By Nkululeko Nombika, Business Operations Director, Sage Africa, Middle East and Australia-Pacific

For any small and medium business (SMB), a modern human resources (HR) platform can be a powerful tool for transforming the acquisition, engagement and management of people, while preparing for the world of flexible work. A cloud-based HR platform can help HR teams automate and streamline business processes to focus on attracting and nurturing talent.

In addition to automating repetitive, low value activities, the right solution can also empower you to deliver better employee experiences using functionality such as employee self-service. What’s more, HR software can put data-driven business insights at your fingertips to support decision-making. Yet any HR team that wants to invest in this technology will need to make a strong case for it.

If you can offer your decision-makers a robust and comprehensive business case, they are more likely to agree to invest in HR technology. Such a business case should be packed with tangible benefits, insights into return on investment (ROI), and information tailored to address the concerns of key stakeholders, such as finance and IT. 

Show the need for change

To get decision-makers to sign off on implementing a new HR system, you will need to justify the need to spend money on it. A good place to start is identifying the pain points HR is experiencing. The more facts and stats you can offer about the financial, time and opportunity costs, the more compelling the case for change will be.

For instance, HR may be held back by time-consuming manual processes, meaning they’re spending time on routine tasks like generating employment equity reports or managing leave applications. Perhaps the system is old, slow and unable to keep up with the growth in the company’s payroll. Or it could be that an inefficient onboarding process gets recruits off to a poor start with the company.

Highlight benefits of investing in new HR technology

Having established why there is a need for change, you should then show how new HR systems are improving the lives of SMB owners and employees in businesses like yours. Is your senior management team frustrated by how difficult it is to handle key HR measures such as attrition and engagement? If so, highlighting how a good HR system can make it easier to generate high-quality, real-time management reports could sway them. Challenges with attracting employees? Highlight the role of employment self-service in engaging talent. 

Calculate ROI of new technology

Your investment proposal will need to outline a clear, demonstrable ROI. This may mean calculating, for instance, the labour costs the HR department can avoid by automating processes or gaining more workforce visibility. For example, you could show your management team how many hours you could save each month by shifting to employee self-service for leave applications and approvals. Or you could highlight how an integrated payroll and HR solution eliminates the need to capture employees’ data twice while easing compliance.

Demonstrate costs of standing still

Your business case should also address the risks and costs of not investing in new technology. For example, you won’t have the latest tools to find the best talent ahead of your competitors. Nor the visibility to ensure you meet the needs of your employees and prevent them from leaving the business. You’ll lack sufficient control over your workforce data, which may result in non-compliance, a data breach or a fine. 

Get stakeholders on board

Your business case can be flawless, but you’ll need senior stakeholders on your side to secure the budget you need. Think about which stakeholders could be influential allies who understand and can help you realise your HR ambition. They may include senior IT, finance, legal and compliance people. Getting them involved early in the process can make the final purchasing process quicker and easier. 

Foundation for an innovative people company

A robust HR solution is a powerful enabler for SMBs seeking to become innovative people companies. HR software and service solutions help you manage employee-related tasks and streamline administrative tasks so your HR department can focus on what matters most – making your business a workplace of choice.

About Sage

Sage exists to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive, starting with the millions of Small and Mid Sized Businesses served by us, our partners and accountants. Customers trust our finance, HR and payroll software to make work and money flow.  By digitising business processes and relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, banks and governments, our digital network connects SMBs, removing friction and delivering insights. Knocking down barriers also means we use our time, technology and experience to tackle digital inequality, economic inequality and the climate crisis.

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