The 6 Most Common Complaints About HR Software

By business.com editorial staff,
business.com writer
| Updated
Jun 20, 2020
Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images

Find the right performance management software that aligns with your business structure and goals.

  • Software solutions are an increasing necessity for just about every business.
  • There are many common complaints about HR and performance management software, such as that it's overly complex, it doesn't add value, and it feels clunky to managers and employees.
  • HR software is also subject to human error and can be quite costly to upgrade.

Businesses are evolving at an astonishing rate, and software in general is becoming a necessity rather than a luxury for businesses of all sizes. HR and performance management software in particular is a necessity for businesses handling teams of employees. However, not just any HR software will do. While some packages boost employee engagement and productivity levels, others do nothing but frustrate managers and employees alike while wasting valuable time.

It's only by listening to customers' experience that software providers can develop the right product. Equally, HR executives should know what to look for – and what to avoid – when it comes to performance management software

Below are the biggest and most notable complaints about performance management software. Such grievances turn CEOs and company leaders away from a technology that can provide invaluable and numerous benefits.

1. All too often, HR software is overly complex.

Software providers often forget the golden rule: Technology should be simple and user-friendly. Partially as a result of feature creep, most software applications have too many features. The more features you include, the less value you add, and the less user adoption you get. Users eventually get overwhelmed or realize that the software requires far more training than they can afford. After all, time is money, and the longer employees have to spend getting to know the software, the less time they have to perform their job functions.

An interesting study demonstrating the desire and need for simplicity is related in the book One Page Talent Management: Eliminating Complexity, Adding Value by Marc Effron and Miriam Ort. The study revolved around camera users. When given the choice, consumers most commonly selected the camera with the most high-tech, diverse features. However, when these same consumers were asked to use the camera they had selected, they quickly became frustrated and ultimately settled for a simpler design.

Great employee appraisal software revolves around simplicity. It focuses on a small number of key features that add the most value. Software such as this gets the greatest user adoption because people love to use it. The problem is that simplicity can be surprisingly hard to achieve, which is why most software falls short.

2. Many HR executives claim that performance management software doesn't add value.

HR software of any kind requires investment and persistence. When business owners don't see a return on this investment over time, it is understandable that they would be irritated and somewhat disillusioned with the concept of HR software.

Most performance management software focuses on collecting data from users for HR decision-making purposes. Most of the time, though, users see this data collection as a series of tick-the-box exercises. When users develop this response, they don't see the point or relevance of putting in sufficient effort, so the data collected is not reliable. 

A better approach is for HR executives to look for software programs that complement their performance management system. For example, many companies these days have transitioned to continuous performance management. These companies are seeking programs with features and data for giving and requesting feedback. They are also keen to find a software app that schedules one-to-one conferences while providing guided discussion points for these check-in meetings. Another useful feature is the capacity to update SMART objectives in real time. Such features result in genuine user adoption, so the data collated from the system is more accurate and reliable. 

3. HR software can feel clunky to employees and managers.

Anyone with experience in the software business will tell you that clunkiness is a leading customer complaint. This is normally due to the fact that the software has been designed by experienced IT engineers around a technical specification rather than around the users and their particular needs.

HR software users should look for packages designed by HR experts. Your software should be designed by someone who knows the ins, outs, demands and complications of your industry. At every stage, the software developer should understand the user's motivation and anticipate what it is they want to do at that particular step or with that particular function. If the developer has no expertise or experience in the area of HR, the result can be clunky and unintuitive software.

No company should expect software to be the magic solution to all of their problems. As with any performance management tool or workplace process, its adoption and ultimate success are dependent on your workforce and the effort invested in learning the software. At the same time, no matter how much effort you put in, you won't reap the rewards if your tool is ineffective.

4. Human error is always possible.

According to UK Essays, one of the major issues with using HR software is that human error is always a possibility. No matter how efficient the program may be, human error can make the findings inaccurate.

5. The technology to update systems can be costly.

No matter how much you spend upfront for the latest software, you will inevitably need to upgrade your system. These upgrades can be inconvenient and extremely costly, but they are vital to maintaining an efficient and secure system over time. A possible solution is to find cloud-based software that includes all updates in your monthly subscription price.

6. They require specialized knowledge.

The right HR software should not require users to be experts in tech or HR to properly use these programs. Not only is highly specialized HR software difficult to use for most members of a business, it can also make it costly for the company to train the team on proper use.

Protect yourself and your business – do your research, and find a product that's right for your company. When you manage to find the right fit, you'll be sure to enjoy the rewards.

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff
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