The Top HR software for UK SMEs and Small Businesses

HR Management Personio Software EN

We built Personio as an HR software for SMEs in the UK. Why? To unlock your business's potential and long-term growth with an HR solution built for your needs.

In this article, we explore some of the key features and buying considerations that UK SMEs and small businesses should make when looking for a great HR software.

Discover why 10,000+ organisations trust Personio with their HR work today.

What is HR software? 

HR software is a digital solution for managing and optimising HR processes. It enables HR professionals and line managers to allocate their time and resources more efficiently, leading to improved performance, productivity and profitability.

Why do SMEs need HR software?

An HR software helps SMEs centralise their people data while streamlining all their important processes. Especially in a growing business, these processes can quickly become difficult to manage when you don’t have a proper solution in place. 

Take a company like Core, Ireland's largest marketing communications company, as an example. Their HR Business Partner, Laura Mohan, makes the case: “HR as a team within Core is very focused on our people, our engagement. But before Personio, in terms of just task-driven work, it was very manual and very laborious.”

Much like the team at Core, many SMEs want to be able to focus on their people and their bottom line, but they struggle bringing together that data and reducing manual work.

How does HR work in an SME?

Depending on your stage of growth, the role of HR at any given UK SME will vary. That said, there are some common circumstances that often include:

  • Support with sourcing, hiring and onboarding

  • Data management and keeping employee records up to date

  • Managing and running employee performance cycles

  • Building training programmes to aid professional development

  • Running exit interviews with departing employees

When we think of an SME or small business in the UK and their HR team, we think about managing each stage of the employee lifecycle seamlessly. The problem is that many teams don't have the time to commit to managing this cycle from start to finish.

Do small businesses need HR software?

For a lot of the same reasons as SMEs, small businesses can also benefit from the introduction of an HR system. HR software for small businesses in the UK is especially helpful because it opens up time for leaders to focus on growing the business.

How does HR software help SMEs and small businesses?

HR software helps SMEs and small businesses get and stay organised. Whether you are a busy CEO or COO, the only HR manager or part of a small HR team that wants to focus on bigger things, HR software is designed to make your – and your business’s – life easier. 

What is an example of how HR software works in an SME?

Take absences, for instance. According to the Independent, the average British citizen takes somewhere around 5.6 holidays every year. In an SME of at least 50 people, that is 280 separate holiday requests that need to somehow be managed.  

A smaller business may simply rely on an Excel sheet to track holidays. For their employees, that would make the process look a little like this: 

  • Tell their manager they want to go on holiday 

  • Pulling up the Excel sheet 

  • Filling in all of their details 

  • Sending their HR representative a message that they filled the sheet out

  • Waiting for a response and approval from their HR representative

  • Communicating back to their manager that their holiday has been approved

But, all it takes is one erroneous click, and all of that information is lost to the world. Not only that, but the information is haphazardly stored on one sheet which makes it impossible to report on – is everyone taking their holiday? Who knows! 

A great HR software for SMEs is going to have an absence management feature that works something like this: 

  • An employee opens an app on their phone or on their desktop 

  • They fill out their details of when they’re gone and the type of leave they want to take 

  • Both HR and their manager gets a notification and the ability to approve the request 

  • The happy employee goes on holiday 

Not only that, but it creates a much stronger pool of data. No more relying on outdated measures like the Bradford factor. Now, your growing team knows who is in, who is out and can report on long-term trends and make sure everyone’s entitlement is updated automatically. 

Review, approve and track absences from one place: Personio

Absence Timeline

Seamless absence management that scales with your headcount. See how Personio can manage every type of leave for your organisation today.

The Biggest Benefits of HR Software for SMEs in the UK 

The business case for an HR software solution has many angles. Here are just some of the biggest benefits worth mentioning: 

1. All Your Data, In One Place 

It can’t be said enough, but the biggest case for finding an HR software for your SME is having one place for all of your information. This is especially important when it comes to data security, or things like payroll and employment contracts. 

2. Scale With Ease 

Whether you are 50 or 250 employees and growing, an HR software can help scale with your company’s growing needs. One moment, it can house all of your data. Next, it can use that data to generate reports for your board members on headcount and company growth. 

3. Hiring Top Talent

Speaking of scaling, an HR software for SMEs isn’t complete without the ability to source and recruit top talent. One of the biggest benefits is that it can seamlessly automate your recruitment processes, so that your next great candidate doesn’t slip through your fingers. 

4. Employee Satisfaction 

Keeping your employees happy matters, for both your culture and your business. An HR software can help simplify all of the key moments in the employee life cycle, making it easier for employees whether they are joining the company or leaving it. 

5. Cost Savings & ROI 

A shocking statistic for SMEs in the UK: 83% of your employees lose up to eight hours per week on repetitive admin tasks. And, it’s all thanks to cumbersome HR processes found on Excel sheets or randomly buried in emails. HR software is an investment into the future of your organisation – and it immediately gives time back to all of your employees to focus on their best work, and not painful administrative tasks. 

The Five Key Features of HR Software for SMEs 

When it comes to deciding on the right HR software for your SME, consider these five features that we consider non-negotiable if you’re looking at any solution. 

Absence Management 

Being able to easily manage absences is huge for an UK small business or SME. Especially as your team grows, you need to have an easy and effective way to manage entitlements, requests and reporting on absence trends. 

Employee Data Management 

Whether you have 50 or 250 employees, they all trust you to manage their data securely. That means keeping files like contracts, payslips and tax forms neatly packed in a unique digital employee file. Designed to keep all of your data in one place. 

Time Tracking 

Whether it is who’s in the office, or how long they are working for, time tracking software – as part of any great HR software for SMEs – is table stakes. Especially in a world of increasing legal compliance when it comes to tracking time, SMEs need to be prepared. 

Performance Management 

Any SME knows that they need to keep hold of their top performers to succeed. And, studies show that performance conversations matter to your top performers. Performance management software allows you to run automated performance cycles, collect feedback from multiple sources and enable your managers to run more productive conversations. 

HR Helpdesk 

Whether your HR team is made up of 1 or 100 professionals, an HR helpdesk is an incredibly important way to centralise and streamline employee requests. In it, your teams can answer employee requests, keep them on file and even automate answers to your most popular questions. It can even reveal gaps where your organisation is missing clear policies. 

How much does HR software cost for UK SMEs?

It depends on your needs. A great HR software, made for the needs of small businesses and SMEs in the UK, is going to be able to tailor itself to your unique needs. Take Personio, for instance, our pricing relies on having a core system of record for your people data that is built out with apps that help bolster your most important work.

Meet Personio: An Ideal HR Software for UK SMEs 

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Making the decision to invest in an HR software is a big one. So, it helps to know what you’re getting – with Personio, you gain access to a host of features that can help take your team’s HR work to the next level. 

Everything from storing employee information, managing your entitlements and absences, tracking time, recruiting employees and onboarding them smoothly. There’s a reason why 10,000+ organisations trust us – because it works. 

Consider a company like LUSH, who use Personio to manage the data of their 400+ employees and recruit new team members daily. 

Take action today by speaking with an expert or starting a free trial. We can help you manage your SMEs HR needs with ease – because everything starts with people. 

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