Best HR and Payroll Software Features for Public Sector

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With an estimated 5.8 million people working in the UK’s public sector, managing the sector’s vast number of people and their pay is no small task.

For public sector organisations such as local government, healthcare, or education, complex payroll and HR challenges make specialist software a must-have. Yet, due to budget constraints, complex compliance requirements, and an often time-consuming and closely scrutinised decision-making process, choosing a new payroll and HR software can be a major obstacle. 

To help public sector human resources and payroll teams make their decision, we’ve put together this guide to some of the best features that a comprehensive solution can offer. If you’re a payroll or HR professional still wondering whether investing in a new payroll and HR system is worth it, read on. 

Time tracking and management for various work patterns and roles

One of the biggest joint challenges that payroll and human resources staff in the public sector must face is managing a range of different employee types, work patterns, grades and pay spines. For this, you need a flexible time tracking solution that can be configured for all these different variables to ensure you know which employees are working when, what type of contract they are on, and how they should be compensated.

High quality HR software allows you to use flexible timesheets and configurable work cycles for all the different job types and schedules within your organisation. With flexible timesheets that can be customised for casual workers, flexible time, and overtime, it’s easier than ever to track and project the time of the workforce. No matter how complicated your work cycles, advanced HR software can automate calculations around part-period pro-rata payments, leave entitlement, and more to ensure accuracy.

Moreover, using cloud-based software with an intuitive HR app, employees can edit their time entries remotely and have them approved almost instantaneously, eliminating delays and errors throughout this process. HR can even automate regular alerts for employees to update their entries to ensure everyone stays up to date. This is especially valuable in the public sector where healthcare and construction workers in particular are likely to be employed on a range of different contracts and work cycles that need to be managed. 

Payroll management for a variety of pay periods and pension schemes

With a variety of payrolls, pay periods, and pension schemes to manage in your public sector organisation, it’s crucial that your payroll and HR software has the capabilities to process payroll accurately and efficiently. High quality HR software can save you hundreds of hours by automating payroll calculations to ensure all pension contributions, taxes, and rewards are carried out correctly.

Reducing payroll’s reliance on manual calculations and processes reduces the risk of human error and frees your team from time-consuming admin. Instead of wasting time in the nitty gritty of tax deduction calculations and resolving payroll errors, the team can focus on the more strategic management of payroll using the powerful analytics and reporting capabilities. 

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Paperless everything

It’s no secret that public sector organisations tend to rely on stacks of paper documentation, especially for payroll and HR-related activities. However, no matter how good your filing system is, the use of physical documents is probably slowing your operations down, exposing your organisation to more risks of lost paperwork, and costing you time and resources to manage. 

Digitising your operations and eliminating paper can be very beneficial to your local government, education, healthcare, or other public sector organisation. Eliminating the reliance on paper documents and forms means that you can save time, money, and the environment, creating a more flexible and adaptable system that works for your team.

Payroll and HR software is a great way to boost your progress towards a 100% paperless organisation, helping you bring increased efficiency and better security to all payroll and HR processes. For example, instead of relying on paper contracts, digital e-signatures can be used to get new employees started straight away. In addition to speeding up their onboarding process, GDPR-compliant HR software also securely stores all documentation and employee data in the cloud so that it can be accessed, updated, and eventually erased when necessary.

Employee-centric self-service

Following on from the previous point, self-service payroll and HR software created with employees in mind can be a game-changer for organisations in public sector. Instead of payroll and HR professionals acting as the gatekeepers of a range of processes, self-service empowers employees to take charge of their own HR processes and keep their employee information up to date.

User-friendly software ensures that all employees can carry out the tasks they need to with minimal input from payroll and human resources professionals, so everything from submitting leave requests to updating performance self-review documentation can be done with major time savings. 

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Powerful reporting and analytics

Who said public sector HR can’t act as a strategic business partner? While a traditional view of the HR department as primarily reactive prevails in this sector, there’s no reason that the team can’t become more proactive and data-driven with the help of powerful HR software. 

HR technology provides HR professionals with real-time insights into employee data, enabling them to make data-informed decisions. HR technology can help track and manage employee performance, monitor employee engagement, and identify areas for improvement. With customisable dashboards that make it easy to keep on top of your key people analytics, HR software with descriptive and powerful predictive AI-powered analytics can help take your department’s strategic value to the next level.

Recruitment and onboarding with a focus on retention

Having always struggled with recruitment and turnover, the current war on talent is especially challenging for the public sector. Unable to compete with the private sector on salaries, public sector organisations need to use other ways of attracting employees and holding on to them.

Research has shown that a great onboarding experience can go a long way, improving retention of new hires by a massive 82%. Onboarding is an opportunity to set the tone for an employee’s tenure at an organisation, introduce them to the company culture, and help them feel welcomed and supported in their role.

With HR software, your team can ensure the consistency and quality of your onboarding process time after time. From automated reminders and checklists to easy e-sign and custom onboarding dashboards, HR software can help smooth the onboarding process for new employees and HR staff alike.

Moreover, a great onboarding process that uses HR software is a great way to introduce new hires to the software they will be using for a wide variety of processes during their tenure, including for submitting leave requests, engaging with performance management, and viewing their digital payslips. 

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To handle HR and payroll challenges and take your public sector organisation’s efficiency to the next level, good quality payroll and HR software is essential. That’s why we’ve built XCD HR and payroll solution with a range of features that make it perfect for the public sector. Powerful and AI-enabled, our cloud-based solution has already helped many organisations save hundreds of hours and see amazing results. Just check out our customer case studies to find out how Eastleigh Borough Council and Peterborough City Council benefited from our game-changing solution.

Ready to find out more and see XCD payroll and HR software in action? Book a demo today.