Review of Workforce Empowerment - 2010


Mangrove Software - Workforce Empowerment


From the Sept. 2010 Review of Professional Payroll Systems

The Mangrove Workforce Empowerment is a full-featured web-based SaaS payroll and human resources solution, providing payroll, HR and benefits management, time and attendance and self-service features. This product is best suited to mid-sized to large companies and is primarily designed for client-side/direct use by organizations, but with the ability to manage multiple employer entities and those with departments and subunits. As a result, Workforce Empowerment fits within the “Direct Client/Business Use” payroll model for this year’s review.

Workforce Empowerment is fairly all-encompassing with advanced functionality for experienced HR, payroll and benefits staff to assist with processing payrolls for up to thousands of employees. Benefits offerings ensure compliance with EEO, HIPAA, OSHA and COBRA, and employee self-service functions allow for reviewing pay stubs and W-2s, as well as requesting time off and accessing company forms, etc.

Workforce Empowerment is an all-inclusive system, but access can be restricted to certain areas based on the subscription purchased. The system is very easy to navigate, and the user interface is customizable and quite intuitive. Wizards aide in the Initial setup of company, employees, rates and other settings. The system opens into a personalized announcement page that outlines any tasks that need to be addressed. Wizards also guide the actual payroll process.

A toolbar across the top provides access to primary functions, with options for company information, employee database, events, time entry, payroll and reporting functions. The program also allows for advanced employee searches. Alerts can also be set to remind of pending deadlines or other events. Since the product is focused on multi-employer configurations, processing multiple payrolls at a time is fairly intuitive. Time can be entered manually or imported to generate the amounts owed to the employees. If direct deposit is used, copies of the payroll advice are available for employees to view in the Human Resources Portal (discussed later). An email is automatically sent to the employee letting them know that the payroll advice is ready to view.

All federal and state tax returns are updated quarterly, and payroll taxes can be remitted electronically to the proper taxing authority. In addition to electronically submitting taxes, the system also allows users to set up an electronic transfer of funds to benefit providers and retirement/savings accounts. W-2s are automatically generated at the end of the year. The Workforce Empowerment system can handle time specification for all types of employee or contract workers, with unlimited pay rates per worker, unlimited deductions and multiple states. A Mass Salary Change tool is available for applying pay rules across large groups or departments.

Multiple user roles with customized interfaces can be set for each department, and security features prevent users from accessing unauthorized areas. Direct deposit is available for multiple accounts per employee with the option for partial check/deposit payments.

The Mangrove product has more than 450 standard reports with customization options, ranging from payroll summaries to deductions, wages and periods to numerous HR-focused data. Other custom report writing is available for an additional charge, with the ability to self-populate a list of recent reports run by the user. The Report Navigator menu also provides good grouping of output options into intuitive categories. Reports can be saved in PDF, Excel and various text formats. Documents can also be stored within the vendor’s document management program.

All due dates can be managed, and email alerts can be set for administrators and employees. The administrator of the system can also monitor upcoming and recent tasks. And an administrative dashboard can be utilized with user-selected panels to monitor key business data.
State and federal compliance forms are included and can be printed and mailed or sent electronically to participating entities. Checks can be printed to preformatted or blank paper.

The program can import from Excel and text format, as well as from QuickBooks, Quicken and Peachtree. It also supports import of time data from most timeclock systems, with direct integration for Mangrove’s Time and Attendance solution. A GL bridge allows for export to most accounting programs.

The system provides traditional built-in Help functions and an index, along with form instructions and some guidance. Live, phone-based technical support is included in pricing. The vendor also offers a place for users to submit ideas and product suggestions online through an “Idea Book,” with the option for voting on other posted ideas/suggestions. All users are also required to participate in a core features training session.

Workforce Empowerment’s human resources self-service portal really sets this product apart from the rest. The portal allows the client’s management team to better communicate and manage employees. In simple terms, the human resources portal is a communication portal that allows the company to communicate to its employees. Company messages can be set to display upon employee login to ensure everyone is up to date with new developments within the company. These messages can be in the form of text announcements, videos or calendars. Additionally, this portal allows the human resources department to attach and manage performance evaluations and monitor license and certification dates. Employees can view paystubs, make changes to personal information and W-4 data (pending review and approval by payroll staff), and manage and choose benefits and tax withholdings through the portal, as well. A bonus for businesses is that the system can be private labeled for each company.

The Mangrove Workforce Empowerment system is a best fit for businesses with mid-sized to larger employee bases and considerable reporting requirements, especially those with multiple geographic locations that increase the complexity of reporting and payment of liabilities. For such entities that have multiple staff members managing payroll and human resources functions, the system helps ensure full compliance and provides valuable workflow tools, employee self-service management, and strong analysis and reporting functions. Pricing varies considerably, but the investment generally starts in the tens of thousands of dollars. Since each version is customized for each firm, businesses can schedule a phone conference with one of the sales representatives to get pricing. After the initial purchase and software installment, the recurring annual fee will be approximately 10 to 20 percent of the initial price. Technical support is included in pricing.