Automating Tasks with HR Administration Software

published on 05 February 2024

HR professionals would likely agree managing routine administrative tasks is tedious and time-consuming.

Luckily there are HR administration software solutions specifically designed to automate many of those repetitive functions, freeing up valuable time for more strategic initiatives.

In this article, we'll explore the key capabilities of HR software systems to streamline recruiting, payroll, benefits administration, onboarding, and other core HR processes. We'll also discuss how the right technology investments enable HR teams to focus on bigger-picture priorities like performance management, learning, workforce optimization, and succession planning.

Introduction to Automating Tasks with HR Administration Software

HR administration software can help companies streamline routine HR tasks like managing employee information, tracking time off, administering benefits, and ensuring compliance. This frees up HR teams to focus on more strategic initiatives like improving employee engagement, developing talent, and aligning HR objectives with overall business goals.

In this article, we'll explore the evolution of HR software, the key benefits automation provides, and how tools tailored for small businesses are making robust HR functionality accessible for organizations of all sizes.

Defining HR Administration Software and Its Evolution

HR administration software refers to technology solutions designed to manage essential HR responsibilities and workflows. These tools have evolved from early punch-card systems to today's sophisticated platforms that leverage AI and people analytics.

Popular examples include solutions for:

  • Applicant tracking
  • Onboarding
  • Payroll
  • Benefits administration
  • Performance management
  • Learning management

Core HR software has expanded beyond administrative functions to include more strategic talent management capabilities as well.

Benefits of Automation for HR Teams

Automating routine tasks with HR software provides several key advantages:

Improved efficiency - By reducing manual processes, HR software allows teams to handle high-volume HR responsibilities faster. This saves time and money.

Enhanced accuracy - Automation minimizes human error in data entry and calculations around payroll, timekeeping, etc.

Risk mitigation - HR software centralizes employee data and helps ensure legal and regulatory compliance.

Better insights - The data and analytics capabilities in modern systems provide metrics to guide strategic decisions.

The Rise of HR Software in Small Business

Historically HR software required extensive IT resources to deploy and manage, but today's cloud-based systems level the playing field. Now even very small teams can take advantage of the same functionality.

Key features like self-service portals, mobile access, and easy integrations with popular small business tools make robust HR capabilities attainable for organizations of all sizes. This allows smaller HR teams to punch above their weight.

What is the best software for HR?

HR administration software helps automate routine HR tasks like managing employee information, tracking time off, administering benefits, and ensuring compliance. This frees up HR professionals to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Some of the most popular and highest rated HR software platforms include:

  • ADP Workforce Now: The best overall HR software that offers a full suite of HR, payroll, benefits admin, and talent management features for businesses of all sizes.
  • SAP SuccessFactors: A robust, enterprise-level HR software with specialized modules like compensation management and learning management. Best suited for large corporations.
  • Rippling: An all-in-one HR, IT and payroll platform designed for mid-sized companies that need to manage operations as they scale.
  • BambooHR: A top-rated cloud-based HR software ideal for small businesses. It makes it easy to track employee information, manage PTO, facilitate onboarding and offboarding.
  • Gusto: A leading HR, payroll and benefits software for startups and small teams. It automates payroll, taxes and compliance.

When evaluating HR software, it's important to consider your company size, budget, and specific pain points you want to solve. For most small businesses, BambooHR and Gusto provide the core HR tools needed at an affordable price point. As companies grow, platforms like Rippling and SAP SuccessFactors offer more advanced capabilities to support talent management and workforce optimization. And ADP Workforce Now spans solutions suitable for businesses of all sizes given its modular platform.

Ultimately the right HR software depends on your unique needs. But today's top platforms use automation and AI to simplify routine tasks so HR professionals can focus on more strategic people management initiatives. This leads to better employee experiences and more engaged, productive teams.

What is HR management software?

HR software is a digital solution that helps organizations streamline HR-related processes such as employee information management and document routing. Human resources management software (HRMS) increases the efficiency with which HR teams operate.

