Natural HR is a relatively new SaaS product designed specifically to meet a company’s human resources needs. Since 2010, it has offered businesses the chance to manage staff matters in the cloud.
Cloud-based HR services are particularly useful in the modern world, especially when it comes to staff training and recruitment. More and more companies are turning to e-learning and online recruitment, so a good application to help manage a company’s employees can join the dots in any HR department.
Natural HR can boast having over 2,000 clients serving close to half a million employees, which is really impressive considering it has been in business just two and a half years. The largest company making use of Natural HR have 50,000 employees on their records, so there doesn’t appear to be any limit placed on the size of the company. The current version of the software has been online since mid-2012.
Is Natural HR Really Free?
The FAQ page on the Natural HR website is keen to stress that the software is completely free. However, the site also suggests that the free to use status may change at some point in the future.
Natural HR re-assures us that anyone who signs up now will not have to pay to continue using the application in its current form. However, this means that your company may have to pay to enjoy future upgrades and new features as the software evolves.
The Natural HR website suggests that a future payment plan will be based on the number of employees a company needs to keep records for, so it’s worth bearing this in mind before you commit. If you have 50,000 employees on record, you’d be looking at an enterprise licence, and that could well be pricey.
How Does Natural HR Look?
After logging in for the first time, I was greeted with a really impressive user interface. Natural HR is clearly a very broad product with a lot of functionality, but a quick look at the interface and I’m reassured. The design is neat and tidy and arranged in a logical way. Furthermore, it is nicely compatible with a tablet browser, without any of the usual compromises on features and functionality, which can sometimes make web apps frustrating.
The home page is essentially a dashboard with an overview of your employee/ user numbers, lists for time off, time sheet approvals and a calendar. The home page also includes any messages directly from Natural HR’s system admins, such as recent updates to the application. For first time users, the home page includes some useful links to help set up the settings for your company, whether it’s recording your office locations and year start dates or registering your employees and defining their job roles.
The only slight criticism I have is that the welcome message (the red box above) is very large on my desktop monitor, and it does push the rest of the content below the fold.
Getting started was easy, though. Creating a job role is simple and straightforward with sections to record job titles, descriptions, responsibilities, qualifications, competencies, experience, salary, benefits and manager details.
Natural HR benefits from a very intuitive user interface. All pages and functions are listed in menus down the left hand column of the page. The company page shows company and HR settings, such as the job titles I created above. There are page for events, holidays, recruitment, timesheets and many more. The Employees page lists all of your past and present employees.
You can add new employees with a couple of clicks, and view an employee file. Here, you can see a wide range of records and data types, from personal details to training, holiday records and more.
There is a timesheet section where employee work time can be logged in a simple interactive sheet. This will appear in their employee file.
Natural HR offers more functionality, but there isn’t space to cover everything – I’d advise signing up for a free account and trying it for yourself.
Managed User Access
Users can be given different access levels by adding them to a user group, which is ideal for a busy company.
Employees can be given permission to perform simple tasks such as recording time or requesting leave, and that means less admin for team leaders and HR administrators. Finance officers can get access to financial reports, and a recruitment officer can be given access to the recruitment section.
What Don’t You Get?
Natural HR has such a huge scope, it’s hard to see what missing, but I did notice that it lacked a payroll system. Integrations are always important in the cloud since they make standalone systems so much more useful, and payroll could be a reason to integrate with something like FreeAgent (which has a very good payroll system of its own). In terms of time tracking, integration with a full project management tool like Teamwork Project Management or Basecamp would be a real plus.
There is a neat little user guide available to download and some release notes for the latest updates. Natural HR is obviously keen to promote a good working relationship with clients, and the company makes it easy to request new features and suggest improvements. Let’s hope it can retain this customer focus as it grows.
A Great, Modern HR Application
All in all, I have a good impression of Natural HR. The current state of the software indicates that the company have been working hard; its developers have embraced the use of modern tools such as tablets, and the company is keen to engage with customers. The team has created a simple, effective and useful tool that gets the job done efficiently without compromising on functionality.
Integrations with other SaaS platforms would be welcome and be a great way to improve on what’s already available, particularly in the recruitment module, but it’s really hard to pick faults with something that’s already very well-rounded. I can’t see the application remaining free for much longer, so sign up whilst you still can.
Category: Initial Reviews
About the AuthorClaire Broadley is a technical author and SEO copywriter. She reviews cloud applications and SaaS products for Rated Cloud.
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