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How Sparta Enterprise navigates HR . . . the most underrated module




Funny memes, exaggerated office stories and plenty of punitive vocabulary, HR is unlike any other department.


Often overlooked, HR is the force that holds organizations together. Any organization is made up of people. People are key to the success of a company. From the CEO to the data clerk, people accomplish key tasks so that businesses function smoothly.


A great deal of companies are dependent on the volume of people hired like labor intensive industries such as manufacturing or agro-processing. Others are looking for less volume but rather reaching out for skill. And then there are those who depend not so much on quantity or experience but rather on their seasonality, for instance on-demand delivery companies or freelance providers.


People are resources, properly managing them is pivotal in boosting employee productivity amongst many other benefits (for both company and employee)


This leads to utilizing software and specifically software geared towards the different components of Human Resources or HR for short. Companies are heavily dependent on software that can accomplish multiple tasks such as getting attendance, registering absences, processing payroll, paying out overtime etc.


But choosing the right one is not easy, thorough review of every pros and cons has to be made. Having said that, we have compiled 5 mistakes companies make when they pick their HR software, all from our experience as an Enterprise Software provider.




1. Interoperability


This word has become ubiquitous in the world of tech. Yet, it still holds importance to this day. Interoperability is, as defined by Webster "the ability of a system to work with or use the parts of another system".


This is a key aspect when selecting software as many companies already use a myriad of applications that serve multiple purposes. For example, a cement producing factory could be using an accounting software, a procurement software, a document management system, an inventory and supply chain management system, all being operated by different departments independently.


Introducing another software might seem like an overkill but that's the reality these days. Some software companies specialize on specific aspects of a business and they stick to it. This has become the norm but yet the issue of interoperability still persists, meaning, how do you permit different software and hardware to live with each other?


In the case of an HR software, transactions such as loan repayments and payroll postings have financial impacts. For a example, if a company is running an independent accounting software, the two systems need to communicate with each other through APIs or some sort of an csv. upload method.


Another example is when a biometric device is already in place, managers want to get data on employee attendance. That data will probably exist on the software running on top of the hardware but it won't have any impact on things like the employee's monthly salary (missing work days might reduce the paid out salary for that month).


These implications are important to get the best value of of your software.

Here is an example where the user can navigate onto the Attendance and Overtime page under HR and upload the subsequent csv file form the attendance device.



This in turn updates the attendance logs for each employee and based on pre-set rules, adjusts the salaries to be paid out. Using two different systems isn't always bad but it's always best to depend on one that encompasses all the aspects of HR. To that end, some companies respond by going all in.



2. Getting all the bells and whistles


This is especially seen at a large corporation making 10s if not 100s of millions of dollars in yearly revenue. There is a false perception that a large workforce means obtaining a tool that is equally as large.


In a sense, this misconception is due to the fact that the large number of employee is indicative of multiple scenarios where only a complex software can handle. But that's not entirely true.


Companies classify employees into categories which makes it easier to align unique cases with a broader scenario. For instance, an employee that works overtime hours on regular days coupled with weekends will have different hourly compensation. Another employee might work extra hours half a day on weekends and another half a day during a holiday. These examples might multiply and seem overwhelming but fear not.


This can all be handled in setups. For instance, you can create rates for:

  • Holiday Overtime Rate = 2.50

  • Weekend Overtime Rate = 2.00

  • Daily Overtime Rate = 1.25

On Sparta Enterprise, the overtime rules are pre-defined by the user, which makes it easier to handle any type of scenario. Payroll is processed with these calculations in mind: at the this time, the total overtime amount or the selected payroll period will reflect all the types created in the setups.

You can also predefine your holidays so that your Holiday Rate can be applied on that date. Pretty neat way to segregate your overtime dates.


Handling the different cases generates a lot of data that has to be checked and analyzed, which brings us to our next point.



3. Visualization > Functionality


One of the go to features of enterprise software is business intelligence or BI. This encompasses data driven insight with graphs, bar charts, doughnuts and more visual instruments to help the user makes sense of the data at a glance.