Some key features of HR software include:

  • Employee database - Centralize employee information like contact details, employment history, compensation, absences, and more
  • Recruiting and onboarding - Manage job postings, applicant tracking, background checks, offer letters, and onboarding tasks
  • Payroll - Automate payroll calculations, direct deposits, tax filings, and year-end reporting
  • Time and attendance tracking - Track hours worked, PTO, and schedule shifts
  • Performance management - Set goals, provide feedback, and conduct performance reviews
  • Learning management - Assign, track, and manage employee training
  • Analytics - Gain insights with real-time reports on turnover, compensation, demographics, and other workforce metrics

HR software like BambooHR and Gusto help HR professionals focus less on administrative tasks and more on strategic initiatives like building company culture, increasing employee engagement, and aligning people strategies to business goals.

Automating routine tasks with HR software gives HR teams back time in their day to focus on more meaningful, strategic HR initiatives that drive employee engagement and better business performance. An end-to-end HR software system centralizes information, streamlines workflows, and provides data-driven insights to transform how HR teams operate.

What software is used for HRIS?

HR information systems (HRIS) software helps streamline and automate HR processes like payroll, benefits administration, applicant tracking, and more. Some popular HRIS platforms include:

Gusto Simple

  • Automates payroll, taxes, and benefits
  • Integrates with over 100 accounting apps
  • Easy for small businesses to set up and use

Gusto Simple provides an affordable, user-friendly HRIS solution for startups and small businesses. Its automated payroll feature calculates paychecks and tax withholdings accurately every time. Gusto also makes it simple to manage PTO, onboard new hires, and track employee data.

ADP RUN Essential

  • Handles payroll, time tracking, recruiting
  • Additional HR features available as add-ons
  • Supports businesses with 50+ employees

ADP RUN Essential offers robust HR tools like payroll, applicant tracking, and labor law compliance. Businesses can also add specialized modules for talent management, benefits administration, and more. While pricing starts higher than competitors, ADP RUN scales to support mid-sized companies.

BambooHR Essentials

  • Centralized employee records and org chart
  • 100+ pre-built workflows and reports
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use interface

BambooHR Essentials provides a user-friendly HRIS platform focused on core HR features like records, reporting, and directory management. It comes with pre-configured workflows that automate routine tasks like onboarding, PTO tracking, and terminations. The system is designed specifically for small to medium businesses.


  • Custom forms builder for data collection
  • Automates compliance paperwork
  • Integrates with popular apps

GoCo enables businesses to easily create digital forms and workflows tailored to their unique needs. Users praise its simple form building and automation capabilities for streamlining HR paperwork. While GoCo lacks payroll features, its flexibility makes it a popular choice for professional employer organizations.

In summary, top HRIS software share common capabilities like payroll, compliance, reporting, and records management. But factors like target customer size, specific features, and pricing can help businesses select the right platform for their needs. Evaluating ease of use and integration with existing infrastructure is also key during software selection.


What are the 4 HR systems?

The 4 key HR systems assessed under PRIME-HRM are:

  1. Recruitment, Selection, and Placement: This system focuses on attracting, screening, hiring, and onboarding qualified talent. It covers job advertising, applicant tracking, interviews, background checks, offers, and orientation.

  2. Learning and Development: This system involves training, upskilling, and professional development initiatives for employees. It includes needs assessments, training programs, eLearning platforms, coaching, mentorship, and more.

  3. Performance Management: This system centers on setting goals, providing feedback, evaluating achievements, and aligning employee contributions with organizational objectives. Elements include goal setting, regular check-ins, performance reviews, and promotion criteria.

  4. Rewards and Recognition: This system motivates and incentivizes employees through compensation, benefits, praise, awards, and other reinforcement initiatives. Components involve pay structures, bonus plans, recognition programs, and non-monetary rewards.

In summary, PRIME-HRM examines an organization's HR competencies and infrastructure across these 4 critical domains - recruitment, learning/development, performance management, and rewards/recognition. Assessing maturity levels in these areas provides insights to strengthen human capital capabilities.

Core HR Administration Features

This section will detail some of the core features common across many HR administration software platforms that can help automate essential HR tasks.

Applicant Tracking Systems: Streamlining Recruitment

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) help companies manage and optimize their recruitment process from start to finish. Key features of ATS software include:

  • Job board integration to automatically post open positions across platforms
  • Intuitive online application forms to collect candidate information
  • Resume parsing to extract key details and skills from applicants
  • Search and filtering tools to easily screen and shortlist applicants
  • Automated communications to send interview invites, rejections, updates
  • Interview scheduling and calendar integrations
  • Offer letter templates and e-signing capabilities
  • Customized reporting on recruitment metrics like time-to-hire

By centralizing and automating many of these routine recruitment tasks, ATS software enables recruiters to work more efficiently and strategically. This allows them to focus on building relationships with top talent rather than manual administrative duties.

