HR Software

What is the Best HR System: Pitfalls To Be Aware Of

Researching best HR System


Choosing the best HR system for your business will depend on a variety of factors – from your business goals to your budget, to your internal dynamics. Therefore, what you consider to be ‘best in class’ will differ to the next business. 

We get asked the question, what is the best HR system? A lot here at PeopleHR. In fact, in our industry, that question is up there with what’s the best Netflix series? Or, what’s the best Indian restaurant in the midlands? Or, who is the greatest band of all time… The truth is: it’s an entirely subjective thing.  

However, there are pitfalls of HR systems that you’d do well to avoid – especially if you’re new to the world of HR software and want to protect your investment.  

Here at Access PeopleHR, we’ve made enough observations and had enough conversations with customers to understand the pain-points that SMBs face with HR software – and in this article, we aim to cover the most common.  

In knowing what to avoid, this article should help you uncover exactly what to expect from your selected provider, putting you in a better position to choose the best solution for your business’s needs.  

Costly & timely implementation

If you select an HR software that’s specifically geared towards small to medium-sized businesses, the implementation shouldn’t, in theory, be a headache. Most HR software for SMBs works off a ‘plug-in-and-play’ model (think: Microsoft office for your HR needs). This means you could be up and running in a matter of weeks (providing your data is clean and up-to-date). That’s why, in most cases, there is no cost for implementation.  

So where can the pitfalls of HR software, and in particular, issues with implementation occur for SMBs? 

It’s all down to communication and the level of support you receive from your chosen provider. If you receive poor user training, for example, your team won’t be adequately prepared to use the software to its fullest. In this instance, you may require further training outside the scope of what’s been agreed upon – increasing your spend and pushing your timeline back.  

To avoid issues with your HR software implementation, select a provider that clearly outlines their implementation process on their website so you know exactly what you’re getting. Head over to our 4-step HR System implementation page if you’re interested in Access People HR’s approach.  

Data that's difficult to analyse 

A huge benefit of HR software is the data you can glean from it – since everything is feeding into one platform. This gives you enormous visibility over things like employee engagement, feedback, appraisals, sickness requests (and much more).  

But… imagine receiving all this data and not being able to make head nor tail of it? You’d need to spend hours analysing it in order to gather any useful information. 

This is a reality faced with many HRIS systems: you can access data but it’s difficult to analyse. 

So, how can you overcome this? 

Simply put, when considering what is the best HR software? search for a platform with HR reporting tools. A software that allows you to develop and export intuitive reports in a matter of minutes is the most effective way to report on crucial metrics in relation to your HR processes. In turn, this will allow you to improve on your recruitment efforts, appraisals and general employee management.  

Poor user design 

Switching from paper-based systems to a new software does not automatically improve user experience. HR software must be easy to use for both HR staff as well as all employees. Let’s say, for example, you require your team to track their time and attendance. If your new software is perceived as too complicated and cumbersome, then your team will revert back to their old Excel spreadsheets or paper-based system.  

How many times have you tried to implement something new – for it to be dismissed by the wider team because they don’t like using it? 

One of the main reasons for implementing a Human Resources system is to increase productivity and reduce HR workloads – and HR Self Service helps employees do numerous tasks independently. However, if software is too complicated or has been designed poorly, then these goals cannot be achieved. Therefore, user design and user-friendliness for all employees is a criterion that should never be neglected.  

User design goes beyond just the graphical interface, however.  

Characteristics of good user design with HR software: 

  • HR platforms for SMBs should be easy to understand and use – without specific knowledge or intensive training, beyond your initial ‘walk-through’ during implementation. 
  • The user must be able to access core information and functions easily and without risk. 
  • The software must run on all devices seamlessly. 

Ultimately, if a system is designed well and is user-friendly, then your team should subjectively enjoy working with it. 

Lack of employee engagement

Employee engagement refers to an employee's feelings and emotional attachment to the company, their job duties, their position within the company, and their fellow workers. So, if you’re investing in HR software for your business, you should always have employee engagement as a ‘front and centre’ objective.  

Here, we’re specifically talking about performance review software. A performance review software system can help organisations improve the efficiency and accuracy of their employee performance reviews, and it’s one of the top features to look out for in your HR platform.   

If performance review software is overlooked, then yes - you may be reducing admin and saving time, but you’re not solving for your employees. 

Questions to ask your potential HR software vendors: 

  • What are your performance management capabilities? 
  • How can it help me conduct regular reviews with employees? 
  • What feedback functionality does it have?* 
  • How does it allow me to set goals? 
  • What are the communication tools like? 
  • Is it mobile friendly? 
  • Is it compliant? 

*One such method of feedback to look out for in your HR software is 360 feedback. This is a process where multiple stakeholders share their feedback on an employee – as opposed to traditional, ‘top-down’ feedback where the employee only receives feedback from their line manager. Effective HR software makes 360 feedback easy - by way of online feedback forms that individuals can access anytime. This will help formulate a more balanced picture of an individual's progress, giving them more accurate, defined and realistic goals.  

It’s not accessible 

People incorrectly assume that all HR technology is mobile-friendly or even mobile-first. But, sadly, this is often far from the truth. There may be some areas of older, legacy HR tools that are accessible from mobile devices, but they are not practical nor designed with the user in mind.

A great HR system is one that’s been developed for every type of industry, no matter how and where your employees work. Not everyone has access to a PC or laptop during the day; employees may be on-site or travelling, depending on the nature of their job role. You may also be working with a remote or hybrid team – so the need for technology to work for all staff, wherever they are, is more important than ever.

Next steps

If you landed on this page hoping to find out the answer to - ‘what is the best HR system?’, we’re sorry to disappoint. As we mentioned, the ‘best’ solution for your SMB will differ from others. However, we hope this article has helped you understand what to avoid when selecting potential providers.  

Considerations when evaluating HR software: 

  • How well the software is implemented 
  • The data you glean from your HR software and how best to use it 
  • Poor user design 
  • How it addresses employee engagement 
  • Its accessibility  

Want to learn more about a system that does its best to ensure its customers don’t face these pitfalls? Then book in a free trial of Access PeopleHR. We work specifically for SMBs and provide an ‘all-around’ solution to your HR woes. We’re also a kind, friendly and approachable bunch – so you know you’ll be supported throughout your entire experience – so get in touch; we’d love to hear from you.

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Rich Newsome
By Rich Newsome Digital Content Writer

Rich is a content writer at Access PeopleHR and has a wealth of experience within the tech space, including HR software. Passionate about providing website visitors with informative and easy-to-understand content, Rich is committed to helping SMBs find the best solutions for their needs. With a flair for writing, Rich's content engages and educates readers, guiding them towards informed decisions.