Vacancies are rising and workers are starting to move around again. So how can firms ensure they attract and keep the best talent? More efficient HR software is a big part of the answer, but many HR departments are only now waking up to it.


James Bennett
Global managing director,

Andrea Eccles
Chief executive, City HR Association

Andy Campbell
HCM strategy director, Oracle

James Bennett, global managing director at, which offers vacancies and careers advice to City workers, says: “Vacancies in financial services rose by 5 per cent this year in the UK, and 17 per cent in Asia Pacific, and the rate of voluntary turnover is rising. HR software that can help organisations attract and retain the best staff is increasingly important.”

Are more organisations placing greater importance on HR data and systems? Andrea Eccles, chief executive of The City HR Association which represents HR directors from 200 City financial and professional services firms, says: “Organisations recognise the need to become more evidence-based in decision making to understand the link between their people, their value and organisational performance. Whilst the collation of such data ranges from simple spreadsheets to sophisticated HRIS, the majority of organisations are combining both.”

Andy Campbell, HCM strategy director at software firm Oracle says: “The latest systems speed up the recruitment and onboarding process, and help ensure all legal and compliance requirements are met. HR staff can identify the best sources for the most productive staff, and systems can be linked to social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

“They also allow HR staff to see employees’ aspirations and skills, making it easier to devise career development plans, often crucial in staff retention,” says Campbell.

The ability to see all an employee’s data at once enables easier decisions on bonuses and raises, so the right talent can be identified and rewarded, boosting retention and avoiding financial waste. “Systems can compare an individual’s pay rate with general market rates, so action can be taken to reduce talent attrition,” says Campbell.

Software can also be used for forward planning and prediction. For instance, says Eccles: “Firms can predict which departments are most likely to lose staff and use training and development programmes to reduce the chances of attrition. Used in conjunction with employee engagement surveys, the software can predict which departments are likely to be most productive.”

It can all bring savings. “A sophisticated HR system can typically reduce the central HR team by 25 per cent or more,” says Campbell.

But not all firms need to invest  in large software systems to get the benefits. Cloud-based systems mean that organisations can buy access to relevant aspects when required.

Eccles says: “The business upturn means greater emphasis on HR software is now essential to attract and retain talent. Used in the right way it can lower wastage and enable smarter working.”