So your business is ready for the benefits of HR and Payroll technology? The platforms of today have the power to transform the way we interact with and manage our workplaces, help engage our workers in any location and assist in automating & managing compliance within a complex industrial system of obligations and entitlements. And as the market of technology providers in Australia matures, there is an array of exciting features, user interfaces, integrations, associated gadgets and more!

With the array of tech platforms available, we are always perplexed when we walk into a new worksite as a service provider, and so often are met with a client disappointed that their tech solution “doesn’t do what we thought it would do”. That essentially they felt they were sold the dream, and now reality is not living up to the hype.

Workplace technology is amazing, the HR, admin, automation and compliance efficiencies, communications & controls to be gained are almost endless. The benefits and ROI are resounding for any business … so why the lukewarm success in so many worksites around Australia?

One thing’s for sure, it’s obvious that Australian Employers simply don’t know how to navigate the buying process in these new frontiers. So how do you navigate finding the right solution for you? How do you avoid falling victim to the “next best demo” and ensure you have the tools to make the right decision for you and your employees?

Four areas to remember when looking at software providers

1. Know what you want and you can’t be sold someone else’s dream – so often we watch clients commence the process of finding the right platform without truly understanding what they want, what results they need to achieve in their organisation, and how a provider is going to help best achieve those results. Define your must haves, good to haves and critical results you wish to achieve. Ensure suppliers are provided the brief and that they speak (and demo) directly to it. Work your requirements and outcomes into your commercial relationship with any supplier.

2. Buy from those who use the platform – a major issue with the technology buying process is you’re often buying from salespeople who have rarely ever applied their product to manage the real life situation that what you will need to. Purchase from a service provider who uses the platform to deliver their services to their Clients. These service providers (such as HR specialists, Australian payroll providers etc.) will know the nuances, downfalls, strengths and benefits of these platforms (they need to to keep happy clients!), and can better work with you to achieve your HR and Payroll objectives right from the outset of the decision making process.

3. Don’t rush Implementation. Change management is key – so often with SME’s, the decision process to engage a tech provider can be drawn out. Once that decision is made however, they want to be live …Immediately! And this is where problems escalate. Implementing a foundational system such as an HRIS or payroll platform, one in which every staff member will engage as a part of their working lives, requires an appropriate (and simple!) change management strategy, and suitable time and thought given to how best to apply the technology in your workplace, with your people. There’s a difference between

  • populating a platform with data and being “ready” for use; and
  • implementing a new way of engaging with your employees, requiring HR & compliance transition across an organisation (no matter the size).

Tech providers, more often than not, will not set up your bespoke check lists, teams, cost centres, add relevant locations as you grow etc. Make sure you’ve invested time in:

1) properly setting up system usability reflective of how you will use the platform (not just populate it with data); and
2) trained all users – from admins, managers and employees – on how best to engage with the platform.

Getting this wrong almost always spells catastrophe in terms of reaping the best ROI out of these platforms, and can often mean your people spending MORE time on tasks than they we were before.

4. Don’t underestimate the importance of (or skrimp on) implementation – Get support from experts: “We can do it ourselves and save on implementation fees”. This is the first warning sign we see with software implementations that don’t go to plan. While we are big fans of saving on supplier fees for clients and recognise that most HRIS and payroll are very user friendly and can be self-implemented, this benefits those companies that have the time and expertise to invest in the project. We notice one common thread among most SME’s we work with – they are time poor and didn’t get into business to be workplace technology implementers or HR / Payroll experts; and cutting corners here, at the last hurdle, will more often than not hurt in the long term.

The truth is, most technology providers love the client self-implementation model – it removes the issue of an upfront implementation fee barrier in the buying process, they have no linkage to the success of the implementation and they take in subscription fees whilst you bumble your way through trying to “build the plane whilst its flying.” The reality is that these systems give rise to just as many workplace related queries as technical system questions. Questions like “have we updated our contracts & policies in the last few years?” and “have we really classified all our staff under the correct Award level?” and “what induction content do we really need” and “how should I set up my performance appraisals to get the best out of our performance system and our employees?”

Key to success: Providers who can implement and support your business

HR and Payroll service providers, those who can implement and manage your software, not only provide technical system support, but can also provide HR, Payroll and compliance services that pure technology providers just can not. They have used the platform to service a myriad of clients, performing the same tasks you’re wanting to perform within your organisation and therefore better know the strengths and weaknesses of how the technology is applied in practicality.

Follow these simple principles and align with an HR and Payroll expert and you’ll not only be better equipped to avoid buying into “the dream” of a great tech salesperson, but you’ll be more realistic about the desired results, effort involved to integrate these systems and how to get the most out of these powerful platforms – and ultimately better placed for project success.

Need Help?

Employment Innovations offers HR services, from advisory, virtual services and on-site management, which are delivered alongside an array of Australian HR Platforms. We also offer payroll support (to a human!) together with Australia’s fastest growing payroll and compliance platform. If you’re looking to access support when you need it, or want to hold the hand of an expert through a time of transition or change, contact us to see how we can help you and your business get the most out of your HR or Payroll software solution.