Human Capital Management (HCM) software is a new necessity for most businesses

Days of punch-cards, pencil and paper, and even printing, are falling at the knees of technology. After just getting used to Customer Relationship Managers (CRMs), you are now expected to have software in place to help you manage your most important asset: your people.

Things to Look for When Evaluating HCM Solutions

What Is It?

Brandon Holliday with Thread sheds some light on what exactly HCM software is, how it can benefit your organization, and what to consider when deciding on a solution to fit your business.

If you’re familiar with CRM programs, HCMs can be analogized as CRM is to Sales and HCM is to Human Resources. An HCM provides a 30,000-foot view approach to managing your employees, from inception/hire, timekeeping, benefits, payroll, all the way through termination/retire.

Brandon explains how there has long been a disconnect between pieces of employee management that could be easily linked, “HCM used to be very fragmented. There was a lot of paper, from printing a resume off, attaching sticky notes, putting that into a folder, then giving an employee a packet with labor laws, an employee handbook, etc., and then the employee would have to sit down with HR, and an insurance rep or broker would have to review the work all just for hiring an employee. If the employee had a mid-year life event, now you’re pulling out all that paperwork, contacting all your brokers and agents, spending time and money to adjust withholdings, insurance, or even a simple pay increase. The system was broken and HCM can fix it.”

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How It Benefits Organizations

By adopting an HCM solution, you can save time, money and resources by using a single software program to automate the employee management process. Instead of wasting an employee’s first day filling out paperwork for hours and trying to contact benefits brokers, an HCM program can provide immediate access through the software to all the forms the employee needs to access prior to beginning work. Solutions like iSolved can provide links to videos explaining how to properly fill out forms, etc.

Brandon compares it to syllabus week in college, citing that most companies spend a day just getting the new hire ready to start, paying for a wasted day of W4s and electing dental insurance, whereas an HCM can send out the ‘syllabus’ prior to the employee clocking in on day one, so your new hire comes in ready to start work.

HCM solutions are designed to help your Human Resources department maximize its time and minimize its errors through linking timekeeping to payroll to HR.

Brandon explained, “by having a single system of record, a true all-in-one, built into the cloud, you can have seamless, timely updates to employee records and be confident when you open someone’s file, the information will be correct. It allows you to have your HR flow to payroll so a salary increase in HR flows right into payroll, or if you have a tax update or a life event, etc. it automatically feeds into time and attendance. It’s not only a time saver, it saves money.”

Finally, the benefit of a system that is cloud-based means you can sign in anywhere and manage your employee files or process payroll. If you’re in a small to mid-size organization and one person processes payroll, that person can take vacation on a payroll week because they can sign in from Hawaii and take 30 seconds to review and approve payroll.

What To Consider

CORE FUNCTION STRENGTH –With most HCMs, the foundation of your business’s needs will be found in payroll, so you want to make sure the solution you’re going with is strong in that area. Everything else, benefits, time and attendance, all feed to payroll.

 SERVICE AND SUPPORT– The product is important, but software as a service should come with just that: service. If you or your HR department has any questions or problems, you’ll want to know that you can get in touch with someone who can help you figure things out. With one program managing so many pieces of your biggest asset, you need to be certain the software comes with real people who can provide timely support. Service doesn’t stop after implementation, it is an ongoing piece of the solution.

 PRICE –The product’s price should also come up fairly early in your quest for an HCM solution. Once you’ve narrowed down a few options, and have done a demo, ask. You have a budget; the software company has a price point for a business of your size. You need to know sooner rather than later if this specific program fits your needs not just with regard to your people, but also your bottom line. The company you are working with should be transparent and upfront about their cost, and if they aren’t you should probably look elsewhere. You are hiring a company to not just sell you a product, but to be a partner in managing your most important assets, so transparency and honesty are a must and can be easily found around the money discussion.

 CLOUD-BASED –You’ll most likely want to consider solutions that are cloud-based as it reduces the involvement of the IT department or person, keeps space free on your servers, and requires less support overall. Additionally, cloud-based solutions support stronger security by reducing the number of system administrators who need access to the data.

 IMPLEMENTATION AND TRAINING – You will want to know in advance what the implementation entails, how long it will take, and what the training process entails. Don’t let the dark cloud of implementation scare you off from making this decision. Instead, ask questions and find out how easily your data can be imported into the new software, how personalized the training will be and who will be trained.

How An Implementation Works

At thread, our HCM software is iSolved, and implementation for a mid-sized business of over 50 employees usually consists of 18-25 hours over 8-12 weeks. This process involves a data dump, which integrates with a lot of other software. The sales rep will work with the client to make sure there is compatibility between iSolved and their current system(s).

Next, we have a dedicated representative who sets up the implementation, trains the HR contact or an EA if the company is smaller, and maybe one or two other people. We train the people who will be using the system as administrators, and again at the management level, and we provide videos of the training for the other staff members to view just what they need to know, and not the in-depth version the HR contact will get. It is a very complex system but is user-centric and due to our personalized training, is very simple for users at every level.

We don’t just hand you a manual or a web-based video and hope you get the hang of it; we walk beside your HR contact to make sure they are comfortable in their understanding of how to use the program. And if down the line they have questions, their dedicated rep will be there to answer them.

How to Decide

Getting Started: Start by talking to people you trust including brokers, accountants, friends, and family. Then appoint your HR contact, finance manager or EA to lead the search and gather a cross-functional team to discuss priorities and identify gaps in your current systems and processes. Develop evaluation criteria and requirements based on process, technology, capabilities, etc.

There are some solutions that cater to specific industries, others that cater to companies of a certain size, some come with just the basics, which might not be enough for you, while others may have a lot of bells and whistles, which you may end up paying for even if you don’t need those extra features.

Your project lead should then conduct an internet search and explore the different companies and what their solutions can do based on your criteria. Now you are ready to pick your top companies to learn more and see in-depth, live demonstrations of each to make an informed decision. Make sure to include your cross-functional team to ensure a wide range of opinions and ideas during the demos.

Yearly Checkups:  Every year you should evaluate your HCM, run a quick check, the way you would car insurance, or health insurance. Is it the best out there for your needs? How much time are you spending with the program? Is your price point competitive for your level of service? You don’t want to switch too often, as it can be costly both with money and time. Before you decide if it’s time to shop around, ask yourself, has there been or will there be any significant growth, acquisitions, or new product lines? Brandon states, “you want to be up-to-date and efficient, so if you feel a need isn’t being met, talk to your provider and let them know. iSolved, for example, rolls out enhancements and updates every several weeks, so if you ever want to know what else could help your business, just give us a call.”

In Conclusion

Overall, HCM solutions will make a huge impact on your business through automation which will save time, money and resources. You can find peace of mind knowing your chance for errors decreases when implementing an HCM into your organization, and your HCM will also help keep you in compliance. If you aren’t currently using an all-in-one HCM, or if it’s been a while since you’ve evaluated your current system, take some time to see if you’re in need of an upgrade, or if you’re paying for features you don’t use. Call your rep, do some research and demo a few new options. The difference it can make for your business will be well worth it.