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6 Best User-Friendly HR Software Solutions for UK Charities

Between looking for files to onboard new recruits and managing spreadsheets for time off, charity HR departments can lose hours and sometimes data.  

Software solutions can help, but finding the right, affordable tools is another challenge. And so you’ve got one tool for managing timesheets and another for storing volunteer information. Then when charity commissions are doing audits, you’re rushing around to find the relevant documents. 

In this article, we explore six software solutions that effectively handle manual tasks and centralise data. By implementing the right one for your needs, you’ll reduce human error, have instant access to the information you need and efficiently manage compliance. 

We used the following criteria to investigate the software solutions on this list:

  • UK regulation compliance
  • Ease of use
  • Customer support quality
  • Holiday management
  • Absence management
  • Time management 
  • Volunteer tools and employee management  

We also provide a recommendation on how to get a substantial discount on an all-in-one solution where volunteers go free and you can access award-winning customer support. 

 

Key criteria of HR software for charities   

Here, we take a look at the criteria we used to compile our list of the best HR software for charities in the UK, and some of the key areas you should take into consideration when choosing which platform is best for your team.

UK regulation compliance

The right HR system will:

  • Ensure GDPR compliance
  • Log emergency contacts 
  • Store data such as DBS information, volunteer training and passports for right-to-work securely
  • Help you meet the Charity Commission’s guidelines by providing a centralised location for relevant information 
  • Allow you to share documents with volunteers 

Ease of use

When you’re managing a growing number of employees and volunteers, finding an easy-to-use solution is crucial to saving time. You need to be able to onboard a new team member, collect their DBS data, and log their hours efficiently in one place. 

That’s why we’ve assessed how well each solution in our list allows you to create a centralised workflow where steps are automated by the software.

Support quality

As you start to use technology for more of your processes, it’s important you have a team of people who are available for any support you may need. So, we point out the level of support offered by each of the software services on our list. Holiday management

To improve employee experience and meet compliance requirements, you need an easy way to record holiday data. Here we assess which solutions make calculating and approving annual leave easy.  

Absence management

Manually tracking every time someone is off work is time-consuming and error-prone.  That’s why we assess which absence management software automates the process, allowing employees to log sick leave and helping managers to review absences and easily make headcounts. 

Time management 

To meet Working Time Regulations, you need to be able to accurately and efficiently track every one of your employee and volunteers’ hours. For this reason, an effective non-profit software tool should incorporate an easy way for your team to clock in and out, and a streamlined system for you to review and save timesheets. 

It should also keep track of your employees’ TOIL balance. Then, when employees book time off, you can verify the amount they’ve earned against the overtime they’ve logged.  

Volunteer tools and employee management 

To effectively hire and manage a growing number of staff and volunteers, you need a solution that’s tailored towards tracking large numbers of team members with different work patterns. This means you should look out for:

  • An easy-to-use onboarding solution
  • Tools that can store high volumes of volunteer data  
  • Time-tracking software for a high number of users

Best HR software for charities in the UK

Here are our six top recommendations on HR software for UK charities. You’ll find an overview of each with key features, pricing information and insights from the criteria above. 

1. HRLocker

HRLocker is a HR solution built by HR professionals. In one easy-to-use dashboard, you can store data, track timesheets, and oversee absences. 

It is a fantastic solution for charities and nonprofits because you can store large amounts of data in a GDPR-compliant system – plus, volunteers go free. 

This means when a new volunteer joins, you’ll be able to take their right-to-work documentation, log their training and store their emergency contacts securely in the cloud at no cost. 

Screenshot of HRLocker’s dashboard

Easily track volunteer and employee hours inside HRLocker

HRLocker offers award-winning customer care with onboarding and ongoing support. Customers also get access to a range of free webinars and podcasts which help them understand compliance. 

What users say

“HRLocker makes it easy to manage and report on various leave types as well as store and manage not only personnel files but also all of our essential documents requiring staff signatures without all the paperwork and file storage,” Hilary D. Life Credit Union.

Pricing

With HRLocker, charities and non-profits are given substantial discounts and volunteers go free on the platform. This means you can track time, store data, and log emergency contacts for free.

