New HR system needed for manufacturing SME

by 16 Oct 2007

Q. As an employer in the manufacturing sector with around 400 people, we are looking to upgrade our current HR system. We want one that offers more flexibility and that will allow staff and managers to take ownership of their HR matters. What sort of aspects should we look for in a new system that will provide greater functionality in areas such as payroll, workplace agreements, superannuation and package structuring?

A. Recent changes in business and legislation have led to a new era of flexibility and individual empowerment, and this calls for a new breed of HR/payroll services. These services must make use of cutting edge technology and cover a wide spectrum of HR functionality, allowing staff and managers to take ownership of their HR matters. There are a few aspects to look out for when moving to a new system.

Integration and data transfer. When choosing and implementing a new system, you are given the opportunity of creating the modern day ideal of having all systems integrated to save you and your organisation valuable time and money by eliminating duplication of work. This is not limited to HR only, but all aspects of operations. HR forms the base of data from which all other applications can be fed. With this in mind it is vital to ensure that your new platform is database-driven with well structured tables allowing ease of integration into all existing systems such as time and attendance and other operational platforms.

Flexibility. It is essential that the system is able to cater for the new flexible HR and payroll environment, in which employees can have individual workplace agreements and uniquely structured packages that can modified and adjusted as and when necessary. Systems that are parameter-driven allow for all variations and are extremely flexible. This will give you the ability to cater for individual and multiple funds and working agreements. A modular approach gives you the benefit of specifying only the functionality that your organisation needs and results in a tailor-made solution.

Statutory compliance. Your new system should be fully statutory compliant. Support staff and consultants should add value to your setup and configuration through workshops to ensure that your new structure is exactly as you want it. This exercise is also a good time to rectify any imperfections that might have crept into company policies and conditions of employment. Service providers, who follow the ethic of creating lasting rewarding relationships with clients, will always insure that they are kept abreast of legislative changes.

Employee self-service. A robust employee self-service system is a must, and if implemented through a well-designed intranet will give your employees access to real-time information that they have not seen before. This will give them the opportunity to take ownership and responsibility of their information, allowing them to map their path to success. Round this off with a cellular component that will give employees instant access to information such as net pay and leave balances from any location and you will have a state-of-the-art system that will provide you with ongoing excellence, flexibility and peace of mind that your most important part of your organisation– your staff– are getting the best service available.

By Jonathan de Beer, CRS Solutions, and Karen Knowles, Digitus. Tel: (02)9993 8000, Email: