Boost HR Productivity in SMEs

In our experience, budgets are usually leaner and expectations higher for HR departments in mid range organisations. We find quite rightly that return on investment, getting it right first time and working as productively as possible rank highly on a HR Manager’s priority list in a SME.

So how can you boost HR productivity? Well having worked with a multitude of mid-sized businesses we find that starting with these 3 basic elements provide an excellent springboard to enhancing HR productivity.

Review your HR Processes

Start by understanding who the department’s key stakeholders are and what their touchpoints are so that you can better engage with them. This will highlight the important business drivers and HR focus areas.

Then take the opportunity to look inwards at your processes and their outputs. Are they efficient and effective? Map them to see how they can be streamlined to remove duplication.

Embrace the Cloud

Cloud based HR systems like Fairsail have designed especially for SME’s with a highly competitive implementation costs and relatively quick implementation timeframes, usually a lapse time of only one to three months. Importantly cloud systems put control of systems, data and reporting management back in the HR Manager’s hands – as the systems are designed for non technical users. Therefore HR users don’t need the IT department or external consultants to manage the system or the data on their behalf.

Collaborate and Communicate

HR departments should make the most of their HR technology to improve communication within the business. Communication is no longer the preserve of the marketing team instead HR should be as communication savvy as marketers. Consider webinars, snap poles and instant messaging to share information little and often for maximum impact.

Productivity levels can be boosted on collaborative projects as there is no longer a need to send files back and forth multiple times; employees are instead able to open and work on the same files with much less hassle.

To boost HR productivity in your business call the HRIS experts at Tugela People on +44 (01327) 317701

Effective HCM adoption for SMEs

So you are ready to adopt human capital management (HCM). You want to understand what your employees have to offer and the value that they add to the company. You may even have the HCM software selected. You are rearing to assess, measure and generally make the most of your employees and give them the best possible opportunities for the future.

But before you launch into things here 5 handy pointers to ensure you enjoy an effective HCM adoption for the HRIS system you’ve selected:

1. Trial Period

It is important to give the users of any new software the opportunity to assess the application before implementing it throughout the business. Identify key stakeholders and allow them to trial the technology, ensuring their opinions are taken into consideration. Doing so will provide an opportunity to make any necessary alterations before the system is rolled out through the entire organisation.

2. Simplicity is Key

The technology itself should be the biggest financial investment, not training employees how to use it. Simple navigation makes for simple adoption and will be used throughout the business quickly and more effectively. Complicated software can be counterproductive to HCM so again, it is necessary for any new technology to be assessed by those using it first.

3. Develop a Plan

Ensure that each step of the implementation of the HCM software is carefully planned out, with end users being able to communicate any issues they are having with the process. Keep employees informed on any changes made to the system and also do not forget to educate them on how the software will benefit them and their role within the company.

4. Focus on Training

The software you invest in will most likely be provided with some general training literature. However, it is important to provide your employees with personalised training guides specific to your company and their job roles. This will not only ensure they know how to use the system but also to understand the benefits of the new technology that are specific to them.

5. Evaluate the System

Keep track of how your end users are doing with the new system. This will give you an insight into how effective the programme is and any additions that need to be made. It will also allow you to see whether the system was a worthwhile investment or if it should be changed to another system entirely. Overall, it is essential to seek direct feedback from those who are using the system.

If you need objective expertise to ensure your HCM system selection, implementation and adoption is effective call Tugela People on 44(0)1327 317701.

Key Steps to a Successful HR System Implementation

The successful HR system implementation is a time-consuming and complicated task. The project requires careful planning with a team of focussed stakeholders involved and rigorous evaluation and adaptation to be as well-suited to the company as possible.

Here are our key steps for a successful HR implementation for you and your business:

1. Identify your executive sponsor

Ensure that the project has one key stakeholder who will assume the role of executive. This person should have a special interest in the project and be involved in every step of the implementation. It may be useful to make this individual the executive of any future implementation to ensure consistency.

2. Create your project team

Identify the skills and knowledge needed to make your project successful and assemble a team that collectively covers all these bases. It is important to ensure your team consists of at least one system administrator to work alongside the executive sponsor throughout the entire project. You also need a project manager to lead the implementation. Super users and trainers are also important team members for ensuring all of your employees adapt to the new system quickly and easily. And don’t forget to ensure that somebody is held responsible for the regular communication to the key stakeholders. Some projects even appoint a dedicated communication specialist onto the project to ensure early engagement of all stakeholders.

3. Define the business processes

Now you have your team assembled, you need to define the business processes. This step is about making sure everything is in place prior to the start of the implementation. Plan out all of the business processes that will be included in the configuration of the system to ensure that nothing is missed.

4. Define the business requirements

Think about what you want to the new system do do for your business and the steps required in order to achieve this. Clearly state everything you wish to achieve but do ensure you are not working towards too many goals in a single project. There is time to make amendments and adaptations towards the end of the process.

5. Define the phases of the implementation project

Decide on the scope of the project by gathering the business requirements.Ensure you make clear which processes or outcomes are the most important and implement your priorities in the right phase of the project. Processes you need immediately should always be prioritised. Try to keep it simple!

6. Configure the HRIS system to meet the requirements

Analyse the system to see which of the standard processes meet your requirements and make a note of any customisations that need to be made. Marry your requirements to their corresponding processes, trying to limit the bespoke configuration of the system.

7. Customise the HRIS system

Now it is time to add in the customisations to your system in order to meet all the requirements of the project. Try to keep this to a minimum as things can become tricky when complex processes need to be added to the system.

8. Gather clean data

Gather data and enter it into your new system. Before doing so, ensure it is of good quality and correct. Bad data could corrupt your system during the early stages meaning many more alterations may need to be made in the future.

9. End user adoption

It is necessary to ensure your users can adapt quickly and easily to the new system and receive the full training they need in order to do so. This is where your trainers come in- making sure every employee is comfortable with the system and any concerns or questions are addressed before they need to use it as part of their day to day job role.

10. Evaluate the system

Evaluating your HRIS system after it has been implemented is incredibly important as there are always ways your processes can be improved. Feedback from power users is important during this stage as their role is to fully immerse themselves in the new system and highlight any areas for development. During this stage, the system should be fine-tuned and perfected.

Benefits of HR Cloud Computing

HR cloud computing solutions are becoming an increasingly popular option among many businesses both big and small. But how are they beneficial to HR departments? Read on as we discuss the benefits of HR cloud computing

What is HR Cloud Computing?

The term ‘cloud computing’ simply refers to any computer system based on the internet. This includes the storage, management and processing of data on a remote server, rather than individual personal computers. In the digital age, cloud computing has become an obvious solution for many businesses IT departments. With many invaluable benefits, cloud based systems are becoming an increasingly popular choice for HR departments and businesses as a whole.

In years past, it would have been very difficult for managers who are based in different departments or on different sites to collaborate seamlessly on one specific project. Cloud computing makes it possible for people based on different sites to access . This is particularly beneficial for HR professionals who are often involved with most departments of the business. Not only does this save time and money, but it improves the quality of communication too. Employees are now able to keep up to speed with their colleagues progress in real time. Without cloud computing documents can only be updated by one person, from one computer at a time and need to be send back and forth via email, meaning more time is needed for each project.

Making HR Data Accessible

Now more than ever, we live ‘on-the-go’ lifestyles, both in our personal lives and at work. There has been a surge in the use of mobile devices and with this there is a need to make work more accessible. Cloud computer systems allow employees to access their documents from any device in any location. This means that employees have more control of their work-life balance and levels of productivity are increased. Documents can be easily shared with other employees from any location and there’s no need to struggle carrying armfuls of work on the busy commute home – it will all be accessible from your personal devices!

Updating to a new computer system may sound expensive, but in the long run cloud computing is an incredibly cost effective investment for businesses of all sizes. There is reduced need for on-site IT staff, and the license fees of traditional software are also eliminated. Without this added burden, there is less need for expensive training too. Storage space is no longer a problem because information is kept online. This means businesses do not need to invest in in-house large, expensive IT storage system to accommodate all the employees.

