The HR technology space is a busy one. There are so many solutions available to help payroll and HR professionals manage everything from recruiting and talent acquisition to payroll and benefits administration. It can be overwhelming to sift through all the reviews and information available on vendor and third-party sites.

If you’re looking for information on HR solutions and don’t know where to start, this is a good starting point. To give you an introduction to everything you need to know about human capital management (HCM), we’ve compiled all of our helpful resources into HCM: Everything you need to know.

We know, it’s a lot of information, but if you know what you’re looking for, click a link below to jump to the section 👇:

Have a question we didn’t cover here? Contact us to let us know! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about HR technology and finding the right solution for your organization.

What is human capital management (HCM) software?

HCM stands for human capital management, a technology tool that stores and processes organization-wide employee data.

An HCM solution makes organizational data accessible and simplifies complex HR and payroll processes all while keeping your people at the forefront. Payroll and HR already work in tandem in your organization, so it’s only makes sense to integrate these two critical functions with one easy-to-use system.

Here are a few essential functionalities an HCM system provides:

  • Recruitment: Manage the talent acquisition process, from interviews to managing job descriptions, using an applicant tracking system (ATS)
  • Workflows: Build workflows into your HCM to reduce redundancy and heighten productivity
  • Self-service: Give employees the capacity to manage, edit, and update their own information
  • Training: Provide continuous training to your employees and encourage the development of new skills
  • Benefits administration: Manage employee benefits
  • Payroll management: Manage employee compensation, from salary to overtime pay
  • Performance appraisals: Real-time employee performance assessment
  • Absence and leave management: Effectively manage employee absences, whether planned or unplanned

What is the difference between HRIS and HRMS, HRM, and HCM?

HRIS, HRMS, HRM or HCM? With only a few letters between them, it’s easy to confuse these similar types of software. Broadly speaking, these acronyms describe the same type of activity, though some refer to the process and others to a software that enables the process.

There’s a lot of overlap, but there are also a few differences to be aware of. Here’s a quick definition and overview of these HR solutions:

Human resources information system (HRIS): A solution or integrated group of systems that enable data entry, tracking, and management of employee data for human resources, payroll, and accounting purposes.

Human resources management system (HRMS): An information system or suite of applications designed manage human resources and related processes. HRMS is most similar to HRIS in that they are both software solutions built to help organizations manage employee data, streamline HR processes, and provide insights payroll and HR professionals otherwise wouldn’t have without them.

Human capital management (HCM): The management of employees throughout the entire employee lifecycle. HCM is a very pragmatic way of thinking about your employees in terms of capital, productivity, and business value. It refers to the management processes while HRIS and and HRMS are the solutions that make those processes scalable.

Human resource management (HRM): The process of recruiting, onboarding, and managing employees. Like HCM, HRM refers largely to the effective and efficient management of people within an organization.

Although the definitions vary, at the end of the day, these processes and solutions are similar in that they all focus on helping organizations better manage their employees.

6 benefits of an HCM solution

There are a lot more benefits of HCM than just these, but for the sake of brevity, we’ve come up with a list of the top six benefits for you, your team, and your employees.

An HCM solution should benefit everyone in your organization, giving you all easier (and more secure) access to critical information, speeding up and simplifying complex payroll and HR processes, and giving you more time back in your day to focus on the work that matters most.

Here are the top six benefits of HCM:

  1. Reduces repetitive tasks: With an integrated solution, your HR, payroll, and workforce management systems are streamlined – enter data once and only once, and it’s shared across all relevant platforms. Uninterrupted data flow and reduced redundancy mean saved time, so your employees can focus on strategic HR and payroll initiatives instead.
  2. Data accuracy: Ensuring data accuracy and consistency is essential. One payroll mistake and an employee could face financial consequences. An integrated system with a single source of data is your best bet to maintain data integrity. After you enter key information, it’ll automatically upload and reflect  in all locations, reducing errors significantly and giving you peace of mind.
  3. A single source of truth: In the same vein, a single source of truth not only improves data accuracy but security too. With so many critical organization-wide decisions dependent on data, it’s essential that it’s accurate, stored safely, and easily accessible.
  4. Efficient reporting: With an integrated HCM solution you don’t need to spend hours copying data from one system to another to build reports. Instead, you can pull valuable insights from your combined payroll and HR database and business intelligence tools simultaneously to create comprehensive reports, skipping the hassle of sourcing data from separate systems.
  5. Easy access: When everything is easily accessible, everyone is happy. From compensation history to personal data, self-service and single-sign-on empowers your employees to access and update their information. Plus, any changes employees make on their end are automatically shown throughout your HCM, putting an end to back and forth emails about address changes, tax slips or pay statement requests.
  6. Compliance: Maintaining compliance is a very underrated benefit of HCM. The nice thing with an integrated system is that automated processes provide an easily accessible audit trail. With a cloud-based HCM, you can rest easy knowing you’re up-to-date on the latest legislation and tax updates across all systems. With documents easily accessible and within reach, submitting and remitting is a breeze.

