Is Your HR Software Hurting Your Employee Experience?

Is Your HR Software Hurting Your Employee Experience

With so many options available in the human resources technology space, it’s no surprise that HR software often turns into a love-hate relationship with employers. The key to whether you have the most suitable software in place depends on how it aligns with your people strategy and its ability to turn stored HR data into impactful insights.

Use the following considerations to evaluate whether a software application will positively impact your organization’s overall employee experience.

Implementation, support, and training

For many employers, the quality of the employee experience is influenced by the timeliness with which information is made available to employees upon request. Your ability to implement a system quickly and process requests will depend not only on staff members’ and end users’ ability to learn the software, but also the vendor’s responsiveness.

Take a hard look at your organization’s true support needs while thinking about the tech savviness of your own team and the quality of available vendor resources. The faster you can get the information you need as an internal product champion, the faster you will be able to serve the needs of your own employees.

Integration vs. all-in-one

Should we use an all-in-one human resources information system (HRIS) or a series of stand-alone specialty applications?

This may be the most polarizing question within HR technology, and your preference will depend on your needs, and/or on what you inherited from predecessors when joining your organization. Many respondents from ExactHire’s 2018 Tech-Based Employee Experience Survey use both an HRIS and standalone specialty applications.

  HR Tech Product Mix   % Respondents
  % of respondents using both an HRIS + standalone recruiting   38.33%
  % of respondents using both an HRIS + standalone onboarding   8.33%
  % of respondents using both an HRIS + standalone payroll   13.33%
  % of respondents using both an HRIS + other HR software   21.67%

The following factors may help you determine which product mix is right for your organization.

  1. Administrative pain points. Which pieces of the HR process are taking the most time? If recruiting is a priority due to adding a new location, then a robust applicant tracking system may be desirable compared to a payroll company’s HRIS recruiting module. However, if hiring happens infrequently but payroll is complicated, an employer may prefer an HRIS with basic recruiting capabilities.
  2. Data gaps and data redundancy. If end-to-end data integration is a priority for your organization, then consider whether any sacrifices you may have to make on features outweigh the opportunity cost of time spent on potential data export/import activities. If you plan on integrating separate solutions, understand how employees move through the virtual employment lifecycle, and make sure data remains accurate and easily accessible across systems.
  3. Feature wish list. Will the functionality that applicants or existing employees expect from you (relative to competitors) be available in an all-in-one system? Or, is there an application that you may use as your “single source of truth” that pushes updates to periphery applications via one-way integration?
  4. Growth plans. Do your tech needs today look similar to your tech needs two years from now? If not, examine the scalability of standalone applications or the ability to easily add more HRIS modules later.
  5. Price. When evaluating different systems, note whether you’re paying only for current needs, or also for things you anticipate needing someday. Finding balance between paying for scalability versus paying for unnecessary feature bloat isn’t easy. Spending more money on underutilized technology means less money for other programs that may positively impact employee experience.

Employee self-service

There are plenty of customer self-service options in the information economy. From scanning your own groceries to using Alexa as your modern mix tape, consumers’ ability to help themselves is a killer advantage in the competition for market share. The same dynamic exists in the employment arena—employers that implement the right combination of personal interaction mixed with savvy self-service win the war for talent.

Look for applications that prompt employees to learn about and select new opportunities based on their existing profile data. By asking employees to provide more information over time, software makes timely and smart suggestions while preventing employees from feeling overwhelmed.


How do employees communicate within your organization? Is it predominantly email, or do many conversations live in chat or Slack? Wherever correspondence lives, it does so because that channel is comfortable and easy-to-use.

Consider the following questions to assess an HR application’s communication tools:

  • Is it easy to email from the application?Are email responses documented in the interface?
  • Can users connect with each other and take action on items within the application (e.g. assign tasks and make notes)?
  • Is it possible to schedule events within the software via calendar integration?
  • Do integrations exist between the application, social media and related third-party sites?
  • The more your human resources technology aligns with the communication style already preferred by your employees, the better.

Reporting and predictive insights

Emerging HR technology uses artificial intelligence to analyze existing data to predict future outcomes. These predictive insights are the competitive advantage employers need to attract and retain top talent.

The degree to which you’re able to run customized reports and use data to make decisions varies across applications. In the aforementioned survey, 58% of respondents indicated they either struggle to or cannot report on desired information from their HR software.

Causes of this struggle are often attributable to:

  • siloed data living in different systems that aren’t integrated,
  • a complex HRIS that doesn’t have an intuitive interface,
  • redundant data between systems that’s accurate in one system but not the other, or
  • having access only to canned reports without the ability to customize on demand.

Your software shouldn’t be holding your employee data hostage.

Best-in-class HR technology gives administrative users a virtual workforce explorer to pull incredibly specific data insights about their employees. Look for functionality that relates data from one part of the employee lifecycle to another. Insights about your top employees should allow you to vet applicants with similar attributes, and software should automatically present those correlations.

Improve employee experience

Employees’ opinions about their own experiences evolve, and even the smallest radar blips can cause declines in satisfaction over time. Technology is your tool for capturing insights for improvement.

If you have reservations about your current system, then use these tips to seek HR software that’s better suited to your organization.

This is an excerpt of an article that first appeared on the ExactHire Blog.

Jessica Stephenson, SHRM-CP, PHR, is VP of Marketing and Talent at ExactHire, an Indianapolis-based software firm with Web-based solutions focused on applicant tracking, employee onboarding and producing actionable insights from HR data. Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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