That HR Software Looked So Promising….

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Software is like exercise equipment. People get all fired up about changing their lives and go out and buy a treadmill or a set of weights

This will make everything run perfectly

This will make everything run perfectly

and then it just it sits there, like a giant, metal guilt trip, reminding you that you still don’t have your act together. Software can be the same. Busy managers buy a piece of software, or subscription to some cloud-based thing, thinking that it will help them get organized. But then they never use it, because it doesn’t fit into the way they operate. Software sales people call these “Skeletons in the Closet.” We see this all the time with HR software: Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) or Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) or applicant tracking systems. Companies buy the software to create the process. It just doesn’t work that way. Process first, software to automate it comes later.

Whether you like it or not, you already have some kind of process for managing your human resources. It may be a bad system, in which case, a software may be able to improve it. It may be an adequate system that takes too much time. Or it may be a splendid system that can be made seamless by a good software. But you already have some kind of a system. Before you ever go shopping for a software, spend some time really studying your process.

Questions to consider:

  • How do you keep track of employee information now?
  • Where do you keep your records? Is it a compliant system?
  • What’s your hiring process?  Phone screens? In person interviews?  Background checks?
  • Are you looking for candidates in one particular geographical area, like for a retail store or are you looking for candidates in your industry who could be anywhere in the world?
  • How do you communicate with employees?
  • How do you handle performance evaluations?
  • Do you use Gmail or Outlook so that you need your software to work with it?

The worst thing you can do is to start demoing applicant tracking software and then figure out what you need it to do. I mean, that’s like shopping for a house by getting in the car and driving all over town looking for For Sale signs. First you figure out what you want in a home, a neighborhood, a school district. You list your desired amenities and look at your budget. You need to approach this with the same educated buyer approach.

And if you’re an owner or CEO, please don’t try to do this in a vacuum. Involve your hiring managers, your HR person if you have one, your recruiter and maybe one or two people who were recently hired, because they can give you good feedback on your process.

HR software can do different things. You might choose one if you have to scale your workforce quickly and another if you already have a lot of employees on shifts. If you’re focused on retention, some products are really helpful for tracking employee feedback, training, and succession planning. Some are strongest in handling administrative and legal functions.

Just don’t jump out there and say “That’s really cool, that software will take our company where we want it to go.” The software is just the bicycle. You still have to pedal it.

And if you want help choosing the best software for your company and your process, call us.

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.