HR Software for the MAC – How to Select the Right System (and avoid common pitfalls)

by
April 23, 2014

HR Software for the MAC

“Does your HR software work on a MAC?”

This might sound like a simple question (and it’s quite a simple answer – “yes”!), but if you’re a more technically-minded HR professional, then I know a simple “yes” will not satisfy you.

You don’t just want to know if our HR software works on a MAC, you want to be sure our HR software works really wellon a MAC. You see, there’s a lot more to making great software run perfectly on a MAC than just making sure it sits well in the Apple-provided Safari browser.

So if you want to know what really good HR software for the MAC should include, then I’m going to talk you through a few of them now:

Non-Apple Browsers on Apple-Powered Devices

This is something not all software developers think about.

Apple devices come, as standard, with the Safari browser – and software developers often go on to assume that to make their software compatible for the MAC, they simply need to make it work with Safari.

But what about the users who prefer Chrome or Firefox? It doesn’t matter if the software already works for these browsers in Windows… getting it to talk to them in MAC is a whole new kettle of fish. So you need to know that the HR software you’re choosing is going to work well with your favourite browser for the MAC.

Key Tip: Ask which MAC browsers the software will work for

Can You See It? – Screen Size and Quality

Compared with laptops or PCs running Microsoft Windows, MAC devices usually run vastly superior displays on their screens – and these tend to be super high definition on a super small screen size. Known as Retina Displays (or Very Large Retina Display Screens), it’s mainly what make products like the ultra-cool MACBook Pro stand out (and with such a heavy price tag, too!).

Most Windows laptops and desktops usually offer a standard 15, 17 or 19 inch display, with very different resolutions. So before you assume software that ‘works’ on a MAC will look good on a MAC, consider trying it out for yourself. The best HR software will be written with true portability in mind and should automatically optimise display quality for each type of screen.

Key Tip: Ask to see how the software looks on the types of screen your company computers use.

Look Out for Silverlight and other Nasty Plugins!

Some HR systems won’t work on a MAC unless you install a plug-in. If you are using a MAC this is the last thing you will want to do and it proves that the system isn’t truly developed for a MAC, normally because you need a Microsoft Windows Plugin like Silverlight to use it – even when used from a browser!

Top Tip: Ask if the HR system you want is plugin free.

Look Out for Outlook!

If your HR software system lets you send email notifications to employees (such as holiday requests, performance reviews, etc.), then you need to make sure it’s not only been tested in Microsoft Outlook – the standard email client for Windows devices.

What looks good in Outlook may have never been tested in MAC Mail.

Key Tip: Ask to see an example of an email notification sent via MAC Mail.

File Management: MS Word or Apple Pages?

Some HR software systems will let you create, upload, edit and manage all of your company files and documents within the system. But if you’re using a MAC computer, then do not fall into the trap of signing up for a new HR system only to find that you get error after error when trying to upload files saved as Pages or OpenOffice.

And it’s not just whether or not your HR system can understand Apple Pages files – what if you’re using a MAC and your colleague is using a Windows PC. How will the software system read the files you upload, and more importantly, how will it make sure all people on the system will be able to read, edit, download and manage the files consistently?

Ideally, your HR software system should merge documents for you into a universally-readable file type. And if it doesn’t, you might run into problems.

Top Tip: Ask if the HR system you want will accept, read and merge all MS Word, Apple Pages and OpenOffice document types.

Customer Support – Do They Understand?

So what if something goes wrong with your HR software system and you need to make a call or create a support ticket? Will the team behind your desired HR software system understand the same issue on a MAC as they would on a Windows PC or Laptop? Or for that matter, the same issue on a tablet, smartphone and everything in between!

Top Tip: Check the companys support team understands how to help with issues on MACs, not just Windows.

Differences in User Interface

Most Windows devices still rely on a mouse with a scroller. MAC books don’t – or, at least, they rarely need this.

If the HR system you’re going to be rolling out across your entire organisation is full of unnecessary scroll bars that you’re just not going to use, then do you really want it?

It might sound minor, but who wants extra clutter on their screen?

Top Tip: Look for an uncluttered interface

Using a Mac? Ask the Right Questions!

Let’s face it: The MAC is amazing. I love them personally. But if you want an HR software system for the MAC, you need to be careful and make sure you’re asking the right questions. As a summary, here’s what you should look out for:

–     Ask which MAC browsers the software will work for

–     Ask to see how the software looks on the types of screen your company computers use.

–     Ask to see an example of an email notification sent via MAC Mail.

–     Ask if the HR system you want will accept, read and merge all MS Word, Apple Pages and OpenOffice document types.

–     Check the company’s support team understands how to help with issues on MACs, not just Windows.

–     Look for an uncluttered interface

I certainly hope you find this information useful, but if you think something here has not been answered, please do not hesitate to drop me a line!

Sat SindharManaging Director of People – a compact company of very experienced professionals, all working hard (and working together) to deliver something outstandingly different in the field of Human Resources.
 

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