Can the Internet Be Your HR Department?

By Steve Rosenthal, SmartBiz.com

For SMBs, pen and paper and technology ranging from QuickBooks accounting
applications to more comprehensive HR and payroll systems have long been the
staples to manage these processes.

While these methods and systems have
their merits, the Internet has enabled SMBs to realize greater efficiencies by
utilizing hosted HR platforms. These systems eliminate the need to purchase and
maintain applications and servers, are extremely easy to use, and are accessible
via standard Web browsers and an Internet connection. They are also secure and
very affordable with pricing models typically scoped on a per employee basis.

A critical concern for embracing any type of technology is security,
especially with respect to safeguarding personnel information. When selecting a
hosted HR solution, make sure it offers multiple layers of security and that the
data is protected. Balancing security with accessibility and scalability, open
database platforms offer the most flexibility. This will ensure your payroll and
personnel data is easily accessible, and can be integrated with other
applications as your company grows, all while ensuring the tightest security.
You also want to make sure XML (Extensible Markup Language) is supported. This
offers a data standard that can easily pass information from one application to
another. So if you want your payroll processing application to connect with your
benefits provider, this can all be integrated via XML.

Lastly, having browser-based access to your HR system allows you to open it up
to not only the executive team, but also to each employee, enabling them to peer
into their personnel file, view pertinent information and make requests (more on
these benefits later).

Automating Processes

Through a
hosted HR system, SMBs can directly connect their payroll and benefits
administration within this centralized platform – hence, the elimination of
manual processes, which reduces errors and improves overall data accuracy.

Most hosted HR system vendors offer a range of services that span the
lifecycle of personnel management – from recruiting to payroll terminations and
COBRA administration. A centralized system with XML-based interface capabilities
can automate these processes, and seamlessly manage the day-to-day activities,
reducing costs and minimizing risk and liability.

These systems can also
reduce the number of vendors that are supporting your business, improving cost
efficiencies.