Time. There’s never enough of it, which is why small business owners are often so dismayed at how much of this precious resource they need to spend on being an employer.
That HR time drain is why we work with thousands of small businesses – providing HR software that gives them back the gift of time and allows them to concentrate on what’s important.
The small business environment can be a hectic place and, unless you’ve been there, it’s difficult to understand how it feels. There’s excitement. A sense of possibility. And an understanding that you’ll probably have several different roles at any moment. And all those moments are busy.
That’s why time goes faster for small business owners. In 2004 psychologists at the University of Alberta showed that how busy you are has a direct impact on your perception of time. “Even if you know in advance that you’re going to have to estimate the time of a task, the more attention the task requires, the faster time flies,” explained the scientists.
Basically, the harder you work, the less time you feel you have. This is a problem because you’ve got a lot to do. A business to run, customers to delight, deals to close – and there’s a mountain of HR related tasks that can’t be ignored.
So how does HR software help small businesses get back time?
This is the big one. The HR admin associated with hiring one employee is significant. Then there’s ongoing tasks like tracking absence and leave, ensuring overtime is recorded, and running payroll on time. It’s possible to manage all this with diligent record keeping and sharp organisational skills. You keep a spreadsheet. You’ve got lists to help you remember things, important dates marked in your calendar. It’s doable.
Growth is where challenges occur. Business is going well. You hire another employee, then another. HR admin doubles, then triples. The spreadsheet expands. The lists get messier. This is usually the point where small business owners look for a better solution and encounter us, hopefully before something gives…
Hands down the most valuable contribution HR software makes to a small business is bringing everything into one place, accessible any time, from wherever you are. All your HR admin lives in a system specifically designed to make those tasks as quick and seamless as possible. And in many cases, it’ll take them off your plate altogether – say hello to ‘self-service’.
If you’re yet to take the dive into the world of HR software, this will be music to your ears. Self-service is the idea that your people are empowered to take responsibility for elements of their own HR admin. And unless you want everyone poking around in your sensitive HR spreadsheet (not a good idea), it’s only possible with HR software.
Self-service can start as part of the onboarding process, where important documents, essential policies, and personal information like bank details and next of kin all live on the HR system. The individual logs in and takes care of these tasks themselves. By creating their profile and giving them access, perhaps as soon as they accept the offer (even before they start), you set the tone for their employment – “This is yours to manage.”
From then on, if they want to book holiday or check leave allowance, see their payslips, their most recent performance review, or update their bank details, they know where to go, and it’s not to you. You’ve got a business to run.
Bottom line, if you run HR without a specialist tool, you’re going to make mistakes. It’s inevitable. The serious consequences of inaccuracy come in the form of compliance breaches. Say, for instance, an employee joined straight from college. Minimum wage rules didn’t apply until their 22nd birthday. But that was a while ago. So how old are they now? Hmmmm, I’ll have to check the spreadsheet.
Before their birthday, HR software would notify you that you’re risking a breach on their pay conditions. Your spreadsheet doesn’t do that. Compliance reminders can also save you from missing important deadlines, like health and safety inspections or document expiry, and save you a ton of headaches.
Then there are small mistakes that you waste time putting right. They damage trust between you and employees – who rely on you to pay the rent. Holiday mix-ups or delayed wages will erode goodwill faster than they can say, “here’s my resignation letter”. Hiring good people takes time and money, so hanging on to them when you find them should always be a priority.
Every time someone takes a sick day or does overtime it impacts holiday entitlement. Every pay rise, every change of working hours impacts their benefits and tax deductions. Any time something changes in your HR data, it sets off a cascade of updates that must be made. This is a complex, time consuming and often confusing web of interrelated admin tasks that can easily tie you in knots if you don’t stay on top of it.
Decent HR software will update and calculate all this in the back end so your records always align. Automation is how HR software gifts you your time back from the maze of regulations and responsibility that is HR management.
You may be one of those people that enjoys working out payroll reports manually – calculating each pay period by hand, deductions, tax, checking for errors, rechecking, and keeping fastidious records. You may be one of those people, but we haven’t met many small business owners who are.
We offer payroll as an optional extra. And our customers often go for it because citrus HR integrates with their accounting software. It cuts out errors. And because it turns a long, complex and generally tedious job into a task of moments, it gives you back time.
Say you’re about to have a performance one-to-one. You might want to know how many sick days the employee took this year. How often have they been late? How much is their basic salary? When did they last get a pay rise and what was their last bonus? Rather than spending half an hour rifling through notepads, HR software can tell you all this in seconds.
In fact, in citrus HR, you can combine any of the information in the system to reveal genuine insights on the health and direction of your business. What’s your average employee turnover? Cost per hire? How is overall employee engagement trending over time? When these questions crop up, it’s usually because you need answers quickly. And with all your people information in one place, accessible in a few clicks, that’s what HR software is designed to enable.
There’s never enough time in the small business world. So if you’re spending too much of it managing HR issues and staying on top on people admin, why not take a free 14 day trial of Citrus HR. It takes seconds to set up, it’s specifically designed for small businesses, and we won’t be beaten on value or customer service.
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