HR Systems reviewed by Alisdair Blackman

HR systems reviewed

I have had the privilege of working with a client who engaged Digital Rehab for the purposes of assessing the HR system landscape globally and then in helping with the procurement and finally rolling out a set of new HR & Payroll systems.

Since October 2015, I have myself been working to find a solution that satisfies the following HR and business requirements:

  • provide employees and candidates an ‘unbelievable’ user experience thus the GUI of critical importance not least of which to ensure take up and maximum adoption
  • centralised employee database
  • leave / absence management that works in with the complex  Leave Policy
  • localisation for all geographies who shall use the system 
  • Recruitment for both experienced and graduate candidates
  • Onboarding system for new starters
  • Performance management focused on monthly 1-on-1s, quarterly calibrations, annual remuneration, recognition, continuous feedback, 180 and 360 degree reviews etc
  • Workforce, Talent & Succession planning
  • Payroll (for Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong & Taiwan)
  • Offering single sign on across all applications 

My client is highly profitable and will likely double in size to over 750 across Asia Pacific over the next few years. Currently, there are 400 staff. 

I have now reviewed over 37 systems / products which either satisfy all or but one of the above. I wish now to share my findings…

General comments on HR product landscape

HR technology providers are increasingly designing applications for employees first, to enable workers to learn and develop, collaborate, share feedback, steer their careers, and even manage other people more effectively. The trend reflects a major shift from a decade ago, when vendors designed HR systems primarily to streamline HR administration, improve record-keeping, and help redesign HR processes. Today, digital technologies are transforming nearly every aspect of HR, from sourcing and recruiting to talent and performance management.

Given this, the products reviewed include:

  • SuccessFactors
  • WorkDay
  • Lumesse
  • CornerStone
  • Chris21
  • Gusto
  • Employment Hero
  • KIN
  • EmpowerHR
  • TribeHR
  • CornerStone
  • Oracle HCM
  • Namely
  • BambooHR
  • BenefitRoad
  • Reflektive
  • Impraise
  • Page Up
  • Greenhouse
  • IBM Kenexa
  • Lever.co
  • among others

What became very apparent is the very obvious difference between those systems with technical legacy versus the new breed of start-ups, niche offering and products. 

Australian business has always toyed with the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘All in One’ solution versus attempting to harmonise and integrate a series of disparate systems all of who offer very unique and compelling benefits into a ‘Blended’ solution. While all vendors claim to provide Open APIs and speak at the ease of integration, few have successfully done so and far fewer that will admit to doing it well and inexpensively.

Serious contenders for small to medium sized businesses

Here is my assessment on who I think have terrific solutions which should be, in my estimation carefully reviewed against your own specific HR business requirements:

For HRIS

  • Depending on the size and complexity of your business’ requirements, I would suggest the following:
    • Namely (New York based)
    • BambooHR (San Francisco based)
    • Benefit Road (Sydney based)

For Recruitment, Onboarding & Workforce Planning

  • Page Up (Melbourne based)
  • Lumesse (UK based)
  • Lever.co (San Francisco based)
  • GreenHouse (New York based)

For Performance Management

  • Reflektive (San Francisco based)
  • Page Up (Melbourne based)
  • Oracle HCM (San Francisco based)

For Benefits

  • Benefit Road is a standout solution. The HRIS and benefits interoperate beautifully. Ideal for organisations who place huge importance on simplicity, great UI and offering exemplary employee benefits

A recent survey shows one in three respondents plan to spend more on HR technology. Twenty three percent plan to increase spending by up to 20% and one in 10 plan to increase spending by more than 20% in 2014.

Tower Watson – 2016 HR Service Delivery & Technology survey

Enterprise grade solutions

There are a series of really solid enterprise grade solutions but typically are far more expensive than the previously mentioned

  • WorkDay (my personal favourite across the board)
  • SuccessFactors
  • Oracle HCM

Best all round solution

Workday-Logo

In my opinion, with WorkDay more aggressively targeting the mid-sized business market, their product is incredibly compelling. It’s interface is intuitive, its reporting stunning and its functionality taken by and large if not best in class, not far off in every respect and module discussed above.

For those considering the blended solution, I wish you luck. You are brave taking on such a task particularly if you are looking for the full compliment of modules across recruitment, onboarding, HRIS core, performance management and workforce planning. 

As I look now down the barrel to deploy a complex Workday solution over the next 6-7mths, I shall provide a further update as and when I’ve completed the implementation to share my insights and experiences.

Are you looking for help in getting new HR system(s) into your business? Get the right project manager