Handling employee management and HR tasks is a big part of running a business. Although you know it’s important, you have more pressing matters to attend to – like servicing customers, marketing to prospects and increasing sales.

Managing manual processes and large volumes of paperwork can make these tasks even more time consuming. So how can you improve efficiency and save resources?

The simple answer: go electronic. And if you’re thinking, “I can’t afford it — I don’t have time to change my processes,” think again. Depending on the option you choose, your start-up time can be minimal, and the solution can be quite affordable.

Why it Makes Sense to Upgrade

Let’s look at some common questions about making the shift … and the advantages you can expect:

Q: What types of electronic HR solutions are available?

A: There are two basic types for small business owners: software you purchase and install on a computer or software that lives in the cloud and is accessed through a website. Though the functionality is basically the same, cloud-based HR software offers significant advantages over installed software.

Q: What benefits do cloud-based software give my business?

A: For starters, cloud-based software gives you instant, 24/7 access, from anywhere. With desktop software, you only have access when sitting in front of the host computer. Because cloud-based software runs through a website, you can access from any computer in the world, as long as you have Internet. Plus, with cloud-based software, you don’t have to worry about losing data due to damage or natural disasters. Your records are much more secure when they’re stored in the cloud.

Q: What HR tasks can I automate using HR software?

A: You can simplify a host of day-to-day tasks by going electronic. Hiring is a good example. You can create and send job applications online, track and organize candidates through your internal process, and store resumes and other hiring documents. Other common functions include maintaining personnel records, tracking attendance, handling time off requests and coordinating employee disciplinary actions.

Q: Is HR software time-consuming to implement?

A: If you’re already strapped for time, the thought of taking on something new can be daunting. But putting in the time and effort upfront will pay off later. Plus, set-up time can be minimal if you choose the right partner. Reputable software providers recognize the demands on your time — and work hard to design services that are intuitive and easy to adopt.

Q: What if I can’t afford a comprehensive HRIS system?

A: HRIS – or Human Resource Information Systems – can be expensive. Also, because of their advanced functionality, these systems are appropriate for larger businesses. But many smaller employers don’t need such complexity. And why pay for features you won’t use? Fortunately, many online HR software services are available as individual apps to address specific needs. So instead of buying an expensive, complicated system, you can purchase exactly what you need.

Companies of all sizes continue to move their HR processes to the cloud at a record pace. In 2015, 68% of organizations had at least one HR process in the cloud. By 2017, that number climbed to 73%.

Source: PwC HR Technology Survey

Q: Will switching to HR software save me time?

A: Definitely. No more fighting the clock hunting down misplaced documents. You’ll have instant access to the records you need. You can also increase efficiency by giving some responsibility to your staff. Instead of taking time out of your day to update records when an employee has a change of address, for example, you can provide your employees with an account so they can enter their information themselves. In addition, placing documents in the cloud makes them accessible to other designated coworkers, improving coordination between your teams and departments.

Q: What should I look for in a HR software provider?

A: First, you want to find a reputable provider that meets your specific needs at a price you can afford. Beyond that, you want to make sure the provider has extensive experience with legal compliance. Even simple HR tasks carry legal risks. Using an outdated version of an I-9 form, asking an illegal question on a job application, not maintaining records for the required amount of time – these are all too common employee management mistakes. You want a provider who knows the legal ins and outs and will help keep your company in compliance.

4 Key Questions to Ask a Potential HR Software Provider
  1. How secure is my employee data?
  2. Do you have compliance expertise?
  3. What type of customer support do you offer?
  4. How fast is implementation?

Change is Good for HR Efficiency

Sticking with paper may seem easier, but it’s actually holding you back. Moving from paper to online HR solutions can be incredibly beneficial – bringing convenience and efficiencies to your business. With minimal time and effort, you can enjoy a huge payoff by going electronic.

Key Takeaways
  • Switching to an electronic HR solution can be quick and affordable if you select the right partner.
  • Cloud-based software has many benefits over desktop software, including access to data from any computer, anywhere.
  • Instead of a comprehensive HRIS system, consider online HR software services available as individual apps for specific needs.
  • Choose a reputable provider with extensive employment law experience – that meets your specific needs at a price you can afford.