Human Resource Software
Published February 15th, 2016 by

What does Human Resources Management Software Do?

An Introduction to Human Resource Management Software

Today we are going to cover a high level overview of human resource management software. This entails starting by defining human resources as a discipline so that we can understand the scope of activities involved. Then, we will discuss how software is used to fulfill these functions and augment the personnel component of a human resources department.

What Does the Human Resources Department Do?

Every large or medium sized business will have a human resources department. It’s a bit of a misnomer, as it doesn’t quite capture the full scope of what goes on within the department. It’s true that HR departments handle functions such as hiring and firing and compensation management, they also partner with company management to formulate development plans for the personnel within the organization. Of course, human capital is the most valuable, so it is no surprise that a department would be concerned with investing in this asset. Moreover, human resources acts as a sort of middleman between management and employees, handling complaints and issues as they arise on either side of the aisle.

Basic Human Resources Functions

Hiring: Of course, this is one ohuman resources management softwaref the most obvious functions that come to mind. When an organization needs to backfill a position or expand their headcount, it is accomplished through the HR department. Typically, the HR employees will place advertisements in local channels as well as some of the larger job service websites. The human resources department may even send employees to local job fairs to recruit candidates directly, face to face.

Once an application is received, regardless of the channel, the human resources department will screen the applicant based on the company criteria. Typically, they will compare the resume to the job postings, as a start. If the candidate does not meet some or all of the basic criteria, they will not be considered for the position. Following that, human resources staff will check references to verify that the candidate’s employment history is clean and free of worrying incidents. For some positions, HR will conduct actual background checks, including criminal history and financial records, to make sure the individual is not a felon and not a financial degenerate. Once the applicant passes the initial screening process, they will be invited for interviews. Human resources may or may not be directly involved in the interviewing process itself, however they will at least coordinate the interviews with the appropriate personnel. Once the candidate is awarded the position and brought on board the organization, they will handle orientation. This orientation process informs the new hire of the company culture, expectations, rights, and obligations.

Compensation: Depending on the size of the organization, the human resources will have a large or small role in the administration of compensation. At the very least, HR will draft hiring letters to inform candidates that they have been selected for the positon, and what compensation they can expect to receive. This compensation will include base pay, applicable bonuses, and any insurance the company may offer. For smaller organizations, human resources may go as far as to track holiday schedules, vacation time and pay, and update records when employees are promoted or leave the company, either through attrition or otherwise. Finally, human resources is generally responsible for making sure the company’s compensation is comparable to competitors to prevent poaching of employees.

Employee relations and performance:  Most businesses will recognize that their people are there most significant asset and will therefore be proactive in coming up with plans to further develop employees. Human resources is generally responsible for coordinating training and mentorship programs to develop the skillset of the workforce. These training programs can be developed within the company, or even take the form of external training from outside vendors.

In addition, HR will be responsible for monitoring employee performance. This is in an effort to make sure that there is no personal bias between the direct manager and the employee. Often, human resources will also serve as an intermediary when there is an employee complaint regarding the behavior of another employee or management.  Should the company have a union, the human resources department can oversee contracts between the union and management, as well as assist in negotiations and mediation of disputes.

Regulatory Compliance: Regardless of the size of the business, there will be regulations regarding company behavior. It is up to the human resources department to make sure all applicable regulations are followed, to prevent the company from violating rights of employees and ultimately being fined by regulatory oversight committees. These protections may take the form of anti-discrimination laws, work place safety, and guarantees of various other workers’ rights.

An additional function performed by human resources departments, for international or particularly large companies, is the filing of work permits for immigration authorities. With an increasingly globalized workforce, many companies are obtaining talent that is not native to their location. This introduces extra complexities as most countries have stringent and numerous regulations regarding the immigration and employment of foreign nationals.

Other duties: As if the above were not enough, the human resources department is responsible for communicating with the public. They serve as the bridge between the company and the outside world, always making sure the company does not reveal too much or comment on matters that could get them in trouble. Where applicable, HR will also coordinate various social responsibility campaigns, such as community events sponsored by the corporation.

Applications of Human Resources Software

For small firms, it is human resources management softwarestraight forward for a small team to manage these essential functions. As the organization scales, however, complexity will grow exponentially and the human resources staff can quickly become overwhelmed. In such situations, it becomes necessary to leverage the use of smart software systems. The best human resources management software will augment the functions of the human resources employees and enable them to reach greater operational efficiency.

Human resources software functions can be broken down into three categories, which is core HR, workforce management, and strategic HR.

Core HR is essentially all the traditional functions such as benefits administration or personnel tracking and payroll. Every business is going to need these functions, and is some low hanging fruit for automation. Software can augment your existing human resource system by performing the following functions:

  • Manage paid time off
  • Manage insurance programs and 401k
  • Centralize employee data such as social security number, contact information, past employment, and demographic information
  • Track salaries and bonuses
  • Track health and other deductions
  • Calculate tax withholding

Workforce management or administration encompasses the software required to effectively schedule and organize a workforce. This is great for companies whose employees work in shifts where time spent working and attendance are critical metrics to measure. Human resource management software can supplement an HR department by providing the following workforce management functions:

  • Attendance and absence tracking
  • Enable employees to clock in and out
  • Track accrual and usage of sick or paid time off
  • Rules based system alerts employers when employees miss a pre-determined number of days
  • Shift management and employee scheduling to ensure compliance with personnel needs
  • Alert management when staffing levels become inadequate

Strategic HR is of course related to growing the company by developing the employees and attracting new talent. This software will deal with applicant tracking and recruiting, training management, and performance reviews. The following functions can be automated by human resource management software:

  • Applicant tracking database to provide a centralized location for storing applicant information and employment applications
  • Candidate tracking with applicant status monitoring
  • Ability to perform background checks
  • Centralized location for performance review results to track employees progress over time
  • A central hub for training new employees and upskilling existing employees


As we have seen, the human resources department is responsible for a number of critical functions within any business organization. These responsibilities span everything from hiring and firing, to scheduling and making sure the company is within compliance of all applicable labor regulations.

As a company grows, the human resources pic 3_needs for these services will also grow. Moreover, the complexity in the administration of these tasks will grow much faster than linearly, so that simply adding more human resource personnel will not be a sufficient response to meet the growing demands. Indeed, it will become necessary to employ software to help meet the critical human resources functions.

This software will help streamline the entire human resources department, and enable greater operational efficiency in the face of a mounting workload. For growing organizations, this is a huge benefit as it can mean the difference between success and failure.

The best human resource management software will be a balance of cost and performance. It should be inexpensive enough to allow greater margins as the company grows, while having sufficient complexity to adequately replace the function of a real human being.

On the question of how to choose human resource management software, there are many factors to consider. Among them will be the size of the organization and the particular challenges it is facing at the time. This is a question that will be explored in a future article, as it is beyond the scope of the current work. Suffice it to say, there are a number of factors to consider and there is no cookie cutter answer that can be given without some serious thought about the current state of the organization and its future direction.

Looking Ahead

In future articles we will explore some of the available software, what makes each package suitable for an organization, how to know when you need human resource management software, as well as some of the best human resource management software packages available.

We hope you found the article informative. If you have any questions, please reach out to us. We are here to help!

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