Frequently Asked Questions about SmartHR

  • It makes the work of the HR department more visible and more acknowledged throughout the organisation
  • It ensures your HR professionals are up to date with real-time, secure and instant access to staff information from any location
  • It reduces time needed for admin and frees up time for strategic and high value HR activities because managers and employees can now help themselves using self service.
  • It means no more: frustrating disparate systems and searches through paper files and spreadsheets; tedious report creation using incomplete and out-of-date data; time-consuming phone calls and emails between managers and HR staff.

The Smart HR solution becomes your central source of truth and a secure repository of vital people information for your entire organisation.

The impact on your business can be summarised in three areas:

  • SmartHR Enables business growth
  • SmartHR Increases operational efficiency
  • SmartHR Lowers legislative risk

SmartHR enables you to grow your business quickly, efficiently and with less risk.

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SmartHR is guaranteed compliant with all relevant South African labour law requirements. The system virtually eliminates risk of non-compliance because it manages record keeping and reporting compliance for employee relations, equal opportunity, health and safety, training accreditation and more.

The system gives you the tools and information to make faster and more informed people decisions about

  • Awarding bonuses
  • Initiating corrective action
  • Recruiting and placing
  • Managing absenteeism
  • Aligning pay grades
  • Minimising HR risk factors
  • Addressing performance gaps
  • Allocating training and development resources
  • Organisational transformation

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If you don’t have an HR system your people managers are most likely using a combination of spreadsheets, email, documents, manual forms and a payroll system unsuited to HR needs. The lack of a proper system means staff spend too much time on administration, report creation, checking for manual errors, and answering ad-hoc queries.

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Your investment in SmartHR can start from as low R30 per employee per month depending on the number of employees you have and the optional modules you select. Your investment consists of software, implementation and training and a recurring annual fee. The annual fee entitles you to automatic upgrades, software maintenance and comprehensive customer support. A flexible modular pricing structure means you only pay for the components you require and the staff you manage. Depending on your budgetary preferences we provide the option of an upfront purchase of the software with a lower annual component or an annual rental price with a lower initial investment.

Because the information needs of HR are very different to the quantitative processing and reporting needs of Payroll and Financial systems. Many vendors who focus on payroll and financials simply lack the know-how and systems capability to understand HR data and the needs of HR professionals in practice. Even if these vendors have implemented hundreds of payroll and financial systems they have usually implemented only a handful of HR systems. For us at Absalom it’s the exact opposite, we’ve implemented hundreds of HR systems because we’re HR specialists and it’s all we do and because SmartHR has been our sole focus for 14 years and not an after-thought, we have the expertise and the tools to give you a far more powerful and comprehensive solution for your business.

We have a strong local development team of seasoned professionals. Between them our South African development group have more than 20 years experience in the product. To complement our local team we also have a group of more than 30 Microsoft developers based in South East Asia, whom we utilise when required. To provide our corporate customers with an additional level of security the software can be held in escrow through Escrow Europe pty ltd which means your software investment is protected under all scenarios.

Because SmartHR is a more robust, scalable and cost effective than an internally built system. Many of our clients tried to build HR databases internally and found they not only consumed significant resources for much longer than expected but came up against significant technical blocks. Building a system internally for complex solutions nearly always costs more and rarely delivers the functionality or usability you want. This is because an HR system seems simple at first but becomes more and more complex to develop as your requirements expand. SmartHR is the product of 14 years, thousands of hours and millions of dollars in research and development. You benefit from all the resources that have gone into SmartHR and avoid the cost and frustration of going down the internal development path.

There are companies using SmartHR with as few as 25 employees right up to large multi-nationals with 20,000 + employees, dozens of sites and thousands of users. The HR requirements of a business with 50 staff are quite similar to those of a large business with thousands of staff but on a larger scale in that it is a group of people you are managing. The architecture and design of SmartHR enables it to scale up or down in size and complexity. However most companies need to reach at least 50 staff before they encounter the kind of staff challenges that make an HR system feasible and necessary. The majority of our clients are in the 100 –5000 employee range i.e. small to medium enterprises.

