How To Make a Sensible HR Software Selection Decision With Minimum Effort

Last updated on January 6th, 2017 at 12:21 pm

hThe year-end often brings long hours for the finance department, but for HR and software purchasing decision-makers, it’s perhaps the most exciting time of the year, when wish-lists are submitted and new budgets released. HR departments can now finally implement their HR software plans, which might be buying a new system, or simply purchasing add-ons or upgrades to their existing software package.

For companies on the lookout for a new system, the problem is that the software market has changed so much over the last 5 years. The choice can be blinding, even for the seasoned software purchaser. That’s why we thought it would be useful to put together 5 tips on how HR teams can make swift and effective HR software selection decisions:

  1. Let the vendor take the strain: start by asking your short-listed suppliers to run an online demo for you. It’s a great way to get to grips with the full scope of the system and ask as many questions as you want, without taking up too much of your time. Remember to talk to the sales consultant about the set up process and what support you’ll get, and ask for a full costing that includes any configuration, customisation or data upload services. Some HR software suppliers make their money out of the professional services they provide – which can add up to much more than the initial licence or subscription fee.
  1. Make sure it’s cloud-native (and not just cloud-based). Any online HR software system worth its salt should be fully cloud-native, meaning that all customers are on the same version of the software (sometimes called multi-tenanted). Your employees, managers and HR users will love the flexibility and ease of use that a web-based system affords them (with access from home, work, or when traveling), while you will benefit from the lower costs, greater flexibility and regular cost and hassle-free updates that comes with a system optimised for online deployment.
  1. Check who else is using the system. If successful businesses of a similar size and industry to you are using the HR system to support their business, and are endorsing it, this is a strong indicator that this system will be a good fit for your business. Ask to talk to relevant companies already using the system, or take a look at any case studies on the vendor’s website. Clients tend not to allow themselves to be put on a vendor site unless they are very happy with the product and the service.
  1. Look below the surface. Slick demos can hide shallow functionality and inflexible (or expensive) set up options. It’s worth trying out your favourite system(s) for a trial period and seeing whether the HR software really supports your current and anticipated needs. It’s a good opportunity to test out user-friendliness and support for multiple devices too. Not all systems work well (or at all) on mobile or tablets. Compare how successfully you can complete key tasks; such as adding a new employee, calculating holiday entitlements, requesting and approving a holiday, completing a performance review, filling in a time sheet, generating absence reports etc… Prioritize the systems based on the features, flexibility and security over data HR needs, and the accessibility and ease of use for line managers and employees.
  1. Make sure the system vendors listen to their customers and improves the system to suit the user-base. The best system suppliers will both listen to and adapt to the needs and requirements of its users. This is often achieved by some kind of online suggestion box with voting system. Customers can make suggestions for improvements and the most popular suggestions that are voted to the top are scheduled for implementation by the vendor. If the vendor has a full programme of improvements for the system you can be sure it’s a dynamic, constantly evolving and adapting system.

This article was submitted by Sue Lingard of Cezanne HR, a leading HR software solution for medium sized and growing UK and international businesses. Having studied personnel management at the London School of Economics longer ago than she cares to remember, she is today passionate about helping companies harness the latest technologies to reduce HR admin, empower employees and achieve more for and from their people. 

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