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Kronos Workforce Central Review—An HR Software Evaluation


Workforce Central HR Software Review

As is the case for countless legacy software solutions, Kronos strives to continually expand the solution set. The result of this is that customers wind up having choices in terms of: software deployment model (traditional license, hosted license with managed services, or Software-as-a-Service); Payment (perpetual license, subscription, or rent-to-own); and system management (maintained on-premise or by Kronos off-site). Unfortunately, the Kronos solution is also single-tenant, which means that the efficiencies gained (and innovation harnessed) through a multi-tenant architecture (having all customers on a single instance of the software) are not possible with this SaaS offering.

Kronos' software solutions come packaged into 3 separate and distinct suites: Workforce Central, Kronos Essentials, and Kronos iSeries Central—the latter two of which represent the Kronos offerings for small businesses and those organizations seeking solely best-of-breed workforce management functionality. For organizations (SMB up to large enterprises) seeking broader HR and Payroll capabilities, the Workforce Central Suite is Kronos' primary offering—reviewed in more depth below.

Kronos Workforce Central Software Suite

Consisting of elements that more closely resemble an integrated talent management suite than a core HR software offering, the Kronos Workforce Central suite is a surprisingly simple application that includes the modules of: Workforce Talent Acquisition; Workforce HR; Workforce Payroll; Workforce Timekeeper; Workforce Absence Manager; Workforce Scheduler; Workforce Activities; Workforce Analytics; and Workforce Mobile.

  • Workforce Talent Acquisition (WTA) is the recruiting module for the Workforce Central suite and consists of the tools for sourcing, screening, and selecting applicants. A well thought out but basic applicant tracking system (ATS), the WTA module contains: role-based dashboards configured for field managers, recruiters, and HR/corporate managers; detailed applicant grids; filter functionality; communication templates; and requisition management capabilities.

  • Workforce HR automates administrative processes such as employee management (for management of personal employee data, profiles, and organizational/job data); position management (for the creation and modification of jobs and pay grades); benefits management (for the automation of open enrollment and direct system payment of vendor invoices); performance management (for the facilitation of automated performance-review workflows among employees, supervisors, and HR); compensation management (for the planning of approval-flow optimized compensation budgets); and training tracking (for keeping skills, licenses, and certifications up to date).

  • Workforce Payroll is the module that handles the administration of payroll processing and includes limited functionalities such as: automated gross to net calculations; unlimited trial payrolls; tax filing; comprehensive General Ledger (GL) posting; exception/garnishment processing; and audit-trailed (standard, ad hoc, and custom) reporting. Further, embedded self-service software allows for employee pay stub/earning history viewing; employee direct deposit/W-2 changes; and deduction-modeling. Complex, multi-national payroll functionality is not a capability of this payroll module.

  • Workforce Timekeeper, Absence Manager, Scheduler, and Activities are all HR software modules that encapsulate in granular detail both the necessary and potential employee and manager needs for time-based events and scheduling, including compliance and audit functionality. The in-depth expertise that Kronos has in regards to time-keeping comes through in these modules due to the detail with which each of these seemingly easy administrative tasks are handled. Namely, these modules include a Configurable Rules Engine for increasingly complex work/pay rules; proactive communication alerts; and the largest set of on-demand reports for time and attendance in the HR software space.

  • Workforce Mobile is largely a derivative application that takes both the time/attendance and self-service functionalities of the PC-based modules and optimizes them for device-neutral mobile deployment.

In part, the simplicity of the Kronos solution comes from the role-based self-service capabilities that are built into each HR component (in fact the entire system is built around the self-service hub). Whether you are an employee or manager, the system has specific, user-defined functionality that is tailored for your role. That said, while each HR software module captures what is needed in terms of HCM functionality, the user experience unfortunately drags the system down—an ironic factor given the press and efforts that have gone into improving the UI. Specifically, the interface feels stiff and harkens back to legacy software but with an only slightly more modern facelift. While no doubt disappointing however, there is something to be said for having the HR software functionalities of the work horse versus the trappings of the show horse. The Workforce Central suite delivers what is needed in an easy and quick format and covers the bases in a strictly utilitarian style—a style that plays well to the key enterprise demographic that Kronos has historically been successful with.

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