Payroll Software: Simplifying Compensation Processes

Payroll software helps companies accurately calculate, process, and distribute employee compensation. Key features include:

  • Integration with time tracking software for automated hourly pay
  • Tax calculations and filings compliant for global jurisdictions
  • Direct deposit setup and processing for fast, secure payments
  • Customizable pay schedules and pay types
  • Employee self-service portal for pay stub access
  • Reporting on labor costs, taxes, deductions etc.

Automating payroll through dedicated software eliminates manual errors that can lead to compliance issues or employee dissatisfaction. It also provides valuable analytics into a company's compensation costs and trends over time.

Benefits Administration Software: Managing Employee Perks

Benefits administration software centralizes the management of employee benefit plans and perks. This can include:

  • Open enrollment automation with online forms
  • Support for various insurance plans (health, dental, vision, life etc.)
  • Customizable benefit packages and eligibility rules
  • Life event change support and notifications
  • ACA compliance features and reporting
  • Employee self-service portal to view coverage

Centralizing benefits administration enables HR teams to seamlessly manage plans across the employee lifecycle. Key advantages are increased efficiency, reduced risks of errors in provisioning or compliance, and higher employee satisfaction.

Onboarding Software: Enhancing New Hire Experience

Onboarding software aims to streamline and improve the experience when orientation new hires. Features include:

  • Digital paperwork to replace manual forms
  • Task lists and checklists to guide new hires
  • Knowledge banks, videos, and guides to ramp up new hires
  • Feedback surveys to gather insights into the onboarding experience
  • Reporting into metrics like new hire ramp up time

Automating essential aspects of onboarding through dedicated software reduces administrative tasks for HR and managers. It also leads to faster ramp up times and increased new hire productivity.

Strategic HR Capabilities

This section discusses some of the more advanced HR software capabilities that empower strategic HR initiatives like analyzing workforce data, increasing employee engagement, developing talent, and planning for future growth.

Performance Management: Driving Employee Success

Performance management features within HR software can streamline key processes to drive employee success. Features like automated performance review scheduling eliminate administrative hassles while allowing managers to provide more frequent feedback. Goal tracking and competency assessment functionalities let managers align employee objectives to broader organizational goals. Meanwhile, continuous performance feedback features empower managers and employees to regularly exchange constructive feedback. Together, these capabilities create data-driven clarity around employee performance and provide guardrails for improvement.

For employees, timely feedback mechanisms foster personal development by highlighting strengths and growth areas. The transparency around goals and competencies allows them to take ownership of career progression. For managers, access to performance analytics helps identify professional development needs across teams. Automated scheduling and reminders also ensure appraisal processes don't fall through the cracks. For HR, aggregated performance data reveals opportunities to refine talent development programs. It also aids succession planning by spotlighting high performers.

Learning Management Systems: Fostering Skills Development

Learning management systems (LMS) within HR software centralize and simplify organizational learning. Assigning online courses through an LMS allows HR to track completion rates across the employee base. The data reveals professional development gaps, highlighting additional training needs. LMS analytics also help assess program effectiveness by connecting completed courses to performance.

For employees, easy access to online learning fosters continuous skills development. The personalized course recommendations match opportunities to individual growth needs and goals. For managers, LMS analytics aid succession planning by revealing bench strength. It also focuses management conversations around completed courses and newly acquired skills. For HR, easy assignment, tracking, and analysis of learning programs helps develop talent efficiently. It also aids planning through insights on utilization rates and program efficacy.

Workforce Management Software: Optimizing Staffing

Workforce management software delivers data-based staffing insights for smarter HR decision-making. Features like demand forecasting help project labor needs based on past trends. Automated shift scheduling optimizes coverage while adhering to labor budgets and policies. Time and attendance tracking eliminates manual processes while ensuring accurate payroll. Together, these capabilities create an efficient system for managing fluctuating staffing needs.

