As time goes on, the workplace and the workforce get more and more complex. Different people, filling different roles, at different levels, at different times. That can be a lot to manage, even with the most advanced HR software - which is why integration is so important.
Integration involves linking your HR software to other business management software to ease the running of daily activities. But how do you go about doing this? In this guide, we will discuss everything from when you should consider integrating, the benefits of doing it, the challenges in your way, and the types of software you should look into integrating.
However, before we go into the details, let us start with understanding what integration actually is. It’s our first stop on the road to knowing everything you need to know about an integrated HR system, so let’s get started!
There are several ways of looking at HR integration. As we have said before, you can think of it as linking up your HR software to other useful software so as to have a united front, but that is only one way of doing it.
For instance, you can buy an already integrated set of tools and software from a single vendor. This covers, in one transaction, everything from payroll, analytics, and recruiting systems. Otherwise, you can go for point solutions for every HR tool you need and then integrate all of them. Or you can do a combination of both.
Integration is important because all the software and programs you will end up using are all going to be connected to the same database. This results in a seamless transfer of data across platforms that is truly hard to match. This means they are all always in sync, meaning that one update in a single software, like payroll, will show up everywhere else. It makes everything so much more efficient.
Just because an integrated human resource management system makes life easier does not mean it is easy to implement. It takes a lot of time, resources, and money to set up, so you need to be sure that you need it. Also, not all circumstances dictate the need for HR integration.
However, in this section, we will provide you with a few guidelines that should help you decide when (or if) you need to integrate your HR systems. You should consider integrating your HR systems if:
There are many different kinds of HR software systems available today - HCM, HRIS, HRMS, etc. They all work differently, and HRIS is among the most basic suite you can imagine. It does not cover everything you will need from it, especially if you are working for a growing or large company; this is a problem you’ll run into frequently.
So, if you are using HRIS and meeting your other needs with a few different software solutions, then you are in the Goldilocks zone for integration. This will eliminate problems like double entry and data errors in one fell swoop.
A lot of vendors will tout products that can handle every HR-related function, and they are not lying. There are many software packages that come integrated, and they will meet your every need… to an extent. As the saying goes, a jack of all trades is also a master of none. This means that while it can do many things, it lacks depth in any single task.
This is why you can consider getting specialized software for different tasks. These programs are focused on providing a single solution, so they will be able to give you the best possible performance you can want. Then, if you integrate these specialized tools, you will have a custom toolkit instead of a jack-of-all-trades. In the long run, this will be better for you.
Budgetary restrictions are very real, and you should make plans that line up with that, especially if you work for a smaller company. In that case, you might have some tools in place but getting a single upgrade that covers all bases is out of your reach. Or maybe you have all the tools in place already. In these situations, integration will be a solid investment.
Without needing to wait years to get the best of everything (or buying a system that does it all from a vendor), integration is a surefire way to efficiently utilize your budget and not tank the company.
We have mentioned how integrated human resources systems can make life easier. In this section, we will double down on that and show you the many ways it can do so. We present to you the many benefits of integrating software:
Are you tired of updating every database with the same data every time you make a new hire? Integration helps you eliminate the need to do that entirely. By updating a single database, the same data gets shared with every software connected to it, freeing up tons of time for the entire HR team. You can spend that time on meetings and other important things.
Have you ever tried to type 1,000 a few dozen times and ended up adding or subtracting a zero? It happens with alarming frequency, errors like that. With integrated software, however, that will be a thing of the past. Since you will only have to enter the data once, and it’ll get updated everywhere else, it will greatly boost the accuracy and consistency of your data.
During a scavenger hunt, you will have items located all over the place. While finding them is the aim of the game, imagine having to do all that while on a tight deadline. Decidedly not fun. That is why having all your data in one place will allow you to know at a glance just what is happening, without you dividing your attention across several places. This lets you make better decisions by looking at the big picture more clearly.
Because you will have all your data in one central hub, extracting the information you need will be much easier. By accessing the big picture much more readily, you will be able to make your reports much faster and efficiently. This also allows you to see things you otherwise might not have. For example, tracking the growth of an employee through onboarding will show you, in concrete terms, how well they are doing.
Having all the data in one place reduces the need for users - you and your team - to sign into multiple software to do your work. A single sign-in is all you need to access whatever it is that you want. Plus, if you want to give employees access to their own data - especially payroll - this simplifies the usage for them as well. Giving them access to their data is not a bad practice. In fact, it shows that you trust them.
There are a lot of rules that you as the HR manager need to abide by. Keeping track of and meeting them all, on top of dealing with errors and typos, is enough to drive anyone insane. This is why, with integration, it is easier to manage and meet all the requirements set forth by the workplace - especially if you work for a big company and have to deal with international law.
As you can see, there are several reasons to champion integration in your company. It pushes efficiency and accuracy way up, and that should always be a welcome change anywhere. However, as with everything else in the world, integration has its own set of challenges. And in the next section, we will discuss what they are.
There will be some challenges on your way to successful HR integration. Let us look at some of the most important ones:
The first thing you need to consider is whether going for integration is sustainable. You really don’t want to break your company’s bank over this. Proper HR integration requires a lot of time, money, and other resources. If your company is unable to provide all of these, then it is best to consider other options. Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence.
Imagine you own an iPhone. If something goes wrong, you can only repair it at an Apple store. This is because all Apple parts are standardized and fit like a glove. There is no such thing when it comes to integration software. If you have an existing system and want to add a payroll service to your roster, there’s a chance that your operation might collapse because the new one doesn’t work well, or at all, with the others.
