StaffSquared is a cloud HR application designed for small to medium enterprises. On the surface, it looks very simple and straightforward. It’s also a relatively new product, and it owes some of its usability to social networking conventions. The approach works well in the context of HR.
The StaffSquared cloud application is a product from Atlas, a UK software company. The idea for the product came about when the company’s founder lost one of his top employees after he missed their appraisal. After analysing the market, Atlas felt that there was a gap in the market for a HR application purely aimed at SMEs. This led to the birth of StaffSquared. After development and testing, a beta version of the product was opened up to the public mid-way through 2012.
StaffSquared has one price, which is nice to see. Customers are charged £3 per user, per month (excluding VAT). The price is capped at £75 per month.
There are no hidden terms or vague usage limits, and no ridiculously complex pricing structure to figure out. The cap is an added bonus that I haven’t seen elsewhere.
For this review, I’m using the 14-day free trial.
On logging in, the user is presented with a dashboard containing a list of alerts, a list of news and activitiesand a list showing any calendar items due in the next 30 days. The dashboard also provides quick links to recording a holiday or sick leave, creating goals for fellow staff members or broadcasting a message to the whole company.
Staff can interact with the HR team via their own page. There’s a wall, a personal info page, areas to record holiday and sick leave, a page to store details of appraisals, a page for any personal goals and a settings page specific to the user’s account.
As soon as I’d taken the Welcome tour and set up an organisation, I was struck with how easy it is to get to grips with StaffSquared. The user interface was totally self explanatory – everything is where you expect it to be. I think this is largely due to it bearing a strong resemblance to Facebook and other social networks. The learning curve for this product should be very shallow, and you should find your employees get to grips with it fairly quickly. That also means that there should be a better uptake across your company.
Working in StaffSquared
Requesting leave is a simple task for a staff member; they just need to go to the holiday page and click ‘Request a Holiday’. This directs them to the calendar where they can request the time off, as shown in the screenshot below.
Holiday requests are pencilled into the calendar and appear in the holidays section of an administrators account. The administrator can then reject or approve the request as necessary.
Recording sick leave works in a similar way. Appraisals and goals are created by the administrator before appearing in the employee’s page, so it’s a similar process in reverse.
The company section is visible to all users. It contains the company profile with objectives, contact information, financial information and a space to link to the company’s social networks. There is a page to store and access all of the company’s HR documents, a page for the calendar (which can utilise an iCal feed to synchronise it with an external calendar), and nicely illustrated organisation chart.
The administrator can also access a series of reports as well as the system settings.
Another nice feature is a tab specifically for sending a thank you message to a staff member. There is even a report that picks up on the amount of thank you messages you’re sending to your colleagues.
Benefits to SMEs
HR in SMEs can be easily overlooked. A company with a small number of staff may not feel the need to invest in a HR department when the staff are all sitting together in the same office. And while there are plenty of HR SaaS products on the market, many cater for larger organisations.
The depth of features on offer in many other HR products, such as Natural HR, could provide too much functionality for an SME to use effectively, where the more streamlined StaffSquared would keep it simple. As such, I found that StaffSquared successfully fills the gap and gives small businesses a reason to focus on HR again.
One of the best features of StaffSquared is the UI. Instantly recognisable, simple, effective and easy on the eye, eliminating any concerns over whether your staff would give up trying to use the system.
We always check for mobile apps when we’re reviewing cloud applications, since they are essential in making a cloud tool truly portable. Unfortunately, this is an area where StaffSquared still needs to catch up. The SaaS looks good and works quite well on a tablet via the web interface, but an app would be an improvement.
The company has provided a useful roadmap for the development of the application, and an iPhone and Android app are mentioned. It’s not clear how long these will take, though, and I think it needs them to be complete.
But generally, StaffSquared is off to a great start. I am hugely impressed by this application and it will be interesting to see how it develops in the future. It has the potential to grow into a much larger product, but I hope it continues to cater for SMEs and retains the simple pricing structure that impressed us right from the start.
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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