Hickock Boardman Benefits

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"Plug and Play" with HR/Payroll Systems

In an ideal world, an employer would want the latest technology with the best costs and the best features in an all-in-one integrated system.   Unfortunately, none of us live in an ideal world.  And each company has its own unique history with technology.  Often a Payroll or HR Manager inherits a system that someone else selected and implemented.  Then they have limitations of time, staff and money that shape their intentions to improve or replace their HR/Payroll system.

The good news is you don’t have to wait for ideal circumstances.  And if you do wait, they may never occur.  So the key is to assess what you have, where your pain points are, what you can live with and what improvements will give you the biggest bang for your buck.  The following three scenarios give you examples of what a company might face and how they might deal with it. For the purpose of these examples, assume the companies might have 150 to 500 employees.

1) Manufacturer - Financially Tight but Stable

This company has been using a local payroll service that has limited HRIS capabilities.  The HR capabilities and reporting are confusing or limited.  The payroll services are satisfactory.  HR functions that are particularly time intensive are time and attendance and benefits administration.  This company could keep its current payroll service and acquire a web-based time and attendance system (which may or may not also need timeclock hardware).  Benefits enrollment and administration could be justified and much improved with the addition of a web-based system.  Both these systems could “integrate” with the payroll service with weekly or monthly file transfers to keep all systems in sync and up to date. 

2) Utility Company – Solid and Conservative  

They purchased and installed a payroll software ten years ago.  This software is built on a mainframe platform and the payroll company is invested and committed to preserving that base system.  So add-ons that have occurred in the past 10 years are not truly integrated, are cumbersome and don’t always work as advertised.  It is expensive to add the HR or timekeeping features desired.  A full-blown Request-For-Proposal is in order with an eye to replace the current system with a new breed of software-as-a-service, cloud-based system that is better and cheaper.  Of course, this company needs to commit the time and resources to carefully choose their next system so it last at least three to five years.

3) Retailer - Fast Growing and in Multiple States

Their payroll/HR system was outsourced to national payroll company.  They are excellent at payroll but HR features and capabilities are limited and not best-in-class.  They can keep their current service, strip down the cost so they are paying just for payroll, and add a new HR system that can be integrated to the payroll firm through investment in building an electronic data interface (EDI).  With EDI, both systems are kept in sync with daily updates back and forth that occur behind the scenes and do not require any manual intervention.  This company does not have to disrupt