Human beings themselves play a huge role when it comes to creating problems. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare, and thus, let’s see what the most common human problems are:
Your employees will be trained to do things a certain way. Maybe they have never had to upgrade their skill set - or they weren’t skilled enough, to begin with. Faced with integration, these individuals will have an incredibly hard time getting used to and learning everything they need in order to function properly. This will also lead to confidence issues in the long run, so it would be best to mend this as soon as possible.
Data can sometimes be bad. What this means is that the data you have in the database has some errors and inconsistencies. This is understandable because you have to type the same thing in different places. Typos are liable to happen. The best thing to do is clean up your database and eliminate all the errors that you can before integrating. In fact, this is good practice before audits, too.
These you just can’t help. Technical difficulties will always find a way to pop up somehow. These will require some expert help, so make sure you have an IT specialist at hand. Technical difficulties can range from power cuts to problems with the system software itself, so troubleshooting is something you need to keep in mind. This can delay integration and bring it down to a crawl.
Up until now, we have spoken about all the different benefits and challenges you will face on your way to getting an integrated human resource management system, but now it is time to discuss what all kinds of software you should consider integrating into your HR system. Needless to say, the kinds of software you choose to integrate will determine the effectiveness of your setup.
So, without further delay, allow us to give you our recommendations about the ten types of software you should definitely integrate into your HR system!
This is possibly the most important software package you should integrate into your HR system. There are vast amounts of time to be saved through this, not only by eliminating repeat errors and inaccuracies but also by allowing HR and Finance departments to access the data simultaneously without having to go around each other.
Plus, payroll integration is very popular - meaning others have done it before. By virtue of that, you will be able to learn from their mistakes and streamline your own process that much more.
Your Applicant Tracking System is a no-brainer for integration, but what about other supporting tools? If you use tools for psychometric evaluation and pre-hiring assessments, tying them all up in the same sack of software will be highly beneficial to you because all your recruitment data will be in the same place. You will be saving a lot of time that you can dedicate to making better hiring choices.
In order to run a well-oiled machine, you need to keep track of all these things. Most companies choose not to integrate this into the HR fold because it’s just bookkeeping, but therein lie the pitfalls! Because you are filling the numbers in multiple places, it leads to easy clerical errors and typos - which is something you want to avoid here because this directly ties into payroll.
Once integrated, your employees will also have an easier time about it since they will otherwise have to go to different sources to get different kinds of data about their statistics. Giving them the ease of access comes with the territory of integration, so give it to them.
Employees like knowing what benefits they have. This is true; so, give them the ability to do it by integrating it into the HR system. By making the benefits information open to employees, you are allowing them to gauge what they can cash in and see what it is they have coming down the pipeline. This will keep them happy and stop them from asking you about it, saving you a lot of time as well.
Expense management is crucial. Staying on top of every report is something that is unavoidable. Employees submit these reports while the finance department processes them. By integrating this system into the wider HR fold, you can save them some time by allowing for a single log-in to get access to all the records about leavers, starters, and any changes.
Health and safety records need to be kept updated firstly to keep track of whether your employees suffer from any ailments and whether they are getting the help and treatment they need. This usually falls under a different system than HR, though, which can be a problem when making decisions about company-wide policies in regards to health.
Furthermore, it is a matter of meeting regulations, keeping these statistics updated. And keeping them all in one place will help you keep an eye on the bigger picture.
Employee engagement is very important. It will be part of your job to collect data about the thoughts and feelings of your employees in order to gauge how engaged they are in the work they are doing. This gives you an idea about satisfaction and loyalty - the higher the satisfaction, the lower the chance that people will leave.
However, without acting upon the data, you will be able to achieve nothing. So, keeping all this data at hand will help you formulate who needs a push to stay happy and who is doing okay - and then plan accordingly. For employee retention alone, this makes it worth it to integrate.
This is another area where integration is necessary. Your chosen talent management software keeps track of every individual’s skills and data. Integration will lead to increased visibility and accuracy of the data, allowing you to keep said data at your fingertips to formulate plans of succession at your leisure.
Many employees learn new skills on the job, and this falls under the scope of Learning and Development most of the time. This can cause all manner of confusion as it takes two departments to figure out where exactly an employee stands talent-wise. This results in unnecessary problems when the time comes for evaluations. Who has what data?
This is why integrating an LMS into your HR toolkit is important. Not only does it tell you what an employee is doing and learning, but it also shows you how much progress they’ve made. This makes it far easier for you to understand the full scope of an employee’s skills and requirements, enabling you to better support them, too.
Just because this is number ten does not mean it is by any means less significant. You really want to do thorough background checks and screen all your applicants and candidates thoroughly to make sure you hire the right person, and screening and background checking software is the best way to get there.
The only other alternative to getting a specialist software is to go out and do it yourself - which is not sustainable in the least. Plus, if you train your staff to do this, you will save everyone a ton of time. It will also keep all your personnel records up to date.
The integration process can be difficult and tiresome, but it is a path that is definitely worth trodding on. If during the process you run into any issues, you can reach out to us at Lanteria. We have years worth of experience in the Configuration and Setup of HR software and toolkits, so we are in the best possible position to lend you a hand. Our integrated human resource management system can connect to Office 365, DocuSign, ADP, Zapier, Exchange, and Predictive Index. Reach out today for a demo!