Choosing a New HRIS

If you are serious about acquiring a new HRIS, you don’t have to be a software expert. However, it’s up to you to champion the possibility.

If your current tools met your needs, you wouldn’t be thinking about replacing them. To gain the support needed within your organization, you need to identify what is lacking in your current setup and how your company will benefit from a new HRIS.

Implementing a new HRIS is not something you will do often, so you certainly want to do it right. Proper planning can help ensure the establishment of a savvy system that will support your organization for years to come.

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Start at the Beginning

After reviewing and documenting your current processes, you can map out what’s working well and where the pain points are. Ask your staff about their successes and frustrations in using the current system. As you identify what problems a new HRIS could solve, consider how to recommend a new system that attains a return on investment. This might include dollars-and-cents cost savings, but don’t forget to note what other less tangible benefits might result from implementing a new HRIS.

Marshall the Experts

As an HR professional, you’ve certainly had some experience with using a HRIS system. In addition to the needs of the end-user, there are so many issues involved in rolling out a new HRIS — security, legal requirements, initial costs and operational costs, maintenance, employee training, transition of data, and the ongoing vendor relationship, to name a few.

There are likely people in your own organization that can support you in your search; forming a search team from within your own organization enables you to leverage the knowledge and experience found within your own company.

You can also consult vendor-neutral software matching consultants who are especially familiar with HRIS products and vendors. Not only are they familiar with available offerings, they have assisted other organizations with locating the pitfalls and are well-versed in helping to avoid them. They will also help you understand the costs of ownership and how to select a system that will continue to support your organization well into the future.

Use your internal team to distill the information you’ve obtained into a list of dos and don’ts. What features are essential? What features or buying mistakes must be avoided?

Write a Request for Proposal

Use your dos and don’ts list to craft a Request for Proposal (RFP). An RFP is the crystallization of your HRIS needs. State each requirement, simply and clearly.

Vendor responses will quickly show which candidates have viable solutions that meet your specifications. Identify the top three (or so) contenders, and request substantial system demonstrations. Use a consistent approach, viewing the same processes and asking the same questions of each vendor.

Even if you go into the evaluation phase thinking one system seems to stand out, an objective, even-handed treatment of the vendors is the best way to backup your intuition.


Now is the time for action — well, after a little more planning. Document your expectations regarding timeline, effects on day-to-day operation, as well as the consequences for not meeting timelines. It is crucial to sit down with your vendor and identify what the vendor needs from you — and when — in order to keep the project flowing smoothly from inception to completion.

Ensure that all parties within your organization understand their role and are committed to making your implementation a success.

Want Some Assistance With the Vendor Selection Process?

Check out our HRIS Vendor Match Service. This free service matches you with vendors who offer software designed for companies like yours.

Authored by: Dave Rietsema