HR is now in the world of cloud computing


Small businesses can use programs like Flare HR to carry out HR in the cloud.

Cloud computing has changed almost every aspect of operating a small business, with one stark exception: HR. Where cloud accounting software makes it easy for small business owners to keep an eye on how they’re performing week-to-week, month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, while programs, like DropBox, allow businesses to share files and documents without needing to set up complicated private networks, hiring and managing staff remained the last pillar of the business world not revolutionised by cloud computing. That is, until recently.

A free HR platform, called Flare HR, has revolutionised the time consuming and complicated HR process in Australia, by moving it into the cloud, and enabling small businesses to not only streamline the record management and compliance side of employing staff – tax, superannuation, leave and other entitlements – but will also make the often-overlooked staff performance and management aspect of staffing a business much easier – and, importantly, quicker – to handle.


Making hiring fast, simple and effective

Aside from having a great product or service that attracts a great deal of customers, the second most important part of your business is your staff. Having a team of motivated, happy individuals working for you is like business nirvana – it’s not easy to achieve, and few businesses actually manage it; even rarer still is the business that has both a sought-after product or service and a great team of employees – and the unicorn is the small business that accomplishes both.

Largely, though, this is because most small businesses lack the knowledge, resources and infrastructure to employ and manage staff throughout their tenure at the company. This has left many small businesses that are ready to expand at an impasse. Without the ability to easily and efficiently manage their employees’ career progression, they often have difficulty landing top talent, who typically view a small business as a concrete ceiling for their careers. At other times, when a small business is able to land an impressive hire, they often don’t stay long, frustrated by the unstructured environment and unclear path to progress their careers.

“We aim to make life easier for small and medium businesses,” Flare HR CEO, Jan Pacas told the Australian Small Business Centre, when we caught up with him last year. And not just easier: more productive, more efficient, more competitive in the marketplace – they’re all easily achievable when you’ve have a system in place to manage and nurture your staff throughout their careers.

“Imagine that you need to hire an employee; you would need to try and find a compliant contract, you would try to find policies; sometimes that’s sent on paper, sometimes it’s electronically – it’s not really done consistently,” Pacas said. “We give you all your HR.” From onboarding to offboarding, every document – be it an employment contract, tax file number declaration form, or superannuation form – is stored in the Flare HR software.


Onboarding online, all the time

When you’re hiring a new employee, all you need to do is input the details about your company, some rudimentary ones about the employee (name, number, email address) and email a link to the new hire, who then enters all of their details (bank account info, tax file numbers, super funds), reads and reviews your company policies (social media, internet usage, WHS documents) and they’re done – officially onboard.

In the next few months, you’ll also have the option to select the correct award wage for the employee directly from the Flare HR software, rather than trawl through the website of your state’s workplace relations office, searching for the correct one. It’s no understatement to say this is huge. Probably one of the biggest barriers to employing staff, particularly for businesses in the hospitality and retail industries, is understanding which award is the correct one to use.

“You’re a small business owner, you shouldn’t have to worry about that,” Pacas said. “We want you to focus on business. We don’t want you to see hiring people as a hassle, but really as an asset.” Pacas is right. The most successful businesses around the world – and, yes, they’re typically big businesses – are ones that have practices in place to motivate, engage and inspire their employees. But it’s also worth remembering that all big businesses started out as small ones once.


Nurturing staff reduces employee churn and increases company success

At a time when technology is more likely the cause of employee churn, due to our inability to literally switch off from emails and phone calls, it may seem unlikely, then, that a piece of software – and cloud-based software no less – can help small businesses reduce staff turnover by actively building morale, but Pacas said it was one of the company’s main focuses.

“We’re really passionate about enabling businesses to build great people practices that aid employee engagement,” Pacas said. And for good reason, too. Research has consistently found that poor company culture is one of the leading causes of employee turnover, not money. A business cannot operate effectively when it’s understaffed or when its staff are disengaged. It’s estimated that one disengaged employee can cost an organisation about $3,400 for every $10,000 annual salary; in the US, disengaged employees cost the economy US$350 billion per year.

But if your employees feel that they are appreciated and that their contribution to the business is valued, they’re more likely to enjoy working for you – and happy employees don’t want to leave their jobs. Although finding ways to make your employees feel appreciated is actually quite easy, very few businesses – large or small – spend much time on any such initiatives, and so, like a cancer, discontent spreads through the business, one employee after the other, until your staff turnover is through the roof. Nip this in the bud, however, with fun initiatives that make work, not just enjoyable, but also fosters team building is one of the most effective ways to increase morale and increase employee retention. That’s why, in addition to functions that enable business owners to manage performance reviews and provide and monitor training, Flare HR also acts as an internal intranet, where staff can post photos, make announcements, and share information and ideas.


Reward your staff, and help them take control of their finances

And just by using the Flare HR system, businesses also have access to a rewards program, which enables them to give staff discounts off movie tickets and shopping vouchers, across a range of Australian brands, including David Jones, Myer, JB Hi Fi, and so on. Pacas explained that this is all possible due to deals that Flare struck with the companies, in which Flare receives a commission from the companies providing the vouchers.

This, in addition to compensation from finance companies and superannuation funds, is what helps keep Flare free for businesses to use. Part of the software includes a portal where employees can choose and and manage their superannuation fund, right from the Flare software. Each time a Flare user joins a particular super fund, takes out personal injury insurance, request financial advice, or takes out a novated car lease, Flare receives a commission.

There are dozens of different funds, insurers, and other finance companies making their services available through Flare, so businesses needn’t worry about whether they’re getting objective financial advice or not. Indeed, Flare doesn’t give advice; it just provides the tools for people to make an informed decision, based on their individual circumstances.


Fire up your business’s team with an effective cloud-based HR platform

If you currently employ staff or you’re looking to employ staff, the Flare HR platform is must for every Australian small business. It’s free-to-use, integrates with all the leading cloud-accounting packages to seamlessly process payroll and generate payslips, apply and approve annual leave, deliver training courses, schedule performance reviews, and much more. Did we mention it’s free?

If you’d like to learn more about the employee management best practices, hiring and managing staff is covered in our Small Business Operations training course, while processing payroll, compliance and reporting is covered in our MYOB training course. Alternatively, for more small business news, insights and analysis, continue reading our blog.