Key features

HRLocker features include:

  • A GDPR-friendly database where you can store employee and volunteer data (including training certifications and emergency contacts) in the cloud secured by our EU data servers and easily share information with volunteers when needed
  • Reports with insights about leave, attendance, training and compliance 
  • Holiday management tools that allow you to divide employees into different working patterns to calculate time off and a self-service portal for them to request holiday leave
  • Absence management tools that make it easy for you to track sick leave and employees to add notes
  • A time management solution where employees can track their working hours manually or by clocking into an app, which you can easily review by project and which allows you to easily track and allocate TOIL  
  • A recruitment and onboarding solution that allows you to track applications, interview and hire candidates in a centralised location and securely store right-to-work documentation
  • Performance management software that provides a centralised location for you to conduct appraisals and run training needs analysis 
  • Integrations with job sites to further streamline the recruitment process and with Office365 & Microsoft Teams  
  • A mobile app to manage time and attendance 
  • An award-winning customer support team that’s on-hand to answer your questions and guide you through your implementation of the software

 

Pro-tip: Calculate how much you could reduce your expenses by using a centralised HR solution. Our ROI calculator works out how much it is costing you to manually process timesheets, time off requests and other key processes to highlight opportunities to save. 

 

2. Access People HR

Access People HR is ideal for small teams because it’s very simple to use. Inside an intuitive interface, you can manage absences, recruitment and data, and pull reports. 

You can also take your use of the software a step further by customising it. For example, you can edit the user journey for new volunteers, adding different training programmes, and custom fields to capture specific information.

Screenshot of the Access People HR dashboard

Get an instant overview of the tasks you need to complete inside Access People HR

What users say

“People HR pulled our disparate HR tools from an intranet, spreadsheets and various folders into a single location… The team were very helpful in getting the software set up and it supports most aspects of the business that we run,”  John R., IT Manager

Pricing

Access People HR has three plans at £5 per employee per month, £7 per employee per month and £9 per employee per month. It also offers free trials on all plans. 

Key features

Access People HR includes the following tools, features and benefits:

  • An HR database where you can easily add volunteer and employee information 
  • A people planning function which gives you insights into headcount and time 
  • Time management solution that allows employees to clock in and out on different projects
  • Centralised recruitment and onboarding with automated workflows to streamline everything from job posting to document checking
  • Employee benefits management solution to allow employees to book time off themselves
  • A mobile app in which you can submit data, book holidays and request support  
  • Customisable reports on metrics such as turnover costs, holiday planning and organisational demographics
  • Integrations with payroll software that syncs with timesheets automatically

3. Cezanne HR 

Cezanne HR is a comprehensive software solution for UK charities. Inside, you can gain access to a wide list of features and a 24/7 support team.

Because it includes customisable reports and the ability to add a large number of admin users with different permissions, it’s a great option for medium and large organisations. 

 

Screenshot of the Cezanne HR dashboard

You can instantly view employee data at scale inside Cezanne HR

 

What users say

“Cezanne HR is a great match for us because it flexes with our needs. It allows our HR team to service a complex and big organisation, with lots of staff and important data.” 

Pricing

Monthly subscription fees for Cezanne HR start from £200 a month and are based on how many features you use and how many employees you have. 

Key features

The key features of Cezanne HR are :

  • People management tools to track training, build employee profiles and store extensive information in a GDPR-friendly way 
  • A comprehensive onboarding solution with checklists for employees to complete
  • An absence management tool that automatically calculates holiday entitlement
  • Time tracking with clock in/out function and pre-populated timesheets for employees to adjust and for you to review 
  • A smart managed payroll service that automates payments for you through integration with payment processing software
  • A performance review tool that makes it easy for you to manage continuous appraisals with an ongoing messaging function
  • A pulse survey tool so you can quickly assess employee/volunteer satisfaction  
  • Integrated recruitment software so you can share open positions directly on job platforms 

4. Breathe HR

Suitable for both small and mid-sized organisations, Breathe HR automates time-consuming HR functions including absence management, timesheets and document storage.  

It’s also well known for its focus on employee well-being, offering tools for feedback and recognition and a hub of resources to help people with stress management and mental health.

Screenshot of Breathe HR

You can ensure a great employee and volunteer experience with Breathe’s people-centric solution

What users say

“We use Breathe HR to manage our small business needs. It includes so many features for its price point, its UI is easy to use and the feature set is constantly expanding.” Alison G., CAO Computer Software. 

Pricing

Starting at £13/month, Breathe HR offers six packages for different-sized organisations. They also pay an annual donation to each charity customer which amounts to around 50% of payments received by Breathe in the year prior.

