5 must-have features for your HR software needs

Do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get through the truckload of HR tasks and compliance requirements that go with the growing number of employees where you work? If so, it may be time for HR software to shoulder that burden for you.

As any business expands, HR tasks around managing people really start to add up. Even seemingly simple tasks can get complicated. Everything seems to take forever – from onboarding new hires, to creating rosters and scheduling shifts, to managing performance, and even keeping employee data up to scratch.

Why do you need HR software?

With HR software you can automate many of the manual HR tasks and compliance requirements that take up so much of your time.

This will free you up to focus on more strategic HR initiatives that will make your business stand out from the crowd, like culture and employee wellbeing.

What features should you look for?

Choosing the right HR software for your business is a big decision. And one that you’ll want to get right. It’s easy to get mesmerised by all the bells and whistles, but it’s important to keep core functionality top of mind. So when you’re narrowing down your options, make sure you look for these must-have features.

#1 –
Compliance with Australian legislation

Record-keeping and regulatory compliance can be time consuming and prone to human error if you’re relying on spreadsheets and manual processes.

Ideally your HR software should have:

  • employment contract templates, updated to stay compliant with current Australian employment legislation
  • standard HR letters and notification templates
  • rules-driven processes (eg. automated approvals, reminders, escalations, etc.)
  • an HR knowledge base specific to Australian legislation
  • policy templates (eg. harassment, social media, code of conduct, etc. with policy distribution and acceptance tracking).

Here’s an example of how Employment Hero allows you to easily track workplace incidents:

#2 – Onboarding tools

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimates that as many as 1 in every 25 employees leave their jobs due to poor onboarding, so it’s important yours leads to the employee’s long-term success.

Make sure the HR system you choose offers paperless onboarding with the ability to:

  • prepare and send letters of offer
  • create or use compliant templates
  • use electronic signatures so offers can be accepted online
  • track new employee onboard status in real time
  • develop induction content (eg. company values, company handbook, welcome video).

This is how the onboarding dashboard looks in Employment Hero:


#3 – Employee self-service

Self-service functionality allows your employees to perform routine HR tasks, reducing their reliance on you to perform administrative support tasks.

A good system will allow for employee self-service (ESS) so that your employees can easily update their personal information like:

  • personal details (eg. address, emergency contact)
  • bank details
  • tax declaration and superannuation fund
  • passport and visa details
  • licences (eg. driver, forklift).

The system should also enable them to make leave requests based on a forecasted leave balance.

#4 –
Time and attendance management

An automated time and attendance tracking system makes scheduling painless. When it’s configured to the right awards for your business, it’s easy to manage multiple shift patterns and calculate wages, while flagging penalty rates for overtime or weekend work.

Look for a solution that offers:

  • digital timesheets
  • smart rostering (so you can assign skills, input availability, and allow the system to recommend the right people for each shift)
  • award interpretations (you can enforce various work rules to each employee’s start and stop times so that they can be automatically interpreted into each individual payroll element.)

#5 –
Performance review management

Recognising performance is key to getting the best out of your people. But manual performance review processes can be arduous and provide employees with little value.

Instead, you can use an HR system to easily develop KPIs with employees and communicate how these goals fit into the broader goals of the business.

A good system provides:

  • employee performance review templates
  • customisable review components (eg. values and goals), and automated performance review workflows (eg. when self-assessment is complete, it is automatically sent to the manager, and the manager is asked to fill in their assessment)
  • rating scales that identify areas where employees are excelling or need improvement.

What mistakes should you avoid?

While core functionality is absolutely critical and needs to be top of mind when you evaluate HR software, there are other pitfalls you need to steer clear of.

Make sure you avoid these common mistakes:

Not doing your homework

Evaluating and selecting HR software does take time and effort. So, it’s important to review a wide range of systems.

The process will actually make you far more knowledgeable on the capabilities of the industry’s leading HR systems, and more able to decide which solution best meets your company’s needs.

Ignoring future needs

By focusing on your current requirements, you may inadvertently overlook the future needs of your business which can reduce the useful lifespan of the HR technology you choose.

It’s important to choose HR software that is scalable and has a roadmap that keeps pace with workplace technology trends.

Not pre-qualifying vendors

References are only ever helpful if you check them! Typical questions you should ask a vendor’s referee include:

  •      What other HR systems did you consider?
  •      Why did you decide to go with this system?
  •      How easy or difficult was the implementation process?
  •      Was the project completed on schedule?
  •      How long did it take for your employees to get up and running on the new system?
  •      How was the quality of the training and support?
  •      Have you had any major problems with it since you implemented it?
  •      Does it work the way you expected?

Be sure to listen to the answers you are given and compare with other responses you receive from other vendor referees.


Lack of consultation with employees

Failing to consider the human element is a common mistake people make when selecting an HR system. The system you choose must deliver a great user experience!
After all, your employees will have to use the system on a day-to-day basis, so it’s only fair that they have some say in what kind of system is chosen.

Free eBook

If you’re in the process of considering HR software for your business, don’t go it alone. Download our free eBook, The HR Manager’s Ultimate Guide to Choosing HR Software. It’s a step-by-step guide on documenting your requirements, shortlisting your systems and ultimately choosing the right HR software for you and your business.



Employment Hero is Australia’s first all-in-one cloud HRIS offering a comprehensive HR software, payroll system, and employee benefits platform in one easy solution. Trusted by Australian businesses, Employment Hero is about making rostering, onboarding, performance management, time tracking, payroll, and award interpretation a snap. Employment Hero’s HRIS also integrates with Xero, MYOB, KeyPay, and Accountright Live. Stop wasting time with spreadsheets, and request a demo today.

David Holland

Affectionately known as 'Dutchy' in the office, David spent his formative professional years in finance and investment management including 10 years managing a portfolio of direct investments across Europe. Having returned to Australia to raise his family by the beach, he's focused on seeing Employment Hero fulfil its mission to permanently improve employment.

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