SME’s are Crying Out for Better HR Software

Nick Pye |


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An HR Consultancy firm called us today and said the following, delivered in a calm but frustrated tone:

“All of the HR systems I’ve looked at are far too simplistic. I want more for my clients. They expect more. They want greater functionality to help manage people and teams of people. Although they’re small, they have some complex and wide-ranging needs that so many products don’t cater for. They’re no different to many companies right now – they’re focused on their abilities to improve communications, gain feedback and to measure satisfaction, productivity, performance and well-being and they want HR software to provide solutions to their problems.”

This sentiment is increasingly becoming the norm, where smaller companies are looking for far more standard functionality and greater opportunities to configure their HR system. And the HR community is starting to wake up to the fact that superior technology should be playing an ever-increasing part in what they have traditionally recommended to their clients. Although long overdue, this trend is now set to continue. As HR Software evolves, so too will the role of the HR consultants employed to support business initiatives.

It’s a reality check when ACAS warns us that the usual daily activities of managing absence, performance and dealing with disciplinary matters have been overlooked due to other business pressures due to the pandemic. It’s self-evident that capable technology is needed to ensure that actions, processes and management activities can’t be allowed to be overlooked, and users are reminded of their responsibilities to follow due process.

However, not every small business has the same pain points and therefore requirements will differ between organisations. Software needs to have easy-to-use configuration settings that have the ability to dictate what capability is required, as well as providing a mechanism to determine what data and capability is provided to which users.

Whether it’s the automatic calculation of entitlement values, or granularity of security settings that dictate who can see and do what, or providing people managers with ACAS-driven case management capability to ably deal with flexible working requests, investigations, disciplinary actions or grievances, the list goes on and on – the smaller business may be fewer in numbers but similar requirements exist, so why do some small clients, some HR consulting firms and some software vendors continue to believe that small should equate to an automatic assumption that they should adopt dumbed down software?

Gone are the days where having data and documentation within a secure environment is enough for small businesses. Like larger organisations, the smaller organisations are looking for HR technology to automate processes, to deal with mundane and repetitive transactional activities and to serve as an enabler to greater efficiency gains. And most of all, they want to provide this technology to their people managers, in addition to HR personnel, so that they’re able to devolve people management responsibilities to where it should be, with the line.

Depending on industry type and the role of any line manager, we undoubtedly ask a lot of them. Amongst many others, we ask them to be knowledgeable and proficient in the following skills, as:

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What capability do we provide to our people managers that assist them with any of the above job role responsibilities?

We should only expect them to perform well, in any responsible area, once we provide them with the right work environment and one that affords them the tools that they need to learn and continue to be educated. They need support and we all require the means to communicate and reiterate the need to insist that standards are maintained and that employment law and data compliance obligations are upheld.

A recent survey suggests that pressures have mounted on managers as the latest national lockdown has created more concern over employee mental health and productivity. Over half (50%) of managers reported struggling with employee wellbeing and mental health, with 45% saying keeping staff motivated, happy, and productive has been their greatest challenge. The report suggested that the middle management layer in particular is feeling the pressure more acutely than others.

Optimisation of our HR initiatives needs the support of our business owners and the involvement of our People Managers, and both groups are crying out for the right enablement tools.

We’re delighted to help any company who is looking to improve its operational HR and people management capabilities. For more information on how we can help, please call us on 01259 233998, or email [email protected] to arrange a consultation session to discuss your own requirements.

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Nick has more than 25 years of leadership experience, where he has held a variety of executive positions spanning marketing, business development, HR product strategy and has been CEO of Youmanage since 2010. Nick acquired the Youmanage business in 2010 and led the renewed vision and go-to-market definition of the Youmanage platform for its official re-launch in September 2013. With significant and continued product development, he continues to steer Youmanage as an industry leading cloud HR software provider. Work aside, Nick retains his huge enthusiasm for music in both trumpet and bagpipe playing!