Deciding On the Best User-Friendly HR Software for UK Businesses

Two colleagues are happy about a user-friendly software

The best HR software in the UK is the most user-friendly one. Why? Because a truly great HR software needs to balance three things: your HR systems, your HR processes and your HR department structure.

In this article, we walk you through why each of these fundamentally relies on one core feature: user-friendliness.

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What is HR Software?

HR software is a digital solution designed to structure and optimise an organisation's everyday HR processes along the employee life cycle. This typically includes sourcing, recruiting, managing, onboarding, developing and paying employees.

What Is the Purpose of HR Software?

The primary purpose of HR software is to open up time. Time for your employees to focus on their work, time for your executives to make data-based decisions for their people and time back for your HR teams to focus more on their people.

What Is the Best HR Software?

The best HR software will loop in every stage of the employee life cycle. This means providing features to manage employee attraction to retention. That is why an all-in-one HR software is typically an organisation's best course of action.

Who Benefits Most From HR Software?

We should start by considering the three primary demographics served by only the best HR software:

  1. HR Managers - The most obvious choice. HR managers will likely need to log in to an HR software on an almost-daily basis.

  2. Line Managers - Your average line manager in the UK will use HR software to approve leave requests or manage performance cycles. They may log in once a week.

  3. Average Employees - Other employees may log in every day, to see their colleagues' birthdays, or once a month to log a leave request. The variance is super high.

An average HR software will serve one or two of these demographics, but will most often only serve one demographic exceptionally. It may be useful for managers, but impossible for HR professionals -- or, nice for employees, but otherwise unusable.

The best HR software, specifically for UK SMEs, is mindful of each demographic and focuses on delivering a solution that suits each of them at once. Insightful for HR professionals, usable for line managers and engaging for employees.

That said, those who stand to benefit the most from the best HR software in the UK are HR managers. After all, they are the ones saving the most time. Time they can invest back into their workforce for the benefit of everyone.

Should You Implement an HR Software?

The main arguments for implementing HR software are increased productivity and reduced workloads. However, goals like these cannot be achieved if your software is far too complicated or the processes are too cumbersome. User-friendliness is everything.

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What is User-Friendly HR Software?

User-friendly HR software is intuitive and straightforward, allowing users to effortlessly find what they need and access core information with ease. Additionally, the best HR software is designed to be compatible with and operate smoothly on any device.

As a method of evaluation, the best and most user-friendly HR software should check some (if not all) of the following boxes:

  • It shouldn't require any specific knowledge or deep training

  • Users should have all the information relevant to them at a glance

  • Functions and features should be mapped out clearly and precisely

  • Software should run on and be easy to operate from any device

What Makes HR Software User-Friendly?

Surely, you want the best HR software for your organisation. So, what are some of the key criteria that can help determine if your software is right for your employees?

Let's walk you through some signals that can help narrow down your decision. Ask any HR software provider some of the following:

  • Does your software provide a quick overview of the available options and functions?

  • Are users able to navigate to all functions and information they need within the software without extensive searches?

  • Are users able to perform recurring tasks as quickly as possible? Do they save time in the process, compared to the previous solution?

  • Are the functions ‘intuitive’? Are inexperienced users able to understand how to work with the software?

  • Are all text and buttons easy to read and identify?

  • Can the software be used comfortably while on the go and from mobile devices?

  • Does the software load quickly and work without delays?

In terms of user-friendliness, Personio provides a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for employees to access and use our software.

Additionally, Personio provides a range of features and tools that can simplify HR processes, such as time-off requests, onboarding and performance management.

Overall, the combination of both user-friendly interface and versatility makes Personio an attractive option for SMEs in the UK looking to streamline their HR processes and improve their HR management.

