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Annie Hayes

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HR disappointed with IT systems

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A third of HR professionals are dissatisfied with their newly acquired IT systems; these are the latest findings from employment analysts IRS.

The price for this disappointment is high according to the survey with four in ten saying they had overspent their budget when buying a new HR management system (HRMS) while three out of ten admitted that implementation took longer then expected.

Cost, ease of use and the future flexibility of technology are low priorities among HR bosses for HRMS. Obtaining quality information is the key reason for upgrading systems, according to nine out of ten respondents.


Other findings include:

  • Approximately one sixth (15%) of respondents reported that they had a unified HRMS in place, with the same number using multiple standalone systems – or separate component systems.
  • One third (34%) of respondents reported that senior managers were able to access computerised employee records but this was generally limited to monitoring absence figures or downloading forms for manual completion.
  • Less than one third (28%) allowed line managers access to computerised employee records, and less than 5% of respondents allowed line managers to change pay rates. Just 13% of respondents gave employees access to data held in their HRMS, even though more than half the organisations surveyed (54%) said “giving control to individual employees” was a core objective of their HRMS implementation.
  • Although the vast majority of respondents said they did not offer employee self service to their staff, more than seven in 10 (71%) organisations said employee self service was either essential or desirable.
  • The main challenges to successful implementation are: training (cited by more than half the respondents – 54%), cost (41%), managing HR expectations (41%), managing supplier relationships (36%), skills issues (34%) and finally, managing employee expectations (8%).


IRS Employment Review managing editor, Mark Crail said:

“As human capital management has gained momentum in the HR and business world, consultants – and IT vendors – have increasingly touted the use of technology as a solution enabling employers to better manage their staff, boost productivity and address skills issues, and reduce workplace absence.

“Our research shows that many employers are not making full use of technology, with HR departments often simply transferring paper-based systems to a computer screen. But employers that fully exploit the potential of their systems to rid themselves of routine admin and empower individuals and line managers do get results in terms of staff satisfaction and cost savings.”

Crail added that many respondents would strive for better planning, communication and training if they had to implement an HR IT system again.

The results are based on a survey of 46 senior HR professionals.

One Response

  1. HR Systems
    I am afraid in my experience most HR people do not have a clear vision of what they want from a system to start with.
    Some recent analyses performed with clients have turned up:
    a) An intellectual capability shortfall to cope with the systems
    b) HR managers delegate the running of the systems to people without sufficient training or vision transfer (they just want stats or pretty graphs)
    c) The HR department had allowed themselves to get “snowed” by the supplying salesmen.

    There needs to be a forum set up for this topic, and, without wishing to advertise! I am happy to be part of it.

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Annie Hayes

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