  • The security model enables access to data to be defined at a granular level
  • The software architecture supports n-level organisational structures to cater to any size organisation
  • We can model multiple legal entities in a consolidated group structure
  • During mergers and acquisitions you can easily consolidate people data from the new entities without the need to change payrolls
  • You can easily bench-mark salary information against group HR metrics
  • We have automated integration capabilities (with security authorisation) to integrate with third party enterprise systems

Yes. SmartHR will adapt and evolve to your growing needs: The database design permits virtually unlimited scalability without performance loss. The application itself provides flexibility allowing you to add and remove modules as your needs change and customize the solution via forms and fields; work-flow; automation and reporting.

SmartHR has been developed, tested and evolved over 14 years, hundreds of implementations and thousands of users so it’s a robust and proven solution. It has been designed and built for the South African environment and was designed as an HR solution from the beginning unlike many competing products

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Yes. While SmartHR does offer SmartHR Payroll, the fully integrated SQL-based payroll, it can integrate with your existing payroll system. This can be a more cost-effective approach, for the following reasons:

  • Greater Flexibility – more flexibility to choose the payroll best suited to your needs without restriction or compromise.
  • Save Money – no need to incur the expense of a new payroll when you buy an HR system if your current system still does the job of paying your staff.
  • Fewer Compromises – no irritating compromises such as lock outs and reporting limitations that plague many combined HR/Payroll systems Consolidation – consolidate all your history from one or more payrolls into SmartHR to use pay data in ways previously impossible or impractical.
  • Analyse Pay Data – analyse all your pay data from an HR perspective across cost centres, department, job title, individual or any group of employees
  • Budgeting – input budget information against pay history to compare budgets against actuals.
  • Link HR attributes – link pay history data to attributes such as performance and training.
  • No Lockouts – there is no downtime while payrolls are run because the pay history data is merged into SmartHR there are no closed lockout periods of data.
  • Reduce Fraud – counters the risk of ghost employee fraud through a division of duties between who manages appointment/termination of employees and who manages payroll.
  • No Archiving – you can analyse data over a longer period because your pay history is retained indefinitely and you’re not bound by financial year archiving.

Because you get more for your money with a payroll-independent, best-of-breed System like SmartHR. You don’t have the problems that plague combined HR/Payroll systems developed by Payroll vendors. HR systems developed on payroll platforms lead to limitations because payroll databases are designed to handle calculations, periodic transactions and fixed reporting whereas HR databases need to handle qualitative (non-numerical) data, complex processes such as approvals etc and ad-hoc (management-style) reporting. From a system design point of view, Payroll and HR are like chalk and cheese! Yet many payroll vendors branched into HR to extend their offering for marketing reasons without knowing much about HR. This is why – to this day – many of vendors struggle to deliver effective HR solutions. With SmartHR you don’t inherit these problems. This means you get more HR capability, a system that works the way HR professionals work and you have complete flexibility on which payroll you use. You’re not forced to accept a weakness in HR for the sake of the Payroll, or replace your payroll when the area you want to address is HR and when the payroll you have is perfectly adequate.

We’ve developed tailored vertical solutions for dozens of industries including: Financial Services; Mining; Construction; Manufacturing; Insurance and Re-insurance; Civil engineering; Brewing; Professional services; Retail; Airlines; Banking (retail and investment); Government; Research; Health Care; Aged care; Non-Profit; Hospitality to name a few.

Part of our commitment to client care and attention is our implementation process. We assign a project manager as your point of contact. Your project manager will give you and your team regular updates and access to our project portal containing detailed information about the progress of your project so you can see exactly where your implementation is up to at any time. Below are the seven stages of the process:

  • Pre-sales needs evaluation – we take the time to fully understand your business needs
  • Project scoping and planning – ensures you know what to expect and by when
  • Business process mapping – documents how your new HR processes will look
  • Data migration – we consolidate and import your existing data into SmartHR from payroll, spreadsheets etc
  • Systems integration – we automate integrations to your payroll, t&a, financials
  • User training and documentation – ensures your users enjoy maximum value from the system
  • Customisation and support services – to support your users and extend the value of your solution

Between 2 weeks and 6 months depending on your scope the size of your organisation and the level of customisation you need. We give you accurate estimates at the beginning and more than 95% of projects have been completed within time and budget.

