10-Way Cloud HR Software Changed the Way the HR Department Works

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The HR department is no longer limited to the back office, which takes care of one pile of paperwork after another. Thanks to the Internet and modern technology, HR has completely transformed itself into a technically savvy department that takes advantage of cloud-based HR solutions to hire staff, manage leisure time, perform onboarding and offboarding activities and more.

The HR department is usually a place of hectic activity. Thanks to the benefits of cloud-based HR software, HR professionals now have the ability to reduce and simplify administrative tasks such as payroll and record keeping. Instead, they can focus on issues that can make a difference in this era of fierce competition - such as employee engagement.

A look at HR in the 90s

In 1995, when a manager in one of Hannaford Brothers Co.'s grocery stores wanted to check his 401(k), he had to dial into a voice-activated telephone system.

Interactive phone systems were at the heart of the HR ecosystem of the 1990s. For many workers, the 16-line touch-tone system they were using for HR purposes back then was state of the art. HR processes ran on large mainframes hidden in an air-conditioned basement somewhere below the office, while employee training and onboarding were presented on laser discs.

From today's perspective, HR may look old-fashioned in the 1990s, but it was a necessary step to get where we are today. The pain of HR resources becoming a bottleneck gave employees a window on what "self-service" might look like. Within a few years, HR professionals remember innovations like this:

These 10 cloud software benefits have changed HR forever

The HR software that emerged in the late 1990s benefited small businesses that desperately needed simple automation. As functionality became stronger and more complex, innovation slowly spread to larger companies.

Since the early 2000s, there has been a significant shift from the early "one size fits all" HR software that had emerged to specialized systems capable of managing recruitment, training, assessment and other HR-related tasks. Cloud-based HR systems give organizations the computing power and ability to survive and thrive in the information age.

Below we explore how the following benefits of cloud-based HR software have improved the workplace:
  • Less paperwork
  • Real-time and accurate performance evaluations
  • Increased employee commitment
  • 24/7 access to wage and benefit information
  • Rapid deployment
  • Cheaper HR solutions
  • New approach to security
  • Easy access to innovations
  • Bringing HR up to date
  • Predictive analytics

Less paperwork

Gone are the years of storing employee documents in large filing cabinets. With cloud-based HR software, all files can now be securely stored in the cloud and instantly accessed with applications such as Box, Google Drive and Dropbox. Because the data is stored digitally, an HR employee can search and print a file from a cloud-based HR solution in seconds.

Accurate real-time performance evaluations

One of the critical functions of the HR department is the assessment of employee performance. Evaluations used to involve endless paperwork and took a lot of time to collect data.

With cloud HR software, employee performance is automatically tracked in real-time. Data analysis uses built-in dashboards and reports as well as machine learning. Cloud HR solutions help the HR team set up the right new systems or provide additional training within hours.

Today there are more than 70 products that fall into the Employee Performance Management software category - a subset of cloud HR software that helps HR professionals track and leverage performance data. Here's what one reviewer had to say about conducting performance reviews with Ultipro, a top-rated product in this category:

Increased employee engagement

Cloud HR systems take advantage of large amounts of data and mobile technology to retain employees. For example, with a tool like Ceridian Dayforce HCM, HR departments can send a pulse survey to employees in minutes to gather feedback on how the company can better serve them. Cloud HR systems can also help track hours and manage employee payroll.

Without question, HR teams have learned over the past decade that employee engagement is a critical source of competitive advantage. Engagement leads to high levels of customer satisfaction, knowledge sharing, interest from new applicants, business flexibility and profitability. When used effectively, HR software such as Trinet or Oracle HCM Cloud can help make the workplace more humane and improve long-term employee retention.

24/7 access to information on pay and benefits

With cloud HR software, employees can access key information about their pay and benefits anytime, anywhere. They can easily see how much of their salary is tax, 401(k) and more.

With more modern HR systems, employees typically accessed HR information via telephone systems. These systems may not always be available, require more space and may not have the bandwidth that HR cloud systems have. Cloud HR systems allow constant access at all times.

