Selecting Human Resource Information Systems

Regardless of how you feel about HR and technology, they are closely linked and bound to stay that way. In a recent blog post by Tom Haaks from the HR Trend Institute, he lists Personalization and People Analytics as two of the most inspiring trends of 2019. Along those lines, HR must have great technology in place to keep up with the ever-changing workforce. That said, the daunting task of choosing, or upgrading a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned HR Professional.

The number of HR tech vendors are emerging rapidly and many offer their services at lower rates than the more established vendors. If you are not experienced at thoroughly evaluating the technology, this venture could be a large risk for your organization. The high expense and loss of good will for a slipshod implementation can be disastrous. It can lead to loss of productivity, system downtime and frustration for those involved in correcting any errors. 

To avoid these costly pitfalls in the HRIS selection, here are some suggestions to guide you through the process:

  • Solicit feedback from front line managers, IT, and legal. Consider meeting with a group of employees to help you better understand their user preferences for an enhanced employee experience.
  • Create a list of desired features and split them into three categories; must have, would be nice, and luxury.  Identify your priorities and requirements. Do not think of just what you need today, but also five years down the road. Create a committee of internal stakeholders to assist with the project.  Below is a list of applications an HRIS might have:
    • Applicant Tracking System;
    • Employee Self Service;
    • Manager Self Service;
    • Online Benefit Enrollment including electronic transfer to all the benefits carriers;
    • Leave Tracking and Management;
    • Compensation Ranges and Administration;
    • Training and Development;
    • Job Description and Competencies;
    • Time and Attendance;
    • Performance Management and Recognition;
    • Employee Engagement;
    • Payroll;
    • Policy and Notice Acknowledgement;
    • Electronic File Retention;
    • Wellness Administration; and
    • Government Reporting.

If one system does not meet all of your requirements, you might have to purchase multiple systems. If this is the case, it is important to ensure that all of the systems can share important information and thereby reduce the number of times an HR person will have to manually enter information. 

  • Create an RFP that not only has the desired components, but also asks about how the vendor conducts business, resolves complaints, and complies with industry changes.
  • Gather all the responses to your RFP and have each committee member score them. Select your top three vendors and invite them back to do a presentation.
  • Ask each finalist vendor if you can play in the “sandbox”, which is a version of their software that allows end users to add employees do transactions and reporting, but does not impact the live database.  Users will find this to be a more relevant evaluation.  Ask to meet the implementation team and see the implementation plan.
  • Check their references – ask for more than just their best customers.  You will want to speak with one in the middle of their implementation and even ask for clients that left their services in the past year.
  • Finally, negotiate for the best deal for your organization. Be sure to have the experts at the table when that happens; CEO, CFO and your legal department.  If your organization is growing and you anticipate further licenses, add-ons or updates be sure that your contract will allow for that flexibility. If you can, avoid automatic contract renewal.  

Technology is an ever evolving necessity in business today and especially in HR.  HR is the only department in the organization that touches every employee, department and strategic initiative. By leveraging the power of HRIS technology, HR professionals have the ability to provide insight for talent management and planning, but this is only if you choose the right HRIS for your organization.