Purchasing a new HRIS can be a monumental task that can cost a company a lot of money, both up front and over time. If the wrong system is purchased and it doesn’t end up fitting the company’s needs, it can be a major setback. Clearly defining requirements in the form of a RFP can help to ensure that the right software is obtained, but the RFP must be comprehensive and effective.

A RFP should contain the following sections and should be thoughtfully written by an employee that will actually be using the system regularly and understands what the company needs the HRIS to do.


The introduction should be a basic summation that makes the case for why the business needs a HRIS at the present time. The introduction should briefly detail what goals your company hopes to achieve by implementing a HRIS. Important details from the body of the RFP can be touched on here, such as when you hope to begin the project and what date you need the vendor to respond by.

Business Background Information

This section should introduce the vendors to the company. Things like core values, target customer base, office locations, and staff numbers should be outlined in this section. There should also be a basic explanation of what led to the need for a new HRIS.

HRIS Requirements

The requirements section should give a precise explanation of what you want the vendor to do and what you need the HRIS to do. Included in each requirement should be the priority level of that requirement and the reason that you need that particular function on the HRIS or information from the vendor. This is the most important section of the RFP, so adequate time and attention should be put into drawing up this section.

Response Requirements

It is helpful to both you and the vendor if you give an explanation of how you would like the response structured.

A typical response format may include:

  • A summary of the proposal
  • Vendor background information
  • Explanation of how the vendor will meet company HRIS requirements
  • Cost breakdown
  • References from existing clients


The timeline section should go into greater detail about when you expect to have responses submitted, when you will announce which vendor you have selected, and when you expect to begin the project. Be sure to give each vendor ample time to devise a thorough response.

Vendor Evaluation

After you have submitted the RFPs to your shortlist of vendors, you should begin doing research so that you already have a good idea who will be selected before you even begin reviewing the responses. This will give you a more educated outlook so that you know exactly who you are dealing with when you begin reading responses. Keep all that you have learned in mind when you meet with vendor representatives face-to-face.

After you have selected the vendor that best fits your needs, use your RFP and their responses to structure the contract. The contract should protect your interests, but be considerate of the interests of the vendor. A well thought out contract will help to make the rest of the negotiation process flow more smoothly.