Let’s begin with a definition of what constitutes a false economy. Where you invest in a solution that on the surface promises to minimise resource expenditure but results in greater expenditure over time, the result is a false economy. How does this relate to HR software?
When you invest in HR software, the aim is to streamline and automate some of the more straightforward administrative tasks that currently dominate your HR team’s day. This will free up your team for other more meaningful tasks (see Sage.com for further details on human resources). However, investing in free HR software can prove to be a false economy.
Data Migration Tasks (that take forever)
Free HR software is typically offered as a sample teaser of what the full service from the vendor can provide. Free software will usually not come with vendor support, and that can be an issue when it comes to data migration.
If you do not have access to specialist IT staff that can support the changeover from storing your data on multiple servers (or even in apps or emails) to the HR software, the time your team will require to migrate the data manually could be far beyond what you were expecting.
Project Management Support
HR software can help you to achieve projects in a fraction of the time than could be achieved using spreadsheets. For example, monitoring job applications and providing staff with tailored education and training opportunities are typical functions of an HR department. Where the team must manually monitor multiple and vast data sources, project completion dates may be missed.
HR software can display all relevant information via one easy to navigate dashboard. However, free HR software will usually not provide any answers on how to set up and monitor projects for the best outcomes. This means your staff will inevitably spend time and resources on unravelling how to interact with the software – and there is no guarantee that the team will get it right.
Full Access to Training and Support Technologies
Free HR software is unlikely to provide access to the full suite of technologies that could otherwise be accessed from a professional vendor.
This is particularly important when we consider training and development. Why? Because access to the full software package will mean that you have access to technologies that support video tutorials, webinars, in-person training sessions, and much more. Where the free version limits your HR staff to incomplete training experiences, further spend will be needed on alternative training solutions.
Summary of Why Free HR Software is a False Economy
Sampling free software can help us to understand whether the technologies on offer from a vendor are suitable for our business. However, the long-term adoption of free HR software will inevitably lead to a false economy. This is because the software will not fully support all of the actions your HR team requires.
Where your staff require extra training to use the unsupported free software, or where further expenditure is needed to plug any gaps in the failures of the free software, the expense of signing up to the full software suite will not seem so bad after all.