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    The Best HR Software Solutions for 2021

    As employment rates hit all-time highs, human resources offices are looking to technology to help with the burden of managing employees, benefits and business operations. According to Gartner, “by 2025, at least 50% of large enterprises in service-centric industries will successfully implement an ‘all in’ cloud SaaS strategy.”

     

    Advances in these software platforms give HR departments more control over how to tailor the technology for in-house best practices. At the same time, the software platform must be secure because HR handles the most sensitive data within any organization.

     

    Factors to Consider When Purchasing HR Software

     

    For your HR software to be most effective, you need to onboard the right platform for your needs. Consider the following:

    On Premise or Cloud

    On-premise or cloud? Do you want – or need – a platform that is installed directly onto computers and can be used only by specific users on a limited network? Or do you prefer cloud-based software that can provide more flexibility in access?

    Tasks Required

    What tasks do you need performed? There are different software platform options available, depending on the type of tasks you will be running. While some software platforms are comprehensive, others are very task oriented. Options include Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS); Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS); Human Capital Management (HCM); Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS); and Payroll Software.

    Tech Support

    Technical support. The amount of technical support needed from IT to get the platform up and running, and then maintained, as well as the tech expertise of the users, should be taken into consideration.

    How It Fits Into the Overall Strategy

    How will the software platform fit into overall business operations? The software should meet the mission of the organization and streamline HR processes for everyone while improving the communication between HR and staff.

     

     

    Key Features for HR Software Platforms

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities

    Accessibility from any type of device is a vital factor in any HR platform. The system will be accessed by workers in the office or by telecommuters; an update by an employee must be readily accessible to HR. The platform should offer a cloud-based system compatible with multiple operating systems/devices, with mobile applications available for easy download.

     

    Personnel Tracking

    HR software should allow for tracking all the pertinent information about each employee, from their SSN to contact information to past employment records.

     

    Learning and Development

    This HR function should work in tandem with performance management functions to schedule employee training, track completion and certifications, and budget expenditures involved.

     

    Compliance Regulations

    HR software shows how the company should meet privacy regulations, from GDPR to CCPA and beyond, ensuring employee personal information is kept safe and secure while allowing the organization to have a smooth flow of operations.

     

    Performance Management

    HR software allows for monitoring of each employee’s performance data.

     

    Benefits Management

    HR software allows for tracking of vendors and their benefits and the different packages offered, as well as expense monitoring.

     

    Time Management

    The HR software is aligned with company policies to manage employee work schedules and vacation time, calculates overtime, and ensures budgets are matched with the right projects in accurate time intervals.

     

     

    Top HR Software Platforms and Vendors

     

    Kronos Workforce Central

    Kronos is one of the most established HR software platforms available, engaging employees and increasing productivity. Workforce Central allows managers to have more control of data-powered decisions. Centralized solution.

     

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Unified cloud solution. Mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Windows.

     

    Performance Management: Ability to track workforce trends and productivity.

     

    Time Management: Offers tools to monitor and enforce absentee policies and flags concerns like late/early punch in, missed breaks, or other time-management policy violations with real-time email alerts.

     

    Pricing: Contact company

     

     

     

    Oracle HR Analytics

     

    Oracle’s software suite analyzes staffing needs and productivity and management, as well as designs accurate compensation packages to match employee outcomes. Employees are able to easily track their performance on the system. The platform offers AI and ML to assist with recruitment.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based platform

     

    Personnel Tracking: Provides workforce reporting and visibility into new hires and retention.

     

    Learning and Development: Allows HR to assess learning opportunities, rate their effectiveness and monitor employee enrollment.

     

    Time Management: Monitors paid time off and absences and tracks trends in employee attendance.

     

    Pricing: Contact company

     

     

    Zenefits

     

    Online dashboard setup gives everyone – HR, management, and employees – a single place to manage their work life, including payroll, benefits and paid time off. High ease of use and easily connects all aspects of HR processes and systems into one location. With a mobile-first platform, it is ideal for very small companies. Three plans to choose from.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Mobile-first platform

     

    Performance Management: Provides templates for performance reviews, goal management, tools to encourage collaborations and set up one-on-one meetings.

     

    Benefits Management: Simplified benefits management through online portal

     

    Time Management: Can create PTO policy accessed and managed on the online portal.

     

    Pricing: Starts at $8/month/employee, depending on package

     

     

    BambooHR

     

    Popular software platform for SMBs that tracks applications and provides on-boarding tools for new hires, and easy paid-time-off tracking and performance management for current employees. It has the capability to sync with other HR software. Offers e-signatures and a user-friendly interface – no need for an account manager. Has two package levels.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Offers cloud and mobile platforms, as well as web-based.

     

    Personnel Tracking: Offers onboarding and offboarding solutions and an employee database that tracks all information on file for each employee.

     

    Performance Management: Offers questions to encourage employee activity and engagement and reviews performance in an objective manner.

     

    Benefits Management: Centralized database that manages up to 12 different types of benefits.

     

    Time Management: Online time tracking for employees with easy to manage time sheets.

     

    Pricing: Per employee pricing depending on the package type; under $10/employee

     

     

    UltiPro

     

    Cloud-based solution designed to improve the overall employee experience with people-focused results. Security-based features are a plus for those companies managing multiple subsidiaries. There is a learning curve with this platform, but offers an online learning center.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based solution. Mobile offerings.

     

    Personnel Tracking: Allows HR to track human capital management information.

     

    Learning and Development: People-centric approach to learning access.

     

    Compliance Regulations: Navigates ACA compliance issues and updates with changes in legislation.