With an integrated HCM solution, your most time-consuming tasks are automated and synced together to make your job easier. You can say goodbye to repeated manual data entry and the errors that come with entering the same information into multiple systems. From data integrity to an uninterrupted data flow, the right integrated HCM solution will transform the way you work.

If you’re not seeing these benefits with your current solution, it might be time to rethink your technology.

8 signs it’s time for a new HRIS solution

When the relationship between you and your payroll provider isn’t working anymore, it might be time to move on. Easier said than done, right? Going your separate ways is hard to do when the software you use impacts critical payroll and HR processes, but staying with a solution that doesn’t meet your needs can do more harm than good in the long run.

Here are eight signs it’s time for a new HCM solution:

  1. Poor customer service. A great product is one thing, but if you don’t get the support and service you need to succeed then who cares how much money your provider is pouring into new features and product development?
  2. Lack of reporting. If you’re working with complicated reporting processes that are taking up way too much of your time, you need a solution that can meet your needs. This is your data and you should be able to pull the information you need when you need it.  
  3. Lackluster user experience. If your current software is difficult or tedious for your team to use, then you have a big problem. If your team is struggling in any way to get what they need from your provider, it’s a clear sign to move on.
  4. You’re paying too much for ‘extras.’ If you find you’re frequently being charged fees for additional services your business doesn’t even need, you’re probably paying for a payroll system that’s not meant for you.
  5. Errors on repeat. Mistakes happen, but they also cost a lot of money and ruffle employee feathers. If your software keeps contributing to errors over and over again, it could be that it simply can’t handle the complexities of your business.
  6. You’re paying too far in advance. When you’re a small or medium-sized business cashflow matters. When you outsource remittances, you’re giving up your money far sooner than you need to and that affects your bottom line!  One option is to look at moving your payroll in-house, you’ll get more control and keep your money with you longer.
  7. No mobile offering. Nothing says behind-the-times more than not having mobile capabilities. If your employees can do their banking or make health appointments from their phone, they should be able to swap shifts or see their pay statements that way too.
  8. No integrated time tracking. Are you still entering or approving hours manually when it’s time to process payroll? Stop it. This redundant task leads to inefficiencies before running your payroll and it’s a waste of time for you and your team.

If you’re currently experiencing any of these tell-tale signs and are considering a switch, be sure to do your research to find the right fit for your business. Start by discussing payroll’s needs, challenges, and preferences with your leadership team. Loop in HR, as there are many HCM solutions that offer integrated payroll and HR tools.

How to find the right the right HRIS solution

There are plenty of solutions out there designed to help you scale, integrate, and manage your workforce. Making the switch to a new HCM solution can be daunting, but if you slow down to speed up and take the time to think about your business needs, you can find the right solution for your organization. Luckily, we’ve got some resources to help you do just that.

The partner you invest in is just as important as the technology itself. An HCM solution impacts all areas of your business, so you need to know that when push comes to shove, you have a technology provider who is there to support your business.

Here are six considerations that will help you get the most out of your tech and your relationship with your vendor:

1. Can you manage the entire employee lifecycle?
When evaluating and selecting an HCM solution, it’s important to know if the solution is integrated with one data source or if the solution maintains a separate data source for payroll, HR, and time and attendance. When your solution is fully integrated, your data will always be accurate and there will be no lag time in data changes or reporting.

2. Do you have robust reporting capabilities?
Reporting is where you’ll get real value in an HCM solution. It provides data insights critical for workforce management and decision making within your organization. Check to make sure that the data fields you need are reportable.

You should also expect a large library of out-of-the-box reports and be able to easily create your own reports. Being able to schedule the delivery of reports to your executive and management teams will save you time and streamline your processes.

3. Can you tailor the system to meet your needs?
Your organization is unique, so be sure to look for a solution that can be configured to meet your business processes and requirements. Ensure that your implementation includes a process review, configuration that streamlines and automates your processes, data conversion, a full training program, and rigorous testing of the solution before it goes live.

4. Is the solution intuitive and easy to use?
Another important consideration is usability. Will your whole team be able to navigate the solution with ease? From your super users in Payroll and HR to your managers and employees using the self-service portal, it’s important that the interface is easy for them to learn and use. In order for your new solution to be effective, your whole team needs to actively use it to improve communication and collaboration across your organization.

5. Will your solution provider be a partner and provide you with the support you need?
When choosing a solution, you’re also investing in a long-term relationship with a vendor. Look for a vendor that has industry experience and knowledge. Do they specialize in Canadian payroll? Can they offer in-house payroll support?

Make sure they offer a solution that is scalable and receives routine updated at no additional cost. Check references and make sure you know where your data will be housed and who owns it. And finally, look for a partner who will work with you to take on those complex tasks and challenges that are unique to Canadian legislation and help you simplify them with common sense solutions.

6. Do they offer inclusive PEPM pricing?
A new HCM solution can be a big investment. You want to know that you can budget for your software appropriately and there won’t be significant variations or unwanted surprises from month to month.

There’s nothing worse than getting a software demo and loving the product only to be disappointed during the negotiation stage when there are all these additional hidden fees. Check that your provider offers a per employee per month (PEPM) for all the modules you’re interested in. Ask about implementation fees, support fees, and be sure to double check that features like custom reports or API endpoint access don’t come at a premium price.