For employees, automated scheduling provides earlier visibility into shifts, allowing better work-life balance. Time tracking also minimizes payroll errors. For managers, demand-based scheduling and real-time tracking help optimize staff coverage. Analytics reveal opportunities to refine schedules and policies to drive productivity. For HR, data-driven insights support smarter hiring and budget decisions in line with organizational needs. It also aids compliance by enforcing policies around hours and overtime.

Succession Planning Software: Preparing for the Future

Succession planning software delivers data-driven insights to get ahead of future talent and leadership gaps. Capabilities like skill gap analysis identify current and emerging competency gaps across teams and roles. 9-box grid assessments spotlight top performers and rising stars for development. Customizable succession templates allow HR to build leadership pipelines tailored to organizational needs. Together, these features create proactive clarity on critical talent needs.

For employees, visibility into career paths and competency gaps helps guide professional growth opportunities. For managers, insights aid development discussions by revealing strengths and improvement areas. Analytics also inform broader team-building decisions. For HR, succession planning analytics spotlights critical talent and skill gaps across the organization. This allows strategic investments into leadership pipelines and development programs that fuel future growth.

Choosing the Best HR Administration Software

This section provides best practices for evaluating HR software options to choose the solution that best fits your organization's needs and budget.

Identifying Key Features for Your Business Size and Type

When selecting an HR software, it's important to first determine the must-have, nice-to-have, and unnecessary features based on your company's unique HR processes and headcount.

Must-have features typically include:

  • Core HR recordkeeping like employee profiles, org charts, and job profiles
  • Benefits enrollment and management
  • Payroll processing
  • Compliance with regulations like FMLA, ADA, ACA, etc.

Nice-to-have capabilities can include:

  • Recruiting and applicant tracking
  • Learning management
  • Performance reviews
  • Succession planning

Prioritize must-haves first before considering nice-to-haves. Also determine which modules are unnecessary for your HR needs to avoid overspending.

Best HR Software Companies: A Comparative Analysis

When researching HR software vendors, look into:

  • Core HR leaders like BambooHR, UKG Pro, Rippling, Gusto
  • Mid-market focused solutions like SAP SuccessFactors, Workday
  • Specialists like Paylocity (payroll), Lever (applicant tracking)

Compare capabilities, integrations, ease of use, and costs across these platforms relative to your needs. Small businesses can often suffice with an intuitive, affordable solution like BambooHR, while larger enterprises may require more complex platforms like SAP or Oracle.

Assessing Ease of Use and Training Requirements

Evaluate the HR software's user interface and admin/employee training required. Software that is intuitive and easy to use with built-in tutorials or support articles minimizes training needs. Complex solutions like Workday often require heavy training and specialist resources to customize and operate. Ensure the platform's complexity aligns with your team's capabilities.

Choose an HR software like Zenefits or Paychex that automates compliance with labor regulations like FMLA tracking, OSHA reporting, etc. Configuring custom reports and notifications ensures ongoing legal conformity without manual oversight.

Prioritizing compliance capabilities ensures your HR processes always adhere to the latest employment laws.

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

HR administration software offers invaluable capabilities for automating routine HR tasks while also providing the tools needed to drive strategic talent initiatives. As highlighted throughout this article, some of the key features and benefits include:

Essential Features for Task Automation

  • Applicant tracking systems to streamline recruiting and hiring
  • Payroll processing to calculate compensation and tax withholdings
  • Benefits enrollment and management to simplify open enrollment
  • Employee self-service portals for access to pay stubs, time-off requests, etc.

By handling these kinds of repetitive administrative duties, HR software enables teams to focus their efforts on more impactful programs.

Capabilities to Empower Strategic Goals

  • Performance management modules to track employee progress
  • Learning management systems (LMS) for training and development
  • Workforce analytics for data-driven decision making
  • Succession planning for building future leadership pipelines

These capabilities provide actionable insights to inform strategic plans around hiring, retention, training, and advancement.

Best Practices for Software Selection

When evaluating HR administration systems, key criteria include:

  • Integration with existing software like accounting or payroll
  • Configurability to support current and future needs
  • Intuitive user interfaces for easy adoption
  • Robust self-service options to engage and empower employees

Carefully assessing these factors will help identify the right platform to meet an organization's unique requirements now and as their needs evolve.

In summary, HR software delivers tremendous advantages for task automation and strategic planning. Selecting and implementing the right solution can pay dividends through improved productivity, informed decision making, and impactful talent programs.

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