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SynergyHR — HR for architects, engineers, and built environment people

SynergyHR — HR for architects, engineers, and built environment people

September 17th, 2021

Every company needs HR. There are some awesome, sophisticated HR software packages out there, but not everybody needs that level of sophistication. That’s why we’ve made an HR product for the specific needs of the architects, engineers, and built environment people that we serve. It’s called SynergyHR, and it’s made for you.  

Why choose SynergyHR? — The two perspectives on HR 

Something that makes us different is that we see the HR problem from two different perspectives. We see it from the point of view of the HR manager, and of the project manager. Most systems only consider the HR manager, because they’re not made for built environment people or their practices.  

The HR manager’s point of view 

SynergyHR has everything an architecture, engineering, or built environment practice HR manager needs. From the HR manager’s perspective, you want: 

  • A list of all your staff 
  • Employee start dates 
  • Salary and package details 
  • Employees’ home address  
  • A document library for contracts, medical certificates, any HR-related correspondence, etc. 

Your HR system also needs to have the capacity to keep that information private. Those are the basic requirements for the system as far as your HR manager is concerned. A place to store everything that there is that they know about each member of staff.  

The project manager’s point of view 

What we’ve added to our SynergyHR system is a skills register, where you can manage skills and qualifications. The difference between the two is that a qualification is something somebody else gave you — something you’ve been awarded, like a university degree, or a first aid certificate. Any qualification an employee has can be registered in the qualifications area where you can keep a copy of the certificate, and you can also note an expiration date. So, for something like a first aid certificate, you can run a report with reminders to say, “Hey Amit, it’s time to renew that qualification”. 

The skills part of the SynergyHR register is a bit more freeform. Whereas qualifications is a formal register, skills is more like a tag list. Here you can add tags for things like ‘Revit expert’, ‘schools specialist’, or ‘boat license’. This is where a project manager can see the extra skills a staff member can bring to a project. Very useful when you’re resourcing a job! 

Let’s say you’ve won a special project, which is in the middle of a harbour. You’re doing something on an island. Not only do you need someone who’s an expert at public parks and recreation site work, but you’d also prefer to have somebody who has skill in landscaping, and who has a boating license. Okay, do you have someone like that on staff? In an organization of more than a couple of dozen people, you’re not going to know everybody in that sort of detail. With SynergyHR you can really drill in and select a person with that specific set of skills. 

Managing leave — for both HR and project managers 

The intersection between what an HR manager wants and what a project manager wants lies in the need to manage people’s leave. You can manage leave in all sorts of different ways. Some do it in Excel, some in their accounting system. With SynergyHR we wanted to make something that was more integrated into the built environment business process.  

We have a request and leave approval workflow in SynergyHR and that makes it more integrated with people’s day to day life, because they’re in the software everyday anyway (they’re not necessarily in your company’s accounting software). SynergyHR calculates and shows leave balances, so every user can easily check if they have enough leave when they want to take some. And you can reconcile that with your accounting system if that’s the primary way you do it. 

The other benefit is that SynergyHR records your leave in such a way that your managers can see it when they’re looking at projects. Leave managed in your accounting system only allows managers to see it from an accounting/payroll point of view. We track leave from that perspective too, but we also show a person’s leave against the projects that person is scheduled to be working on. I don’t know many managers that would decline leave because somebody would be a few days over on their leave accounting. However, most would decline leave if the time their employee wanted to take occurred when an important tender was due, for example. Because the latter impacts the business.  

See how your HR is impacting your business and your projects  

With SynergyHR we’ve created a way for you to manage leave not just in terms of payroll, but also in terms of impact on the business. With the information that the system holds about staff, we’ve extended its use past HR things like emergency contact and date of birth, all the way to business-related concerns like qualifications and skills. All of this so that, again, you can use that data when you’re resourcing a project — to make sure you put the right people on the right projects. 

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