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by Nora Guy | March 10, 2009


One of the more time-consuming and ultimately frustrating aspects of doing business in the world of high tech has to be the paperwork, and the enormous amount of paperwork associated with human resource management is no exception. There are applicants' resumes to take into consideration; and various forms related to tracking employee data once the applicant is hired. Benefits forms, changes in employee status, evaluation forms - keeping track of all these can create a problem for an HR Generalist, Benefits Administrator, or Recruiter who is trying to keep up with it all. And the problem is the same whether your company has 50 people or 5,050. You need a Human Resource management software package.

A query on "human resource software" or "HRIS" on any Internet search engine brings back innumerable results. Names such as HireSystems, SoftShoe, Restrac, and WebHire abound - each seductively promising the most versatile, user-friendly, and cost effective solution to HR needs. Some of the above packages are web-based while some are not. DOS and 16-bit Windows-based packages are also available. Prices vary widely - a cheap package can be had for less than $200, whereas a completely integrated system with a web interface and other high-tech features can be pricey enough to send a company's CFO into serious sticker shock for the remainder of the fiscal year.

So where do you begin to shop around for a package that suits your business? Try considering some, or all, of the following factors:

  • Size of your business, both current and anticipated (the more employees, the larger database you may need)
  • Versatility
  • Ease of use (Does it take three people and the manual to figure out how to input information?)
  • Cost, and your budget
~For some businesses, a simple Windows-based program, or even a simple Excel spreadsheet may do. But others may require a more sophisticated approach, such as a turnkey Internet solution, which integrates human resources and employee benefits administration.

Some features to look for:

  • Stores all personnel and benefits information in a single database - thus reducing the amount of filing and file searching.
  • Completes eligibility changes and billing - eliminates lengthy reconciliation with each carrier.
  • Electronically transfers data directly to carriers - eliminates mailing and faxing.
  • Tracks COBRA, Medicare and HIPAA - eliminates multiple files and manual tracking.
  • Eliminates most paperwork, applications, lists and forms - reduces paper products and machine use.

Of course, when considering web databases, privacy is an important factor. Many products feature a 128-bit encryption via Secured Socket Layers (SSL), which assures that data cannot be intercepted between the retrieval and delivery systems.

SSL systems are easy to use and do not require special equipment or software. An Internet browser is all that both employer and employee users need to access the system.

For your best HRIS solution, research thoroughly and look at several products - considering the pros and cons of each - before you make your final decision.

And after you've implemented it, marvel at all the space you now have in your file cabinet!

Nora Guy is a Technical Staffing Specialist at Hamilton Technical Staffing, a division of Hamilton Software Inc. Contact her at (707)542-2700 X150, or


Filed Under: Workplace Issues