Human resources is all about people and how they interact with each other and with the enterprise at large. At the same time, tools for business collaboration and communication over networks are becoming increasingly important. So it is no surprise that HR software has seen a lot of growth in collaboration-oriented features. Vendors of software for businesses from SMBs to the largest enterprises, in formats from hosted cloud services to installed platforms, are embracing social business functions and extending the ways their software enables collaboration.
This is especially true as businesses increasingly rely on remote and mobile workers. "HR departments need more analytical and self-service tools to give their employees, not just for empowerment but to run the business in a smoother, more efficient way," says Yu Yu Din, digital marketing manager for Global Groupware Solutions, maker of the Google App EmployWise. "With smartphones, notebooks, and increased telecom density, anyone practically can be in an office without being inside a physical office--hence the need for more collaborative HR solutions that will help those who are always on-the-go."
Collaborative functions in HR software take many forms. One goal is to involve more people in recruiting and on-boarding. HR software can manage and streamline the process of posting jobs and reviewing resumes. These applications also can improve training and access to learning resources. Many platforms feature learning and training modules to enable ongoing employee development.
As more companies build a distributed workforce, HR software also can make sure that key applications based in one location can be accessed from other locations. That's especially true for information about the company. By giving employees direct access to information, it can reduce demands on the HR staff. HR staff can spend a lot less time answering questions about policies and benefits, and it can free them up for more important tasks.
Another benefit comes in streamlining performance reviews and goal setting. Performance appraisals often require getting input from multiple sources, including peers, as well as an employee self-assessment, and these platforms provide tools for managing that process.
In the new era of the "social enterprise," these kinds of collaborative activities can make a big difference not only in HR efficiency but also in employee satisfaction. Here are eight of the top HR platforms and examples of what their collaboration features have done for other companies.