In an age where time equals money, small businesses can reduce costs by improving the efficiency of their HR processes. Tools that speed these processes up while simultaneously eliminating errors can directly benefit an SME’s bottom line.

In an age where time equals money, small businesses can reduce costs by improving the efficiency of their HR processes. Tools that speed these processes up while simultaneously eliminating errors can directly benefit an SME’s bottom line.

Gone are the days when HR was solely a paper-based exercise. Form-filling was an all-consuming process that required duplicates, sometimes triplicates – consequently changing the slightest of details became an almost military manoeuvre.

However, the automation of human resource tasks for small businesses has taken administration to a whole new level for SMEs, with significant benefits for employers and employees alike.

Simplify and accelerate recruitment campaigns

By automating everyday human resources processes with an integrated solution, staff can spend more time dealing with issues that require personal intervention. Planning and managing a recruitment campaign without automated HR software can hinder small businesses. However, with relevant software installed recruitment becomes easier to plan and execute.

With the ability to create vacancies, track and monitor applications, manage the hiring process and transfer new starters direct to the payroll, SMEs can save time, money and resource.

Alex Reeves, director at Access UK, comments: “Recruiting new staff is time intensive and costly for any business so it’s important to get it right. Managing the process efficiently therefore plays an important role. HR software can reduce the duplication of data, so fewer mistakes are made, simplify pre-employment checks, and allow applicants to apply online. This frees up time so the HR team can focus on finding the right person for the position.”

Address employee development

For any small or medium-sized enterprise, the evaluation of employees is an important part of business development. In order to enhance their workforce, SMEs should be able to measure productivity and the areas of employee development that can be undertaken in the form of training courses or in-house guidance.

Employee development and performance management go hand-in-hand so the ability to address these issues together using HR software enables small businesses to maximise the knowledge of their employees’ needs and skills.

Ability to monitor KPIs and meet goals

In order to encourage business growth it is important to keep well-informed of business intelligence which, used in the right manner, can help accelerate expansion.

Small business owners want the ability to drill down into the core data and make use of reports on turnover, absence analysis, employee training, recruitment and key performance indicators (KPIs) for clients - allowing progress to be monitored at the touch of a button.

HR software can provide charts, listings and slideshows that eloquently present information whilst providing unrivalled depth and clarity that owners and clients expect on a daily basis.

Reeves added: “Preparing information for Board packs is much easier when the software can deliver the details instantly such as cost per hire, time per hire and number of applicants per vacancy. It’s this level of information that helps the business make informed decisions and is every bit as valuable as the traditional KPIs such as revenue and profit – in fact, ultimately it does impact on the bottom line.” 

Allow employees to input their own data

HR resource can also be saved by enabling employees to input their own data into company systems using HR software, such as daily timesheets to monitor the time spent on each project Systems can be set up to give employees the freedom to submit their own hours – data that would normally have to be retrieved and inputted by HR departments.

Self-service technology is also useful to provide small businesses with employees’ personal data, including financials such as payslips and P60s. Meanwhile employees can also self-certify sickness days enabling HR departments to monitor absences on an individual basis.

The beauty of web-based HR solutions is that the data is accessible 24/7, reducing the resource taken by HR departments to retrieve paper-based information within extensive filing systems.

Easily integrated into existing systems

Small businesses needn’t worry about a drastic overhaul of their existing system when considering implementing HR software. Most modern HR solutions are fully configurable and can work as a fully integrated or standalone product that manages every aspect of the employee lifecycle.

“A good solutions provider will offer a suite of software that allows the business to start small and grow over time as needs allow,” comments Reeves. They will also understand that one size does not fit all. So it’s not just the software that needs to be taken into account but the provider that will be supplying the solution. Every business implementation is a partnership, and needs to be viewed as such, so this should also be considered.”

Manage day-to-day workflow across your entire organisation

An electronic step-by-step workflow gives small businesses all the elements they need to appraise their entire organisation. As well as monitoring day-to-day time spent on client work, they can also review and appraise employee performance, reviewing their input and listening to their concerns.

As businesses grow it is likely that owner-managers will spend fewer hours at their desks due to an increasing number of client meetings and networking events. Consequently, regular interaction with employees may fall HR software can prompt  review of employees’ input and set objectives by measuring progress against KPIs and success from training courses.

Moving from paper-based to streamlined web-based HR solutions can improve communication and analysis throughout an entire organisation, providing small businesses with the insight to make key decisions and move their business forward.