To help the implementation process function smoothly we ask you to nominate the following two internal resources from your organisation:

  • A project champion to work with the project manager to provide information on your organisational structure, business needs and processes and your HR data sources
  • An IT point of contact (usually the IT manager or external contractor) to provide access to your network so our consultant can install and configure SmartHR on your server

Yes. SmartHR is a business tool. Anyone can use SmartHR and anyone who manages people can benefit from SmartHR. As well as being designed for HR departments SmartHR is designed for executives, managers and employees. SmartHR is a management tool with a people information focus. Because of its intuitive design and familiar, Outlook-style interface, almost anyone can quickly grasp it. You don’t need to be an HR professional to understand and use SmartHR.

Included in the annual license fee with SmartHR is free, unlimited technical support to trained users and we provide expert training, friendly support and fast resolution of any issues. All users are trained on-site by accredited SmartHR trainers. Every trained user gains immediate access to premium technical support for any assistance they require. Assistance is provided on-site and via phone, email and remote web assistance. As a client you’ll receive a high level of standard support and the option of custom support contracts. One of the things that sets SmartHR apart is our commitment to premium training and support services to ensure your system is operational and secure and your staff are deriving maximum benefit from the solution.

The core system – includes the following and allows companies to effectively manage their day to day HR requirements:

  • Personal and organisational information
  • Employee and manager self-service
  • Equity Reporting
  • Leave Management
  • Pay history and particulars
  • Event and email reminder system
  • Ad-hoc report writer
  • Export/Import capability
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Employee training
  • Industrial Relations
  • Assets
  • Communication module (SMS and email)

Optional modules include:

  • Position management
  • Recruitment management
  • Training event management
  • Performance Management
  • Resource planning
  • Occupational Health and Safety

Here are some examples of the standard reports available in SmartHR:

Contract Expiry – Monitor contracts about to expire Employee Audit – Highlights missing staff data to help keep records up to date
Gender Profile – Tracks gender profile & missing gender records Performance Scores – Summarizes all key performance data
Telephone List – Generates an alphabetical list of contact details Training Planned – Shows training planned for the month by category
Birthday List – Never again forget your colleague’s birthdays Disciplinary Actions – Lists disciplinary records within a date range
Disciplinary Report – Monitor IR incidents by employee for a period New Appointments Diversity – Diversity of appointments during a period
License Renewals – Tracks staff license renewal information Change Control – Tracks changes to Job Titles, Departments, Grades or Salaries
History Log – Summarises staff movements and status changes Termination Report – Lists employees terminated within a specified date range.
Reinstated Employees – Lists staff recently reinstated to roles Movement Report – Shows appointments, terminations and transfers
Contracting Details – Outlines key role details for contract staff CV Report – Lists detailed CV information
Sick Leave Duration – Tracks duration and status of sick leave Length of Service Report – Lists employees age and length of time employed
Sick Leave Top 3 departments – Departments with the most sick leave Leave Taken Between 2 Dates – All annual leave granted between two dates
Sick Leave Top 3 Job Titles – Job titles with highest sick leave Leave Negative Leave – Employees with a negative leave balance at month end
Initial Day of Sick Leave Absenteeism – Key sick leave patterns Leave Days at Risk – Leave per employee that expires in the next 3 months
Absenteeism Profile – Gives a snapshot of absenteeism patterns Leave Days Lost – Generates a list of leave lost per employee
Daily Leave – A snapshot of leave granted between two date Leave Cost – Quantifies the financial cost of leave taken in the last month
Training Completed – Completed training by month and categor Leave Liability – Quantifies the financial liability of leave owing to staff
Training Renewal – Course renewals for next 3 Months by category Leave Taken – Leave taken in the last month by the employees of the Company
Training Started – Employees who started training with course details Leave BI-Monthly – a list of employees on leave in the next two weeks
Training-Cost – Employees who started training with a cost summary Leave Capture Date – Employees who applied for leave in a specified date range
Equity Status – Lists detailed employee equity information Ethnic Group – Lists and charts employee information by ethnic group
ID Verification – Highlights inconsistencies with ID no’s Probation Expiry – Lists staff whose probation is about to expire
Training Program Attendance – Who confirmed, attended & canceled Medical Examination Renewal – Staff due for medical examinations