Cloud HR systems also make it easier for employees to change salary and benefit settings. An employee using a cloud HR system can set up a direct deposit, change his or her health insurance and more without the help of an HR professional.

Rapid deployment

HR software as a service is easy to implement and manage. Based on end-user feedback in the reviews, it is also less complex compared to stand-alone or legacy HR systems. With HR Software as a Service, you don't have to worry about security updates or maintenance because these tasks are managed by the SaaS provider.

Cheaper HR solutions

Cloud-based HR systems offer more value at lower up-front costs than proprietary HR management software. Once implemented, cloud solutions immediately begin to deliver reasonable returns, including better data and time savings. This means your company has more resources to improve products or focus on employee satisfaction.

Cloud HR solutions provide self-service capabilities for employees. These features allow employees to accept and make changes to their services on their own. Self-service capabilities reduce the workload on HR professionals, so fewer HR staff are required to manage the HR system. With cloud HR systems, employees can instead focus on other HR needs.

New approach to security

Before the cloud-based HR department, security meant using permanent padlocks and fireproof archives. Now that employee records are stored digitally, companies must rethink how to keep sensitive information secure. Data security is particularly relevant to international companies due to the GDPR law throughout Europe. The GDPR redefines personal data and makes companies responsible for protecting the personal data of employees.

The good news is that most cloud HR software companies take security seriously. They conveniently have the latest mechanisms to protect your company's sensitive data. As a result, it's up to them, not you, to maintain security, even as regulations change.

Easy access to innovation

What happens when your proprietary human resources management software becomes obsolete? Upgrades, deployment and training can easily drive up the total cost of ownership. With cloud computing, start-ups and large enterprises now have equal access to innovation in cloud HR solutions. The cloud offers an easy way to upgrade solutions. This means that companies no longer need to constantly make additional investments in software or technology.

Access to innovation creates a level playing field by enabling small businesses to compete with large companies by staying ahead of technology trends, adapting to change and introducing new solutions as they advance.

Updating HR as a strategic department

Perhaps the most significant impact of cloud-based HR systems is the ability to bridge the gap between the HR team and the rest of the organization. Traditionally, the HR department has always worked in the back office and suffers from delayed information and a serious communication gap.

Today, with a mission to improve employee engagement and develop successful workplace cultures, HR must be at the forefront - it must lead the way. Thanks to cloud computing, this is now possible. Data is centralized and more accessible, reporting is instant, and analyzing trends and information is much easier and faster. With these tools, HR can effectively lead the way and make better decisions to improve employee recruitment, retention and performance.

Predictive analytics

Once the AI is recruited and working in HR systems, it can help with retention and promotion issues. By viewing data across the enterprise, AI can predict which employees are at risk of becoming dissatisfied and proactively address the issue. For example, a performance slump may occur due to lack of training, a work environment problem, or other reasons. These HR solutions detect and resolve employee problems before they lead to someone quitting or losing productivity.

The Future of Cloud-based HR Software as a Service

According to a 2017 study by Deloitte, many HR programs now use digital and mobile tools. 41% of HR teams surveyed are actively working on developing mobile apps, while others are using social media to deliver HR information. In addition, 33% use some form of artificial intelligence technology to deliver HR services and solutions. This continuous innovation and expansion of HR software can give you an idea of where the development of cloud-based HR software is heading. There are now more efforts being made to make services accessible and easy to use for all employees.

If you haven't yet moved to cloud-based HR management, you're behind the curve. According to a survey by SelectHub, 100% of HR software buyers surveyed were open to cloud solutions and access to the cloud was the feature most requested by the buyers surveyed. SaaS HR tools consolidate HR functionality into a single cloud-based application that is easier to deploy than a traditional on-premise solution.

Cloud-based HR systems also include automation, so HR staff can save time and employees can serve themselves. With Saas HR software, companies can use all automated systems in a single system to reduce labor costs and give employees access to payroll and benefits information with minimal training.

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