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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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HR Software

What Is HR Software?

HR software is a digital solution for managing and optimizing the daily human resources tasks and overall HR goals of an organization. HR software makes it possible for HR staff and managers to better allocate their time and resources to more productive, profitable efforts.

HR software technology has come a long way since the first time computers were employed to manage human capital data in the 1970s. HR systems became more widely available to enterprise clients in the 1980s, and the arrival of web-based software in the 1990s made HR software even more common. Now, most new systems are cloud-based, subscription-based, easily integrated with other data management programs, and highly customizable to an individual organization’s needs, goals, and budget. In short, there is now an HR software solution for every size and type of organization.

What Does HR Software Do?

HR software assists an organization’s human resources department by automating manual tasks, keeping employee information organized, and creating data-driven reports. This is all done electronically, eliminating the need for paper documents. HR software can also serve employees and managers within an organization, assisting with tasks like time tracking, updating employee directories, and performance management.

Some of the functions HR software can perform include:

  • Securely storing and organizing employee data

  • Creating workflows and tracking approvals

  • Self-service time tracking

  • Tracking employee training for development and compliance

  • Gauging and reporting on employee satisfaction

  • Performance management and goal tracking

  • Benefits administration and management

  • Pre-boarding, onboarding, and offboarding automation

  • Third-party application integrations

  • Monitoring all data changes with an audit trail

  • Producing custom reports to provide strategic insight

  • And much more

All these actions are done with various HR software programs that can be purchased as a package or a la carte.

What Are the Benefits of HR Software?

While there are many benefits of using HR software, one of the biggest is its ability to reduce the time spent on repetitive, low-impact administrative tasks, which allows HR professionals to focus on more productive responsibilities and longer-term strategic outcomes.

Beyond this, other major benefits include:

  • Reduced errors

  • Improved organization of documents and employee data

  • Streamlined processes

  • Continuous feedback

  • More accurate analytics

  • Improvements in succession planning

  • Keeping organizations compliant with federal regulations

A Guide to the Best HR Software

The best HR software is determined by your company’s unique needs and goals, as there is a software solution for each of them.

Types of HR Software

Some types of HR software that may help your organization reach its goals are those that manage applicant tracking and onboarding, performance, and employee engagement.

  • Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS): An HRIS plays the core data-management role needed for multiple HR functions such as recruiting and tracking applicants, storing employee data, managing payroll and benefits, maintaining regulatory and legal requirements, etc. An HRIS can be standalone software designed to integrate with other HR applications, or it may be the central database in an all-in-one HR software system.

  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS): An ATS is recruiting software that helps streamline the hiring process for an organization from beginning to end. It typically handles tasks such as posting job openings to multiple job boards, storing applicant data, and screening applications for potential matches.

  • Onboarding:Onboarding software helps streamline and track the process of introducing new employees to an organization. It often includes elements like electronic signatures, pre-boarding packages, training tracking, employee questionnaires, and other automated functions to help HR ensure they are providing a compliant, smooth onboarding experience for new employees.

  • Performance Management: A platform for HR professionals, managers, and employees to assess employee skills, set performance goals, and track improvement.

  • Employee Engagement: Helps improve employee sentiment and increase individual and team engagement. This is done through everyday work priorities, feedback, coaching, and analytics.

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