We live in a techie world.
It seems that no matter what profession you’re in, the last five years have given you a dozen new technologies that can help you do your job faster, more effectively, or with less hassle.
And that’s great!
But staring at a wall of software recommendations can make your head spin, especially if you’re new to it. What’s the difference between attendance tracking software and employee scheduling software? Do you really need benefits software or will payroll cover it? Does any of it really matter?
Wonder no more, dear reader. Below, I’ve broken out the major different types of HR software and give a little background on each to provide you a guide for understanding the entire HR software landscape at a glance.
Type 1: Benefits-focused software
If you have employees, you definitely need to pay them, and probably want to offer them some additional benefits, too. This type of software helps you handle that.
Manage and track employee benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement accounts, and compliance in a single location. Often (but not always) this will integrate with, or be a module of, a larger HR software suite.
Compensation includes pay, bonuses, incentive programs, commission, and salary planning, and these systems let you track it all. Compensation management software also typically integrates with a broader HR suite.
Payroll software manages the act of paying your employees as well as direct deposits, checks, tax compliance, and W-2 form printing.
Type 2: Recruiting-focused software
If you recently posted a job opening and struggled to manage the hundreds of resumes that poured in and the interviews you had to coordinate with five different departments, this software is for you.
This software, and recruiting software as a whole, are all but synonymous. They allow you to source job applicants and track candidates through the interview and hiring process, Many will also allow you to post open jobs on career websites and manage resumes. If you’d like to know more, I frequently write about applicant tracking software.
This is a more specialized version of recruiting software that allows you to post and track open jobs to multiple online job boards such as Indeed and Monster, or allows you to create your own job board website for your company’s open positions.
Type 3: Performance-focused software
This type of software helps you track, measure, and reward employee performance. It’s especially useful when you get to employee review season.
With this software you can track and manage all your employee reviews in one place, making employee performance reviews much faster and easier. Many include support for goal tracking, learning and development plans, and compensation planning.
360 degree systems let anyone at an organization give a performance review of any other person. Employees can rate their managers and provide confidential/anonymous feedback, and people from different teams can review each other. (I’m a big fan of the 360 degree feedback method.)
These tools automate and formalize processes for recognizing high-achieving employees through things such as leaderboards, rewards points, goal tracking, and prizes.
Type 4: Training-focused software
If you want an effective, knowledgeable, and engaged workforce, you need to ensure that they’ve had the appropriate training. This software helps you design and deliver that training.
This software delivers training courses and material directly to employees, allowing them to take classes and tests, and allowing employers to track their progress, award certifications, and more.
If you want to develop your own training materials, you can use course authoring tools to build classes that are compliant with the many learning management systems that deliver training to employees, such as SCORM and xAPI.
These tools easily handle all the effort of onboarding new employees (such as those endless forms), and also often include functionality for training new recruits and introducing them to their new company’s culture and brand.
Type 5: Talent-focused software
Talent management deserves its own section, because it’s so massive. This includes all the talent management suites, integrated HR systems, and other all-in-one HR software tools that try to do it all: recruiting, training, payroll, scheduling, benefits, etc.
Historically aimed at bigger enterprises, but starting to cater to small and midsize businesses too, these tools combine just about everything else on this list to be a one-stop-shop for your HR needs.
Type 6: Workforce-focused software
The solutions in this section help you handle the little details and maintenance of everyday HR work and managing employees.
Straightforward features allow you to manage paid time off, vacation, and sick days in one location.
Manage health and wellness programs, survey employees, and create retention plans using information and features from this software.
Aimed at industries with hourly employees, this type of solution lets you easily track, assign, and adjust which employees are scheduled to work when. Many of these software systems include options for employees to trade shifts, report overtime, and more.
Focused on employees who need to track billable hours, these tools also manage invoices, time tracking for projects, and sometimes expense tracking.
Combining the functionality of all the above categories, this software also adds in features for labor law compliance and is usually aimed at midsize to large companies. However, it’s a good option to keep in mind as you grow.
Now go find software that’s just your type!
The HR software landscape is a broad one, with a lot of overlap, but hopefully this list helps clarify just what all the options are. Any questions or additions? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me @CapterraHalden.
Want to learn more about HR software? Start with any of these great articles— the choice is yours!
- Top 20 Most Popular Talent Management Software
- The Small Business Hype Cycle: Talent Management
- How Much Does HR Software Cost?
- 3 Applicant Tracking Systems That Will Help You Hire Generation Z
Looking for Human Resource software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Human Resource software solutions.