With businesses – irrespective of their organisational culture – now talking about employee relations (ER) more than ever before, it’s an important time to think about the role of ER technology, and the part it can play in maintaining strategic ER conversations at boardroom level.
So, if you’re considering an ER software investment in 2021, here are 10 things to look for.
By Pete Byrne, CEO and founder of ESPHR
1. Ease of use
Finally, software systems are starting to evolve beyond basic filing cabinets of employee data. So, while ER technology should help keep all your case management information in one easy-to-navigate location, it should do far more too.
A streamlined and intuitive interface will help get new users up and running as quickly as possible, and a clean, engaging UX (user experience) will encourage colleagues to interact with the system frequently. Drag and drop functionality will keep administration time minimal too, and powerful search functionality will also promote ease – and speed – of use.
2. Automation potential
This point is undeniably linked to the previous one, but automation is such a big topic that it merits a mention of its own.
The ability to create advanced and flexible workflows – with best practice document precedents and critical ER resources available at each stage – ensures the right person is doing the right thing at the right time. Additionally, proactive alerts will helpfully remind people not to miss the tasks that they’re responsible for.
Advanced automation should give operational ER control back to the business, rather than rest in the hands of its lawyers.
3. Platform flexibility
Every organisation is different, and modern software should adapt to suit a company’s needs – not the other way around. User permissions should be defined according to roles and the level of access required, for example, enabling everyone to work effectively while observing maximum data security and discretion.
4. A feature-rich product roadmap fit for the future
Very few organisations stand still, not least due to the impact of external market forces – we only have to look at 2020 to realise the unprecedented level of change that can be imposed on companies when they’re least expecting it.
In truth there are multiple factors constantly influencing the employment landscape, so even if you devise a considered specification for your ER software investment today, you may find yourself lacking functionality if the vendor doesn’t have a very clear development roadmap. To protect your investment, you need to know that ongoing features will be introduced to enhance your use of the technology, maximise your efficiencies and reflect the changing legal backdrop.
5. Platform scalability
Again, linked to the previous point, even the most prepared businesses cannot truly know what lies around the corner. The ER software you choose should therefore be proven to handle change well. Minimal time to deployment is extremely advantageous, and so too is the scalability of the software – if your organisation was to suddenly grow, contract or encounter a significant period of upheaval, it needs to stand up to the pressure.
6. Security as standard
The introduction of GDPR means data protection obligations can no longer go unacknowledged, but ER technology must be as robust as an organisation’s own processes. Look for cloud-based case management software that is purposefully engineered with security and compliance in mind. Security cannot be an afterthought when it comes to data capture, management and storage.
7. Data insight
The ability to create, run and analyse bespoke reports – configured to the ER information you really need – will help you identify trends, hold commercially-driven boardroom conversations, and drive positive change.
This deep data analysis should uncover Business Intelligence that would otherwise be difficult to obtain or – worse still – remain overlooked. At-a-glance dynamic dashboards showing must-know information in an instant, are also crucial on a day-to-day basis.
8. Employment lawyer integration
Some software tools now enable an in-house ER matter to be escalated to an external employment law team in only one click. The easy instant transfer of this information keeps ER teams efficient, while offering maximum peace of mind surrounding legal privilege and data security.
9. Likely return on investment
When investing in ER software, the initial price tag matters, of course, so look for a SaaS (Software as a Service) product with a fixed annual subscription for ease of budgeting.
However, the cost of the ER technology isn’t the only number that matters, as the right system will actually reduce costs – not least by resolving ER matters before they escalate to a tribunal.
In building the business case for the investment, it’s therefore important to evaluate all of the factors listed in this blog, as they will contribute to the value the technology can deliver, long into the future. These considerations – in other words, the whole life cost of the software – are even more important than the price you’ll pay at the outset.
10. Ongoing customer support via a range of media
An ER software vendor who cares about customer service will work hard to ensure a seamless onboarding process, complete with comprehensive training and set-up guidance. But ongoing support will prove invaluable, whether you have a minor operational query or would like to utilise your software more strategically – particularly when encountering a period of change.
To discover what MyHRCases is capable of, visit our ER case management webpage to find out more, watch a short explainer video or even request a 1-2-1 demo. If you’d rather chat, please contact us and we can arrange a call or virtual meet up.