Small-business owners and human resources managers who are shopping for information technology usually don't have the luxury of corporate-size budgets. But they still need software and systems powerful enough to handle today's complex HR demands and able to grow with their company's needs.
For a growing number of businesses with one to 100 employees, the answer lies with application service providers (ASPs) and their Web-hosted business tools. An increasing number of ASPs specialize in HR, and they often provide affordable, effective and scalable applications for personnel administration, payroll, benefits and other tasks.
Software that can run on individual PCs or local area networks also remains a popular choice for smaller enterprises that can't afford client/server systems or Intranets. And other companies still choose to outsource some or all of their HR functions, freeing up their limited workforces to concentrate on more strategic and value-adding tasks.
Following is a guide to the types of HR applications most likely to be needed by small businesses, along with a listing of vendors and service providers (see Appendix) that offer such tools, either exclusively or as part of a larger portfolio of products for companies of all sizes:
Most mid-sized businesses will derive the greatest value from a comprehensive, rather than single-purpose, software suite (I). HRIS packages designed for the mid-market typically deliver a wide range of functions: payroll and benefits management, job descriptions and requisitions, applicant tracking, performance assessments, communications, employee data management and even self-service capabilities. While these applications are widely available for individual PCs, client-server systems and networks, more are quickly being rolled out by application service providers (ASPs). These hosted options will be discussed in greater detail below, in the section on outsourcing and Web-based applications.
COMPREHENSIVE HRMS/HRIS Software and Vendors:
Anchor Software Inc.
2107 N. First St., Suite 500
San Jose, CA 95131-2027
What they offer: Software for full-function HRIS, compensation analysis, employee development and management.
220 120th Ave., NE, Suite 104
Bellevue, WA 98005
What they offer: Systems for HR, employee benefits and payroll administration.
Best Software Inc./Best Software Limited, Canada
11413 Isaac Newton Square
Reston, VA 20190
What they offer: Software and hosted services for HR and payroll management.
Cyborg Systems Inc.
120 S. Riverside Plaza, 17th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606
What they offer: Software for HR management, payroll processing, time and attendance tracking and reporting, as well as Web-based self-service for employees.
Geac Human Resource & Payroll Systems
3938 Premier North Dr.
Tampa, FL 33624
They offer TotalHR for comprehensive HRMS needs.
Genesys Software Systems Inc.
5 Branch St.
Methuen, MA 011844-1999
What they offer: Full-service HR outsourcing and Web-enabled software for HR information management.
NuView Systems Inc.
88 Maple St.
Waltham, MA 02453
What they offer: Web-based software for comprehensive HR management, recruiting, training, organizational planning and self-service.
Pendylum (Information Solutions Group)
130 Bridgeland Ave., Suite 420
Toronto, ON M6A 2Z4
What they offer: Suites for managing HR, payroll, time and attendance, and scheduling.
People-Trak (Technical Difference Inc.)
5256 S. Mission Road, Suite 802
Bonsall, CA 92003
What they offer: Comprehensive HRMS software.
Also see Simpata under OUTSOURCING/WEB-BASED APPLICATIONS
1625 Broadway, Suite 2600
Denver, CO 80202
What they offer: Suites for HR management with support for benefits, new hire processing, training, performance management, compensation planning and compliance.
Payroll and Benefits:
Medium-sized organizations have a wide range of choices in payroll and benefits software. Most companies will gain the greatest benefit from a comprehensive application (IIA), unless they have a unique and specific need better met with a specialized program. Comprehensive payroll-benefits software usually provides time and attendance tracking, scheduling, flexible spending accounts management, pension eligibility, direct deposit management, vacation and sick time accruals, and support for other functions. Businesses that outsource their payroll administration, on the other hand, might find it more worthwhile to invest their IT dollars in more benefit-specific applications. Depending on their individual circumstances, such organizations might want software that targets health benefits (IIC1), retirement benefits (IIC2) or flexible benefits (IIC3) needs. Benefits professionals also can save time and effort on many administrative tasks with software for managing communications and enrollment (IIC5), especially if it supports employee self-service for managing personal information.
Payroll and Benefits Software and Vendors:
Again Technologies Inc.
60 E. Third Ave., Suite 225
San Mateo, CA 94401
What they offers: Applications for administering variable pay and incentive compensation plans.
8625 S.W. Cascade Blvd., No. 501
Beaverton, OR 97008
What they offer: Software and outsourcing services for flexible benefits administration and self-service.
