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
Myth: HR Software always takes a long time to
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
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
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
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
Jim Witschger is founder and
CEO of Technical Difference, Inc., creators of PEOPLE-TRAK software,
a human resources software program. Witschger can be reached
Reprinted from HR Reporter,
April 19, 1999.