Managing HR in the 21st Century
What to know about dedicated HR software
by Richard Davis

The health care industry has become much more data driven in managing the day-to-day operations, but one area that has lagged in the HME space is related to people management.

Most HME providers have lived for years with keeping employee information on Excel spreadsheets and constantly checking to ensure any training, licensing, credentialing or other requirement was up to date. The “keeper of the information” had to create some tickler or reminder system to track the information.

When evaluating an HR system, making the right technology oriented decision is crucial. Companies without in-house IT support may want to access outside expertise.

In years past, a comprehensive system to maintain all employee information was reserved for the large organizations with a bigger checkbook. With advanced technology, companies of every size can now afford some type of HR solution.

Integrated human resource systems have been referred to as Human Resource Information System (HRIS), Human Resource Management System (HRMS), or just HR Software. More recently, the term has changed to Human Capital Management (HCM), which is an umbrella that covers all the touchpoints between employee and employer.

The first generation of HR systems did little more than transform paper filing systems into virtual ones. These early systems saved space, but did not necessarily save time by storing employee records, benefits data and compensation structures within a single digital framework. First-generation HR systems are still very much alive within the walls of many providers.

Many solutions are available. Most include a database that can be integrated with modules that offer a variety of features and benefits. Since the needs of a business will vary from one company to another, having separate modules from which to choose is sometimes more beneficial and cost effective than purchasing a fully integrated turnkey solution.

Before a business chooses an HR system, many questions need to be asked and answered as to the planned use and the deliverables of the system. A fully comprehensive and integrated HR system will include recruitment management, payroll management, employee information management, time and attendance management, benefits management and scheduling and performance/talent management.

When asked what features are liked most in a chosen HR system, Heather Haak, former director of human resources at National HME and current director of human resources at Embassy Suites in Dallas, Texas, responded, “One of the features that I love about our HRIS is the talent profile capabilities that help track certifications and license renewals, as well as skill profiles as we develop the talent pipeline and look at career progression for our associates. The system also has a wonderful mobile app so associates can view their pay stub and benefits info anytime.” An HR system is also beneficial to track training for all employees: training that has been completed, training that is scheduled, and training that is still needed.

PC Magazine rated the best human resource management software of 2017 based on the following features: applicant tracking, benefits administration, payroll, performance reviews, scheduling, time and attendance and time-off tracking. The rating also included whether a system had an app for iOS or Android for employee self-service.

Josh Elliott, employee relations manager with LifeH2H in Columbia, South Carolina, was part of a team that evaluated an HR system for the business. “We needed a system that provides continuity between my own job function, from recruiting to onboarding to compliance to performance reviews. Additionally, we needed a system that provides both efficiencies and accountability to HR and to the managers for things like time and attendance, and performance management.”

When evaluating an HR system, making the right technology-oriented decision is crucial. Companies without in-house IT support may want to access outside expertise.

There are primarily three basic HR solution types: subscription service solutions, licenses/purchase solutions and licensed/hosted solutions. Which one is best depends on your company’s in-house technology and IT capabilities. Put simply, would you rather own it, license it, or neither, and simply pay per employee?

Subscription service solutions, often referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts the application and makes it available to customers over the internet. The software and the data reside on servers in a secure facility, managed by the vendor, where the system can be accessed from a web browser. These solutions do not require IT support from the client and generally come priced with a per employee/per month (PEPM) cost structure. These systems usually require a set-up fee, and the subscription is a monthly charge based on employee population for a minimum term. With a SaaS HR system solution, there is very little customized configuration beyond what modules the service will include. With business growth, customization may become needed to maximize use.

Licensed/purchase solutions are “you buy it and own it” systems. A company will pay a one-time license fee to an in-house IT department or contracted/outsourced IT professional to install and maintain the solution on a company’s hardware using the company network. The licensed software is configured to the specific needs of a company. There are generally implementation fees to set up the software and an ongoing annual support fee, which might be a percentage of the original license cost.

Licensed/hosted solutions, also referred to as an Application Service Provider (ASP) are the same as licensed/purchased solution, with the software being configured to the specific needs of a company. The difference in the hosted versus the purchase is that the vendor will host the software in a secure facility and provide the IT support. There will be implementation and ongoing support fees, but there is usually no minimum term as the license is owned. The system can be customized for maximum benefit and IT support will be available from the vendor.

Do you know the 10 questions you should ask an HR sofware provider? Find out here.