  • Update individual employee profiles
  • Apply for and approve staff leave
  • Check leave balances and history
  • View team members on leave during a period
  • Notify and communicate with staff via SMS and Email
  • Update and maintain individual CV details
  • Record accidents and OH&S incidents
  • Submit expense claim information
  • Capture and approve staff timesheets
  • View pay slips and pay history
  • Read and acknowledge policy and procedure documents
  • Update and maintain employee training plans
  • Request and approve company assets such as: uniforms, laptops etc
  • Create and initiate performance appraisals
  • Complete and approve performance appraisals
  • Create and maintain position structures with competency framework
  • Upload files and documents to link to staff records
  • Access reporting dashboards with drill-down and drill through capability

Yes. SmartHR will integrate with your existing payroll, time & attendance, rostering and financials, ad-hoc databases and spreadsheets via scheduled import/export. Over the last 14 years we’ve done thousands of integrations including to virtually all of the major payroll, financial and t&a systems in the region.

Your data is secured in several ways. Your HR data is stored in its own separate, encrypted database. Your database can be scheduled for automatic backups. The database resides inside your network and behind your firewall so access to it from outside can be controlled. Only users you assign can access the system via secure login details. For each system user you can control who they can see and what types of information they can view/edit for each person. For example a manager may have access to all information about their own staff but limited information (job profile, department etc) about other staff in the company. And lastly there’s an audit trail that logs all user changes so you can track which users made which changes to the system at any time.

The number of users of SmartHR can vary from a single user up to several thousand across the company depending on the following factors:

  • The size of your organisation (number of employees, number of physical sites and scope of your operations)
  • The number of people in your HR function/department and how centralized or decentralized people management responsibilities are
  • The number of SmartHR modules you activate and whether you decide to deploy self service or not

It depends on a number of factors including the size and scope of your organisation and how your business processes are designed. Here are four possible scenarios:

  • Centralised HR usage: All HR information system activity (maintaining HR records, producing reports) is done centrally by one or more users in the HR department
  • Function specific usage: In addition to 1. you also have users responsible for certain types of records e.g. OH&S or training (often, these users can only access one type of information).
  • Decentralised users: In addition to 1 and 2 you have users across sites and departments as well as managers conducting their own HR information activities directly
  • Self service model: Every employee can access their information and any direct reports and (based on access rights) can initiate any HR process via manager and employee self service

No – SmartHR usually does not have to be on a dedicated server and is often run alongside several other applications.

Both. SmartHR has both a rich client application and a browser-based interface. The rich client application functions and looks similar to Microsoft Outlook and is designed for your daily power users. The browser-based interface can be accessed from anywhere and is designed for managers and employees. This approach means your power users (typically HR staff) get all speed advantage of a rich client application while your other users can access the system efficiently via a secure web browser portal without the need to install any software.

Almost certainly the answer is yes. SmartHR is built on standard modern Microsoft technology so as long as you have at least one MS Windows server on your network you can run SmartHR. The system is built using the latest Microsoft development tools including the .NET framework and SQL server. This means SmartHR will dovetail into an existing Microsoft environment and allows the solution to easily scale as your organisations requirements grow.

The software is fully compatible with the latest Microsoft technologies including Server 2014 (including Terminal Services and Virtualization), SQL 2008, IIS 7 including support for 64bit systems there is also backward compatibility to Windows 2000 SP4, SQL 2000.

Yes. However it depends on your company IT security policy. You might have to join your companies VPN (virtual private network) to access the system offsite (from home for example).

Yes – the SmartHR Software can be virtualised.

Yes – the SmartHR software can run on either Terminal Server or Citrix Metaframe.

Yes. The software is not transaction heavy although it can store vast amounts of information on the database. Also because we incorporate caching on the ESS the system loads very quickly even in a low bandwidth environments.