October was the month of the HR Technology show in Las Vegas. If you've been to the show, you know that the world of technology is among the most exciting places to be in HR.
And while it's easy to see the rewards most of the software showcased deliver to HR, there are also great benefits for the rewards function. You just need to know where to look.
What HR technology is relevant to reward professionals?
The world of reward software is surprisingly complicated. Not only are there a lot of different vendors, there are many different categories of HR software as well. So I'm going to give you a list of eight key categories that specifically help the reward function, just to help you get your head around this space.
You won't need eight different vendors since a good suite
will handle more than one category. As you go through this list, think about
which ones address the biggest pain-points in your business.
1. Performance management: One important category is software that supports the entire performance management spectrum, including performance appraisals. Often criticism aimed at compensation is really a reflection of unhappiness with performance management. Better performance management means fewer complaints.
2. Annual pay decisions (manager self-service): Performance management sets up appraisals; Managers then need to decide what pay increments to recommend. Software can help managers allocate their budget based on employee appraisal scores, compa-ratios, pay history and other data. This software makes it easier for managers to make good reward decisions, makes it easier to ensure they comply with guidelines, and automates a lot of the workflow.
3. Recognition programs: If your company has a recognition program then it will find there's good reward software to manage and track those awards.
4. Salary survey software: Some compensation software is aimed solely at the compensation specialist, like software that helps you manage data from salary surveys.
5. Compensation planning: Another heavy-duty tool for reward professionals is software that helps with compensation planning. This software lets you model different pay plans to see how they will pay out under different scenarios.
6. Executive compensation: For executive pay, there's specialized software to manage equity compensation such as stock options.
7. Sales commission: Sales compensation software can be its own world and can get very complex. It's not unusual for half a dozen people to get a cut of a given sales transaction and a big company may generate millions of transactions a month. If this kind of challenge doesn't ring any bells, count yourself lucky. However, if you do have a complicated, high-volume world of commissions, then there are a number of specialized software programs designed to handle these calculations.
8. Workforce management software: Paying hourly employees can also be its own sphere. This is the domain of workforce management software, a category that grew out of the basic business of tracking time and attendance.
One of the main advantages of visiting tradeshows is that you get to see the true breadth and depth of HR technology on offer. It can be confusing, so take notes.
The days of having to do everything in spreadsheets have passed. Sometimes it may seem easier to stick with the familiar spreadsheet - the one you have customized to match exactly how you work - but in the longer run, specialized tools usually outperform spreadsheets.
As a reward professional you should take the time to become familiar with these different categories of HR technology. You're guaranteed to see a ROI.