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    Entries in small business (11)


    Small Business HR Technology - What's Changed in Two Years?

    I got a super question in the email yesterday from a reader asking if I had any advice or recommendations for the best, or at least most interesting HR Technology solutions for the small business.

    It is a great topic for sure, and as I was trying to craft some kind of thoughtful response, I turned to the wise wizard of Google to help spur a few ideas by typing 'small business HR Technology' into the 'please tell me what I need to know box' and hoped for some inspiration.Jasper Johns #6 - nothing to do with HR Technology, I just like it

    Of course there were a few sponsored results on the top of the search results, but much to my shock and surpise, the 3rd organic result was a post I had written about Small Business HRIS system over two years ago - 'HR Technology for the Small Business - Core HRIS'.  While it was neat to see one of my posts show up pretty high on page one of the results, it also made me think that two-plus years is an eternity in the technology space, particularly for solutions that are targeted at smaller organizations and even sole entrepreneurs. I took a quick look at the post from 2009, and besides thinking, (this is boring), that it likely is really out-of-date, and thin on depth for other solutions and resources besides Core HRIS that can potentially assist small businesses with HR and recruiting challenges.

    So what has changed in the last two years?  What should the small business, I am thinking under 100 or 150 employee type firms mainly, be thinking about in terms of solutions and resources to meet their HR and Recuiting challenges?  Of course the effects of mobile and social have both grown tremendously in the last two years, but what else? 

    Rather than do what I (lamely) attempted two years ago, and list out 5 or 6 HR Technology solutions that I recommend for the small business, I want to put the challenge out to the readers and to the solution providers to tell me what solutions should be on the small business owner's radar screen. 

    If you are an HR or Recruiting pro in a small business, what tools and technologies have you used that are helping you solve your business challenges?  Please share the names/links in the comments.

    And if you are a small business HR Technology solutions provider - please feel free to describe and pitch your solution in the comments - you never know, in a few days this post might start showing up on the first page of Google search results for 'small business HR Technology', and it might not be a bad thing to have your name and link in the comments.

    So what do you have to recommend?

    Come at me, Bro


    Going Small

    Tonight at 8PM EDT on the HR Happy Hour show, we are talking 'HR On Your Own', a show about the HR function, and the HR professional in a small business environment.

    Lots of great HR people are out there, on there own as the sole HR professional in an organization, or as a part of a very small team.  We will talk to some of those people tonight, people like Franny Oxford, Paul Smith, and Kimberly Roden, and hopefully a more people will call in to share their stories as HR lone warriors.

    Listen in tonight on the caller/listener line 646-367-1086 or using the player below, or on the HR Happy Hour show page.

    When we announced the show topic and guests, I did see quite a few messages from folks, mostly along the lines of 'Yep, I have been there', and 'That is what I live every day', and 'I'll never go back to a giant company again.'

    Small is the new big, in business and in life.  Yesterday in the NBA, longtime coach Don Nelson broke the record for most career coaching wins, primarily by implementing a 'small ball' strategy.  The theory is in a fast-paced and unpredictable game like basketball, smaller, quicker, more agile players would have an advantage of seeming bigger and stronger teams.

    Sounds quite a bit like the modern business world as well.  Speed, agility, ability to adapt (the capabilities of many small firms), may well win the day over many of their large, plodding, established competitors.

    And these nimble small companies often have a sole 'HR hero' in the trenches, and those are the people we will be talking about tonight.

    I hope you can join us.



    Do You Have $10?

    No, this is not a request for a loan, or even a pitch to donate for earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

    Although if you do want to loan me the $10, I suggest you send it to the Red Cross instead.

    Rather, I just wanted to highlight a story I came across last week, about a regular guy that set his dreams in motion with just $10.

    Mike Neal liked to barbecue (and I admit the barbecue angle was what led me to find this story), and he dreamed of someday having his own barbecue restaurant.  So instead of waiting, hoping, or simply ignoring that dream, Neal simply went for it. 

    From the story:

    "I had $10, and I went out and got one pack of ribs," said Neal. He set up a grill outside a furniture store and began cooking ribs slathered in his family's special sauce."I'd sell for $5 a sandwich, and people came and started buying them, and I'd go back and get more food, and before I knew it something was happening," he said.