Most applications either have their own dashboards or they connect with business intelligence tools such as Microsoft's PowerBI or Salesforce's Tableau. These tools offer a detailed rendering of what the data is doing and where the value is hidden.


Visualization has become a key criteria in assessing software purchasing. Yet, it's also one of the aspects of the purchasing process that overshadows an important value driven by the chosen software: its robust functionality.


A dashboard is supposed to be you first go to page, it's supposed to show key metrics and KPIs to alert the user of what is going on. An effective dashboard is straightforward with a couple of cards displaying a few charts. A crowded dashboard leads to misinformation and confusion.


Here is your employee page:

The user can get all the primary information without digging too deep. Further analysis can be done by going through the different tabs listed below.


Simple and straightforward. Yet this simplicity is the result of a system that does the basics and more: allocate the right salary, set the correct pension rates, consider APPROVED leave requests, deduct monthly loan repayments from your payroll, split payroll between two or more banks. Just to mention a few.

4. Rigid setups


As mentioned above, as an HR officer, you will encounter many cases. The latter depend on many conditions, conditions that need to be pre-defined, which in turn are dependent of other conditions.


I know this is sounding more like the plot of 'Inception' rather than an article about software but there's a point to to this point. In order to accommodate the different use cases, certain parameters need to be set, for instance, in some places, allowances are split into two: taxable and non-taxable income. You can assume that above a certain threshold, allowance becomes prone to taxation, below it, it's is just a simple income.


To add to that, for some employees with a certain pay grade, allowances are not even considered taxable. Hence, two conditions are interdependent when calculating payroll. This is an important feature when dealing with various types of employees (Permanent, part-time, contractors etc.).


With all this input at the end of the month, the accounting department usually has the responsibility to make sense of all these scenarios. They have to post the subsequent entries the General Journal updating their accounts before making payouts. Setup options like the Payroll Posting Group are ideal to handle the financial impacts.


An accountant will set the relevant accounts to cover all of the scenarios. Payroll is PROCESSED, SAVED (To block the processing to hinder any changes), POSTED and PAID.

At this point, the system will take care of the operations where as the the HR personnel can focus on strategic planning such as planning and recruiting, This lowers the expenses spent on employees, work load has been decreased and the software benefits are highlighted but those savings are not easily identified, in fact, cost is greatly taken into consideration when buying software.



5. Cost Minimizing


Businesses, just like individuals, are always looking for a bargain. And Enterprise Software is no bargain. Companies spend huge resources to source a product that will be robust, user friendly and most importantly, sustainable.


Most small and medium sized businesses opt to do it without software, they prefer to manage their HR from a spreadsheet. Aspects like attendance, expense management and bonus disbursements are handled all on a common document that is then relayed to other others. Certainly not the most efficient way.


These businesses grow to larger sizes, from 10 to 50 people, growing to the thousands or even tens of thousands. This follows a trend that we have mentioned above: if the employees to be managed goes up so does the complexity. Not to contradict our point, but this is a good reason to scale towards an application.


Scaling up eases the strain on the HR department while also adding some bells and whistles to the users. Take the 'My Profile' page for example:



On top of the operational efficiencies, the employee (a.k.a the user in this scenario) will have their own page. They can record their overtime and have it validated by a supervisor.


Any update in their professional life such as obtaining a certification or completing a training can also be done through their own personal portal. This customized user experience should be the norm of HR software but if the feature's cost looks like it will inflate the allocated software budget, then decision makers are usually quick to dismiss it, focusing more on the human capital controlling aspect of the application.


Summary


To touch on our last point, cost is a key factor is buying software. It's just like any purchasing decision, we want to have the best for the least amount of money, it's always the same sweet spot we're aiming for.


This decision can be a costly one (no pun intended) if cost is the sole driving force. Aspects like functionality, user experience, interoperability, flexibility and a good BI page are equally important.


One thing to take away from this is that HR software is the most implemented software at the enterprise level. Every company is dependent on people that work together for a common goal. Use of software is key in helping maintaining that productivity and engaging the employee in decision making while at the same time adding transparency. Sparta Enterprise was built to accomplish just that.


Last thought: Don't be cheap and always look for features that specifically address your short and long term goals.

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