For a more in-depth guide to finding the right HR technology for your business, check out our Complete Buyer’s Guide for HRIS Software.

Getting buy-in for HCM software

Once you’ve identified you need a new HCM solution, it’s time to get buy-in from your internal stakeholders. This could include your President or CEO, the head of the Finance team, your HR leader, and your payroll administrator depending on the size of your organization.

An HCM solution provides countless benefits to your organization, but it’s a team effort toward greater efficiency. Here are some key ways to get your team involved and onboard:

  • Get them involved from day one. Right from the beginning you should include at least one stakeholder from each key group: Payroll, HR, Finance, IT, Managers and Employees. Everyone using the solution should feel included and know they have a voice in communicating what’s important to them in a new solution.
  • Identify an HCM champion. All your stakeholders will act as champions for the project, but you should still have one main point of contact. This person will play the most active role in the project to find a new HCM solution. They’ll usually act as project manager during the evaluation process, collect feedback from the team, liaise with vendors, and once you’ve selected one, be the point of contact for implementation. Usually your champion is a key power user of the system.
  • Consider different insights. Each of your stakeholders will bring useful information from different areas of expertise to the selection process. When looking for new HCM technology, consider asking about the following to help put your business case together:
  • What their current processes look like, what is working well, and what could be improved
  • Areas where time and cost savings can be realized
  • What features or functions will benefit the organization and increase efficiency
  • Past experiences and learnings in other software selection processes
  • Identify what matters most each team. Before you begin the selection process, it’s important to know what you needs. But what matters to one department or group might not matter to another, so it’s important to identify nice to haves and must haves for each stakeholder.

If you’ve just started your search for a new HCM solution and you’re looking for tips on how to communicate the unique benefits to your team, check out our guide to Understanding Your HCM Stakeholders. In it you’ll find information on three important considerations for each stakeholder, why each consideration is important, and best practices for getting buy-in from your team. Get the guide here!

Tips for HR technology change management

Change is hard, but that isn’t stopping businesses from looking at new ways of gaining efficiency. More and more organizations are looking to invest in HR technology. According to PwC’s 2020 HR Technology Survey, 74% of businesses plan on increasing spending on HR technology (Source). Investing in a new HCM system often means changes to existing processes, learning new technology, and encouraging adoption across the organization. It can be a steep learning curve, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

Here are some change management tips to position you and your team for success as you embark on your search for a new HCM solution:

  • Document the current state of your HR technology. Focus on processes that are inefficient, could be automated, and are not helping the organization meet its goals.
  • Document the future state of your HR technology. Focus on processes you want to change and discuss what the change might look like. What are the expected benefits?
  • Build a roadmap. Describe the steps you’ll take to get from your current state to your future state. Include phases of the plan, resource requirements, and timing. Lean on diagrams to help communicate this plan clearly to the entire team.
  • Create a why statement. Have a “why change” statement that articulates the positive impact this change will have. You can lean on this to reinforce your decision to search for a new solution and communicate why the change is worthwhile. It’ll help you see the forest for the trees.
  • Identify your champions. This should involve key members of each department or group involved in the search, leaders within your organization, and people who will champion the project. Ensure each member is reflective of your entire company so everyone who has a stake in the project is involved.
  • Create a communication plan. Outline how you will communicate updates to the organization so that everyone is kept in the loop and feels engaged.
  • Collect feedback. Provide dedicated channels for feedback from user groups within the organization, including power users, senior leadership, managers, and employees. This will help you identify and address challenges, training issues, and roadblocks quickly.
  • Update the executive team. Ensure you attend or schedule a meeting with your leadership team to give them regular updates, respond to questions about the project and technology, facilitate change management efforts, and celebrate project milestones.
  • Attend department meetings. You should also attend meetings with department leaders to help support managers as they introduce the solution to their teams.
  • Provide a comprehensive training plan. The best way to drive adoption across your organization is to ensure everyone using the solution, knows how it works, and feels comfortable with the new processes.
  • Complete your testing phase. Plan to go through a testing phase with your vendor before going live to ensure everything is working as it should. This will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
  • Go live and celebrate! Implementing a new HRIS solution is no small undertaking. Be sure to schedule a celebration once you go live and thank everyone for their commitment to the project.


Choosing the right HCM solution is one of the most important decisions an organization can make. It impacts everyone, from Payroll to Human Resources to Finance to managers and employees. With such an important decision, you need to find a platform that brings your team together and improves processes and communication.

If you have any questions during your search, feel free to contact us! We’re more than happy to review your organization’s current processes and show you how an HCM solution could benefit your organization. In the meantime, here are some other resources to help you.

Additional resources:

Ready to start evaluating different HRIS solutions?

If you’re ready to start evaluating different HRIS solutions, we’ve got you covered with our Complete Buyer’s Guide for HRIS Software. In it you’ll find an overview of the benefits of HRIS, a feature list to help you identify a short list of vendors, and a detailed comparison guide to help you align your needs to the right solution.

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