underperforming employee, you’ll need to have everything well documented. If performance management is covered in your HR software, everything from performance evaluations and reviews can be kept under one roof. On the more positive side, performance management capabilities can be used to track skill advancement and bonuses as well.
Scheduling and shift planning
While this is usually a feature on platforms that are tailored to shift-focused industries, it’s also an option often found on larger platforms. While it’s certainly possible to handle scheduling and shift management outside of your HR software, keeping it all in one place can streamline the process and make it easier to track how much hourly employees are working and stay on top of compliance surrounding overtime.