Canadian mid-size businesses have unique challenges and needs to consider when selecting an HCM solution. Ultimately, the size and complexity of a company’s workforce determines how robust and flexible its solution needs to be.

Most “out of the box” software meant for smaller businesses doesn’t have the configurability mid-size businesses need – especially as they continue to grow and scale. Whereas enterprise software solutions, powerful enough to handle all your payroll and workforce management needs, may not be a cost-effective option for your business.

When Avanti Co-CEO, Amin Lalani acquired Avanti in 2016, he recognized this gap in the Canadian HCM marketplace. There were many HCM solutions tailored for either small businesses or large enterprises, but very little that were “just right” for the overlooked middle market.

Defining Mid-Market

Statistics Canada defines the mid-market sector as being comprised of ​organizations with between 100-499 employees. This segment represents two percent of Canadian businesses, 14% of Canada’s GDP, and 21% of Canada’s employment.

At Avanti, we believe those numbers underrepresent the breadth of the current mid-market. There are many organizations with 500+ employees whose needs place them squarely in the mid-market. Too big for a small business solution, but not big enough to shoulder the hefty price tag and resources required to manage a large enterprise option.

In Avanti, Lalani found a product and team that had the potential to address what was missing in the mid-market sector: robust pay and time configurability, stellar client support, and deep knowledge of Canadian payroll. Together with Co-CEO, David Owen Cord, they made the decision to tailor Avanti’s focus to meet the operational needs of the mid-size market.​

In this article, we’ll take a look at the common pain points faced by mid-sized businesses in Canada, along with a range of solutions and tips for finding that “just right” HCM provider.

Common Pain Points and Solutions for the Mid-Market Sector

Problem: High Complexity and Limited Resources
Mid-market businesses experience a lot of the same complexity as enterprise organizations. The main difference is that mid-market companies don’t have the big budgets or large teams to tackle those complex issues. This leads to lean teams retrofitting their systems or creating time-consuming custom and complex workarounds.  

Solution: Configurability, Automation, and Support
Finding the right HCM solution can help you do more with less through configurability and workflow automation tools. The key is finding the right solution with a top-tier support team to back you up.  A good Client Care team should feel like an extension of your business – there to help you solve problems when issues arise and to ensure you’re on top of the latest legislative changes.

Problem: Too Many Tools
According to Gartner, mid-size businesses reportedly use anywhere between ​40-80+ SaaS tools. And while they all have important and specific use cases, they aren’t necessarily built to talk to each other. When your precious data is dispersed across that many tools without a single source of truth, you waste valuable time on redundant tasks like duplicate data entry.

Solution: One Central Location for all Your Information
Having all your information in one central location will go a long way in maximizing your organization’s efficiency and accuracy. In your search for the right HCM solution, be sure to look for deep integration capabilities and custom API calls. ​Integrating your essential platforms will go a long way in automating manual tasks and eliminating busy work.

Problem: Managing Outdated Systems
Companies working with homegrown solutions and manual processes place unnecessary strain on small payroll and HR teams. The manual effort required to update to the newest versions of software and ensure multiple systems are secure is time well wasted.

Solution: Free up Your Team’s Time in the Cloud
A cloud-based HCM solution does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Automatic software updates put an end to manual downloads, compliance is ensured with the latest legislative changes, and your security is in line with national and global best-in-class security standards.

Problem: Lack of Reporting Options
Many mid-size organizations go to market ​for a new solution because of ​a lack of reporting from their current systems. When your data is inaccessible or fragmented, you never get the full picture. For smaller teams, creating reports manually requires a lot of admin time and hinders your ability to operate strategically.

Solution: Easy Access to Your Data
If reporting capabilities are important to you and your business, finding an HCM solution with natively integrated payroll and time functionality is essential to giving you quick and easy access to the right data at the right time. Data-informed decision-making is essential for enabling Payroll and HR teams to drive the business forward with strategic insight. ​With Avanti, your team has the ability to create custom reports for unique business cases at no extra charge.

Evaluating Systems for Mid-size Businesses

As you can see, the mid-size sector faces many unique obstacles, but getting a “just right” HCM solution is definitely within reach. Based on our research, ​these are key features to watch out for when evaluating systems.

Robust Pay & Time – This is where you want to ensure the solution’s configurability suits your business needs, can handle complexity now and as you grow, and offers native pay and time integration.

A System of Record – Ensure that your payroll system is built in a way that it can be the system of record for all employee info and data, sets you up for more scalable growth, and improves your reporting capabilities. ​

Service Excellence – This is where a little more research helps. Look for industry-leading SLAs and CSAT. You also want a team with industry knowledge and Canadian HR and payroll expertise. A direct phone line versus email gives your team faster access when they need it.

Deep Expertise – Canadian payroll is complex, ensure your provider has a history in the market. A great way to look for a fit is to look at their client base. If their client’s needs align with yours, you’ll likely be in capable hands.

It’s important to remember that when you commit to a new HCM solution for your business, you’re entering into a long-term relationship ranging anywhere from three to eight+ years. You definitely want to take your time and choose the right partner for you.

Additional Reading

Find the Right Fit For You

No matter where you are in your HCM buying journey, we’re always here to help. If you have questions about how Avanti can help your mid-market business overcome challenges and automate processes, we’d love to connect.

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