Workforce software provider Kronos is actively bringing human resources (HR) applications once confined to larger enterprises -- particularly payroll management -- to small and midsize businesses, using the cloud to open up access.
In early October, the company updated its Workforce Ready cloud-based suite focused on this market segment, adding a number of features focused on helping control absenteeism, manage overtime and leave, and administer compliance strategies related to the Affordable Care Act.
"The complexity of navigating labor regulations can be daunting for a small or midsize business, and global operations only increase that complexity," said Laurie McCabe, partner with research firm SMB Group. "With limited resources and more susceptibility to risk, SMBs are increasingly turning to affordable, ease-to-use automation solutions that reduce labor costs and compliance risk."
One small company that opted for the Kronos approach is BPR-Rico Manufacturing, a 100-person engineering company based in Medina, Ohio. BPR-Rico was struggling with a legacy system that included all the requirements it needed to manage payroll, but the application was difficult to use and didn't always handle certain tasks in a consistent way, forcing lots of manual overrides. What's more, there were very few links between this application and other HR systems. Plus, the software also had other quirks: for example, it randomly started changing dental deductions.
That was the final straw that prompted BPR-Rico to begin managing its payroll with Workforce Ready, said Kent Stelmasczuk, CIO for the company. The company was already planning to update its time attendance systems with Workforce Ready when the dental incident happened, and that prompted it to move forward with a broader overhaul of its HR and payroll systems earlier than anticipated. "It was very simple to do, so it just made sense," Stelmasczuk said.
BPR-Rico's main concern was the federal penalties it could incur through payroll mistakes, as well as the employee bad-will that payroll mistakes can cause for a company. "I had little confidence in our prior approach," he said.
The migration happened very quickly, over a month-and-a-half-long period, even though there was a delay related to the company's decision to switch banks in this timeframe. It ran four payroll cycles in Kronos and its legacy application in order to test the approach.
Although Kronos doesn't publish its pricing on its Web sites, Stelmasczuk describes the solution as cost-neutral with his company's previous approach, while providing the company with additional functionality, such as the ability to change payroll cycles and make changes more easily than with its prior systems.