Blaze SSI Corp.
P.O. Box 333
Brielle, NJ 08730
What they offer: PENDEAS software for benefits planning, communication and administration.
4004 Beltline Road, Suite 125
Addison, TX 75001
What they offer: OPEN4 software system for payroll administration.
Business Software Inc.
155 Technology Pkwy., Suite 100
Norcross, GA 30092
Business Software Inc.
What they offer: Regulatory and compliance software for HR, payroll and benefit systems.
DATAIR Employee Benefit Systems Inc.
736 N. Cass Ave.
Westmont, IL 60559-110
What they offer: Applications for pension and benefits administration. Also see Deltasync Technologies under OUTSOURCING/WEB-BASED APPLICATIONS. Also see EmployeeLife under OUTSOURCING/WEB-BASED APPLICATIONS
11835 Canon Blvd., Suite A-102
Newport News, VA 23606
888-PENSOFT or 757-873-2976
What they offer: Payroll software and online tools for direct deposit management.
Recruitment and Staffing:
Maintaining a full and qualified workforce becomes a growing challenge as an organization grows from a handful of employees to 100, 200, 300 and beyond. Mid-sized businesses can gain an advantage, especially in today's tight labor market, by using software to automate and speed up many hiring-related tasks. Depending on their particular requirements, HR managers can find tools to help them produce clear and refined job descriptions (IIIB1), manage requisitions and applicant data (IIIB2), assess candidates' backgrounds and qualifications (IIIB3) and determine future organizational needs and staffing plans (IIIB4). Companies with increasingly large and complex workforces also will benefit from compliance software (IIIB5) to make sure their hiring practices follow state and federal employment laws. As with comprehensive HRIS systems, more recruiting and staffing applications today are ASP-based. ASPs allow HR departments to link internal hiring operations with Internet job sites, and can be quickly scaled according to need. These services will be examined more fully in the section on outsourcing and Web-based applications.
Recruitment and Staffing Software and Vendors:
15 W. Strong Street, Suite 20A
Pensacola, FL 32501
What they offer: Support and services for online job recruiting, job fit assessments and candidate background and reference checks.
Deploy Solutions Inc.
100 Lowder Brook Dr.
Westwood, MA 02090
Deploy Solutions, Inc.
What they offer: Internet-based recruitment and staffing support, including Employ for strategic workforce planning
856 U.S. Hwy. 206, Building B, Suite 15
Belle Mead, NJ 08502
What they offer: Web-based applications for staffing needs, including dg*Staff strategic staffing system
Also see AtWork Technologies under OUTSOURCING/WEB-BASED APPLICATIONS
Medium-sized companies will derive the most benefit from a comprehensive application (IVA) for performance management and development tasks. However, some businesses also might find it helpful to purchase additional software for specific needs. Specialized training/testing software (IVB2), for example, might be advisable for a company with large staffing and skills assessment needs in a particular area such as customer service, sales or data entry. A fast-growing organization that's expanding its management also could gain value from an application specifically for leadership skills building (IVB4).
Performance Software and Vendors:
Advanced Information Management Inc.
P.O.. Box 240
Santa Barbara, CA 93102
Advanced Information Mgt.
What they offer: TotalCAREER system for talent assessment, development and succession planning.
ClearView Consulting (now Nardoni Strategic Solutions)
35 Clearview Road
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889
What they offer: ProSelect and dgStaff software for staffing management, job requisitions and 360-degree assessments.
9425 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Irving, TX 75063
What they offer: software and hosted services for succession and career planning, training, affirmative action planning and performance management.
1127 Industrial Ave.
Petaluma, CA 94952
What they offer: Software and online applications for performance management, job descriptions and personnel policies.
Several comprehensive HRMS/HRIS software packages (I) will manage many of the mid-sized organization's needs for communicating with employees, conducting surveys and interviews, and developing workplace policies, handbooks and guidelines. Several also are Intranet- or Internet-enabled, allowing for employee self-service and 24/7 communications (VA). These often are delivered as ASP-based applications, which will be discussed in greater detail in the section below. Businesses seeking to conduct more in-depth and extensive assessments of their workforces might choose to implement additional specialized software designed for that purpose (VB). These applications help managers administer, track and analyze employee opinion surveys, 360-degree assessments and attitude studies.
