Selecting the right enterprise HR software for your business


Let’s define terms. What do we mean by “enterprise HR software”? In this sense, “enterprise” indicates software designed for larger organizations, corporate entities, multinationals even. Here we’re looking at HRMS software that deals with workforces of thousands of employees.

Why should enterprises look for specific enterprise HR software?

After all, the basic functions are the same whatever the size of business: recruitment, managing time and attendance, payroll, etc. However, size brings unique challenges, and the larger the size, the more of a challenge. In a workforce too large for any one person to know everyone else, access to accurate information becomes ever more essential.

Furthermore, larger organizations are more prone to hierarchical structures, and functional divisions (an IT department, a finance department, and HR department, among others). Therefore anything that facilitates clear communication, especially across traditional silo boundaries, is a boon.

Check out our free HRMS selection survival guide for a step-by-step guide on choosing the right HRMS for your business

Then there is the issue of employees in different territories. They may be working under different labor legislation and rules, they likely are paid in different currencies and have taxation regimes for payroll. And with a more global workforce, there’s a greater need for strategic insight and performance tracking (and exponentially more data to draw upon when you do so).

Features enterprise HR software should have

The core functionality that any enterprise should look for is fairly similar to such a list for a small business, the difference being the scale. The key question is not so much does an enterprise system offer the following functions (it will) but can those functions address the needs of your extended business.

  • Mobile access: with a widely spread workforce, giving your people mobile access to HR transactions and information is critical.
  • Recruitment: when hiring the best people, enterprise organizations are likely to have the widest scope for their search, often including social media features, a funnel to the company jobs board or site, online applicant tracking, and probably at least partially online or virtual assessment processes.
  • Time and attendance: enterprises still need to track hours and days worked, manage leave requests and paid time off allowances, only they need software that can do this on a grand scale.
  • Learning management: courses and learning materials are likely to cover a wider range of topics and delivery methods, and enterprises are more likely to engage in trainee tracking and linking learning to career and development planning.
  • Performance management: the larger the workforce, the more likely managers are to be supervising team members from a geographical distance; sophisticated real-time feedback options are a plus, as is the capacity to feed performance management data into succession planning and talent management.
  • Payroll: the usual administration of salaries, rewards and benefits but on a larger scale.
  • Reporting and analytics: enterprise solutions are likely to offer more sophisticated analytical options, allowing for in-depth strategic insights.

Challenges of enterprise HRMS

It’s fair to say that an enterprise HRMS is designed to address challenges its smaller-scale siblings are not. When attempting to provide seamless HR services across borders, specific differences must be addressed:

  • Language
  • Culture (both ethnic/national and corporate)
  • Currency
  • Time zones
  • Legislative framework
  • Data security

Benefits of enterprise HRMS

Large organizations attempting to manage HR using software usually run into particular issues – their very size makes standardization, harmonization, and simplification difficult to achieve. The use of several systems or non-integrated best-of-breed apps can lead to failed compliance, payroll problems, and inconsistent management information across borders.

The right single HRMS can enable consistency of human resource operations at all points in the organization, including a general improvement in data quality. 

Furthermore, moving away from the common ‘patchwork’ approach, the number of vendors the company must deal with is reduced (ideally, to one… for HRMS, at least), simplifying the contractual and maintenance side of things considerably. Ultimately, with multiple vendors, there is a limit to efficiency.

When your HR systems are local (i.e. focused on a single region, country or territory) so is your business focus. In terms of employee deployment, flexibility, and operational risks, an enterprise HRMS enables you to do more with more. A single system also mitigates compliance risks, accounting for differences in legislation and regulation.

Arguably, any HRMS is only as good as the insights it provides into your workforce. A single system can hold (and therefore access, analyze and extrapolate from) all of your employee data, regardless of borders. This kind of integration allows the potential for quicker and more meaningful reporting and analytics – exactly what the C-suite of a large corporation needs.

Finally, just based on the inevitable economies of scale, an enterprise HRMS has the potential to streamline and improve your HR as a whole, reducing errors and cutting costs.

Examples of enterprise level HRMS software

Though individual organizational requirements will vary, the following are all well-established vendors of enterprise HRMS:

  • Workday – this longstanding cloud system offers a very user-friendly interface and experience.
  • SAP SuccessFactors – reputedly with a strong analytical functionality, SuccessFactors is another trusted, large-scale cloud HRMS.
  • Oracle HCM Cloud Solutions – originally coming from the ERP market, Oracle’s products channel the vendor’s understanding of large enterprise needs; includes social tools for talent reviews, succession management, and recruitment.
  • Dayforce HCM – Dayforce has a specific focus on workforces with a large proportion of contingency workers, including contractors and temps, offering specific functions to cope with the more complicated payroll arrangements.
  • Ultimate Software UltiPro HCM – often recommended for large enterprises, UltiPro HCM is particularly good for complex North American payroll needs.
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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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