As a business in the security industry, you’ve got a few options when it comes to HR and payroll. You can do it all manually in-house which comes with a ballooning workload and a significant risk of costly errors. You can outsource your payroll with a bookkeeper or CPA. This is an expensive but largely stress-free route as long as you can trust the person or agency you’re outsourcing to. And lastly, you can choose an HR and payroll service provider which comes in the form of HCM software.

What is HCM software?

HCM stands for Human Capital Management. It’s software that includes human resources and (often) payroll solutions for your business.

HCM software is a big step up from manual systems such as Excel spreadsheets or notebooks. The best HCM providers offer the gift of automation to remove countless hours from the workweek while helping you avoid compliance mistakes that can cost thousands in fines.

However, not every HR and payroll service is going to give you the right solution for your security business. Some services will not suit your size of business, while others may not have the implementation program that gets you up and running properly with your HCM system.

To save hours of work while growing your business, you have to make sure you’re choosing the right HR and payroll provider. They’re your partner in growth and choosing the right partner requires careful consideration. You need to ask the right questions.

Is the HR and Payroll Service Compatible with your Business?

The most critical consideration for your potential HR and payroll partner is compatibility. As in all relationships, you have to make sure that your partner is the right fit. To choose the right HR software, consider the following criteria.

1. Expertise on Industry Challenges

The security industry has unique HR and payroll challenges. Specific regulations apply to the guard staff and your business as a whole. Ideally, you want an HCM software and payroll service provider that is able to accommodate your industry-specific needs and has experience with other security businesses.

2. Size

You also want to make sure the human resource software you’re using makes sense for your size of business. Some software providers only focus on Enterprise-level businesses which likely wouldn’t suit your security operations. You also need to know if the service provider is appropriate for your plans to grow your business. Can they grow with you or are they best suited for a business of your current size?

3. Payroll and Labour Expertise

The right payroll and human resources software provider will have years of experience working with HR and payroll leaders. It takes a long time to properly hone a software solution that meets their needs and that can only come from a long and direct relationship with leading professionals.

4. Integrations

Security operations are often using Security Workforce Management Software (SWMS). If that’s the case for your business then you would greatly benefit from a HR and payroll provider that integrates seamlessly with your SWMS. This setup comes with numerous advantages. With an integrated HR and payroll system, you can avoid re-entering information for employees and have any changes made within one piece of the software reflected immediately in the others.

Your schedules can be created in the back end, verified by software on the front end and automatically sent to payroll for processing after approval. This will significantly speed up the time to process payroll while automating routine tasks that normally take hours.

5. HR and Payroll Software Implementation

With your service provider, you need a partner, not a seller. Ask about their implementation model. Does it include quality training and adoption and is their end goal to create confident users? Or does it seem like the person assisting you will be more focused on upselling?

If you can’t get insights directly from the service provider, you can always go to impartial review sites, such as Capterra and G2, to get valuable insight from other users.

6. Implementation Rollout

Before getting started, you’ll need to know what the HR and payroll software implementation timeline is going to be like and what fees occur at each stage. Will your system go live all at once or incrementally? See if your potential HR and Payroll service can provide you with a couple of references so you can inquire about how the implementation went.

You will need an understanding of what’s required of you and what data you’re going to need when you get started. Typically, your provider will require department names, job classifications, deductions and specific employee information such as their Social Security numbers and home addresses.

7. Platform Usability

HR and Payroll platforms often look nice when presented in a demo but aren’t always user-friendly when you go hands-on. A good service provider should offer a user-focused software experience that meets employees where they are: on a mobile device. That’s why any platform you consider should have strong mobile app support.

8. Employee Self-Service

Your time is valuable and you don’t want to be spending it sending your guards their schedules or pay stubs. Your platform should enable employees to get that information on their own and have the flexibility to give your security personnel what they need based on your company’s specific requirements.

9. Security Functionality

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is a necessary security feature for any company to protect sensitive data such as employee information. Make sure the HR and payroll platform has this security feature including the option to allow for social sign-in (SSI). You want to be secure but don’t want to needlessly annoy your employees. SSI will help ease the burden of MFA.

10. HR Reporting and Analytics

When one of your stakeholders needs a report, the last thing you want to do is make them wait. With a truly integrated platform, you should be seconds away from an up-to-date report at any given moment. And your software should be able to give you true analytics that are easily interpretable and provide answers to business-critical issues. Need to benchmark against your competitors? Your software needs to make this comparison quick and easy.

11. HR and Payroll Compliance

Filing personal income taxes is nothing compared to what small businesses have to go through. Business taxes can be a literal nightmare with fines looming around every corner for every error. In fact, 77% of small businesses say income taxes create extra burdens for them (National Federation of Independent Business).

As a business owner, you have to comply with ACA, equal opportunity, fair labor, federal, state and local tax laws and many more. If you make a small error such as incorrectly classifying an employee, it could get you in a lot of trouble with the IRS. A staggering 30% of companies misclassify employees and have faced potential fines or worse (National Employment Law Project).

Finding an HR and payroll service provider that helps you stay compliant is critical in today’s business environment. While HR compliance tools and software help decrease risk, smart automation will ensure that if you’re not in compliance, you’ll receive handy notifications to let you know.

12. Audits

If you do happen to face an audit, your software provider should be able to give you the reports you need right away. A good service will have IRS reporting built in so that you don’t have to stress when you get that dreaded audit notice in the mail.

There’s one last thing to look for in your HR and Payroll service provider and it’s a pretty obvious one.

Ask some questions about their customer service. Will your company have a dedicated service representative? Will you be able to talk to someone the second you have an issue or will you have to take a ticket and wait? And how helpful are their customer service reps really? You may have to talk to some of their references to get the answers you’re looking for but it will be worth it. Choosing the wrong service provider can be a costly mistake.

Check out our latest webinar, “For the Love of Payroll”, to learn more about how to implement a payroll solution tailored for the security industry.