Mid-sized employers that want to overhaul or refine their existing employee handbooks can often save time and effort by using an application specifically for policy development (VC). These products frequently include sample handbooks, policies, processes and forms that can be quickly and easily customized to meet an individual company's needs. Some also can automatically convert the resulting handbook and policies to HTML for uploading to an Intranet or ASP, as well as create links to insurance providers and other resources that employees might need to access.
Employee Relations Software and Vendors:
Assessment Plus Inc.
1001 Main St.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Assesssment Plus, Inc.
What they offer: Organizational surveys, benchmarking, analysis and 360-degree assessments.
Catapult Systems Corp.
3001 Bee Caves Road, Suite 220
Austin, TX 78746
512-328-3004 x 160
Catapult Systems Corp.
What they offer: Software and hosted services for conducting employee surveys.
One Piedmont Center, Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30305
What they offer: Web-based employee and manager access for HR, employee benefits and payroll information
16 Tech Circle
Natick, MA 01760-1029
What they offer: Web-based communication and self-service for employees, managers and retirees.
ADP Inc./ADP Canada
One ADP Blvd.
Roseland, NJ 07068
What they offer: Integrated systems for HR, benefits and payroll management, as well as outsourced payroll and benefits administration services.
Also see AdvantageIS.com under RECRUITMENT AND STAFFING
555 Quince Orchard Road, Suite 400
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
What they offer: Hosted tools for job searches, recruitment, pre-employment checks, acquisition/merger staffing management and data storage.
AtWork Technologies Inc.
6410 Atlantic Blvd., Suite 180
Norcross, GA 30071
What they offer: Internet-based applications for managing benefits, payroll, employee data, recruiting, new hire processing, time and attendance tracking, and training.
7560 Waterford Dr.
Cupertino, CA 95014
408-257-5054 or 1-888-257-5057 (U.S. only)
What they offer: Web-based HRIS software and resources.
Also see BeneSoft under PAYROLL AND BENEFITS
Also see Best Software under COMPREHENSIVE HRMS/HRIS
2955 Campus Dr., No. 380
San Mateo, CA 94403
What they offer: Web-based systems for hiring and workforce data management. Also see Catapult Systems under EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
Ceridian Employer Services
8100 34th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55425-1640
800-729-7655 x 2150
Ceridian Employer Services
Ceridian provides outsourced and in-house applications for HR, payroll, employee self-service, time and attendance, benefits and compliance administration.Also see Cyborg Systems under HRMS/HRIS
Deltasync Technologies Inc.
1007 Farmington Ave., Suite 16
West Hartford, CT 06107
What they offer: Web-based software for compensation administration. Also see Employease under EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
1290 Oakmead Pkwy.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
What they offer: Web-based support for benefits management.
FiServ Human Resource Information Services
145 Pinelawn Road
Melville, NY 11747
What they offer: Outsourced services for HRIS, payroll, benefit management, tax payments, applicant tracking and new hire processing. Also see KnowledgePoint under PERFORMANCE. Also see NuView Systems under COMPREHENSIVE HRMS/HRIS. Also see PenSoft under PAYROLL AND BENEFITS
1301 Marina Village Pkwy., Suite 240
Alameda, CA 94501
What they offer: Web-based management of HR, payroll and benefits tasks.
Ultimate Software Group Inc.
2000 Ultimate Way
Weston, FL 33326
Ultimate Software Group
What they offer: Web-based UltiPro application for HR, payroll and benefits management and employee/manager self-service.
Outsourcing and Web-Based Applications:
The medium-sized company looking to upgrade its IT infrastructure often will be better off turning to an ASP rather than investing in costly new in-house hardware and software. Every day, new-hosted services are targeting the HR market with a wide range of applications. Some offer the full HRMS/HRIS management package (VIA1), while others specialize in particular areas such as benefits administration (VIA2a) or recruiting (VIA2b). In addition to pricing typically based on actual usage, ASP-based applications also offer the advantage of quick scalability and 'round-the-clock availability. Businesses also can still turn to traditional service bureaus or PEOs for management of certain HR tasks. They are often best for administrative responsibilities such as payroll and benefits management (VIB2a), which frees up in-house HR professionals for more strategic and value-adding work.
Shirley Siluk Gregory, a Florida-based freelance business journalist and editor-in-chief of Bookhome Publishing has provided a wealth of information for mid-sized organizations with 100 to 1,000 employees that need sophisticated information and technology to manage their human resources needs. She first published this information for HR.COM.