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HRMS Software – Myths and Reality

There are lots of myths about HRMS software – let’s debunk a few of them:

Myth: HRMS Software will solve every problem

Reality-HRMS software automates processes that already exist. If you have a well-tuned human resources department, software will simply make things run that much more smoothly. If you have a poorly organized HR department, software will expose any problems or issues very rapidly.

The speed with which HRMS software operates has the direct result of allowing more work to get done more efficiently. This enables the HR group to be more vital, more visible. If timeliness is a problem (and it can be with reporting), HRMS software will solve it. However, if reports are a problem due to missing or incorrect data, you will simply have the ability to create bad reports quickly.

Myth: HRMS Software will eliminate HR jobs

Reality-Very seldom does anyone actually lose a job when HRMS 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.

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 HRMS software.

Myth: HRMS Software is complex

Reality-HRMS software is not complex at all when compared to, say, accounting software. The key factor in HRMS software is width. HRMS software tracks a vast array of data for employees, applicants, and jobs. However, that vast array of data is simply stored, reported on, and used for a few basic calculations.

Myth: HR Software always takes a long time to implement

Reality-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. 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 HRMS software is composed of recording current and historical data and of adjusting procedures for the automated production of reports and letters. Once it’s done, it’s done.

Myth: HRMS Software requires costly training

Reality-HRMS software merely automates tasks that you already perform (or need to be performing). 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." 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.

Myth: Customizing HRMS Software Requires Expensive Consultants

Reality-The 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. Buy software that most clearly resembles your needs.e to precisely meet your needs.

Myth: HR Software requires constant involvement from Information Systems

Reality-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.

Myth: Getting good Technical Support is a problem

Reality-We have all heard horror stories about lengthy delays for returned calls, inexperienced support reps, and of course, program bugs. Well designed software minimizes the need for technical support, 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 testing not only the software but also the technical support. Given that everyone is at his best before a sale, you can safely assume that if pre-sales efforts are weak, post sales efforts will be weaker.

Jim Witschger is founder and CEO of Technical Difference, Inc., creators of PEOPLE-TRAK software, a human resources software program. Witschger can be reached at 1-800-809-5731.

Reprinted from HR Reporter, April 19, 1999.

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