    Eventually, continued hard work and dedication led to Neal opening his own restaurant, Michael Neal's Southern Grill,  and developing and marketing his signature barbecue sauce in stores like Walmart.

    Sure Neal had a talent for barbecue, and sure good barbecue is about the most wonderful food in the world, but the story is not really about that. The message to me is that you can start small, even $10 small, and still see your dreams realized.  Neal did not see having only $10 as a constraint, he saw it as an opportunity. A start.

    So let me ask again, do you have $10?

    Postscript - This restaurant is in the 513, winner of the Best HR City. What is it with that town?

    I would give you the link to the restaurant's web site or Facebook page, but I don't think they have either, but it sounds like Neal is doing fine without them.


    Zoho Recruit - Small Business Applicant Tracking

    Last month the online productivity applications vendor Zoho launched yet another new service meant to continue to build out its offerings for the small business market with the introduction of Zoho Recruit, a solution for Applicant Tracking and Resume Management.

    Zoho Recruit is targeted to small business as well as small third-pary agency recruiting firms that need a simple, inexpensive, and flexible solution for the management of job postings, applicants, and resumes.

    Standard and expected features like job posting creation, applicant management, interview scheduling, and ability to add individual notes to jobs and candidates are included. Additionally, resume parsing and import using the Resume Grabber product from eGrabber. Companies can also leverage Zoho's forms configuration capability to add/change/enhance forms and processes in the application to better align the solution with their specific requirements.

    The video below provides a quick overview of Zoho Recruit, additionally there are detailed screenshots and feature descriptions on the Zoho Recruit site.


    Zoho Recruit offers a Free Plan for an individual recruiter, and it's Standard Edition is priced at $12 per recruiter/month.  Meaning if you had 5 recruiters using Zoho, the license fee would be $60/month.  A separate license with Resume Grabber is needed to enable the automatic parsing and import of resumes from Outlook, Social Networks, Google Search, etc. into Zoho Recruit, and that cost is approximately $500 yearly.

    With the emergence in the last year or so of a number of simple and low-cost ATS solutions for small business (The Resumator, Choosy, Simplicant, etc.), there is almost no reason why even the smallest, least technically capable organizations and HR departments can't take advantage of at least some level of automation to better manage the recruiting process. 

    Zoho Recruit is definitely worth a look for small business with these needs, and in particular if the organization is interested in leveraging some of the other online productivity tools Zoho offers (CRM, Documents, Project Management, Wiki, etc.).

    Still accepting all your resumes via e-mail attachments and storing them locally, or on a shared network drive?  Maybe it is time to consider a better way.


    Small Business HRIS - a New Partnership

    Last week Zoho, a provider of a wide range of online productivity applications, (documents, wikis, CRM, projects, and many more) announced a new partnership with Vana Consulting, a Canadian consulting firm.

    The new solution branded as VanaHRM, is an on-demand HRIS built on the Zoho People platform and aimed at the small to medium sized market.

    One of the issues that I had seen during some limited testing of Zoho People was that it definitely required some technical skills to configure for an organization's unique needs.  In my opinion most small HR staffs would not have been all that comfortable or capable to really 'dig in' and leverage Zoho People's flexibility to develop and configure a solution that would support organizational specific business requirements.

    This is why the partnership between Zoho, the developer of the platform, and Vana, a Human Resources consultancy makes sense.  Vana seems to have simplified and organized the Zoho People solution  and packaged it in a form that is more understandable and accessible to the market.

    The VanaHRM solution supports the full range of Human Resources processes (employee tracking, talent profiles, performance management, recruiting, benefits tracking, self-service and more).

    A sample screen from VanaHRM is below:


    Pricing for the VanaHRM solution starts at $19/month for up to 10 employees and then increases with the number of employees; an organization of 100 employees is prices at $199/month for example.  Curiously, the prices listed at the Vana site are the same that are published on the Zoho People site.

    For small business in need of an automated HRIS solution, particularly those under 100 employees, VanaHRM is definitely worth a look.  It is a solution with the capability to handle almost all HR-related processes (save Payroll), is highly configurable, and reasonably simple to use.

    I would love to hear from anyone out there using VanaHRM or Zoho People in their organizations and have them share some of their experiences.