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The Best HR Software Features for UK Businesses

While each HR software has its own approach, most incorporate proven best-practice approaches. This might include some combination of the following:

1. An Easy Navigation

Being able to quickly and easily navigate an HR software is table stakes. If you have an HR software in place, check if it has:

  • A clearly structured main menu with meaningful item names

  • A search function to access items directly (without any needless steps)

  • A tabbed navigation to switch quickly between different sections instead of needing to click forwards and backwards in your browser

2. HR Dashboard

What happens when you or a line manager first logs in? What do you see? Your HR dashboard is where you "land" in your HR software. But, what should it have to be truly user-friendly? Consider the following:

  • Direct links to any and all functions

  • Important company-wide updates or announcements

  • Upcoming tasks and reminders for completion

  • Hiring updates and timelines (for recruiters)

3. Customisation

Only the best HR softwares will offer a level of customisation to suit your unique organisation's needs. But, you want to make sure you are balancing something custom with something that still works. Here's what to keep in mind for peak user-friendliness:

  • A role-based access model: Only functions necessary for respective roles (employee, team leader, department head, etc.) are available; unused functions are hidden.

  • Dashboard customisation: Users are able to customise their dashboards individually to link to frequently accessed features.

4. Clear, Consistent Design

There is always beauty in clarity. For your HR software, you want to ensure that you enjoy a clear and consistent design -- it helps massively when it comes to guiding users where you need them to go for their most important HR tasks. Make sure you have:

  • Easy-to-read texts and large buttons.

  • Buttons and menus located in the same spot and consistently named.

  • Colours, shapes and graphics or icons illustrate various functions.

5. Mobile Access

The world of work doesn't just happen on desktop! Having a mobile app, even for key features, should feature in planning to implement any HR software. Consider the following:

  • The layout adapts to the screen size of the device used (responsive design).

  • Elements can be easily identified and controlled, even from small screens.

  • Software is accessible from home and on the go via mobile devices and the internet.

  • The software loads quickly via mobile data connections.

Is the User-Friendliness of HR Software Often Poor?

It depends on what your organisation is currently using. Many growing teams will rely on Excel spreadsheets as their "HR software". In cases like these, user-friendliness is almost completely out the window.

Other teams may use a haphazard collection of HR tools. They may have a separate tool for performance, another for analytics and another for applicant tracking. In this case, switching between tools can turn into a massive time suck. For everyone.

Ultimately, HR software needs to be user-friendly – both for people in HR as much as for all employees who have to use it.

Does HR Software Need to Be User-Friendly for all Employees?

Definitely. Let's turn to an expert, Renato Castelo Branco, Director of Product Design at Personio, for some insight into the matter:

Good software makes employees’ work easier rather than more difficult. An investment in user-friendly software means spending less time on training and troubleshooting and more time on the productive tasks that make work fun.

Poor user-friendliness can have severe consequences, as employees rely on the software as a basis for important decisions. Clearly displayed information is therefore essential. Complex software increases the risk of mistakes and incorrect assumptions, which in turn cost time, money and credibility.

Is Your HR Software User-Friendly? Ask Your Employees!

Before you even begin considering a new HR software, find out from your employees, your managers and your executives what they need most. Consider their opinions and bring them to the fore. It will make your decision that much easier.

But, if you fancy giving an HR software a test for yourself, you can always start a free trial with an HRIS like Personio today. Then, you can speak to one of our experts during a complimentary demo about how it can meet your (and your employees') needs.

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Personio is an all-in-one HR software designed for every stage of the employee life cycle.

Using Personio, you can manage all your most important HR processes from one place. Recruit, manage, develop and pay your employees from one centralised HRIS.

For HR professionals, you can unlock new levels of productivity and influence. Become the HR business partner that your business needs, by getting back time for what matters: your people.

For line managers, Personio seamlessly builds automated performance cycles, tracks vacation days and keeps employee information up-to-date (and in a compliant fashion).

For employees, no more fussing with cumbersome tools and processes. Employees can request days off, change their information and keep track of goals and more. All from one place.

Speak with an expert today about your HR needs and how Personio can meet them. Or, give Personio a spin for yourself by starting your very own free trial right now. It’s all yours for 14 days.

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