Eight Myths of HR Software
Myth #1: HR Software will solve all my problems
HR software automates processes that already exist. If you have a
well-tuned HR function, software will simply make that well-tuned
operation work much faster. If you have a poorly organized
, software will simply expose any problems or issues very rapidly.
The speed with which HR software operates has the direct result of
allowing more work to get done and for it to be done more efficiently.
This enables the HR function to be more vital, more visible, and more
timely. If timeliness is a problem (and it can be with reporting), HR
software will solve the problem. However, if reports are a problem due
to missing or incorrect data, you will simply have the ability to create
bad reports quickly.
Myth #2: HR Software will eliminate jobs in the HR Department
Very seldom does anyone actually lose a job when HR software is
implemented. Staff members who slave over the filing cabinet retrieving
and restoring files will lose those mundane duties and gain time for
proactive tasks such as reporting and planning. Staff members will no
longer serve the dreaded filing cabinet, but will serve the management
staff as is appropriate.
In larger HR staffs in a manual environment, there may be an overstaff
situation to compensate for the lack of automation. In this instance
staff members are often reassigned from the filing job to a role that
was not getting done before. For example, many former file clerks who
have quit the filing habit have become employment specialists and focus
their talents on recruiting, taking advantage of the applicant tracking
capabilities of the recently implemented HR software.
Myth #3: HR Software is complex and thus very expensive
HRMS software is not complex at all when compared to accounting
software, which can be very inexpensive. The key factor in HRMS software
is width. HRMS software tracks a vast array of data for employees,
applicants, jobs, positions, etc. However, that vast array of data is
simply stored, reported on, and used for a few basic calculations. NASA
would not use HRMS software to plan a mission to Mars.
Myth #4: HR Software always takes a long time to implement
In general, a well run manual HR function within a small to mid-size
business can be automated in a very short period of time, sometimes in
just a week or two. Remember, automation merely causes existing
functions to happen faster and more efficiently. If you have
well-defined review procedures, salary grades, job codes and such,
implementation is a matter of recording this information and then using
it. If few or any of these are well-defined, the automation process may
well force you to define them and implementation will likely be delayed.
The actual task of implementing HR software is composed of recording
current and historical data and of adjusting procedures for the
automated production of reports, letters, etc. There is no secret black
hole into which you will pour hours of work and there is no mystery to
the task. You just do it and it’s done.
Myth #5: HR Software requires lengthy and costly training
HR Software merely automates tasks that you already perform (or need to
be performing). Well-conceived and well-designed software should take
into account the typical ways in which HR tasks are already performed.
The wheel does not need to be reinvented.
Granted, you will need to learn how the software does things that you
used to do manually, but we are dealing with the capture, storage, and
retrieval of information. Any software that cannot simply automate the
process of putting information into computer files instead of putting
paper into filing cabinets, or that cannot replace an Excel spreadsheet,
is probably not well conceived or well designed. There is an old saying
in the software business. "If software is hard to use, it won’t get
used." An indication of how hard software is to use is how hard it
is to learn. If you need weeks and weeks of training to learn how to do
what you already know how to do, there is probably something wrong with
the software, not you.
Yes, you may need some training with your HR Software, but if it is more
than just a few days, you may be paying for badly designed software, not
Myth #6: Customizing HR software requires very expensive consultants
The normal reason software needs to be customized is because you wish to
change the software to more precisely meet your needs. If you know what
you wish to change, the hard work is already done. Most quality HR
Software provides some type of user customization capability. A
well-designed customization feature will allow you to make most, if not
all, of your desired changes in just a few hours or less. It is very
important that you purchase a product as close to your needs as
possible. Determine if using the inherent user customization features
will allow you to make the final adjustments yourself. You would not
purchase a sports car and request the dealer to customize it into a van.
Likewise, you would not purchase an
designed one way and then try to make it work another
way. Wise research will assist you in getting a product close to your
needs and in getting a product that you can easily and inexpensively
customize to precisely meet your needs.
Myth #7: HR Software requires constant IS involvement
Some HRMS software may require constant IS involvement, but a
well-designed and well-implemented product should not. If you are not
getting constant IS involvement with your system now (manual or
automated), you should not need it with a new automated system, unless
of course, the software is poorly designed, poorly conceived, and/or
Myth #8: Getting technical support is a problem with HR software
There are endless horror stories about lengthy delays for returned
calls, inexperienced support reps, voice mail, and of course, program
errors (i.e. bugs). Well-designed software minimizes the need for
, but there is never, ever a replacement for the human
touch. Well-trained reps can answer questions quickly and refer software
problems to the development staff for speedy resolution. During the
purchase process, you can determine the quality of support you are going
to receive by demo-ing not only the software but also the technical
support. Given that everyone is at their best before a sale, you can
safely assume that if pre-sales efforts are weak, post sales efforts
will be weaker.