In Conclusion

Overall, cloud computing in HR is a step towards a future of better employee relations, improved communication and reduced costs. A more environmentally friendly alternative to previous computing methods, it puts the employee in control of their own work by saving time and being easier to access and update.

Tugela People offer a wide range of employment support services for small to medium sized businesses. Our expertise in the latest HR technology could save your organisation time and money as well as increasing productivity and helping you meet important goals.

The Benefits of Integrated HR Systems

In recent months I’ve been asked by clients and contacts about the benefits of Integrated HR Systems and have struggled to get across in a few sentences the mutiple benefits for the various stakeholders in the process.

Then I came across this useful research from Bersin & Associates plublished recently which neatly shows the …

Tugela HR Engaged to Assist Silverbug With Their Merger

Tugela People is pleased to announce that we have been engaged to assist Silverbug, the IT outsourcing business, with their merger with three Admiral Group entities.

The merger of these business entities means that the enlarged HR function now has multiple sources of data and processes. We will ensure that the new HR function is compliant and uses current best practice across their new HR function.

If your organisation requires expert HR support either on a retained or project basis then talk to the HR experts at Tugela People and ask about our free initial consultation.


Poor Absence Management is Damaging Welfare & Productivity

Whilst reading this excellent report by Ellipse and Professor Cary Cooper, CBE, I was struck by the staggering cost of absenteeism on UK business, some £32 billion a year according to PwC, 2011. As an aside I also learnt a new word ‘wickie’, which by the way is a ‘working sickie’ (adapted from sickie).

Besides the financial cost of not actively managing absence, early intervention can improve people’s health as well as reducing the employer risks associated with long-term illness according to the Ellipse report.

Critical is an employer’s ability to track and monitor employee absences. Prof Cooper says: “Any employer who is not able to cite their absence rates is failing to control their risks and may well be neglecting employee welfare.”

Similarly while recording absence assists with managing absences, well configured workflows based on specific milestones could assist managers and HR to manage absences according to the companies’ absence policy. Prof Cooper states in the Ellipse report that while nearly all (90%) line managers say that a formal procedure exists, nearly half (41%) admit that they do not follow it though.

With more and more employees adopting flexible working arrangements (e.g. working from home)it also makes tracking absence more challenging, but at the same time Prof Cooper says that flexible working would reduce the hours lost to sickness.

A Personnel Today article suggest more detailed steps to take to better manage absence.

If you are looking to reduce your international absence rates and enjoy better reporting that provides immediate benefits for your organisation then call Tugela People.

Should We Use a Cloud-Based Applicant Tracking System?

Yes is the short answer. I believe that whether you are a small, medium or large organisation you should use an applicant tracking system (ATS) or as it’s also known as applicant management system (AMS).

Helping Find the Right People

That is, only if you agree that to succeed in business you need to employ the right people. So how do you find the ‘right people’? And through the recruitment process make the right impression for the candidate?

Well that’s where a well thought through automated recruitment process comes to its own.

By initially using online profiling tools, managers can determine what qualities, skills and experience the ideal candidate should have. This tool can then be used to socialise and validate the profile (job description and person specification) by collaborating online (self-service) with others in the organisation to verify that the specs meet the requirements.

Next consider what a huge task it is to coordinate the recruitment process from sifting through all the applications (short-listing), to responding to all the applicants, scheduling interviews, assessment centres, psychometric test, etc. Well an ATS will reduce the burden of all of these tasks. By:

  1. Firstly the online profile can be used to draft an online advert which will automatically be posted to the company’s career site and to the nominated jobboards.
  2. Secondly all applicants apply through a single portal (careers website) which will give them clear requirements of the job and could also take them through some critical questions to ensure that some minimum requirements are met to fit the job. This is a form of self-selection and early sifting of applicants.  Candidates could use this career site to monitor the progress of their application and update their profiles without having to engage with any company staff.