     

    Benefits Management: Intuitive benefits management and sign-up

     

    Time Management: Time tracking capabilities

     

    Pricing: Contact company

     

     

     

    15Five

     

    This is a performance management solution that requires weekly check-ins from employees to track goals and ensure employees are meeting objectives from evaluations. The name comes from the idea that employees will check in for 15 minutes each work day. Allows employees to drive their performance goals and tasks and offers management improved direction on how much guidance to provide.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud and mobile platforms

     

    Performance Management: Focuses on Objectives and Key Results (OKR) goal-setting process, self-review process.

     

    Pricing: $7/month per user

     

     

     

    SentricWorkforce

     

    Handles all aspects of human resource tasks, from benefits management to payroll to employee lifecycle through a cloud-based system. Easy for employees to learn and no storage worries. Geared toward mid-sized companies and can be customized to the organization’s specific needs.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Mobile platforms

     

    Personnel Tracking: Manages employee profiles

     

    Learning and Development: Color-coded course tracking and training resources

     

    Compliance Regulations:  Manages compliance issues like ADA.

     

    Performance Management: 360 review process and customized performance evaluations

     

    Benefits Management: Can match people to the right benefits package and manage life events affecting benefits.

     

    Time Management: Uses different time tracking tools like punch-clocks or biometrics.

     

    Pricing: Contact company

     

     

     

    Optimum HR

     

    Employee records are updated once and then applicable across the system on software designed for both Windows and IBM i (AS/400, iSeries, and System i) as well as a cloud-based SaaS solution. Specializes in companies with more than 100 employees and in government reporting tasks.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud and mobile platforms

     

    Personnel Tracking: Provides onboarding, salary benchmarking, background checks and employee database for staff management.

     

    Benefits Management: Partners with insurance carriers to manage benefit costs and packages.

     

    Pricing: $10,000 one-time fee

     

     

     

     

    Namely

     

    SMB-targeted HR software to handle all HR-related tasks, from benefits to payroll to talent management. Offers in-person, live online, or documentation-based support. Can customize reports, either in-house or through Namely tech support. Handles the employee promotion process in one location rather than relying on email chains and multiple in-person meetings.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Web-based platform

     

    Personnel Tracking: Offers a social news feed and organizational charts.

     

    Compliance Regulations: Manages compliance issues.

     

    Performance Management: 360 performance reviews

     

    Benefits Management:  Offers automatic benefits enrollment and paperless documents.

     

    Time Management: Tracks requests for paid time off and time clocks.

     

    Pricing: Contact company

     

     

     

    Zoho People

     

    Zoho People is a comprehensive online HR offering. Offers a secure self-service portal for employees to access and modify their personnel information. With 360 insights, management can work with employees to identify and reward performance.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud and mobile platforms

     

    Personnel Tracking: Case management tool to answer employee questions, automates HR tasks.

     

    Performance Management: Simplified performance reviews

     

    Time Management: Consolidates attendance management from multiple devices.

     

    Pricing: Starts at 83 cents/employee/month

     

     

     

    Dayforce HCM

     

    Dayforce is a workforce management suite that specializes in human capital management. The end-to-end solution covers all areas of employers’ and employees’ human resources needs on a single platform. The Dayforce Touch feature handles time management via a tablet-based clock.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based platform

     

    Personnel Tracking: Employees can control what information is displayed and notifications to receive. Offers talent management features.

     

    Benefits Management: Handles all types of benefits packages, manages retiree benefits.

     

    Time Management: Dayforce Touch allows employees to punch in and out via a tablet-based time clock.

     

    Pricing: Contact company

     

     

     

     

    Gusto

     

    This HR software platform focuses on compensation and payroll. It provides all the information on one screen for managers to access easily. Brings payroll and benefits into one system and is all customizable. Ideal for small businesses.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-platform

     

    Personnel Tracking: Integrates HR with payroll and benefits.

     

    Compliance Regulations: Fully compliant with a variety of standards and prepares compliance reviews.

     

    Benefits Management: Integrates all benefits administration tasks and offers dedicated benefits advisers.

     

    Pricing: Starts at $45/month

     

     

    SAP Successfactors

     

    SAP has the reputation and Successfactors provides the software suite to attract companies of all sizes. The platform handles all aspects of HR on a single dashboard. It also allows access to SAP’s other offerings, as well as other external platforms.

     

    Cloud/Mobile Platform Capabilities: Cloud-based platform

     

    Personnel Tracking: Tracks employees from recruitment and onboarding.

     

    Learning and Development: Offers a variety of learning management features, including built-in course authoring, academic course tracking and gamification tools.

     

    Performance Management: Highlights poor performance issues before they cause trouble to the organization. Targets top talent through AI to weed out bias.

     

    Pricing: Contact company

     

     

     

    How to Decide Which Tool is Right for You

     

    Best HR Software Comparison Chart

     

    Picking the right tool depends on several factors. A small business with a small HR department and little IT support may want to go with a more comprehensive HRIS or HRMS platform in a cloud format to handle all aspects of the HR process, or they may decide they only need the extra help with payroll. A startup or growing business that is flooded with applications and new hires may opt for an ATS platform. Large companies may appreciate an HRMS with mobile and cloud features that allow employees flexibility to track their hours and benefits, while a company with strict compliance regulations may find that a computer install and limited access is the best option.

    Sue Poremba
    Sue Poremba
    Sue Poremba is freelance writer based on Central PA. She's been writing about cybersecurity and technology trends since 2008.

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