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Is Technology the Long-Awaited Savior of SME HR?

8th Jan 2016
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The question of whether HR in the discourse of small to medium enterprises actually needs a "savior" as such is something that could be debated for years and there is very little chance that one would end up with a clear yes or no answer. That being said, no one can deny the fact that small and medium-sized businesses usually do not allocate too much time, money and even attention to human resources as a way of improving their performance.

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The Reasons

Quite simply put, SMEs usually have troubles finding the money and the time to do their HR management "properly". The "properly" in this case denotes a level of HR management that would actually result in improved productivity, enhanced growth and increased profits. In short, they are not able, or willing, to spend money and time in order to eventually make more money and end up with more time they could allocate to more "essential" aspects of their operation.

In addition to this, many SME owners and managers  discover that the HR services they can get from professional HR companies are simply not suitable for their needs and they fall back to informal networks and other less-structured HR practices. In essence, they feel like they are wasting money on HR solutions that are, unfortunately, often cut-and-paste solutions that may or may not be simply scaled-down versions of the services that are tailored to large companies.

Of course, all of this will also depend on what stage the SME is in and how many people they actually employ. On average, however, HR is not one of the main focal points of running such enterprises and it often gets sidelined. On top of all that, there are also the overall low levels of satisfaction with how HR professionals do their job, as indicated in the Global Human Capital Trends 2015 report by Deloitte.

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In Comes the Tech

The biggest ally that SMEs might end up having when it comes to HR is the new tech which has already started enabling them to do much more in HR without spending too much time and money. More precisely, these allies will include different types of HR software solutions that can be purchased for a fraction of the price it would cost to hire HR professionals. Of course, before one does that, it is always a good idea to ask around and read up on reviews, like on Cloudswave, for example.

Absence Management Software

Absenteeism is a problem that may not seem too dramatic if one is looking only at their own SME, but it is a huge problem globally. For instance, only in the United States, it is estimated that businesses lose an excess of $225 billion due to absence of employees. It is unclear how much SMEs in particular are losing, but it is not little.

The main reason why absence management software solutions are the best thing to happen to SMEs is that they can easily show patterns in employee absence, something which is extremely difficult to do with pen and paper. With such software, it becomes much easier to relocate essential resources and cope with people being absent from the workplace.

HR Administration Software

While it is probably not anyone's wish, administration and paperwork often becomes the most demanding aspect of SME's HR operations. During a business' early days, spreadsheets and Word documents may be enough, but after a while, business owners are faced with an HR administrative metastasis which becomes too much sooner or later. There is an abundance of HR software and cloud-based solutions that can help SME owners and managers with this aspect of HR. Self-service HR software can be particularly interesting to such owners/managers.

Recruitment Software

Recruitment is often the greatest HR challenge that SMEs face. It needs to be done as well as possible, preferably perfectly and in order to achieve this, business owners and managers have to spend huge amount of time on this.

This time, web-based platforms can be of huge help, aiding the SMEs on every step on their recruitment journey, from advertising to interviewing. This will involve ensuring that potential candidates know about job openings; providing matching algorithms that will help with initial screening; involving social media and mobile devices in the recruitment process and much more.

Workforce Time and Attendance Software

Time and attendance monitoring becomes an issue sooner or later when SMEs are in question. Businesses which depend on continuous productivity output are usually more concerned with this, but not necessarily. While some T&A systems have been around for quite some time now, new technological solutions are definitely something to keep an eye on, so to say.

For example, new solutions enable SME owners and managers to get a better handle of highs and lows in workforce productivity. There are also solutions which ensure there is no cheating when punching the clock is in question, such as iris recognition. In addition to this, various time and attendance software solutions enable the enterprises to better reward employees who are extra productive and diligent.

Closing Word

Even today, technology and new advancements are helping SMEs handle their HR needs more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before. In the future, things can only get better and a future where SMEs are able to manage their HR as well as large corporations is definitely not complete science fiction.

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