10 Things to Think about when Picking HR Software

July 23, 2018

Choosing HR software is challenging. There’s a minefield of options out there and it’s difficult to know where to start! In her latest blog, Laura shares her top 10 things to think about. 

By Laura Hayden

Here’s my list of key considerations to help you understand where on earth to start when choosing HR software.

Identify your needs and the purpose for implementation

What business needs are trying to be met? What problems do you want the system to solve? What’s an essential of the system versus something that would be nice to have? What does the system need to have or do to ensure it’s suitable for both now and the future?

Why not make it a collaborative exercise and gain input from managers and employees to explore these questions. As a leader in an organisation you might have an idea of what you’re looking for, but you won’t know without asking, what functionality everyone else needs the system to have. Consider focus groups or setting up a project team to be responsible for identifying needs/purpose and carrying out research to generate a shortlist for deliberation.

Identify your budget

How much is available to spend on an HR system? Have this in mind before considering the level of functionality as it’s so hard not to get drawn into the ‘nice to have’s’ and convince yourself that there’s a business need for the system to be able to do these things. Bear in mind that there might be hidden costs too so factor a little extra in for this.

 Consider the level of functionality you need

The following list of questions should help you establish this but remember ‘nice to have’ versus absolute need!

  • Do you want your employees to self-service? i.e. update their own personal details and request holidays through the system?
  • Do you want to reduce paperwork? Will the system allow you to upload company files for everyone to access and upload employee files to individual records?
  • What reports/data and analytics do you want the system to provide?
  • Do you need it to do payroll too? If so, do you need the system to manage timesheets?
  • Do you want to include a recruitment module – i.e. the ability to advertise roles internally and ensure an audit trail for gaining authority to recruit?
  • What about performance management? Do you want to monitor objectives and organise performance reviews through the system?
  • Do you want to monitor and manage benefits through the system?
  • What reminders does the system allow for? i.e. probation, length of service?
  • Can you set up personalised workflows to help implement your own policies and procedures? E.g. absence triggers or a trigger to kick start a process, such as an invitation to join a healthcare scheme after so many years’ service.
  • Does the system need to be accessible both internally and externally? i.e. would a cloud-based system be better than something built onto an intranet?
  • What levels of access can be set? e.g. admin, manager, employee
  • Can you personalise the look of the system or white-label it?

Re-look at your budget

In establishing functionality, there may be some aspects that are non-negotiable in order to meet the need and reason for requiring HR Software. It might be that you’ll end up paying less for the software to meet all requirements than you will to keep paying for the problem you needed the system to solve.

Ensure data security

Find out the how’s, what’s, where’s and who’s to system security, GDPR compliance and back up.

Gain user experience

Read the reviews to understand how previous and current customers have found the system. If possible, have a free trial of the system to see how user-friendly it is. Do you know any other company using the system – if so, speak to them and see how they’ve found the system and the customer service.

It’s important that the customer support is helpful and renowned for getting any problems fixed quickly and with minimum fuss. Some systems offer support as a hidden extra – in my opinion this should not be an extra-billable item and should come included in the package.

It’s also worthwhile establishing if the system provides a dedicated account manager – someone you can rely on to help you set the system up and build on it as the business grows/changes.

Look at the implementation process

Look into the implementation process (including set up and launch). Make sure it’s easy and that you know who’s responsible for it. Setting up a system can seem a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Check to see if you can create employee records by uploading a simple spreadsheet onto the system of all key details, such as name, address, start date, salary, line manager etc etc.

If you’ve decided to build bespoke workflows into the system, understand who will be responsible for this. This is often a complex process, better served either by someone who works for the system provider or by being trained how to do it. This might be built into the cost or be an extra charge but either way, is worth considering to make sure you’re efficient with time and cost.

Consider how flexible the system is and whether you’ll be able to have input into system development.

 Is the provider open to suggestions and flexible in their approach? If they’re offering a one-size fits all solution, the likelihood of them adapting/developing the system based on your experiences is slim. However, ask the question because it’s really helpful and reassuring to know that the development team will take suggestions on board and look to make improvements to the system on the basis of feedback received.

If you’d like to learn more about HR systems just get in touch!

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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