Andrew Smith, operations director at SpiraLinks discusses how to make the lives of HR professionals easier


Often, when I speak to HR managers, you can sense the fear in their voices when they talk about their yearly compensation and benefits review process. For many, it’s a time of year that they really dread. Trying to collate dozens of performance appraisal forms, populating spreadsheets with ratings, managing multiple excel spreadsheets from different sections of the business, chasing dozens of managers who simply would prefer to put things off for as long as possible – it can get really difficult.


On top of that, the attempt to try and tie in all the various employee benefits and salary sacrifice schemes with the various types of awards/bonuses some companies have – including complex deferred bonus payments, shares, commission, special bonuses and so on. It’s only too easy to see why some HR managers are pulling their hair out in frustration.


Some companies may have invested in big-name back-office HR systems only to find that while they help manage the basic HR details for employees, they do not specialise in handling the total rewards side. Others may have plug in modules which allow you to keep track of some elements, but only if you then change the way you work to suit their module.


SpiraLinks have been around for 23 years now, and our whole goal is to make the HR managers’ lives as easy as possible. We want HR managers to look forward to the yearly review cycles, not fear them. From speaking to our clients, that’s exactly what we are achieving. As a company, SpiraLinks are able to build up some incredible long-term client relationships which isn’t something you see very often in this day and age.


What’s our secret? Well, rather than treating benefits management as an afterthought or an “add on” to a core HR software product, we entirely specialise in just this one area. This means that over the last 23 years, we have seen and handled nearly every type of compensation, benefits and total reward out there.


The result of this is our “Focal Review” web based compensation management system. Entirely hosted in the cloud, users can access it via a normal web browser. As a result, clients can have the system running very quickly without having to involve their IT departments or having lengthy implementation processes installing software on managers’ machines. Our clients vary from 30 employees to 300,000 and though each have their own secure environments, all of them can use the same Focal Review® application. Our Focal Review® is incredibly configurable.


With built-in reporting, auditing and the ability to generate all the employee letters and compensation statements at the press of a button, Focal Review® becomes a one-stop-shop for the whole process.


Performance reviews can be handled within the application with customised appraisal forms to manage and score employee goals and targets against company objectives. There is an Employee Portal which allows the employee themselves to log in, review their compensation and benefits and complete their appraisal forms themselves.


Focal Review® will easily plug into any existing back office HR system and allow you to import any spreadsheets – within days. It handles multiple currencies, multiple languages and allows complex budgets to be set and managed. Clients can use single sign on, or the application to manage authentication and once the compensation process has been finished the final figures can easily be output to your payroll system.


Now when I speak to our HR managers, they are actually looking forward to their yearly compensation and benefits review processes. With a lot more spare time on their hands now, they are eager to find out if there’s any additional ways SpiraLinks can help them.


We, at SpiraLinks, are always happy to listen to any suggestions or feedback which they have in order to feed back into our Focal Review® application. Feel free to visit our website to arrange a demo (or even a chat) to see how we can help you.