Are all HRIS the same? Any HR professional will tell you...not a chance!
Throughout my career, I have probably chosen about six different HRIS for the organizations I worked for. Through the process I hit many bumps in the road and made some common mistakes HR professionals make when deciding to implement or update an HRIS.
Choosing an HRIS is a big deal. It is the very lifeline HR needs to keep day to day operations organized and compliant. Here are the top areas to focus on when deciding which HRIS is best for your organization.
1. ASSESSING YOUR NEEDS
This seems obvious. However, if your organization is growing by leaps and bounds or plans to expand in the next few years, it's critical to find a system that has the capability to grow along with you. An HRIS that is designed to handle up to 100 employees is quite different from one that can support 1000+. One of the biggest mistakes made when choosing a system is thinking about today’s needs without considering tomorrow's.
If you’ve never chosen an HRIS before, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many things it can do! Where do you start? If you need help, ask. Sometimes it makes sense to put together a small team to brainstorm what is truly needed for the organization versus being lured by all the bells and whistles a system may offer. Get down to basics. Decide what your top needs are in order to make an HRIS a successful fit for your business. If you do not have the manpower to put a team together, it may make sense to work with an outside consultant who has the expertise and can guide you through the process without any ties to a specific HRIS vendor.
Now is the time to decide what your budget looks like realistically. HRIS pricing is all over the map. There are so many components that go into pricing - number of employees, add-ons, type of payroll, background compliance, on-boarding, training...and on and on and on. Decide what your organization is willing to pay and go from there. The market is filled with a diverse pool of vendors. What you are looking for, you will find and there will be a vendor who can match your price point as long as you are realistic.
Now that you have decided what you want the HRIS to do and how much you are willing to pay for it, you are ready to choose a vendor. Always start by asking other HR professionals who they recommend. There is no one better to recommend a vendor than those who have gone through the process! Ask what they like and dislike about their system. Ask them about their overall experience and how it has been since the initial implementation. This will help you narrow down the playing field and choose vendors to present their product to you. At the end of the day, you most likely will have about three vendors you end up considering. The one you choose is the one who meets your price point, offers the best service and is aligned to your organization's strategy for growth. A tall order!
This part is the most underestimated part of the entire process - YOUR TIME! Few truly understand how much time and effort it takes to implement a new system until they have had the experience. As with anything new, it takes time to learn how to navigate and understand a system’s nuances. What is oftentimes never considered in this process is how you will continue to do your job every day while also learning a new system, which can take precious hours out of your schedule for training each week.
Almost all HRIS vendors usually have a great implementation plan for their customers. They understand the time-frame and what needs to be accomplished in a short amount of time. However, time is time and you can't get it back so the best thing you can do is discuss and review multiple times what the implementation is going to look like and how you and your team will navigate that process. Spend as much time as you can on this part with your vendor and review it repeatedly with your team. It’s critical for all parties involved to truly understand the time requirements needed for implementation as well as the discipline to attend training classes, etc.
Ultimately, the vendor you choose should feel like a partner, someone who understands your needs and is capable at providing and continues to provide excellent service to you over the span of your partnership. With the right system, your HR department will be ready to fly!