Next applicants can be rated against the job competencies and be selected to attend an interview or rejected. Both will receive automated notices based on the aforementioned decision. Interviewing managers can have the interviews scheduled online and their feedback logged on the system (including an overall rating) which will determine the candidates fit for the position.

Other parts of the process from doing psychometric testing through to the completion of background checks can be automated depending on how the system has been set up and what steps have been agreed to use as part of the process.

Imaging now that you’ve found your ideal candidate. How easy will the on-boarding be when all of the interview data is already stored electronically (interview notes, psychometric test, background checks, cv, etc). At the same time the candidate has been kept informed of the process of their application and its been made clear what they can expect next. The candidate experience would have been really good and your employer brand boosted in the mind of the candidate who may be a customer or have become one.

If your organisation would like to see how an applicant tracking system can improve their business, call Tugela People.

Which HRIS System is Best for SMEs?

Well unfortunately there is no ‘one right answer’ but if your organisation is looking at HRIS software systems then as a starting point you should first decide which of these two main options suits you best…


1) Do you take advantage of the HR systems that payroll suppliers offer as an additional part of the package.

Providers like ADP, NorthgateArinso, MidlandHR, etc. all offer really good HR systems that connect with their payroll solution, and have remote access based on assigned admin privileges. The main advantage is that the system is already linked to the payroll providers system, this helps ensures that the HR system is maintained properly to ensure that employees are paid on time and accurately.

The downside is that companies are reliant on the supplier of the system to configure process in line with the companies’ requirements which adds to the costs, takes away control from the company and reduces flexibility of the system.


2) Or do you invest in a package offered as a service (SaaS) such as Sage People, and Cezanne.

The benefits of these hosted packages include the fact that you have more control in maintaining and configuring the system, also the packages are upgraded regularly as part of the deal, so the system can grow and change with your organisation.

But potentially on the downside to get the best of these types of solutions does require somebody to actively manage the system and to link it to other solutions (payroll, finance package, etc.) to ensure that true return on investment is realised and the right behaviours are enforced.

A useful website is HR Comparison that lists many HR systems to choose from based on the high level requirements.

Whichever option your organisation decides to pursure it is worth first undertaking a needs analysis to determine what is required; then approach potential suppliers to present their solutions in line with the requirements.

So if your organisation employs between 250 to 5000 staff and is looking at HRIS software options, we can help. Contact us at Tugela People we have not only researched the market extensively but also gone on to purchase, implement, and evaluate a variety of HRIS software packages for clients in the mid range corporate market.

The Cloud has a Silver Lining for HR Professionals

In the past HR has had to stand in line when asking for upgrades or reconfigurations of their IT system and then often got bumped to the back of the queue. The issue was often how to justify the Return on Investment that could be generated by the upgrades and this frequently derailed any fast tracking of these enhancement projects.

HRIS gives Control Back to HR

With cloud based HR systems there is a silver lining for HR professionals – they can take control of their HR data and reporting.

In new world of cloud… HR systems now need little or no IT support which allows HR the opportunity to optimise the capability of the system.  SaaS and PaaS solutions take away the issues of managing hardware and multiple interface packages. Basically it’s now far easier for non technology specialists to implement and maintain the system. There are easily implementable opportunities to streamline processes and to interface with external solutions such as payroll to improve the quality of service and reduce costs. HR will also be able to get closer to their ‘customers’ by making use of self service portals, mobile devices and linking into third party sites (Linkedin, jobboards, social media, etc).

Yes it is exciting times. But… yes there is a big ‘but’ and that is there needs to be a focus on making the system work for them.

I think it all comes down to focus and ownership. Once that has been agreed then that person must be held accountable to make their investment decision work for the greater good of the organisation.  It needs the accountable person to be clear about the desired functionality, what the implementation roadmap looks like, who will be responsible for the implementation, monitoring the progress against agreed milestones and optimising the system. Rather than just jumping ship or blaming the vendor for not being up to scratch.

If your organisation would like to see how to optimise your Cloud based HR system call Tugela People. Ask about our free initial consultation.