Rob Oehlers, CIPHR

Rob Oehlers, CIPHR

Head of Customer Experience

Integrating business applications frees up HR teams to work more strategically, explains Rob Oehlers from HR systems provider CIPHR.

HR professionals usually only decide to review their HR, learning and other-related systems when something goes wrong – when someone’s on holiday and no one else knows where the spreadsheets are kept and how to update them or how to use the current system, when the pay run is done late, or when there’s a breach of personal data.

Because reviewing and changing HR systems is a significant undertaking, it’s understandable that many teams – once their core systems are in place – aren’t proactively looking to make any further changes. At least, not until the next time something fails.

But teams who prefer to trudge on with the ‘way we normally do things’ are missing out on a range of benefits that advances in technology – and upgrades made by HRIS vendors to their products – could bring to their organisations.

One of the most important changes in recent years is the ability to link HR and other business systems through something that programmers call an API, or Application Programming Interface. As consumers, we use APIs all the time: that time you wanted to sign up for a newsletter, and you selected ‘use my data from Google’ – that’s an API at work. When you give LinkedIn permission to access your email client’s address, it’s the API making that happen.

Leading HR system providers are opening up access to their software to partner companies via APIs, meaning HR teams can more easily, efficiently and cost-effectively link core people management systems with payroll, benefits, reward, learning and health and safety software. Here are my top four reasons why it’s worth investing the time and money into integrating your HR and benefits systems.

1. It’ll save time

Integrate your HR and benefits systems and you’ll save time on repetitive, tedious tasks such as data entry, user setup, and updating personal information. The joy of integrated systems is that, once information in the master system (usually the core HR system) is changed, it’s reflected in all the other linked systems. So if, for example, an employee is promoted and becomes eligible for an additional benefit such as a company car, your benefits system will know about this automatically.

And the pay-offs multiply when you decide to integrate more systems. Choose to link your payroll system as well, and this same employee with the new company car will find that the relevant charge is automatically deducted from their payslip – giving you more time to focus on the strategic work that really matters to your organisation.

2. It’ll assist with compliance and make your data more secure and more accurate

Now the GDPR is in force, it’s absolutely critical that your data processes and storage are secure and robust, and that employees’ personal information is kept up-to-date to ensure compliance not only with the GDPR, but a raft of other legislation.

Having separate HR and benefits systems increases the risk of a data breach (because there are multiple systems and sets of data to secure) and the likelihood that data will be inaccurate (it would be all too easy for an HR administrator to get distracted halfway through updating an employee’s personal record, and forget to do it in the other systems).

With integrated systems, you’ll have the certainty that there is a ‘single source of truth’ for people data across your organisation – one that is always up to date, thanks to self-service access that enables employees to amend their personal details at any time.

3. It’ll help you carry out more sophisticated reporting and data analysis

In a recent post here on the Benefex blog, Benefex’s Chief People Officer, Kathryn Kendall, lamented that, “one of the biggest barriers to HR professionals being able to draw on data in their decision-making is that that data has typically been held in a number of different locations.”

Integrating your core HR system and benefits platform is a great first step towards streamlining your data, which in turn will enable you to understand the behaviour and performance of your people more comprehensively – so you can design and introduce the most appropriate strategies for your organisation.

4. It’ll provide a better experience for your employees

Last, but by no means least, integrating your HR and benefits platforms will lead to a much better user experience for HR teams, managers and employees alike. Employees don’t want to have to remember multiple usernames and passwords for different systems – they crave a more consumer-type experience, with seamless links between accounts and applications. They’ll be able to do this with integrated systems – navigating easily from the core HR system into the benefits platform with no need to log in again, thanks to single sign-on. Because access will be simpler and more straightforward, employee engagement with – and usage of – your benefits platform should rise, too.

Rob Oehlers, CIPHR

Rob Oehlers, CIPHR

Head of Customer Experience

Rob Oehlers is Head of Customer Experience at HR and recruitment software provider CIPHR.

CIPHR is a leading UK provider of HR and recruitment systems that integrate seamlessly with a range of other business applications – including OneHub by Benefex. Call CIPHR on 01628 814 242 or visit to find out more.