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Today we have a sponsored post from my friends at Ultimate Software. I mentioned that I joined Ultimate Software at their annual user conference in March. I had the privilege of hearing Adam Rogers, their CTO, introduce new updates, interview Will Smith and share Ultimate’s vision for the future. To say I was impressed with both him and the company would be an understatement. I think you’ll enjoy what he has to say as well.

Guest Post: Adam Rogers, CTO, Ultimate Software

For many small businesses that begin with a small team and a dream, HR responsibilities are managed by a cross-functional manager or sole in-house administrator. This approach suffices for a time, but as your company grows, a more comprehensive and effective strategy is needed. Efficiency is critical for small businesses with limited resources, and the right software streamlines time-intensive tasks while alleviating HR challenges. The result? Your efforts are spent strategically growing your business – not updating spreadsheets.

Affordable solutions are available for companies of every size, and they can make a meaningful difference for you and your employees. How? Here are 5 ways your small business can benefit from HCM technology.

1. Consolidate tactical activities
Time is money, and having key employees completing basic administrative tasks consumes both. Today’s solutions streamline otherwise time-intensive tasks, improving productivity, organizations, and effectiveness. Time and attendance management, payroll, and benefits administration are all easily managed by HCM solutions. Most also utilize direct access for both employees and managers, allowing your people to update their personal data and handle leave balance, leave requests, and approvals without any help or interventions while ensuring your business has accurate real-time information for reporting and compliance.

2. Keep tabs on regulatory compliance
Staying on top of compliance is practically a full-time job. Regulatory requirements vary from county to county, but even small businesses are expected to comply with the unique labor, taxation, insurance and healthcare laws of each. With the rise of “gig economy” and increased popularity of remote workers, it’s never been more critical to have a partner ensuring your legal adherence.

3. Progressive talent management
Acquiring and retaining employees is a crucial aspect of every organization. For many small businesses, this is an unrealized opportunity for improvement with technology. Look for a provider that can manage the complete recruiting experience, onboarding, open enrollment, compensation, performance and succession management, and uses social collaboration tools. Some HCM software even allows you to set specific, measureable goals with your employees, monitoring and reporting progress on an ongoing basis. By capturing various data points and journaling throughout the year, performance reviews become more of an ongoing collaborative process benefiting the employee, manager, and the business.

4. Advanced analytics for strategic development
Data is at the heart of every solid strategy, and compiling, accessing, and understanding actions as a result of that data has never been easier. Advanced reporting and analytics provide rich insight into key workforce metrics such as turnover trends and overtime hours, and predictive analytics can help predict future high performers and flight risks. Some solutions even offer prescriptive analytics, guiding leaders through crucial leadership actions with a variety of fact-based, real-time suggestions. Businesses can also gain invaluable data-based insight into their culture and overall employee experience by employing sophisticated pulse surveys. Using natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment-analysis technology, these innovative additions can decode text-based, open-ended questions and uncover the true voice of employees in real time.

5. Career and personal development
Numerous studies show that people value learning and career development opportunities, and offering ongoing learning stands to benefit employees and businesses alike. In addition to increased satisfaction, performance is likely to improve, as well as the value your employee brings to the role. Look for HCM software with a learning management platform that mirrors how today’s employees prefer to learn – collaboratively and on demand.

HCM technology is an investment, but there are affordable solutions for businesses of all sizes and the result can be truly game-changing. Reduced labor costs, increased efficiencies, and strategic opportunities are perhaps even more important for small businesses than they are for larger ones. I suggest looking for a solution that can grow with you- even if you’re only interested in time and labor management and payroll right now, a centralized HR solution can evolve and adapt as your business, budget, and needs grow.