7 golden rules of managing HR documentation in the software development company
November 15, 2022
Software development agencies repurpose their employees' skills into new digital products. Therefore, they should prioritize everything related to their employees.
According to Grand View Research, the global value of the custom software development market was USD 429.59 billion in 2021. The market is fragmented, with companies competing with quality, price, and a variety of other factors. There are “we have it all” companies with a headcount of thousands of software engineers and programmers. There are also small teams of experts with deep knowledge of a particular problem and narrow skills that companies can call on for help. Some companies focus on working with startups, enterprises, or public institutions.
With so much fragmentation, it appears that finding a shared element is challenging. But in fact - not really.
What makes software development companies different?
Software development company is a unique business model due to a number of reasons. First and foremost, the product needs no shipping, no packaging and there is no need for warehousing. The service is purely skill and mind-driven. By that, the skilled staff and well-trained specialists are building the company’s competitive advantage.
This poses a tremendous challenge for Human Resources departments.
In the non-tech company, human resource is one of many resources available, equally important to machines, raw materials, or stocks. In the software industry, human resource is the only that counts.
This leads to the unique features as below:
Decentralization - Software development teams are increasingly distributed around the world and work asynchronously. Due to this, signing the documentation or sending paper-based requests around is nearly impossible.
Clients from all over the world - not only the team is scattered. The clients also come from various countries and backgrounds. With client companies having access to personal information about developers, the cooperation regarding the security of this information needs to be smooth and paperless.
Multiple contract types - it is common for IT companies to use external consultants and contractors. Depending on the legal system, they work using different contract types, be that B2B contract, full time employment or freelance cooperation. This needs to be properly shown in the documentation.
Multiple timezones and countries - also, with employees all over the world it is crucial to stay compliant with multiple working environments. Clients expect the contractor to respect its customs and legal requirements - and by that, for example, expect not the partnering team to work on the independence days.
Tech-savy employees - last but not least, in the IT business the workforce is tech-savy, unwilling to do business in antiquated ways.
Considering that, the HR documentation solution for software development companies need to follow five rules to be actually usable and deliver the benefits it is intended to.
How to manage the HR documentation in Software development company
The unique mix of factors listed above makes the requirements for the Human Resources documentation software in a dev shop a really challenging mix. However, it is not about specific HR system features - it is about choosing the best HR software based on its overall quality rather than on its particular features.
Ensure online access to the documentation
Obviously, the HR documentation system for software development companies needs to be online. Traditional documentation management is virtually impossible in an international and decentralised environment. Having all NDAs and contracts completed within months not days would completely obstruct the work of the company.
On the other hand, exchanging scans of hand-signed documents is too risky and their copies too vulnerable to breaches to be considered secure. By that, the only viable option is to use a dedicated online HR management software like Calamari.
To-do this week:
If there is no online HR system in your company, it is high time to look for one. If you have any doubts - contact us - we will be more than happy to answer all your questions.
Make the documents accessible for those, who need
Being online is only one side of the coin. The other one is about the accessibility of the data and the system itself. If browsing and searching for the particular document takes time and is troublesome, the system is ineffective and frustrating for the user.
The users include both the HR specialists and the employees. Considering that, a good HR documentation system needs to come with a convenient front end that eases the processing and accessing the data. The software needs to support multiple layers of access, dividing users into HR who can actively process the data, and normal users who can only access their data and make requests regarding their own profile.
To-do this week:
Check how the employees from HR and outside HR see the ease of access to their data, making requests and changes. Check how much time it takes to perform some basic tasks and estimate how much time it costs monthly to do the ongoing work. And then think - are the answers satisfying?
Make security your priority
Thousands of pieces of information about the employees are stored in the system. In some cases these include the data about their health or political views - or at least these data can be easily extrapolated or deduced.
Ensuring the safety of such a system is crucial for a software development company. This requires multiple layers of access and security. As well as complying with multiple legal systems, an international-used system must also comply with European GDPR or Online Privacy Protection Acts in the US, where every state comes with its own legal environment.
According to Accenture's "State of Cybersecurity Resilience 2021" the number of attacks per company has increased from 206 to 270 over a year. This means that companies need to ensure their security and stop counting on luck when it comes to avoiding breaches. Enterprise HR software addresses these challenges much better than homebrew solutions.
To-do this week:
Check when you had last security audit in the HR system. Is there a person who knows that? Also, if you have some partners delivering HR tech, ask them about security measures they have.
Check if everybody who has access to HR data really needs it. If not - why does he or she have it? Is there a policy regulating that? So many questions - do you have answers?
Check the data for freshness
In order for the system to be useful, it must be easy to update. As a result, it requires multiple methods to input and extract data.
Calamari comes with multiple integrations - the software can be connected with Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Workspace among others. In that way, inserting new, updated information is much easier and smoother than without them.
An HR department and company would not benefit from an outdated and hard-to-update system. The scale of the mismatch of data in the company systems can be easy seen in the CRM systems, where 44% of companies claim to lose over 10% of annual revenue due to low-quality data.
To-do this week:
Ask the HR team about the accuracy and actionability of the data in the system. Are there any policies regarding the updates? Is there any person responsible for keeping the data in the system actual and accurate?
Supercharge the rest of your systems with HR data
Every company is different and usually has distinct requirements. Additionally, different companies rarely use the same tech stack in exactly the same way.
By that, the HR documentation system needs to fit the whole picture and be able to integrate into patchwork solutions. This requires not only a set of integrations available, but also to have an API component to build own human resource apps used by the tech-savvy company for its own benefit.
To-do this week:
Think about business processes where HR data could be useful and check where the data is actually used. If there is an opportunity - check why the workflow has not been modified yet. If the tech and flexibility of the system are obstacles - you know where to find us!
End complaining about compliance
The HR system is not only the tool to be used to fit the company goals, but also to keep compliance with the legal systems. It is not only about personal data protection, but also about employment laws and multiple other legal frameworks the company needs to stick to.
Usually ensuring compliance is transferred to the partner company. Up to 34% of organizations outsource part or all of their compliance functionality. Also, 67% of cybersecurity professionals consider using better tools as a way to increase compliance and mitigate risks.
To-do this week:
Do the double-check about partners you work with and who have access to your employee data. By “partners” we consider SaaS companies you work with, customers or contractors.
Also, ensure that there is someone in your company who can be asked about compliance-related issues and KNOWS the answers.
Make this software a thing to rely on
Last but not least, the system needs to be reliable. If there is a high risk of downtime, or other technical issues, using it would come with a high risk for the company. Increasing risks is rather to be avoided in business, especially considering the risks that come with the HR-related data.
To-do this week:
Check the real reliability of the system you use. Can you recall downtimes? Or slow work of the system? Do you even have any information about the downtime and reliability of the HR system you use?
And even more important - check the backups. If there was some serious trouble like a ransomware attack or a fire in a server room - is there a way to restore the data and ensure the business continuity?
One of the greatest temptations of software development companies is to build the system internally as the best-fitting solution possible. When doing so, you need to remember about:
☐ Online access with multiple account types and facilitated access to the functionalities
☐ Easy updates of the data on multiple levels, from administrator to everyday user
☐ Security, backups, compliance. All at one, on the highest level
☐ Flexibility to connect it with apps you use, either homebrew or third-party
☐ Reliability, so it works all the time, in the way you want it to, providing the company with data you need
☐ Updates, maintenance, development, and other activities usually you invoice clients for
Considering the scope of the project, associated risks, and the urgency of the need, the best way is to entrust this matter to specialists (like us ;)).