Key features

Across all packages, Breathe HR offers:

  • Cloud-based data storage for employee data with secure privacy controls
  • Holiday management tools through which your employees can request time off and you can automatically update rotas
  • Appraisals software to easily track employee performance and set goals for staff
  • Absence management tools that give instant insights and allow you to book one-on-ones to support employees
  • Expense management software provides an easy way for you to keep track of employee receipts  
  • A payroll management solution with data you can instantly upload to your payroll system
  • Recruitment software with applicant tracking and a self-service app for candidates to send documents over
  • Reporting on absences, finances and time logs 

5. HRX People 

HRX People is an affordable and simple platform for HR management with features throughout the employee/volunteer lifecycle. Inside, you can store data, approve holiday requests and manage absences.  

It stands out as a cost-effective solution for small operations, with a free trial on all plans, support throughout onboarding and a knowledge base of helpful articles.  

Screenshot of HRX People’s platform

HRX People comes with a list of resources to help you use it

What users say

“The system was easy to set up and is very user-friendly. It’s great that all the documents for individual staff members can be kept safely in one place and we now have a way to track holidays and sick leave for staff,” Emma D., Coplow Business Support

Pricing

HRX People charge a flat rate of £1 per employee. 

Key features

HRX People includes a:

  • Holiday management tool in which employees can book time off and managers can approve in a few clicks 
  • GDPR-friendly database where employees and volunteers can upload personal information 
  • Absence management tool where you can see at a glance who is off sick

6. MHR Global

MHR Global offers a combined payroll and HR software powered by iTrent. They also offer a consulting service for expert insights on safeguarding and business processes. 


The software is well known for its focus on boosting employee engagement with its learning management system which includes over 100,000 specialist materials and the ability to track employee progress. 

Screenshot of MHR Global’s dashboard

Integrate your payroll and HR functions inside MHR Global

 

What users say

“MHR iTrent gives us a robust solution with self-service and manager access to support one of the largest not-for-profit education and training groups in the UK,” Newcastle College team.  

Pricing

MHR Global offer quotes on request.

Key features

In collaboration with iTrent, MHR Global offers the following solutions:

  • Payroll automation to manage payments on a monthly, weekly or ad hoc basis
  • Data management tool which provides a centralised, encrypted location for document security
  • Absence management with real-time integration with clock-ins and clock-outs
  • Advanced reports on recruitment, absence, performance and compliance
  • A HR chatbot for 24/7 answers to queries
  • A mobile app that includes payroll, absence management and reporting  
  • A recruitment solution that allows you to publish jobs straight onto social media 

 

Questions to ask when choosing an HR software solution

To help you find the right system for your charity, be sure to ask some of these key questions:

  1. How can you help me meet GDPR regulations?
  2. How is data stored securely?
  3. How can I use the software for volunteers?/ Do I have to pay for every volunteer? 
  4. How much data can your solution store?
  5. How many people can be added to the time-tracking system? 
  6. How long is your onboarding process? 
  7. Do you offer localised customer support?

 

Finding a scalable HR solution for your UK charity

An HR software solution saves HR departments time and stress by automating tasks, reducing human error and providing a centralised location for data that manages your compliance needs. The best solutions are easy to use, and give you the ability to manage holidays, absences, and timesheets in one place. 

In addition to the above, charities often have very specific needs your digital tools need to address. Your HR software solution needs to be able to handle large amounts of information and track growing numbers of volunteers. And, despite this additional functionality, it needs to remain streamlined and affordable.

Inside HRLocker, you can add unlimited numbers of volunteers for free. You’ll also get a substantial discount on the software, onboarding, and then comprehensive, local support whenever you need it.

 

Frequently asked questions about HR software for charities in the UK

What is the best HR software for charities in the UK?

There’s a range of software solutions that can help HR teams of different sizes working in charities across the UK. Some are more suited to smaller companies, offering a simple interface and ongoing support, while others offer advanced reporting and tools which may be better suited to bigger organisations. 

HRLocker offers a fantastic range of features, world-class support and a substantial discount to charities and non-profits – plus, volunteers go free.

What are the benefits of HR software for charities in the UK?

Software can automate manual HR tasks such as logging timesheets and tracking absences. This reduces errors, makes it easier to manage volunteers and frees up teams to focus more on ensuring a great employee experience. Software can also improve data security, making it easier to meet compliance regulations.  

What are some disadvantages of using HR software for UK charities?

When software is difficult to use or doesn’t integrate with existing systems, it can make HR processes more time-consuming for staff. This, alongside high implementation costs, are the main potential disadvantages of HR software so you should look for a solution like HRLocker, which offers discounted pricing for charities and non-profits.

6 Best User-Friendly HR Software Solutions for UK Charities was last modified: September 27th, 2023 by Beatriz Araujo

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